|Carnet / TIP||Carnet Required – See map|
|Visas||VOA at land borders / Airport (recommended to obtain in advance North Bound)|
|Security||Security Med – See info below|
|Yellow Fever||Not Required / None|
*Visa information is based on UK/EU/US citizens
Latest News / Developments
2019 – Several 4×4’s were prevented from entering Egypt both at seaports and land borders. at the time it was said that 4×4’s required GPS trackers however it was practically impossible to obtain the GPS trackers at the port or the border and therefore the vehicles were not let through.
In July 2019 some 4×4’s have crossed land borders, however information on 4×4’s successfully entering the country by sea is limited at this time.
Unfortunately at this time information is limited – it would be best to ask for the most recent updates in the following Facebook group: Overlanding Africa
Vehicle Temporary import (Carnet / TIP)
For Egypt a Carnet De Passage (Trip ticket / triptych / triptic) is required, whether this is a FIA issued carnet or a carnet obtained locally. Books have been written about carnets and Egypt … This is the current state of affairs:
Unfortunately, Egypt is one of the few remaining countries in Africa that require a carnet, so for some this is a reason not to come. That may be true, but using a carnet is the easiest way to cross many borders in Africa as people are used to it, even if it is no longer a requirement for many countries. Your choice!
Many people balk at the high deposit required for the carnet (up to 200% of the value of the vehicle – some organisations accept lower deposits), but there are ways around this to make it less capital intensive. For starters, the customs in Egypt cannot see the deposit value you left behind, so they will not question if you have a very low value of the vehicle. Secondly, some organisations are willing to accept a bank guarantee instead of a cash deposit, which means that you don’t physically deposit the money in their account
It is important to understand why Egypt is so difficult with carnets. Import taxes for cars in Egypt are sky high (roughly 150% of the new value, not the current value). This is a protection measure for local car assembly companies (there are 10, including Mercedes, BMW, Toyota, Hyundai etc). So, naturally, the state is afraid of cars entering the country and being sold – hence the 200% deposit required for a carnet.
In Egypt people don’t know the term “carnet” or CdP (carnet de passage), but confusingly refer to the term “triptych” (pronounced “triptic”)
Sporadically people have been able to get into Egypt from Sudan on a TIP (so without a carnet) but it is important to realise that just because someone did it (sometime in the past) that this may not be possible for you. Things in Egypt can change rapidly and are erratic. So coming to the border without carnet is risky and you could be turned away. Don’t even try shipping to Alexandria without a carnet. Your car will be sent back (at your cost) or you will be forced to pay an arm and a leg
There have been incidents in 2016 where foreign carnets were refused in Wadi Halfa but this has since been resolved and people are crossing without problems again. Same happened in Ethiopia by the way – look that up on FB
In Nuweiba and when using the border of Argheen multiple travellers have had trouble where their foreign carnets were refused. They had to travel to Cairo by bus to have the carnet validated by the Automobile and Touring Club Egypt (ATCE – the Egyptian AA). This is a headache you want to avoid. Stick to the known path is my advice. If you do get stuck in Argheen you could try to call the ATCE office and ask if the carnet can be validated at the Wadi Halfa border. Saves you a 2.000 km round trip to Cairo …
There are many ways to get a carnet. Look it up on the internet. Nearly all charge a 200% deposit of your vehicle value. That is a debatable thing though, so you may get away with a really low value in order to reduce the amount of cash that you need to leave behind at the carnet issuing body.
It is also possible to get a carnet in Egypt. Many Egyptians (with foreign passports) do this so that they can import fancy cars without paying duties. Carnets can be purchased through the ATCE, but also through EGA (Egyptian Gulf transport & Automobile). EGA is a private company that mainly does carnets for locals. I got mine through them in Cairo and paid ±200 USD for a 13 page carnet. The deposit for my 25.000 USD land cruiser was 8.000 USD (it was pretty negotiable). I had no problem getting my money back at the end of the trip, but I must add that I was able to go to their Cairo office personally to collect it there..
Other overlanders were able to arrange their Egyptian carnets by calling the ATCE (see, contacts at the bottom) and arranging to meet their representative at the border. Cost was USD 500 for a motorcycle excluding the bond (which was returned by bank transfer at departure). Contacts for ATCE and local carnet providers are listed at the bottom of this document.
Unfortunately the Comesa yellow card (which you will have used in all other Comesa countries) is not valid in Egypt, disregarding the fact that on the Yellow card it says that it is possible! You will need to buy third party insurance at the border.
