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The Temple of Karnak

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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me

I move North from Abu Simbel, and am staggered by the number of tourists getting around. I see a endless train of enormous tour buses, packed to the hilt with mostly European travelers. It is such a strange sight after Sudan, and I struggle to get my head around it.

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Aswan river front

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Emptying the gas from Djibouti

I filled my Titan extra gas tank to the brim in Djibouti, fearful of shortages in both Ethiopia and Sudan. Back then it was extremely expensive, but great insurance. I’ve been carting it around full ever since, and now here in Egypt there is no worries about shortages or finding stations, so I finally empty it, after driving over 3,000 miles with it full.

I pass through Aswan, wandering up and down the river before pushing on to Luxor. Out on the highway the wind is still vicious, so instead I move South along the East side of the massive river, passing through endless small towns and villages, all busy harvesting the endless sugar cane fields.

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These guides provide great scale

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They don’t get any smaller!

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The size is hard to take in

I find a great place in the center of Luxor that allows camping in the parking lot, and I set about exploring the city.

I walk to the Temple of Karnak, and am staggered by the sheer size of the temple, columns and all the buildings. It’s great to wander around in my own little world, turning down all offers for guides and to buy cheap trinkets.

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Karnak carvings

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Karnak Columns

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The details are impressive

Egypt feels like Sudan on steroids – much faster, much louder, much busier, but underneath it still has the same friendly and welcoming people. Drinking extremely strong coffee in local places quickly becomes a habit.

karnak script 720x480

Who can read this one for me?

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Everything is massive

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Look up to see the best preserved writing

Looking at maps I would love to drive North along the Western Desert Road, but I’m told the Police and Military won’t allow me to go that way – it’s too close to Libya and not safe enough for a foreigner. They also won’t let me cross the Sinai to Israel, and there is no chance of getting a visa for Libya, much less being permitted to drive even close to it.
All that is to say Egypt will be the end of the line for this expedition, and so the preparations for shipping the Jeep have begun in earnest.

karnak views 720x480

Every view is unique

I can’t believe it’s almost over.

-Dan


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6 Responses

  1. Terry says:

    Dan-
    I’ve been following your journey since you posted your Jeep details on Reddit several years ago! I look forward to your posts every week. I can’t believe the trip is almost over either! Thanks for sharing so much with the rest of the world.
    Best,
    Terry
    Berkeley, CA

    • Dan Grec says:

      Hi Terry,

      Thanks for the kind words, and thanks for being part of the adventure!
      I’ll do an AMA on Reddit when I’m done, so save up any questions you’re thinking of!

      Also, if you’re a 4×4 kind of person, I’ll be at Overland Expo West with my Jeep in mid May, which is kind of near you in Arizona.

      -Dan

  2. Jules says:

    Hey Dan,
    You mentioned you couldn’t drive across Sinai. What about driving around it through Suez and Sharm El-Sheikh, and then into Jordan or Israel?
    Enjoy the last miles :-) Make it last

    Jules

    • Dan Grec says:

      Hi Jules,

      Unfortunately that is also closed to 4×4 vehicles. The Egyptian military doesn’t want to risk it being captured by the bad guys, because then they would use it against the Egyptian Military. A friend recently tried to use the tunnel at Suez and hours of arguing got him absolutely nowhere.

      -Dan

  3. Thomas says:

    Hi Dan,
    I´ve been following you quite a while now, astonished and enthusiastic about your trip through Africa! Now it should be over? Friends of mine just took the ferry from Port Sudan in Sudan to Jeddah /Saudi Arabia and now they are on the way via Iran back home to Germany. Would that be an alternative route for you? Just my 2 cents…
    Good luck and good decisions!
    Thomas

    • Dan Grec says:

      Hi Thomas,

      Great to hear that you’ve been following along! Yes, I considered that route. For me, this expedition has always been about Africa, and I wanted to complete the loop all the way around to Egypt. Also Saudi Arabia is very strict on requiring a Carnet De Passage, which I don’t have!

      I will get to that part of the world one day, but not now.

      -Dan

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