Newsletter #12    16-March-1999   
Sudan and Egypt 
(updated June-2002)

Greetings from Cairo Egypt,

We've had quite an adventure trying to get from Sudan to Egypt.

Three weeks ago we headed north of Khartoum for Atbara. On the way we visited the Royal Pyramids of Meroe. It was very hot and windy as we walked amongst the pyramids sitting atop a rocky outcrop, some partially covered by the sands of time. The pyramids were good however they are nowhere near as grand as those in Egypt. It was good to look inside some of the partially restored pyramid entrances.

At Atbara we crossed the Nile River by ferry and then headed North West through the Bayuda Desert to Karima. This was not a road per se but rather a track. In places the track is over one kilometre wide as vehicles search for a smoother ride and harder ground. This meant that we also had to stay alert to avoid taking one of the many side trips to no-mans-land. Some parts were sandy while others were very rocky. This is a real desert where almost nothing lives except for the odd camel. Very little vegetation and very different to the Australian deserts.


Just before Karima we again crossed the Nile River and camped at the foot of the Jabel Barkal Temple ruins. The following day we spent the first part of the morning exploring the ruins before buying some more fuel and fresh provisions. We then headed north west out through the Nubian Desert to Dongola. The Nubian Desert was fantastic. It was even more remote and desolate than the Bayuda desert we travelled through the day before and covers all the area north of Karima to Southern Egypt and across to the Red Sea. We had to register with the police before crossing and then notify the police on our arrival in Dongola. This was a real desert and just what you imagine the Sahara to be like. There were no signs of life or vegetation. Just mile after mile of sand, gravel, sand dune or rocky mountain. The route is marked by two metre high pegs every kilometre or so. There are tracks going everywhere so you make your own road making sure that you can always see the next marker post. This is what I always wanted to see in Africa and have now fulfilled this dream. It was great.


From Dongola we followed close to the Nile River for three days all the way to Wadi Halfa in the far north of Sudan. This was a very beautiful, picturesque drive. The Nile River flows through the Nubian desert. Either side of the river the Nubian people make a living from growing melons, pumpkins, dates, wheat and citrus fruits on the narrow stretch of fertile lands either side of the Nile River. What a contrast. Along the Nile everything is remarkably green and fertile, but go one kilometre inland and you're in the middle of the desert. In other places where there is no farming the desert fringes the river. We have all heard and read about the Nile River but unless you see it for yourself its hard to imagine the power, majesty and grandeur of the river. The Nubian people are very friendly and are very proud of their ancient culture. Where ever we stopped we were invited into people's homes for tea and a meal. A typical house was made of mud brick with a big courtyard in the middle surrounded by a six foot high mud brick wall to keep the sand out. The rooms are simply furnished mostly containing just beds and mats to sit on. Cooking is done using a gas stove.


Wadi Halfa is the most northerly town in Sudan and has a population of around fifteen thousand and sits on the south eastern shores of Lake Nassar. The Nubian people still talk about the old Wadi Halfa which is now under water due to the construction of the High Dam at Aswan in Egypt. The dam was built against the wishes of the Sudanese Nubian people. They were never compensated for the loss of their town. Today Wadi Halfa is a frontier town. On Tuesday each week the train arrives from Khartoum and the passenger ferry from Aswan Egypt. The following day the train and ferry leave and the town returns to its quiet sleepy atmosphere.