At your point of entry you will have to get what Egyptians call ruchsa ( ةصخر ( which is a temporary vehicle licence – basically a square piece of cardboard in Arabic with a couple of stamps (recently also got a picture of a traveler that got a plastic card).
Make sure to verify that your VIN, engine number and Egyptian license plate are correct (if you can’t read the Arabic ask around if anyone can help).
Egypt is different than other countries because they give you a temporary license and plate so they can enter you in their traffic system (and give you traffic tickets ;)).
This is also the reason why you need a traffic certificate when you leave Egypt – to verify that you don’t have any outstanding fines. The license is what you show at checkpoints etc. It has a limited validity (same as your visa).
UK and EU nationals, citizens of the countries listed below can obtain a 30 day visa upon arrival at any of the Egyptian ports of entry. Australia, Canada, Croatia, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Macedonia, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Serbia, Ukraine and USA.
E-visa – it is possible to obtain an E Visa online, however at present we are not sure how this would work with entry via land borders: E Visa requirements: Entry requirements (on arrival) – Passport valid for at least six months from arrival date – e-Visa printout – Travel itinerary – Supporting letter e.g. letter from company or invitation letter for business/family visits. – Hotel bookings/details about places to visit if going as a tourist.
Land borders – it is possible to obtain a visa on arrival at the Sudan/Egypt Wadi Halfa border crossing however, it is recommended that you obtain your visa in advance, for example in Ethiopia, as quite often you will require an Egyptian Visa, to obtain a Sudanese visa.
Extending your Visa – Visa extensions are routine and are generally hassle-free. you will find immigration offices in the main tourist areas, for example, Hurghada, Luxor, Aswan & Cairo you will need the following to apply for a cia extension: – 1 x photo – 2 x copies each of your passport main page and visa
- Your passport must be valid for at least six months from your date of entry.
- If you are crossing from Israeli to Egypt stamps in your passport could be problematic.
Border crossings and information
There are currently two border crossings between Egypt and Sudan, most people still cross via the western border as this is more of the public transport, most civilians and tourists.
The border with Sudan at Wadi Halfa – A detailed guide with maps and GPS locations can be found in this article with : Sudan Wadi Halfa, Egypt Abu Simbel, Qustul Border
First of all there are no boats going from Sudan to Aswan anymore. Gone are the romantic days where you had to live on the boat 5 days to get into/out of Egypt. Instead there is a land border on the Eastern side of lake Nasser (Wadi Halfa/Qustul 22°00’00.2″N 31°30’44.6″E) –
Crossing the border at Wadi Halfa can easily be done without a fixer, although using a fixer will make the process much more relaxed. There is a great “manual” on the steps and the cost of each step on this guide originally written by My Overland Adventure The manual also works for those travelling South.
Fixers will set you back between 20-50 USD on each side of the border, depending on the number of people in the vehicle and your negotiation skills. On the Sudanese side most people use Mazar: , while on the Egyptian side Kamal seems to be the favourite:
Egyptian visas can be bought at the border. Normally 30 days, but if you are nice you can also get 45 days sometimes. The car will get the same amount of time as you do
Sudanese visas can no longer be purchased in Aswan when driving South, so you now have to get them in Cairo or in your home country. Cost is USD 150.
The border with Sudan at Argheen
There is a new (opened in 2017) border crossing on the Western shore of the Nile (Argeen: 22°00’00.8″N 31°09’12.9″E). Rumour has it that it is only meant for trucks, but I have heard of overlanders using it. Not much detailed info about crossing though.
Please see the FCO Website for the latest updates Egypt is waging a war against islamists and you will see army and police presence everywhere. This does not mean however that it is unsafe. Of course make sure to stay away from crowds that appear to be protesting – you never know how things can change.
There will be many checkpoints along the way but if your paperwork is in order they will leave you alone. The authorities have strict instructions not to hassle foreigners so relax and they will too.
Being aggressive or nervous creates problems for yourself. In some places you will be told that you have to drive in a convoy. Sometimes you can convince them that that is unnecessary.
We normally got away with it, but that is maybe because we spoke arabic. Others have managed too. If you can’t get around it try to stay at the back of the convoy as you will notice that all other vehicles (mainly busses) will race past you. Once everyone is gone you will have the road to yourself.
The military/police escorts are normally at the front of the convoy. Convoys (if in place) can be found in between Abu Simbel and Aswan, between Luxor and Hurghada and in the Sinai. Security in the Sinai is a lot tighter than in other parts of Egypt. This is because there has been a war in the North of the Sinai (effectively North of the line Suez – Taba) between Isis affiliate fighters, the local bedouin tribes that live off smuggling to Gaza and the army.
