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North Africa Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
Photo by Hubert Kriegel, of Jean-Louis Grauby, Dades Gorge, Morocco, during the 8th year of 'thetimelessride'. Ten years on the road on his 2008 Ural Sportsman

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Photo by Hubert Kriegel, of Jean-Louis Grauby, Dades Gorge, Morocco, during the 8th year of 'thetimelessride'. Ten years on the road on his 2008 Ural Sportsman.



Trans Sahara Routes.

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  #1  
Old 22 May 2017
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Sudan to Egypt via Argeen (west of Nile)

3 months ago I drove on a new road from Dongola (Northern Sudan) to Abu Simbel, on the west side of the Nile. Perfect asfalt, for 501 km. All through the Saharian desert, with no gas stations nor other facilities. This road wasn't in the maps, GPS, maps.me, ...., in February 2017. Even the police, in a "station" 1 kilometer from the intersection to the road, knew it. Once you are in Dongola, don't cross the Nile. Head north in the same road that took you there.

There is a new border between Sudan and Egypt in Argeen (Arjeen?). 361 km from Dongola and 140 from Abu Simbel.

We got fuel at the border, with the nice guy that runs the cafeteria. He also bought us lunch. It's a 24X7 boarder, although the Egypcian side isn't open all the time, at least for those coming from Sudan. We were told it usually opens around 14:00, about the time they let us in. It took us 3 hours to get out of Sudan and 4 hours to get in Egypt. In the sudanese drama the officials did everything for us, while we had lunch, got fuel, changed money, slept, and so on. In Egypt it's just very burocratic. Their english is not the best and there are many, many, many forms and procedures that need/should be performed. But it's all about being patient.

I hope I've covered everything important in this subject. It's much easier riding this road than having to go to Wadi Halfa and crossing the Lake Nasser, in any point.

Last edited by Chris Scott; 25 Sep 2017 at 17:11.
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  #2  
Old 17 Sep 2017
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Sudan to Egypt (and vice-versa) - No more Lake Nasser crossing

Hi,
Do you reckon this is a legal border for tourists, or they just let you through anyway?

Did you use a carnet for Egypt?

How much did you pay to get into Egypt?

Where did you get your licence plates? At the border or in Aswan?

Tx!

Last edited by wickychicky; 17 Sep 2017 at 19:36.
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  #3  
Old 19 Sep 2017
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You still need a fixer to do the crossing. Mazar in Wadi Halfa is to be highly recommended for the Sudanese side and he will give you the contact details of a fixer on the Egyptian side. The fixers (and border officials) have to come all the way out to the border crossing from Wadi Halfa and Aswan. You just can't rock up and hope you will get over unaided. The fixer on the Egyptian side will get the licence plates for you. Take loads of cash for all the costs involved. You will have to have a carnet for Egypt.

It is an official border crossing for tourists as well.

Safari njema!
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  #4  
Old 20 Sep 2017
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Sudan to Egypt (and vice-versa) - No more Lake Nasser crossing

Thanks Wazungu, but I think you are referring to the Wadi Halfa crossing on the eastern side of the Nile.
The OP was talking about a crossing on the western side of the Nile.

We've done the western crossing now (Argeen) and can update as below.
The road shows on OSM, but not on T4A and typing Argeen produces no results on any maps.

As I only remembered about this post once we had already left Dongola, we took a slightly convoluted route, crossed the Nile from west to east up to Kerma and looked at the Western Defuffa and the very nice, small, informative museum.

From there we were continuing up to the Wadi Halfa border. We passed Delgo and stopped for diesel shortly afterwards. I remembered reading there was a ferry from Delgo to the other side of the Nile, and had wanted to go to the temple of Soleb on the western banks, but we'd decided it was too much effort to go up there and backtrack all the way down to Dongola and up again to Wadi Halfa. So this looked like our opportunity.

Didn't wait too long for the ferry (the crew were eating a late lunch) and we crossed the Nile from east to west in 5 minutes, cost 40 Sudanese pounds.

