Day 071 Egypt : Cairo - Bahariya Oasis (Western Desert)

Day 071 Egypt

Trip Distance 378 km (235 m) Total Distance 9239 km (5742 m)
Diesel Costs EP1.10 (£0.11!!) The cheapest yet  
Bahariya Oasis
Ahmed Safari Camping N28.34714 E28.82257 EP60 including electricity although he wanted to charge EP70

Another sunny day but less mozzie bites this morning as we conquered the little buggers last night.  We were really excited today as we readied ourselves to collect our Sudanese visa.  Getting this last visa meant that we would now be legal and free to travel all the way to South Africa - a huge step in our books.  Imagine our disappointment when we opened the visa page once we collected it to find that it was only valid for 30 days, well 29 now and we could only transit through and had 15 days in which to do it.  What (we think) we know:

*  The ferry from Aswan to Wadi Halfa only goes once a week on a Monday

*  The distance from Wadi Halfa to Al Qallabat (the shortest route to Ethiopia) is 1865kms and we wanted as well as needed to use the 2 weeks in Sudan to drive this (with a few days to spare just in case)

*  With our visas due to expire on 21/7/09 and only 2 weeks allowed we needed to be in Wadi Halfa by 7/7/09.

*  We need to catch the ferry on the 6/7/09 (Monday) latest.

*  It was already 22/06/09 and we had still wanted to stay in Egypt for another 4 weeks but that was not to be

*  We had to choose between a trip to Alamein/Alexandria where Trevor's dad fought in the WWII and where we were due to visit the SOS Children's Village or going to the Western Desert.

*  We had to choose between waiting for Joerg and Anja to do the Western Desert together (after Alexandria/Alamein) or push on and do it ourselves

Needing to be in Aswan for Wednesday 1/7/09 has severely curtailed our plans for Egypt - damn

After a quick council of war we have decided to:

* Leave immediately for a trip through the Western Desert and skip out Alexandria/Alamein

* Make for Luxor for a couple of rest days and see Valley of the Kings

* Set off again on Tuesday 30/6 and head for Aswan to book our passage on for 6/7

* Head down to Abu Simbel and back up to Aswan on Thursday 2/7

* Drop Sully off (we think) on Saturday 4/6 and chill in an Aswan hotel till Monday's departure.


So we set off on our trip through the Western Desert.  The first leg was to the Bahariya Oasis and to Ahmed's Safari Camp indicated on Tracks4Africa and in the Lonely Planet.  The drive through the desert was amazing as we left behind the fertile Nile area and drove into a barren rocky desert - on and on for hours interspersed with police check points every 100kms or so and one into and out of each little oasis village - about 8 in all.

We drove through Bawiti town centre - a single dusty, dirt road filled with people and donkey carts dodging Land Cruisers by the dozen.  Not a single Land Rover to be seen!!! No overlanders though, these are the local choice of 4x4s for desert expeditions - a huge business here.  Not that I can say much about their choice of vehicle.....

We arrived at sunset at Ahmeds Safari Camp having passed numerous campsites advertising hot and cold springs and pools.  Ahmeds is on the other side of Bawiti town centre and has none of these facilities, the toilets and showers were dirty and the campsite a square of concrete.  But the view of the night sky almost made up for our disappointment as, without light or pollution, we could at last see what the northern skies had to offer - packed with so many stars that finding the bright planets or even the ISS is difficult.

#1 Heather & Richard on 6.28.2009 at 9:36 AM


Glad to see you got your Sudanese visas so quickly. We're off on tomorrow's ferry so we're about a week ahead of you now. We had a fixer help us out with getting the car de-registered for Egypt etc etc and boy was it worth it! There were dodgy back alley ways where we pulled up and passed papers through windows to get an official looking stamp etc etc. Unfortunately the guy we used is leaving tomorrow for UK for a holiday, but we're seeing him tonight so we'll ask if he knows anyone else we can put you in touch with for a bit of help (if you want).

We've been staying in the Hathor Hotel (it's on the tracks for africa gps map) which is reasonably priced and has a pool on the roof. There's air con (which they allow you to use during the night but they seem to turn it off during the day some times) which is also a big plus. It's across the road from the Nile and has an amazing view from the roof. We'd recommend it.

Anyway. Hope you manage to get through Sudan in your time frame. Perhaps you'll catch up with us some time again.

All the best

Richard and Heather