We asked about how we could get to Egypt and were told that the overland route to Aswan was open and that we were no-longer required to go by ferry. We were told three other tourist vehicles had successfully crossed overland into Egypt in the last twelve months. Excited by the news we completed the necessary paperwork and early next morning were escorted by the Sudanese Army, in uniform and thongs, to the border. It was like a scene out of a movie. The Sudanese and Egyptian soldiers sit in the Nubian desert every day watching each other through powerful field binoculars. Each is fortified on the edge of a hill separated by six kilometres of desolate sandy country. We were escorted by the Sudanese soldiers to the dividing line and then waited for the Egyptian soldiers to walk down to meet us. Both sides shook hands and we were escorted to the Egyptian border post. They explained to us that this was NOT an official overland route and that they needed to get special permission from their headquarters. After spending a night camped next to their rundown barracks we were told that we could not enter Egypt via this route. They told us that we had to go back to Sudan and if we still wanted to cross overland into Egypt we should try entering via Halaib on the Red Sea Coast. We protested and explained that our Sudanese visa had by now expired but were eventually told that the decision was final and that we were to be escorted back to Sudan. By coincidence this very day, the Egyptian General was due to inspect this border post in less than an hour. They told us it was imperative that we leave immediately or everyone would be in trouble. After more negotiations we agreed to sit and wait on the dividing line to plead our case before the Egyptian General. The Egyptians then asked us if they could borrow a tyre pump to pump up their flat tyres and then to tow start their jeep so that they could escort us to Sudan. With none of their vehicles operational we doubted that their camel patrol would be able to stop us entering illegally should we decide to make a run for it. UNBELIEVABLE! Later we met the General and his entourage but were told that the Minister of the Interior had made the final decision and that there was no higher authority. He also told us that the previous Overlanders who entered last week were detained for four days but were finally let into Egypt and that they were to be the last.


The Sudanese soldiers were surprised and disappointed that we had been denied access. They escorted us back to Wadi Halfa where we were re-stamped back into Sudan. We then investigated the vehicle ferry from Wadi Halfa to Aswan in Egypt. The only way the Wadi Halfa office can contact the vehicle ferry in Aswan is by using the weekly passenger ferry which has radio contact with Aswan. Fortunately the passenger ferry was due to arrive the next day. After three days of negotiations we still had not been able to get a firm price and so we decided to drive to Port Sudan and enter Egypt overland via Halaib or by ship. After yet another day's worth of paperwork we had all the permits required to travel. We headed across the Nubian Desert following the railway line down to Atbara and then onto Port Sudan. The Nubian desert from Wadi Halfa to the Nile river north of Atbara was again a great experience - remote and extremely desolate, not even a blade of grass.

Upon arrival in Port Sudan we made inquiries about driving north overland into Egypt. After many hours of being shuffled from one office to another we were told that this border area was in dispute and that both sides engage in spasmodic skirmishes. Permission was denied. It finally dawned on us that we by now were running short of time and that we would not be able to travel through the Middle East. We decided to tour Egypt whilst Troopie made its way by ship to Italy.

On Saturday, Troopie left for Italy whilst we flew by Sudan Airways to Cairo Egypt. Sudan Airways was an experience! At the airport we had to collect a health certificate to certify that we were free of the Ebola Virus. Then we had our bags and bodies thoroughly searched for undeclared currency which we had of course. Fortunately they did not find it. The plane was an old Boeing 737. A few of the seats had no backs, my tray table was almost unusable, we couldn't see out of the plane windows as they were so badly scratched, seatbelts were not required and some people lay sideways during takeoff and landing. Safety is not a priority with Sudan Airways. We were relieved to land safely in Cairo.

What a contrast between Sudan and Egypt. The Sudanese people are so gentle and sincerely friendly - even the officials. The Egyptians on the other hand are Arab, much more wealthy and aloof. Cairo is so cosmopolitan compared to all the other African cities we've seen since leaving Southern Africa. In some ways it’s good but in other ways we really miss the real African people and culture, especially the Sudanese and Ethiopian people. For the next week or so, whilst adjusting to Pizza Hut, McDonalds, ATM machines and VISA cards, we will be touring Egypt using public transport - oh I wish Troopie was here.

We were sad to hear about the eight tourists who were killed in Uganda. We were in the same area a few months ago. Uganda is a great country and in need of the tourist dollar. It is a great tourist destination and does not deserve such bad press. The chances are probably higher of being killed in a car accident than as a tourist in Uganda.

The weather was quite hot in Sudan but here in Cairo it's a beautiful twenty degrees. As usual we have been keeping well. We'll send you another update when we get to Europe. Hope this finds you all well and not too bored by our travel news.