Many have been killed, also soldiers. In November 2017 more than 300 people died in an attack on a mosque. This makes the authorities nervous (see more details above under “Sinai”).
Camping in Egypt
Wild camping in Egypt is not advised and illegal on the beach. All beaches are patrolled by coast guard. Travellers have been woken up in the middle of the night with a AK47 pointed up their noses – not a nice way to wake up. Don’t try it. The exception is the desert, although all desert West (including the Great Sand Sea) of the road to Bahariya is currently off limits. There are gun runners active coming from Libya and the army has a “shoot on sight” policy. Check the section about the white desert below for info about desert camping.
Egypt is a (for the majority) muslim country so tank tops and shorts for women are not a good idea, even though some of the beach tourists seem to think it’s fine. Headscarves are only needed when visiting mosques (and sometimes churches) – they will be provided at the door. For men it is much easier, although wearing shorts into a mosque or church is considered impolite.
Other information which may be useful for Overlander’s
General Tips for Egypt
Tips for Upper Egypt (Luxor and further South)
In Abu Simbel
• camp on the parking lot of the temple
• see the sun come up from inside the temple. It opens at 5 AM, so get there as early as you can. The sun reaches all the way to the back of the temple and the light is magical
• the museum in Aswan is one of the nicer ones in Egypt so it is surely not to be missed • have lunch at the Old Cataract hotel. Not cheap, but if you want to pamper yourself somewhere in Egypt this is one of the better choices
• although a bit touristy a felucca ride is still something special. It is the best way to picture how it must have been all those millennia ago • see below about convoys between Abu Simbel and Aswan
• some people travelling North get their “traffic certificate” (a paper stating that is valid for 15 days and which states that you do not have outstanding traffic fines) in Aswan, but if you are planning to stay longer than 15 days after Aswan there is no point really. In that case you can get the certificate in Cairo at the central traffic office close to el Shorta mosque (ask for “edaret el moroor”), or in Alexandria. People driving South get their certificate in Aswan obviously.
On the road between Aswan and Luxor
• There are many temples which are worth your while: Edfu, and Esna being the most visited • if possible visit the temple of Abydos, which is on the West bank of the Nile In Luxor (besides the obvious things like Karnak & Luxor temples; the valleys of Kings/Queens; Hatshepsut)
• make sure to visit the sound and light show at Karnak temple
• if you have the money – do a balloon ride with HodHod – they are a reputable company. Like always in Egypt negotiate hard but politely for the price. See a magical sunrise while floating over the Nile valley with stunning views of the temples and country side • make sure you visit Medinet Habu temple. Just as nice as the other temples but much more quiet
• go to the Luxor museum – some of the statues on display are fantastic!
• There is a nice 1 hour hike that you can take from the valley of the kings over the mountain, ending beside the Hatshepsut temple. Ask the tourist police and they will point it out for you
• Have a drink in the bar of the Winter Palace in Luxor and consider what it must have been like in the old days when Egyptology was hot and travel to Luxor fashionable
On the road between Luxor and Cairo
• although the roads along the Nile are culturally more interesting (this is where the largest group of Copts live – except for in Cairo) we normally take the coastal road which is a lot quieter – and therefore faster and safer. Don’t drive at night though as other traffic is fast, without lights and drivers frequently high on Tramadol
• there are multiple options to get to the Red Sea, most used is the road Qena – Hurghada. See below about convoys • divers will want to turn south from Hurghada to head to the diving sites of el Quseir and Marsa Alam
• Visit the monasteries of St Paul and St Anthony, close to Zaafarana on the
Red Sea Coast
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monastery_of_Saint_Paul_the_Anchorite en https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monastery_of_Saint_Anthony some of the oldest monasteries in the world
• From Zaafarana there is now a new road leading you to the Ain Sokhna – Cairo highway. This is great because the stretch Zaafarana – Ain Sokhna is one of the most dangerous in Egypt in my opinion (lots of accidents on the curvy stretch past the mountains)
In Cairo (off the beaten track – so not the normal things)
• Coptic Cairo with Coptic museum, hanging church, synagoge, etc • pyramid of Sakkara (south of Cairo, make sure to visit the museum there and the serapeum – that’s where the godly bulls were buried)
• pyramids of Dashour (south of Sakkara: second largest pyramid and you will be alone – take a torch to go in)
• city of the dead (possibly combined with a visit to the citadel, lunch in Azhar park next to the citadel and Khan el Khalili)
• Mokattam community of garbage collectors and recycling centres + cathedral in the mountain in the middle of Cairo (seats 10.000!)
