January / February 2011
Can buy for $15 at the bank approx 75m along the road and on the same side as the Arrivals Hall entrance.
Entry Point: Sallum
Time taken: 4 hours
Costs (in order of payment)
EP50 – photocopies
EP502 – carnet
EP165 – insurance
EP60.60 – number plates / driving licence
EP6 – parking at the plates / licence office (after chassis rubbing area)
A bank is to the right of the Arrivals Hall entrance. It changes dollars, euros, uk pounds. Can change LYD into EP at the grocery store to the left of the bank!
There is an good step-by-step write up of the process here for DIYers on Chris Scott’s Sahara Overland website.
A friendly (free) policeman found us at the Arrivals Hall and guided us through the process. Even he was in disbelief at the end!
Two places where they tried to rip us off:
– at the chassis number rubbing, a guy pulled us aside from our police helper and wrote down costs totalling EP1372, including insurance at EP520 and number plates at a few hundred. We held our ground, and he eventually walked away. Some people do seem to be paying this amount though.
– the guy who checks the chassis number rubbing against the carnet tried to tell us the number didn’t match. Of course, he was deliberately reading the numbers to us Arabic style, right to left!
A fire extinguisher is needed – another source of a potential “fine”…
Cashiers are present for all payments and give receipts.
When leaving, the only surviving pieces of paperwork are the receipts for payments and the credit card sized licence.
Exit Point: Aswan (Aswan to Wadi Halfa ferry)
Time taken: 1.5 days
EP2012 – car on barge
EP500p/p – first class a/c cabin (2 beds); EP322 p/p – second class deck space and 2 large seating areas with wooden benches.
EP5 – photocopies at traffic court
EP22 – customs at port
EEP2 – exit stamp in passport
Street changer at the Nile Transport Co office in town. Also by the immigration / customs area at the port.
The ferry sails on Mondays to Wadi Halfa, and takes approximately 17 hours. Vehicles go on a separate cargo barge (no passengers) which can take 2-3 days. A smaller cargo barge was used on our crossing, arriving the same day as us in Wadi Halfa.
1. One week before sailing: Make a reservation with Mr Salah Takourny, manager of the booking office of the Nile Valley Transport Company. http://takourny.free-boards.net; firstname.lastname@example.org; 0183160926 (mobile). The ferry is often busier than when we took it – booking upto one month ahead is advised.
2. Meet Mr Salah in the morning to start the exit process. (GPS: N 24.099150, E 32.899700)
3. Go to traffic court to verify we haven’t committed any offences. Take passport and Egyptian driving licence. The man outside with the forms copied these and gave various docs to give in at the window. Cost EP5 for the copies though will ask for EP25-40 at first. Then go to the second floor, office on the right, to let them know all this has been done. Told to come back 2 hours later to collect a receipt which allows us to buy a ferry ticket. (GPS: N 24.061550, E 32.885883)
Saturday or Sunday
4. Go back to Mr Salah to buy passenger ferry tickets.
5. Go to the traffic police to give back Egyptian driving licence and number plates. Receipt from traffic court needed too. At the far left window a policeman sorted out paperwork. Drive in convoy with the other vehicles, the policeman, and one of Mr Salah’s representatives, to the port. They guided us through the process from here onwards, though someone else tried to muscle in. (GPS: N 24.084050, E 32.908367)
6. At the port, go through customs. We were asked for a baksheesh to avoid putting items through the X-ray machines. We just waited and eventually went through with no baksheesh or X-rays. (GPS: N 23.970383 E 32.895917)
7. Buy vehicle ticket and get an invoice.
8. Get the carnet exit stamp at the customs office. (Cost EP 22, but asked for EP75 at first)
9. Get exit stamp in passport
10. Drive to the dock and onto the barge. The passenger ferry leaves at about 18h.
The ticket includes a meal voucher. Dinner was an acceptable meal of foul, cheese, pickles, boiled egg, jam and bread. Can buy soft drinks / tea / coffee on board. We took food for lunch at the dock.
It was cold and windy at night, so a mat and sleeping bag needed if on deck. A sheet liner was useful in the cabin, though bed sheets, pillow and blanket were provided.
Fuel in Cairo
Diesel was hard to find in Cairo (no diesel local cars in Egypt). We found no diesel in Zamelek, Doqqi or Giza town. Diesel available at the Shell garage about half way along the road to the Giza Pyramids.
Car repairs / service in Cairo
Cairo: Hassem Auto Garage, near the Coptic Hospital on Ramses Road (GPS: N 30.063213, E 31.251568). Tel: +20 105 807 386. Hassem is in a small alleyway near the location given above, so best to call him and he will come to collect. Does Landrovers and Toyotas.
Siwa – Bahariya road
Permit required, and it was necessary travel in convoy or with an in-car escort.
Organised via the tourist office, who know when other cars are going. The permit cost EP103 for two people ($5 each plus arranging fee). Being part of a tour group convoy was useful as the guide took care of the paperwork at the six or so checkpoints, but his services cost EP175 including lunch. This was at a time of political instability in Egypt, and so not clear whether these costs are representative.
We assembled outside the military compound at (GPS: N 29.193475, E 25.521865) to have papers checked. It was necessary for each convoy to have a satellite phone.
The first 180km is good tar road. The next 240km is pot holed or desert piste. The tour guides drive fast and often take the desert pistes.
Adam’s Home was closed. Not sure whether this is permanent or not.
We were recommended Sara Hotel’s car park. Cost: EP100 without shower access, though you can have a cold shower by the pool; EP125 with shower access in a room. There’s access to toilets, though the car park can be noisy at night. The staff during the day (up to 16h) are more helpful than in the evening.
Same price is a room at Hotel Abu Simbel, 1-2 km further north on the Nile Transport office road.