Driving on Sinai Peninsula

Jan 30th, 2010, 12:58 PM
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Driving on Sinai Peninsula

Would love to hear from anyone who has recenlty been on the Sinai Peninsula with regard to the safety of driving for tourists. We are driving from Sharm el Sheikh to the ferry in Taba to go to Aqaba. Any input on convoys, check points, safety, etc. will be appreciated.
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Jan 30th, 2010, 02:39 PM
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Okay - first question....are YOU driving or are you going to be in a van/car with a guide/tour agent driving?
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Jan 30th, 2010, 04:18 PM
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With a driver/guide.
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Jan 30th, 2010, 04:30 PM
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Okay - good (big sigh of relief!). I would hope that the driver/guide would be very familiar with the route.

Convoys - I wouldn't think they would be necessary for that drive.

Checkpoints - I know there is usually one going in/out of Sharm, but don't know about further up toward Taba. The driver should have all the necessary documents for the vehicle and you should have your passport handy.

Safety - I do hope that you will be driving during the day. Driving at night on the Sinai (or any isolated area) is just not safe - from a traffic safety standpoint.

Maybe Debbie can chime in with more details/relevant info.
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Jan 30th, 2010, 07:46 PM
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Actually, we are leaving at 3:30 AM so it will be dark. We are also returning at night. Any thoughts? Thanks for your reply.
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Jan 31st, 2010, 01:34 AM
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Grcxx3 - I think you covered everything.
As for them traveling in the dark - it will be harder for you as your driver, very likely, will be driving without his lights on, which will drive you crazy. Try to sleep through it if possible. If you insist that the driver use his lights, check this out with your facilitator before going to see what their policy is. Get your facilitators phone number to call (and obviously have a phone to use) if the driver turns off his lights after you've been told he will use his lights as you will not be able to force him to turn them on without his boss yelling at him.

If you can change it to a day time drive, DO.
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Jan 31st, 2010, 05:58 AM
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Debbie - I'm glad you mentioned the lack of headlights! I was going to, but didn't want to scare anyone unnecessarily!!!!

CT_Ladies - so I this basically a day trip???? If so, you might consider staying the night somewhere so that you can spread out your trip a little and travel (driving) during the day.
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Jan 31st, 2010, 07:11 AM
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Driving w/o lights?? Good Lord that's nuts!! But after the traffic snarls I saw in Cairo I don't know why this surprises me, Egyptians aren't the best drivers in the world.

Why the heck would anyone choose to drive w/o lights? That seems crazy, even in a country with so many crazy drivers. What is the rationale?
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Jan 31st, 2010, 08:11 AM
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um.....you're talking Egypt....there IS no rationale!

Actually, the main reason given is that they are trying to "save" their batteries (and I guess the bulbs in the headlights). And, if you are within the city, there are generally enough streetlights to make driving reasonably possible (I still prefer headlights!). But, they are so used to people driving without headlights, that they are not used to driving and seeing the lights from oncoming cars. So, even out in the remote areas, where there are no streetlights, they don't use the headlights.

That's why, when we took trips to the beach, we always made sure we were at our destination well before dark.
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Jan 31st, 2010, 09:31 AM
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I always said - Welcome to Egypt! The logic free zone.
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Jan 31st, 2010, 09:46 AM
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Ain't that the truth!!!!
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Jan 31st, 2010, 11:02 AM
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Thanks for the info. I will make sure they use headlights on the Sinai Peninsula. That's good input. I would not want to be out there with no lights.
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Jan 31st, 2010, 02:05 PM
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Grcxx3 - Yes, to answer your question, it is a one day trip to Petra from Sharm. Pick up is 3:30 AM and it is a 19 hour day which includes crossing into Aqaba from Taba by ferry. Thanks for your thoughts.

I think our long day just got a little longer from the stress factor!
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Jan 31st, 2010, 02:08 PM
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Please see:

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...a-by-ferry.cfm
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Jan 31st, 2010, 02:19 PM
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I am with katrinab on the other thread - if you are planning on taking a public ferry, I would advise against it. I might feel better if it was a privately owned boat.

There seem to be a couple of tour operators (including Memphis) that do this trip by plane (Sharm to Aqaba). I don't know about the flights - but if they are decent planes (Jordanian Air or something similar), I would look into it. You would still have to be picked up early in the AM to get your flight, but at least you wouldn't be driving for several hours in the dark.

Debbie -any thoughts?????
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Jan 31st, 2010, 06:10 PM
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It's called a "tourist ferry". I believe that is different than a public ferry. What is your fear about the ferry? Thanks for all of your input. It's such a tough call!
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Jan 31st, 2010, 06:18 PM
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Oh geez - not meaning to scare you....but habitual overcrowding, lackadaisical maintenance, and a serious lack of life-jackets are the first 3 things that come to mind.

I think it's worth asking some more details from the travel folks about it.
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Jan 31st, 2010, 07:12 PM
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CT_Ladies-

I'm feeling really bad about my last post. I don't in ANY way want to scare you, I just want to make sure that you understand that things in Egypt just aren't the same as they are in the US.

I LOVED - let me say that again - LOVED living in Egypt and would go back in a flash, but there were things that we just had to accept. And one of those things is that their standard of safety is not the same as ours.

I don't know what a "tourist ferry" is. It might be just fine. I hope Debbie will help us out.
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Feb 1st, 2010, 08:44 AM
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Thanks Grcxx3. On one forum there is a link to a high speed ferry that does not show a photo of it. On another forum there is a post, well... read and enjoy:

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntre...20936#15320936
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Feb 1st, 2010, 03:00 PM
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FYI - thanks for the input. We decided to fly from Sharm to Aqaba and forget the ferry. It was really the driving without headlights that did us in. That would not be fun at all!
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