From there it was about 1.5 hours north to Soleb where we arrived just as the sun was starting to set. It's a really pretty ruined temple and at that time of day just picture perfect.
We were greeted by Hamid, the owner of the guesthouse right behind us, who insisted we camp in his yard. The washing water was a bit brown for our taste, but the squat loos beautifully clean. Ate dinner with them and tried to converse without a common language, which was actually very interesting, especially when he got his old passports, visas and photos out for where he had worked in the past, it seemed like on archaeological digs.

There is a fuel station in the village where the ferry docks, opposite Delgo, but can't say whether they always have fuel.

From Soleb it's 2.5 hours to the border. We arrived at 10.30am.
To be told there was a power cut, which wouldn't be working until 2pm at the earliest! They have a generator, but no fuel for it. Uff. (I wondered whether to offer to siphon off some of our diesel for them?!)

At 2.10pm we were indeed back in business and it took 2.5 hours to exit Sudan.
We had to pay 100 Sudanese pounds for a fixer we didn't want, at a price we didn't want to pay, but there is actually no way round him. And then they even forgot to stamp the carnet! (And we only noticed on the Egyptian side).

We changed our Sudanese pounds for Egyptian pounds and US dollars on the Sudanese side, for a good black market rate. There are no ATMS. On the Egyptian side there is a bank but it was closed, so can't say if you can change there (and you would really want the official rate for Sudanese pounds anyway)

We thought at this point we would be sleeping on the border, if they operate like at Wadi Halfa, but we quickly discovered they are open 24 hours!

The whole process took 4.5 hours. The Egyptians were incredibly friendly, more so than the Sudanese, even though not many spoke any English. While everything was time-consuming, we didn't have the feeling we were being ripped off (maybe only on the fixer fees).

No need to worry about pre-arranging a fixer for the Egyptian side, you're actually assigned one when you arrive! Unless you speak Arabic, you won't get through without one, just add in the cost to your budget.
Our fixer spoke pretty good English and took us wherever we needed to be in person and the rest of the time we sat in the cafe and waited for him to get everything done.

Costs at Argeen border as follows.
They seem to be very slightly higher than the Wadi Halfa ones listed here in April 2017: https://www.rinushartsuijker.com/sin...South-to-North

Sudan side, EXIT (Sudanese pounds)
160 Processing fees (80pp)
200 government fee
200 customs fee
100 fixer for carnet stamp
= 660 SDP (ca. 31 USD at our black market rate of 21.4)

Egyptian side, ENTRY (Egyptian pounds)
200 Entry fees (60pp and 80 for the car)
60 Health Check - hold a thermometer next to your forehead (30pp)
522 carnet stamp
180 insurance
130 car safety check
110 plates and photocopies
150 fixer fees
= 1352 EGP (ca. 67,52 USD)

As we've never done the Wadi Halfa crossing, we can't make a comparison of the 2 borders, but Argeen might be slightly less hassle than Wadi Halfa, on account of not needing to take a ferry.
Without the power cut, everything would have been really smooth, if long.
And we got to see the Soleb temple, which was very nice.

The border post is pretty large and it looks like they might be gearing up to make this an important crossing in the future.
For now it's only private cars (didn't actually see any) and Cairo-Khartoum buses going through. Trucks still use the ferry from Abu Simbel in order to drop off their products at the Wadi Halfa market.

Last edited by Chris Scott; 25 Sep 2017 at 17:20. Reason: added some place name map links
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  #5  
Old 20 Sep 2017
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Thanks wicky for a good report.
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  #6  
Old 25 Sep 2017
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Thanks for the report; here's a map to help visualise the two crossings.

https://sahara-overland.com/routes


Last edited by Chris Scott; 17 Jan 2018 at 11:51.
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  #7  
Old 25 Sep 2017
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Cool, thanks!
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  #8  
Old 25 Sep 2017
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Do I take it there is no more paid military escort from Abu Sim to Aswan?
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  #9  
Old 25 Sep 2017
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Correct! No escorts anywhere on them main routes from abu simbel up to Alexandria (along the Nile then the desert road from Luxor to Cairo and Cairo to Alexandria.
Plenty of police checkpoints though.
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  #10  
Old 24 Feb 2018
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Carnet de passage (Egypt -> Sudan)

I have an Egyptian-licensed car, and was told in Automobile Club in CAiro that I need a “Carnet de Passage” (called Tryptique now in Egypt) to cross to Sudan. It cost around US$150 (plus a bigger deposit) there. Is it recognized (useful) by Sudan? In the past I had the experience (in Syria) having bought this but not being recognized and having to buy again on the border.
Or is it better I wait and buy it at the border? Is it cheaper there?
Thanks,
Michel
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  #11  
Old 6 Apr 2018
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Latest Report 29 March to 2 April. Issues with Carnet extended in Kenya?