Cheers,

Geoff, Kienny and Su-lin Kingsmill
 
 

UPDATE JUN-2002

Ian Veinot  provided the following update:-

Some overlanders are now taking the ferry from Port Sudan to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. You can get a visa for Jordan and a Saudia Arabia in one day in Khartoum. I heard that the ferry is expensive but I do not know the exact price.

Also, Wadi Halfa has changed a lot.  Midhat, the government tourist guide who helped tourists through the paperwork, now works for a German tourist company and spends  a lot of his time in Khartoum. There is a Midhat replacement but his English is not as good.

Wadi Halfa now has a proper ferry port, complete with full on 1st world waiting facilities and layout with proper loading facilites for vehicles to get on and off the barge. Only one person can now travel with the vehicle on the barge so anyone else must travel on the passenger ferry.

Travelling from the West Africa we got our Sudanese Visa's in Abuja, Nigeria. Other travellers got their Sudanese visa ia Chad. The Sudanese embassy in Abuja only issue visas Monday and Thursdays and we (Canadians) didn't need letters of introduction, and I haven't heard of anyone else needing them either. You do need an onward visa, which for us was Egypt but for most heading south this would be Ethiopia.  

There is now a five country visa good for Togo, Benin, Niger, Ivory coast and Burkina Faso which you can get for about US$30 in any one of the countries embassies. The visa only allows single entry, but it saves a lot of time and money waiting for all the other visas.

You now need a carnet for Ghana (Jan-2002).



UPDATE JAN-2002

Peter Slewka provided the following update:-

The cargo ferry from Wadi Halfa to Aswan is functioning. Cost is nolonger based on how many cars are on board - I hear it is about $250. If going to Egypt then another $300 is required to get Egyptian Temp plates. Overland borders between Egypt and the Sudan apparently still firmly shut.  Travel in Egypt on the Nile [from a point about 2 hours north of Cairo] all the way to Aswan and Abu Simbel is only with military escort. Covoys are easily organized and free , but they move very fast. The coast road is open for solo travel

Tickets for the ferry from Port Sudan to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia can be purchased from Al Baboud shipping company in Port Sudan. This costs  around US$215 for a vehicle and one passenger in deck class. Be certain to get a manifest for a particular sailing which is required to get into the port in Sawakin. You will also need a Saudi Visa, vehicle registration papers and a Carnet de Passage. Port costs in Jeddah is around US$30.

.

UPDATE JUN-2001

This update was taken from Martin and Sandra Heidenreich's WEB Page:-

EGYPT:

The Visa fees for German residents is 61 USD at the Sudan Embassy in Cairo. There are about 30 USD at the point of entry to be paid for all kinds of permits you will need.

For shipping from Aswan in Egypt to Wadi Halfa in Sudan contact Mr. Said at Nil River Valley Shipping Agency.
For any other help Mr. Mahmoud Idris, manager at the Aswan Moon restaurant on Nilroad Aswan.

SUDAN:
Wadi Halfa:

For help in Wadi Halfa, Sudan contact Mr. Midhat Mahir Ahmed, Tourist office, Wadi Halfa, Northern State, Sudan Telephone: 0251-22222 Fax: 0251-22058.

He will help you to organize everything you need. He knows everything that is to know to get you in or out of there. He is very friendly and helpful but, don't offer him money for his service. He will be very upset if you do! Instead, take a really "Western" thing to give him as a "thank you" and you will see the most happy person in Sudan. Ask him for a travel-permit directly to the next border (Gallabat-Metema for Ethiopia). We found diesel to be available in places like Abu Hammed, Atbara and all the other bigger towns.

Khartoum:

If the security office in Wadi Halfa only certifies your travel permit to Khartoum then you have to apply for a new permit at Alien Registration in Khartoum. Important! They will probably tell you that you need a permission by the military but, as we found out after 3 weeks waiting, this is not true. You only have to see two offices: The Alien Registration Office and the Security Office. If you are stuck there, phone Blue Sky Tourism or try your luck at the Khartoum Department of Tourism.

