These are my tips, suggestions and recommendations in my own experience so far on this trip. I will update this as my trip progresses.
Customs / Security
Alexandria customs takes a good 4-5 hours. Lots of different paper work to complete and you sign stuff that does not make sense, but I guess you don’t have a choice. Customs fee is 505 EP (Egyptian pounds), motorbike insurance and plates another 220 EP. Here you get your carnet stamped and all those things .. it all happens in one office, so no need to walk around or go to different buildings.
You can exchange US dollars right there for EP, but might not be good rates. I recommend you bring your own EP. They give you a egyptian license, I recommend making a photo copy of this, you will see later why.
Egypt is full of tourist police and checkpoints. They always ask your nationality, where y0u are going and what hotel or where you will be sleeping. I suggest you learn your countries name in Arabic, makes it easier as some do not understand a word of english.
Never felt unsafe in egypt once, everyone is friendly and helpful as much they can. Lots of tourist police, I think they are paranoid and scared something will happen to you. No problems on the Western Desert Road as well, very safe in my opinion.
Also, you will find all the cars flash you … still not sure why, some say, they just say hello, some show that you have to turn off your headlight … I ignore it, don’t worry about them.
If you enter into Egypt with a motorbike, they only give you one number plate on the back. This will cause you lots of problem if you plan to cross into Sudan via Aswan. Either insist on 2 number plates in Alexandria or fake your second one, it’s just a piece of metal.
If you only have 1 number plate, then you will have to go to the Aswan Tourist Police to make a statement that you have “lost” the second number plate. Mr Salah at the Nile Ferry company can help, but it is a nightmare. It will just be easier to insist on 2 number plates, just put the second plate in your panniers or something.
Also, make sure when you get your stamp when you enter into Egypt that it’s not a 3 day transit visa. One traveller with us, had unknowingly only a 3 day transit visa stamped (for the vehicle) and had to pay 300 egyptian pounds fine in Aswan.
Not much tips for Aswan ferry to Sudan, just bite the bullet and do it … maybe sleeping bag to sleep in, the aircon in the rooms are quite cold. Also when you book, try and book with a fellow traveller you know so you have your own cabin to share, otherwise you might share a 2 bedroom cabin with 6 other men and you can’t so much about it.
Also, fill up your tank in Aswan, not found petrol in Wadi Halfa yet and also make sure you have cash, there are NO ATMs in Wadi Halfa. They change dollers, euros and egyptian pounds on the streets, quite a few guys about with decent rates.
Did part of the Nile route, too much traffic, little towns, people, checkpoints. Frustrating, 200km can feel like eternity. We mostly did Western Desert road from Cairo to Luxor, good new tarmac road all the way. Few checkpoints, not too many and no people to worry about and barely any other vehicles. Word of warning, at time of writing (September/October) … it is boiling hot, 45c at midday, sometimes even into the evening. Lots and I mean LOTS of water as much as y0u can. There is barely any shade to be found for hundreds of kilometres, just barren desert.
First town, Bawiti has nice campsite called Eden Camp, Farafra, second oasis has a nice hotel called Badawiya which has a nice pool
Road to Luxor from just south of Kargha has NO petrol or water for 300km. Fill up petrol in Kargha if needed, you won’t find petrol anywhere else. Luxor is nice and full of tourists, KFC, McDonalds and Pizzahut can be found here. Also lovely campsite/aircon rooms with pool and beer is Rezeiky Camp in the middle of Luxor.
Road from Luxor to Aswan (Nile route) us full of cars, taxis, people and road blocks … frustrating ride, but only about 220km. Aswan is very nice, I highly recommend Sara Hotel in Aswan, aircon rooms, big pool, friendly staff and BEER 🙂
Booking for ferry is easy, you go to Mr Salah at the Ferry company office, he redirects you to the Traffic Court to get some papers, but he gives you the coordinates. The guys at the traffic court tries to get money out of you, you do not have to pay them, they just trying to make money. This is where the photocopy of the egypt license comes in handy, they try and make you pay for making a photocopy for you, so if you have your own, they can’t say anything. After you have this paper, go back to Mr Salah and pay for the ticket, First class recommended.
Accessories / Equipment
Coming soon …