Heads up for anyone using this new crossing.

Goannatracks.com reports not being allow to cross with there vehicle with out visiting Cairo first? ( They had to leave there vehicle at the border! )

They do not mention if they used a fixer, or if one was even available.

Issue with Carnet extended in Kenya?

Read the full report at;

Part 70 Egypt - Entry Issues & a 52 hour Bus Ride to Cairo and Back

Thanks to Kym and Lyn for the great reports and continued safe travels,
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  #12  
Old 6 Apr 2018
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A quick read looks like it was indeed the veracity of their extended CdP which needed to be verified up in Cairo, not that this border is closed in general to overlanders.
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  #13  
Old 25 Apr 2018
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BY BICYCLE: Dongola (Sudan) - Aswan (Egypt) via Argeen

Hi guys! I'm so happy to have found someone who's done Dongola - Aswan, using the road west of Lake Nasser, crossing the boarder at Argeen. I want to do this on my bicycle! I'm a 32 year old Norwegian girl that's currently cycling solo from South Africa to Norway. Question;

- along this route, what is the situation like with regards to access to food and water? As a cyclist I'm moving a lot slower and need more pit stops than you motorized adventurers. How much traffic is there on this road? In worst case scenarios I can always ask vehicles for water.

- what is this about fixers? Do I really need them as a cyclist?

- how is this road in terms of scenery? And is it just flat/level road the whole time?

- have you heard anything about cyclists not being allowed to cross at this boarder post?

- anything else that one must take into consideration doing this route on a bicycle?

Best greetings from Khartoum, Teresie
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  #14  
Old 26 Apr 2018
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Hi Teresie,

We drove this route in late September 2017 and I'm really not sure this is the best route for a cyclist: if I recall correctly, the last chance for stocking up on water / food was on the main road outside Soleb. My husband thinks there might have been 1 more roadhouse along the way, but we can't be sure any more, sorry.
The road was VERY quiet, we saw at most a handful of vehicles, definitely not more. But a vehicle would certainly come by at some point and would hopefully stop.
It's a perfectly tarred, very smooth route with sand / arid desert either side of the road, as far as you can see. I don't remember seeing other villages you could head for. I don't remember it being an uphill journey, but can't be specific enough for someone relying on pedal power.

I haven't heard of cyclists not being allowed and we definitely wouldn't have managed the exit without a fixer, but that may have been more due to network problems that day than anything else. Entry to Egypt would have been difficult to impossible without a fixer (not like e.g. Iran where you definitely don't need one), but to be honest, we were happy to pay for our second last border crossing for the minimal hassle, so maybe it is possible, especially as you don't need number plates. Costs are detailed in one of our previous posts if you search our user name.

All the best
Helen

PS, if you happen to be at the german guesthouse, hello to Norbert from Jens and Helen, tx!
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  #15  
Old 18 Oct 2019
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Hi Guys,
Just an update really - we Clive and I have just ridden our motorcycles from SA to Egypt and I'm writing this in Luxor.
We elected to cross Sudan/Egypt at Argeen but the border crossing was difficult. 3 hours to get out of Sudan and 8 to get through Egypt. We couldn't find any fuel in Dongola and arrived Argeen on fumes - but the petrol station was shut and looked properly shut. We found a man who sold us 30 litres @ 1.5$ a litre.
There doesn't seem to be any system entering Egypt - you wont be allowed through the gate until you have paid some fees and the border is open at 1600 hours and closes at 4 am. Once inside you will be allocated a person to start the process - immigration was quite quick but the Carnet de Passage and the temporary Egyptian licence took ages and then you had another process for temporary number plates. Cost was about 100$ per person and bike. We slept for a while but were told to leave at 3 am or be stuck until 1600 hours - we left and had a 3 hour drive to Abu Simbel and no petrol stations. But we made it!
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