There is a Internet Cafe on the main road at the airport about 5 minutes walk from airport gate towards the German Officers Club.

Some parts of Sudan have a cell-phone provider but, you will have to get a Sudanese Sim-card for your cell. There are no Credit Cards or ATM's. To withdraw money with your Credit Card at a bank teller can be quite difficult and will only be possible in Khartoum. Some of the bigger travel agencies do accept Credit cards like Visa or Master Card. No Credit Cards are accepted at petrol stations.

For Camping, Travel-permits and other Stamps or problems contact:

Blue Sky Tourism Development Co.Ltd
Dr.Abu Bakar.M.Abdel Mageed 
General Manager
Mrs.Manal Osman Karrar Tourist Guide
New Extension, Street 29, 
Building No 33 Khartoum
PO Box 15022 Al mogtaribin,
Khartoum
Sudan

Telephone: 249-11-464005/476369
Fax: 249-11-464005/314636/337770
Email.bstd.co@hotmail.com
WEB: www.blueskysd.com

Gedaref:

When Leaving Sudan via Gallabat-Metema you have to register at the police station in Gedaref. Ask there for Mr. Sunday. He is a very friendly and helpful officer. We passed the Sudan/Ethiopia border during the rainy season. Try to avoid the months June, July, August. We managed to get our Unimog stuck! Tracks can be as deep as 60-70 or more cm.  



UPDATE AUG-2000

Klaus Daerr wrote the following:-

1) You can leave Libya illegally towards Sudan and enter Sudan legally at Katabatoum checkpoint in the middle of the desert.
2) There is no way back from Sudan to Libya.
3) You can go from Sudan to Egypt by ferryboat accoss Lake Nasser.
4) You can enter Sudan coming from Chad (Abéché/El Geneina)
5) Once you are in Sudan you will find, that the population is terribly friendly and the administration ineffective, but not too bad.
6) You can leave Sudan towards Ethiopia from Gedaref to Gonder if you have a visa for Ethiopia.
7) You do not get visa for Ethiopia in Khartoum except for entry by Air, so get it at home.
8) For more information have a look to the descriptions with GPS coordinates in German language www.klaus.daerr.de/Streckeninfos.htm.
9) For even more infos: Travel - Hotline at DAERR Expeditions service in Munich "every" Thursday from 2 to 6 PM +49-89-282032. English and French spoken.
 
 

UPDATE MAY-2000

Dirk Bernhardt provided me with the following:-

In Wadi Halfa the costs for a motorbike are US$ 15 for customs and another US$15 for the registration and travel perit.

In Khartoum to get an Ethiopian visa you need a return ticket and a letter of recommendation from your embassy.  You can cancel the ticket afterwards. Some travel agencies hesitate to do it, so you may have to ask several ones. I paid:  5% of $355 cancelling fee ($20), $10 for the travel agency service, $63 for the visa, 2600SD for the letter.

You CAN change traveller cheques at the National bank of Abu Dabi in Khartoum, but they charge you 5 to 10% fee.  So, this is only for emergency. US$ cash is better.

You can get the travel permit in Khartoum also quickly at the tourist police (20minutes) instead of walking around for days asking at other offices.

The street Gedaref-Gallabat is no problem when dry, maybe difficult when wet, we did it in 4.5 hours.  Check www.klaus.daerr.de for some GPS coordinates.

In Gallabat emigration is easy.  Change excess Dinars into Birr on the Sudanese side, the rate is better there.
 

Tim and Clare deWet provided the following:-

You can obtain a Sudanese visa in Cairo, just takes a while and they only grant you a month to reach the country. Its best to obtain it in Jordan. I was told by a British girl who applied for her Sudanese visa in Amman that it takes UK citizens up to three weeks to obtain, unlike most other nationalities, which only take 24 hours.

Normally it is VERY difficult to change Amex Travellers' cheques in Sudan because the USA have an embargo in place and the banks charge a ridiculous commission of 25%, yes 25% to change cheques. If you find yourself in the same situation as us, make your way to the Acropole Hotel, and ask for George.  He owns the hotel. The charged  us $7USD to change any amount.  He will change to Sudanese Dinar, so if, like us, you urgently needed USD, ask him, and he may be able to help you. Best to use USD if you possibly can.  The rate at the moment is SD259 per dollar.

