Egypt

egypt

Updated September 2017
With the current state of Syria and Libya, get between Egypt and Europe by either shipping/air freighting, or by ferry between Greece and Israel via Sinai.
The simplest crossing to Sudan now goes via Argeen. See below. Detailed descriptions here and here.

Money
Egyptian pound exchange rates

Price of fuel
’90’ octane about 1.3 LE (actually very low-grade fuel, avoid it) 92 octane 1.75 LE Diesel (‘Solar’) 1.1 LE

Costs Inexpensive, until you have to face vehicle immigration fees and the carnet.

Useful languages
Arabic, English.

Visas
For the moment visas are still issued at the border until the electronic visa system gets put in place.

Border formalities
With a vehicle border formalities are among the most protracted in Africa, if not the world; it can take many hours – or days if shipping in. Buy insurance and ‘rent’ number plates at the border – sounds simple but it won’t be quick. A carnet is still needed, though some claim a fee of $400 will work.

Last tourist crossing from Libya was early 2014; for the moment the country is too far gone. The only way direct to Egypt is to ship from Greece; otherwise ferry via Israel and Jordan (see below). See here.

sudanegyptmap
Egypt–Sudan border

Two land borders now operate on the east and west side of the Nile (left): Wadi Halfa and Argeen. Wadi Halfa still requires a one-hour crossing of Lake Nasser between Abu Simbel and Qustul (left); Aswan to Argeen and into Sudan on the west side is easily done is a day. See here.

It’s said you can get a Sudan visa in Aswan in two days for $50, though possibly not if you’re American or a Brit.
Less risk to get them in Cairo.
8 El Sherbiny St,
Dokki
N 30° 02.4’  E31° 12.7′
2 photos, $100

Sudan visa in Aswan
El Sadat Rd. – El Khazzah Rd. (close to Al Rudwan Mosque), Aswan
phone: 0972307231
N 24.055176, E 32.883164
– two passport photos
– a photocopy of your passport
– the filled in visa application form (you will get it at the consulate); in the form they ask for other valid visa you have, so I figured out that it might help to have the visa for Ethiopia before applying for the Sudan visa (they are easy to get in Cairo). We also had an invitation letter to Sudan, which is not mandatory, but also may help speeding up the process.
Usually the Sudanese visa take about three working days (in our case it was just two), for Americans they can take up to two weeks as the details have to be sent to Khartoum and processed there. The price for the Sudan visa in Aswan is US$50 each (instead of about $10 in Cairo). Usually, you get one month, our visa are valid for two months (due to what we do not know).

Overland via Israel
Terrorist activity in the Sinai may have closed access to Israel near Gaza but it’s reported that on the Red Sea (Gulf of Aqaba) the Egyptian border at Taba (near Eilat; Ir and Aqaba; Jd) is open. If not take the ferry from Nuweiba to Aqaba Jr, and from there into Israel for a ferry from Haifa to Greece. South Sinai is certainly open and safe enough at the time of this update.

Desert pistes 
The monumental aggravation of getting into the country as well as Egypt’s spectacular ancient monuments overshadow the desert and the Egyptian Sahara (‘Western Desert’) is not as easily explored as other Saharan countries, especially with the restrictions following kidnappings in recent years.

gil04-3carsLook at the Michelin map and you’ll find the country almost bare of desert tracks – for a hardcore Saharan this used to be part of the appeal. The rock art of Jebel Uweinat and the Gilf Kebir plateau and the Great Sand Sea with its Silica Glass Field all add up to a fascinating tour of this rarely explored corner of the Sahara. Sahara Overland II gave a good overview; see also the S-Files for other trip reports from around 2003–4.
Fuel and water reserves must be massive and various permits are required to get off the tarmac. These can take months to acquire and must be done via an accredited travel agent. Then you must hire and provision for a soldier or even an armed patrol. So, the best way to see this area is with locally hired vehicles and drivers, were it even possible. There are a few agencies that specialise in the Gilf but at this update the region seems to be closed to tourism, certainly beyond the White Desert south of Bahariya.

Gilfer-small