Four Wheels Around - A Road Trip from the UK to South Africa

In February 2009 we are setting off on the trip of a lifetime from Brighton, E-Sussex, UK to South Africa. Furthermore, we are raising money for the British Red Cross along the way. This blog will cover our preparation until we leave and our adventures whilst we are on the road.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Luxor to Aswan

We have driven nearly 2000 miles through Egypt and now we are right at the bottom. Aswan, the last major city before Sudan. Travel on road to Sudan is basically impossible. The road after Abu Simbel is not open and thus the only way to Sudan from here is via a weekly ferry that travels along Lake Nasser fron Aswan, Egypt to Wadi Halfa, Sudan. Our ferry leaves on monday at an unspecified hour. We have arranged with the famous Mr Saleh for us and our Landy to be on this boat, inshallah.

We have heard a lot of rumours about this infamous ferry. Researching prior to speaking with Mr Saleh we had heard very mixed reviews regarding the trip from Aswan to Wadi Halfa. Slightly out of date travel guides speak of passenger ferry's towing a barge with the vehicles, or separate boats leaving on different days for the passengers and the vehicles. I think is the method of transportation that the Lond Way Down team took. The reality, at least for us is neither. We travel on the passenger ferry that takes perhaps 24 hours (after our nightmare with the Aqaba -Nuweiba ferry we have opted for first class) and the vehicles travel on a separate smaller boat that leaves at the same time but arrives a day later than us. I will be happier once we have tickets in hand and are on the way to Sudan.
We have arrived in Aswan days in advance to prepare for Sudan. As there is little reliable literature regarding the ferry processes and costs we wanted to ensure that we were here in good time to organise ourselves on to next mondays boat. As it turns out we can't do an awful until saturday when it is all systems go with mountains of paperwork, buying tickets, returning our Egyptian number plates to the authorities etc. In the meantime we are stocking up with tinned food, making use of the internet, having a few drinks etc, in preparation for a few weeks in a very poor and dry country. I mean dry in 2 senses of the word, yes it is a lot of desert, a possible 40 - 50 degrees and with very little rain. Also alcohol is illegal in Sudan so the next few weeks will be a bit of a detox!

Alex and I at our campsite in Kharga.

We have spent over a month in Egypt which is a third of the trip so far. Egypt has been the most infuriating Country that we have visited so far and also one of the most beautiful. The constant hassle and daily haggling becomes repetitive and boring. It seems that being a foreigner in Egypt you are seem as a 'walking wallet'. Everywhere we have been it has been a constant battle to get a fair price. We started off a little naive not really too sure of what prices should be. After nearly5 weeks here we have more of an idea. We have found ourselves arguing when we buy everything. From even the most basic, day to day essentials such as drinking water and food. As soon as we are spotted by an Egyptian it is as though doller signs light up in their eyes. 'Quick a Westerner, hike up the prices by a billion per cent!'. If we were just on holiday here for a week or even two then this would not be a problem as we would be more enthusiastic hagglers but now we are just so tired and bored of haggling. After 3 months on the road so far and with dwindling funds for the next 5 months every penny counts for us, and so we find ourselves haggling over the equivalent of about 13 p (GBP) on pretty much a daily basis.

Below left: Pumba (of Jacques and Mandy) and
Carol in the desert.
Below right: Alex jumping into the hot spring.

Above left: Me next to the Red Pyramid at Dashur. Above right: Carol with the sun set in the white desert.
We made a rash decision the other day and purchased bikes each. We considered bringing bikes with us on this trip from the start. They would be so convenient to us in big cities and towns when we don't want the hassle of driving in, finding parking etc. We contemplated hiring bikes but we decided lets just buy them. So we did. We bought them from a nice young man who we feel gave us a reasonable price. One of his selling points was that the bikes are 'made in china'. Good quality Chinese bikes. Dubious. We are hedging bets as to how long until they fall apart. We are very excited by the new bikes and we have already made use of them both in Luxor and today in Aswan. The main problem we have at the moment is transporting them. They fit on the roof but they are not stable. Yesterday we travelled from Luxor to Aswan with them in the back. This however is definately not a long term solution. Ideas welcome!
We feel ready to leave Egypt and move on to the next country. Above are a few more pics from our time in Egypt.


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30 August 2011 at 04:33  

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