There is a camp-ground located about 17km outside central Khartoum: GPS: N15º30’57”; E32º37’48”. This place has all the facilities; a shower, toilets, washing machine, telephone, filtered water and most importantly lots of shade.  They charge (so they say), $2 per person, $2 for a vehicle.  I’m afraid the Blue Nile isn’t really a camping ground and the facilities are less than adequate (especially for $11 per day), despite repeated attempts on our part to bring their attention to the filthy state of the shower (a drip) and toilet facilities.  There is no shade and pretty soon with the river rising, the mosquitoes will be so bad, it will be unbearable.  It is a nice place to go for a Pepsi and a sandwich though.
NOTE: We stayed at the German Club and found it very good and convenient.
 
 

UPDATE MAR-2000

William Matthews, who has just crossed from Egypt to Sudan, sent me this update from Khartoum:-

Overnight Passenger ferry from Aswan to Wadi Halfa leaves every Monday, returning Wednesday. Up to 2 Motorbikes can be taken. Passenger ticket costs E£80, motorbike E£135

Barge from Aswan to Wadi Halfa is unscheduled and takes 5-6 days, stopping ashore at night (they say 3 days but....).  If taken alone the minimum price is E£5800. Otherwise it costs E£920 per car/4wd and E£1350 for a lorry/Unimog/large van. Motorbikes cost E£135 again. If this pricing system is to be used there have to be enough vehicles to pass the E£5800 barrier and if the total comes to E£6300 you pay E£6300. The 'barge' is usually 3 barges strapped together but only one can take vehicles. Up to eight 4wds can be carried in two lines of four cars end to end. Loading procedures particularly at Wadi Halfa are decidedly primitively: low vehicles and long overhangs (ie even a Troopcarrier) can have hard time but with a little time and thought almost anything is possible....

Each passenger than pays E£80..... problem! Normally only the driver is allowed to accompany the vehicle, any other person has to take the passenger ferry. Being considerate muslims wives, girlfriends and children are allowed aboard but for the others it is a long wait in Wadi Halfa!

In Aswan Mr. Saleh from the Nile Navigation office in the centre of town is definitely the only person to talk to. Mahmoud from the Aswan Moon is often recommended but rather a waste of time; he would say the barge can go to moon and will leave tomorrow if he knew that it would make you happy.

Finally I would recommend travelling from December to February during which time there are many more people to share the costs.
 

UPDATE FEB-2000

Jerry and Cecile s Wykes , who travelled from Sudan to Egypt last year, provided the follow details:-

The person you need to get hold of in Khartoum is Mohammed Saled from Oscar travel next to the Meridian Hotel .He arranged that Midhat Mahir met us in Wadi Halfa, and that a supply barge from Egypt was kept in Wadi Halfa for our arrival. Midhat's phone number in Wadi Halfa is +249-251 22222. The barge is towed by another egyptian supply boat, and both return to Egypt empty. Midhat had a table based on vehicle length and height, and for a station wagon it cost approximately US$300. If you don't arrange for a barge to wait for you in Wadi Halfa and you then try to arrange for the Egyptians to send one specially for you, they charge outrageous prices like $2250 for a round trip. The barges drop off supplies every 2 weeks, so ask Mohammed or Midhat when is the best time to arrive in Wadi Halfa.

Midhat was extremely reliable, very hospitable and most helpful. We would have struggled if we had not had him to sort out our paperwork. When you see him, please wish him our best regards. He may remember us, we gave him a photo of our white Toyota Land Cruiser. In General we found the Sudanese people to be the nicest people we met on our entire trip through Africa.

