Before to arrive to the North of Africa, near to Egypt, local people were telling us constantly to be careful where we go because we are not going to find safe countries. The truth is that in the last years the number of tourist in Egypt dropped down radically because of some terrorist attack, but this fact for us was not a reason to don’t go and travel around this country. Like many other countries we knew that in Egypt has areas where is not recomendable to go through, but probably the most of the country it should not be a problem.
We start by arriving to a completely new border in Argeen, just in the middle of Sahara Desert. It took us many hours riding through empty land and then few more hours to complete the bureaucracy to leave from a country like Sudan, that was so chaotic that we couldn´t manage to finish before to reach the night. But then when we though the most difficult was done it was time to deal with Egypt. Everything start very strange, first we arrive to a huge wall with a door which was closed. By a window we could talk to one guy who asked us to pay for an entry ticket. After few minutes arguing with him it was nothing to do, we pay, they open the doors for us and then we found a police control where we got stuck for 24 hours, yes. A complete day.
It was our last border from Africa and our first impression about Egypt
We didn´t see another border with more security control than here, controlling every single thing we had with us and then a strong and long bureaucracy process: carnet the passage, insurance and getting an Egyptian registration number plates for the motorbike that it took long time, mainly because they dont speak english over there and because is a new border and they didn´t have previous experience with overland travelers like us.
Our first destination was Abu Simbel, a temple that looks far from everything but very close to where we actually were. We set out tent next to the main entry of the temple, in the middle of this Little town, and nothing happened. Everything normal, we meet the first locals and we feel welcome for them. In Assuan we start to feel a bit more tensión, basically because we went ot sleep few nights in a catholic church of the Comboni missioners, who are pretty much a big target for terrorist here. This church have bigger security control than the american embassy.
Our next stop was the amazing Luxor, we didn´t know by then but it was the last point where we will be traveling alone. Once we leave from there and by the moment we arrived to Quena we had to make a decision and to choose which road to take.
Our first idea was to continue to Israel and middle East but moving through Sinai peninsula was completely forbidden at that time. So we have only the option to arrive to Alejandria and from there back to Greece.
By the Nile aso was not good for us, we were not allow to cross the river and take what they call the “agriculture road” on the west side of the river because police neither control over there completely this region. The problema for us with the east side would means to move in a very slow, polluted and busy roads. Almost 100 millions people live next to the river in this country and roads are really small for so many people. so Then crossing the desert was really looking an option closer to our philosophy of traveling, and we choose to arrive to Cairo from the Red Sea, but to take this roads has a cost and it was to travel 24 hours with escort. 2, 3 and even 5 policemen escort completely armed must be driving behind us all the time.
But how will you fell riding with police escort in a country very popular at this time for the insecurity situation? More safe or more afraid? The first day the truth I was more afraid than when we were alone. I was asking to myself why I am there? What can happen, how I should react in a dramatic situation? How much the terrorist could be interested for us?
The police car was replaced every 30 km. One was stop following us and a new team start to go with us. When we stopped for a coffee we could talk with the escort and they were making me a bit more relaxed. They always was inviting us for coffee and try to make us feel confortable, maybe trying from our side to don´t understand what really was happening around there, behind the hills.
When come the time to find place to sleep, we say to the policeman that we will camping or sleep in church, that´s the way how we were passing the nights in this área, but that was a big problem for them. If something happen to us during their shift they will be in real troubles. Tourism back in 2017 was already catastrophic and any new problem with a tourist in the country would be fatal. So very fast they found every day a safe place for us to pass the night, usually a hotel where we could sleep for free. The policemen were awake all night next to our motorcycle waiting for us to wake up and keep the journey.
Finally we arrived to Cairo, visit the pyramids, the Khan Al-Khalili market… we stay in Gezira Island again with our friends Combonis and we felt very fine evrything, no an especial feeling of insecurity, but maybe because we are constantly traveling to so many countries.
Shit can happens everytime and everywhere, the truth is that a couple of week after we left Egypt two big attacks happened in Alejandría and Cairo in places we been walking around many times. Yes we could be there, in step of thinking that I prefer to think I was in Egypt, I been in the same land where human civilization was living many thousand years ago, feeling the energy of this magic place. We enjoy their great food and made many good friends who taught us we can not live with fear. If you didn’t visit yet Egypt, you should put in your bucket list.
If you want to know more about this topic, you may be interested in the following posts:
- This is why you need a travel insurance
- 8 Destinations in East Africa (Part 1)
- 8 Destinations in East Africa (Part 2)