January 19, 2010 GMT
On Looking After Us Foreigners

On a different note, our route around the Western Desert took us through El Kharga and then onto the direct Luxor road, only recently opened to foreigners.

Years ago there were fatal attacks on archaeological sites in both these towns with devastating effects on the tourist industry, which still hasn't recovered. Many hotels and camp sites are pretty empty and appear to be struggling to survive.
So as we approached this general area the present security situation started to become apparent to us.

Firstly, in Farafra, once we had parked up outside our hotel another biker arrived. A Swiss rider going in the opposite direction to us, Cape Town to Switzerland. He was on an old Ducati air-cooled 750 with Cagiva Capo Nord bodywork, tank and luggage. His frame had broken on the dreaded northern Kenya road - he showed us with some pride the emergency welding and repair struts. But he did admit to tackling that road at about 120 kph - he had to be back in Switzerland by 2nd February!
So there were now four bikes outside the hotel and a police car cruised slowly past taking a good look.
In the morning a tourist policeman arrived to ask the usual questions we get asked at the numerous checkpoints between towns: Nationality? Where headed? Number on the Egyption number plate?
And in addiion, what time will we be departing?

In El Qasr, after camping in the White Desert and now installed in our hotel, the ebullient Mohamad walked through the bar carrying a big pile of blankets. "As I have tourists here now, I have to make sure the police will comfortable. They guard the hotel overnight whenever there are foreigners staying."
Because of the upset stomach situation we stayed there three nights, so on the second night, just for a change, the armed night policeman set up his blankets in the back yard right next to our parked bikes. What service!

In the next town, Kharga, there seemed to be only one budget hotel. But with nowhere but the dingy dark street outside to park the bikes. So we tried a couple of more expensive hotels. Each time, once we had decided it was too pricey, and with foreigners already booked in, the on-duty tourist policeman asked us which hotel we were going to try next. So then we realised we needn't worry about parking outside the cheap place. We told the policeman we were going to the Wahid hotel, booked ourselves in there, and sure enough when we came down to the entrance foyer to go off looking for a restaurant, there was the armed policeman installed for the night, within sight of our bikes.
No worries!

And now, at our camp here in Luxor that always has foreigners staying, there's a policeman permanently stationed on site, taking care of us all and our vehicles. In fact, as the food is so good (the owner is also an expert chef), there always seems to be quite a few policemen here at mealtimes!

But all in all it's a little sad, seeing a wonderfully friendly country so desperate to protect its tourists and regain its reputation that we almost have personal bodyguards in those areas where visitors are few and far between.
You'll be Welcome in Egypt!

Posted by Ken Thomas at January 19, 2010 03:11 PM GMT

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events


HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!