The Egyptian side was another story. From the moment we landed, they tried to extract money from us. Firstly, if your engine size is more than 2000cc they want double the charge. With our 4000cc engine the harbour customs officials started on $450 for the car to be in Egypt for 30 days. through negotiation it reduced to $300 (LE1000), and then through further negotiation we got a 10 day transit permit for $36. They then offered us 15 days for $36 (LE 122)so we took it. Our boat had arrived after lunch time so they kept our Carnet des passage until the next day when we had to register with the traffic police department in Aswan. Here there were 13 pieces of paper to be filled in, each one signed by various officials. This includes driving off to an office near the Corniche (Nile river) to pay for compulsory insurance. We had to re-register our car with arabic number plates - they provided old plates for us. All oof this took us 7 hours until the Officer in Charge by the name of Sobhy, helped us. Find him and get him to help you, he was very helpful. I can't remember all of the fees we paid (in egyptian pounds - LE), but here are those that I can remember: Road tax- LE 8.75; Inspect engine and chassis numbers- Tip of LE 5 (They wanted LE20)- I think LE 10 would have made the proceedings faster; Photocopy of passport, car licence and carnet- LE 2; Folder to hold papers- LE 0.50; Revenue stamps and more papers- LE 20; Insurance- LE 21.80.

Of all the countries we travelled through, Egypt was the most difficult. They even tried to charge us when we left Egypt.
 

UPDATE JUN-1999

Crossing between Sudan and Egypt

Whilst we did not manage to cross overland between Sudan and Egypt it is possible and other overland travellers have been getting through.

There is a weekly passenger ferry which departs Aswan on Monday and arrives in Wadi Halfa on Tuesday. On Wednesday it leaves Wadi Halfa and arrives in Aswan on Thursday. The passenger ferry cannot take vehicles however it may be possible to take a couple of motorbikes. A motorbike should cost around US$40 and around US$30-US$40 per person.

If heading north you should arrange the vehicle ferry from Wadi Halfa in Sudan to Aswan in Egypt whilst you're in Khartoum. The ferry lives in Aswan. Contact Mohammed Saled from Oscar Travel Agency, next to the Meridian hotel,  who can arrange for the vehicle ferry to meet you on arrival in Wadi Halfa.

If you're heading south from Aswan in Egypt to Wadi Halfa in Sudan then arrange the vehicle ferry in Aswan. Contact Mr Salim (Mr. Saleh?) at the Nile River Navigation Company, which is next door to the Tourist Information Office (+20-97-303-348). It costs LE22 to get out of Egypt.

The price is around US$1600 for the whole ferry. This can be shared between other vehicles and cargo.

When you get to Wadi Halfa contact either Midhat Mahir Ahmed Phone: +249-251-22-222 Fax: +249-251-22-158/000 or Mr Kamal Hassan Osman who will be able to help you arrange shipping, the relevant government paperwork and both spoke good English.

Egypt is one of the most expensive and difficult countries in Africa to get your own car into and out of. The paperwork is a nightmare and can take a couple of days. For a vehicle expect to pay around US$300 for a one-month permit.

If you're heading south then you will need to get a Travel Permit before leaving Wadi Halfa. Ask for a permit to go from Wadi Halfa to Khartoum to Gedaref onto Gallabat, the Sudanese border town with Ethiopia. Getting a travel permit to get to the Ethiopian border in Khartoum can be problematical and will cost another US$20 per person. Getting this permit whilst in Wadi Halfa will save you time and money. There are two routes south to Khartoum. Having done both routes I would recommend travelling from Wadi Halfa to Dongola along the Nile River, then through the desert to Karima, cross the Nile River and through the desert to Atbara and then via a good bitumen road to Khartoum. In Karima visit Jebel Barkal and just south of Atbara make sure you visit Meroe City ruins.

Crossing from Sudan to the Middle East

If you don't want to go to Egypt then you could investigate the six-day a week passenger/vehicle ferry that goes from Port Sudan to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. From here there is a weekly passenger/vehicle ferry that goes to Suez in Egypt or by road to Jordan. The problem with this route is that you need a transit visa for Saudi Arabia, which is not given out freely. If you prefer this route then contact the Saudi Arabian embassy in Khartoum. Don't forget to bring your marriage certificate if you have a spouse travelling with you. If the embassy issues you with a transit visa they may tell you that it is only valid for transit in Jeddah by ferry from Sudan to Egypt. Have an Arabic reader translate the visa. If your transit visa does not specifically state this then you should be able to drive overland from Jeddah to Jordan.

