Driving in Egypt


Oct 7th, 2004, 01:26 PM
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Driving in Egypt

I see someone earlier asked about driving in South Africa - what about Egypt? My husband really wants to rent a land rover and drive there when we vacation in March. We would be "stationed" in Cairo, but I'd love to get to Abu Simbel.

What do you think? I'm afraid it may be too unsafe to do this, but he is really insistent at this point.
Deemike is offline  
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Oct 7th, 2004, 02:08 PM
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I'm not sure that you would be allowed to travel alone in a vehicle.I think you have to travel in a secure convoy.
mgmargate is offline  
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Oct 7th, 2004, 02:26 PM
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Have to agree with mgmargate. In fact there are some areas south of Cairo, but north of Luxor that are supposedly hotbeds for "problems" to the Egyptian government. Don't believe you want to be in that area, or in the desert in general. Outside major populations there is nothing out there but sand, and its difficult to know exactly where you are - GPS or not. It all looks the same. Your vehicle would also have to be equiped with treads to get you out of the sand, you'd have to be prepared for sandstorms (March is often sandstorm time). And most locals wouldn't venture out into the desert without a second vehicle.

The Egyptian government has gone out of its way to assure safety for visitors as best as possible, including all desert trips being by convoy with military accompanying travelers.

If your husband wants to drive the desert you should arrange to go out to the Western Desert where they have operators who will take you out into the desert for a week or two, with two vehicles, food, water, sleeping bags and whatever else is needed to survive. You can check for operators who do such out in the area of Siwa, but I wouldn't venture doing this between Cairo and Abu Simbel, no less.
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Oct 8th, 2004, 04:23 AM
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I'm afraid that foreign visitors are not allowed at all to travel (even in a convoy) by road between Cairo and north of Luxor.

You have to join a convoy for the road between Luxor and Aswan, then Aswan to Abu Simbel, and I think that the driver has to be a local one, not a foreigner.

On top of that, driving is quite crazy in Egypt...
Joelle is offline  
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Oct 8th, 2004, 08:15 AM
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Thanks for the information - very enlightening. Never even thought that you wouldn't be allowed to drive. Is there somewhere "official" that has this information? My husband will take it better if I say it is from "so-n-so".

Deemike is offline  
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Oct 8th, 2004, 05:06 PM
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I spent about 10 minutes trying to search for "official" info about driving prohibitions - while there were several references to non-driving areas on obscure websites, was not able to find a good official source to send you to. I do remember on our Nile cruise when we were given a map to help us orient ourselve to where we were going there was an indication of "no travel" zones. Still not real official, though.

It is fairly easy to find (I tried on Google with driving + Cairo or Egypt) all sorts of warnings about the dangers of driving in Cairo, though.
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Oct 9th, 2004, 02:05 AM
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I don't know about any "official" site that tells you where you can and can't drive, but I know all of the above advice is sound.

There are many checkpoints along the roads outside of Cairo, and in some areas, they insist on accompanying you with an armed escort. The first time this happened, my sons thought it was great - we weren't that thrilled. They even wanted to put a local in the car with us.

Driving in Egypt is crazy - there is some "method" to the madness, but it takes a while to figure it out. Driving at night is another issue, since most drivers do not use headlights. Also, I think you have to have an international driver's license.

My suggestion is to look into hiring a car and driver for the time you are here - not really that expensive.

As for getting to the desert - there are some nice areas about 1-2 hours from Cairo, toward the town of Fayoum and further south. You can find guides that will take you out there for a day or a couple of days.

A guide is your best bet - you don't want to go alone. GPS's are a help, but cell phones don't always work out there, so if you get into trouble - you may be stuck for a long time!
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