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Into Egypt

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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me

Wadi Halfa is a very famous town in Overlanding circles. For decades it has been the only land border crossing from Egypt to Sudan, and for decades it has been one of the hardest on the entire content, if not the entire world.

I don’t have a Carnet De Passage for my Jeep, which is an International Customs document that many people have said is absolutely 100% mandatory to drive Around Africa. Until now I’ve managed without, though for sure Egypt is a no-go without one, and I have never found a way around.
A few weeks ago I got in contact with a fixer on the border who organized me one issued by the Motoring Club of Egypt. Meeting him at the border has put me on a timeline for these last weeks, which is a strange thing for me.

After a few nights wild camping around the Wadi Halfa area still in Sudan I move to the border early one morning, and find myself immediately waiting. The officials here do not speak a word of English, and flatly refuse to help me in any way. I had been told this border is impossible without a fixer, and it seems true enough.
With the help of a fixer for a very small USD $5 fee Immigration and Customs are willing to stamp everything fill out all the forms, while I wait in a local coffee shop chatting to truck drivers and locals.

Everything on the Sudanese side is done in about two hours, and I move off, through very large gates into the Egypt border zone, where the real madness begins. My fixer meets me as planned, and he begins the process that turns into without a doubt the most insane and paperwork intensive border of my life.

This is the 54th country in the world I have driven a foreign-plated vehicle into, and it stands out as by far the most bureaucratic, convoluted and difficult.

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The new Egyptian plate on the Jeep – held on with zip ties, of course

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In Egypt, new plates

Over the next five hours my fixer works tirelessly, first getting me a visa for $25 USD, and then moving onto all the car paperwork. For the first time in my life I’m issued a local driving license (all in Arabic) and in another first the Jeep even gets local license plates (again in Arabic). I must buy local insurance (even though mine clearly says it’s valid for Egypt….) and of course pay fees and the rest along the way.

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On the shores of Lake Nasser

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In Egypt

I have never paid for a fixer in my life, and while I’m usually determined not to, I simply can’t fathom how this border could even be attempted without one. The lunacy and convoluted steps seems utterly alien, and everything is written and spoken in Arabic so I don’t have even the slightest chance like I have in the past with Spanish, French and Portuguese.

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The ferry to cross Lake Nasser

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The shores of Lake Nasser

When all is said and done I pay right on $90USD to enter Egypt with the Jeep (plus the $25USD for the one month visa for me), also making Egypt the most expensive country to drive into on the continent.
On top of that I pay $500USD for the Carnet De Passage issued by the Egypt Motoring club (Which is a mere fraction of what I would have paid to get a ‘real’ one from a motoring authority elsewhere in the world)

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Local guys on the ferry who wanted a photo

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The first views of Abu Simbel – tropical!

I drive into Egypt full of expectation. This is country number 35 for me in Africa, and I’m getting very, very close to the end of the road after three full years.

Unbelievable.

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Camping for the night, at the Abu Simbel Temples

-Dan

For more details on how to drive into Egypt WITHOUT a prior Carnet, including the contact details for Kamal and a full price breakdown, checkout http://wikioverland.org/Egypt  (I will update the info soon, I promise..)

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9 Responses

  1. Mahmoud says:

    Hello Dan
    Would love to meet up if you are in Cairo up to the 22nd of April or in Sinai to the 3rd of May. Always ready to out if you need anything.

  2. Bridget says:

    Hi Dan! It’s Bridget from EE… gosh. Your blog is so helpful!!!
    May I ask… did you need to organize a Visa in advance for yourself to enter Egypt? Also, do you need to find a fixer in Advance… so you just find them at the border (like every other border coming north)?
    And two more, am I correct that you can just get the visa for Ethiopia and for Sudan in their embassies in Nairobi?
    Thanks so much! Great read. Ive been on your website for about two hours. Also, love these photos. Bridget – Topher says hi!

    • Dan Grec says:

      Hey guys! Great to hear from you both, and I hope the road is treating you well!

      Visa at the border for Egypt is $25 USD and super-simple. Just do that.
      I did find a fixer in advance, because he got me a carnet from Egypt (I didn’t have one before)… I will send you his whatsapp number – he’s excellent, and very famous as “the” fixer to use at that border.
      Get the visa for Ethiopia in Kenya… you need a letter of introduction, details in ioverlander.
      Get the visa for Sudan in Addis Abba. It’s very easy, details in ioverlander.

      Keep living the dream!!!

      -Dan

  3. A A Ron says:

    Ok so what was the fixer’s fee just by itself? Very curious. Thank you

  4. Andrew Young says:

    Hi
    Do you know if the Sudan’s land borders are open again yet.

    Referring to Wadi Halfa for ferry and Gallabat for Ethiopia. The latter was closed on 28th April and I’ve seen nothing new. The former was presumably closed in early April (around the 13th) when all borders were closed and I cant find anything suggesting its reopened yet.

    Regards

    Andrew

    • Dan Grec says:

      Hi Andrew,

      I have been in contact with someone who crossed Sudan in a vehicle from Ethiopia to Egypt since the Coup, so yes, the borders are open and operating normally.

      -Dan

  1. April 15, 2019

    […] of my life, I have driven into Egypt. The 35th and final African country on this expedition! All the details on the border crossing and madness here: Into Egypt | The Road Chose Me I'm […]

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