If you decide to leave via Port Sudan and you feel comfortable travelling through remote desert country then when you get to Khartoum apply for a travel permit to go from Khartoum, Atbara, Karima, Dongola to Wadi Halfa and then follow the railway line back to Atbara and onto Port Sudan. Before you leave Khartoum get a permit to visit the Meroe Royal City ruins and Jebel Barkal near Karima. This is an excellent route and should not be missed.

If you want to ship from Port Sudan to Italy Basher Barwil are the agents in Port Sudan for the MSC shipping line we used and they have a weekly service. We ended up shipping from Port Sudan to Italy for US$800 plus around US$450 handling fees in Sudan. We had two vehicles and so the handling fee was shared between us. I would expect it to be cheaper to ship to Jordan or Egypt. There is a flight from Port Sudan to Cairo on Saturday afternoon costing US$185.

Crossing from Europe or West Africa to Sudan

It is possible to go from Italy, Tunisia, Libya, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya etc. or West Africa to Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya etc. This route is open but is a much more adventurous route than the others listed above. I met two other Overlanders who did each of these routes so it's certainly possible. Note that the route from Libya to Sudan is closed to foreigners.

Getting between Egypt and Europe

There is no longer a ferry going between Egypt and Europe.

The quickest way to get from Egypt to Europe is via Libya, Tunisia and then vehicle/passenger ferry to Italy. This requires a visa for Libya, which may require an invite. See Chris Scott’s WEB page for more details on getting a Libyan visa.

You can also drive to Israel and then take the vehicle/passenger ferry to Greece or Italy.

You can take a three-hour vehicle/passenger ferry from Nuweiba in Egypt to Aquaba in Jordan and then drive to Syria, Turkey, Greece etc.

Note that if you have an Israeli stamp in your passport you cannot go to Syria. Getting a Syrian visa in Jordan can be a problem.

Crossing from the Middle East to Northern or Eastern Africa

Whilst very few people have anything positive to say about bringing your own vehicle into Egypt it is still the cheapest and easiest way to get from Europe to Eastern Africa. The alternatives are to ship your vehicle, a process which is always VERY expensive. You've got the shipping cost itself, the departure port charges (usually not much), the arrival port charges (very expensive) and then the ship always takes much longer than advertised. One couple told me that the ship from Jordan to Djibouti took three weeks and another couple told me the ship from Jordan to Mombassa took six weeks - twice the time they were quoted. Not only do you have the shipping costs but you also have the cost of a one-way flight which is usually as much as a return ticket and then you have to pay accommodation whilst waiting for your vehicle to arrive by ship.

To go by ship your options are to ship from Europe to Djibouti, Jordan to Djibouti, Jordan to Port Sudan, Jordan to Mombassa in Kenya or I guess Europe to South Africa and then drive back to Europe.

The people I met who shipped to Djibouti said that Djibouti is very expensive - European prices. The people I met who shipped to Mombassa Kenya said that it was cheap staying on the beach while waiting for the ship to arrive but then had to pay a lot of money in port charges and bribes to get their vehicle off the docks.

If you can get a transit visa for Saudi Arabia then you could drive from Jordan to Yemen and then go by ship to Djibouti.

Safety

Northern Sudan (Ethiopian border to Khartoum and north to Wadi Halfa or Port Sudan), especially the Nile Route from Khartoum to Wadi Halfa is very safe and is our favourite country.

Camping in Khartoum

We stayed at the German club which costs US$3 per day per person for temporary membership and US$5 per day per vehicle for camping. It’s right opposite the airport and in walking distance to the city and the Internet Gardens I-Cafe. The German Club also has air-conditioned rooms and swimming pool. It's a great place.

See Ethiopia/Sudan Newsletter #11 for more details on Sudan