• Maybe you have already heard about her, but you can camp in Cairo with a good friend of ours: Maryanne Stroud Gabanni. She has a farm close to Sakkara and is a wonderful Canadian lady with more stories than you will believe. Many travellers have camped there since we introduced her to the overlanding scene. She also does horse rides around the village and towards the desert. Her number is +20 122 2118386. Her email is [email protected]
Bahariya / White desert / Farafra (South West of Cairo)
• the deserts South West of Cairo have been on and off limits in the past years as there has been smuggling of arms from Libya into Egypt as well as islamist fighters attacking army posts.
If you want to see the desert this is the place to go, but check in advance with Peter Wirth of Baharya Hot springs hotel: mobile +20 1227369493, email: [email protected] of [email protected], website http://www.whitedeserttours.com/ Peter knows everyone in Baharya (first oasis from Cairo) and can advise you on safety of going into the desert + arrange guide with car if you want • Hotel in Farafra (next oasis after Baharya) http://www.badawiya.com/contact-us.htm Run by bedouins so they are in the know Other tips for mainland Egypt
• visit the new (2015) museum at Wadi el Hitan (4 hour drive South of Cairo near Fayoum). http://egyptianstreets.com/2016/01/15/egypt-inaugurates-fossil-museum-at-wadi-el-hitanworld-heritage-site/
• You can also go into the desert around the museum but would not advise to do it alone as this is never wise • camp next to the allied memorial site in Sidi Abdel Rahman (North coast West of Alexandria) where the WW2 battle of Alamein was fought. Impressive history. Janitor is Raouf Monam +201223513401
• recently reopened to the public are the caves that German general Rommel used as his head quarters for the battle of Alamein. Very nicely restored apparently – have not been myself
• If you are going to the North coast you may want to continue to Siwa, which is a 10 hour drive from Cairo. Ask around first about the security situation because there are currently many army operations in the area targeting weapons smugglers from Libya. There are many eco camps there, although we always stayed at the magical (and expensive) Adrere Amelal lodge
• In august all of Cairo moves to the beaches West of Alexandria – so be aware that prices are very high then and it can be very busy Sinai • The army has been fighting islamists in North Sinai for 3 years now, with many attacks in that part of Sinai. For this reason it is not allowed to take a 4×4 or motorcycle into the peninsula (the army is afraid that they will be stolen from you and used for attacks).
Vans are fine and I have heard that sometimes even 4×4 vans have been able to make it through (the army is not so familiar with these types of vans). It is possible to get exemption from this rule but that must be done through the ministry of tourism and is a long and uncertain process
• Getting into the Sinai from Israel with a 4×4 or motorcycle has been easier than from Cairo. I am not sure why some overlanders were allowed through, but it is by no means guaranteed. Getting into the Sinai by boat from Jordan at Nuweiba: same story. Some people made it, others were returned to Jordan
• If you do make it into the Sinai: stay at la Hacienda cabanas at the Soul Kitesurf centre near Ras Sudr (Sherif and Jenny Soleiman +20 120 2008444). Amazing place, not only for kitesurfers. Very chill – if you go in the weekend you will get the chance to mix with the Egyptian jet set Not sure if you are allowed to camp there, but give them a call and ask • hike up mount Sinai at sunrise and visit the monastry
• camp at the southern tip of the peninsula in Ras Mohamed National Park – right next to the sea shore! Run by a very nice bedouin – diving also possible Mohamed Jemea +20 1005093743
• go and dive in Dahab – which is the hippie capital of Egypt
• camp at Sand Beach Camp at Ras Abu Galum • Camp at Basata eco camp, between Taba and Nuweiba (Sinai). http://www.basata.com/localhost_8080/basata/index.html
Sherif has been running the place for close to 25 years. Famous in Egypt
Most overlanders arrive to or leave Egypt from Alexandria (because the Sinai is closed for 4×4 and motorcycles).
There are currently (October 2017) only 2 Roro (roll on roll off – cheaper than container transport) options: Grimaldi and Neptune.There are no ferries anymore.
The Disadvantage of RORO is that you cannot travel with your car so you have to fly to/from Cairo. This does give you the option while your car is being shipped of either exploring Cairo a bit more (if travelling North) without your car, or arranging your Sudan/Ethiopia visa in Cairo + doing some sights (if travelling South):
RORO Shipping lines
http://www.grimaldi.napoli.it/en/schedule_euro_med.html owns 2 lines that stop in Alexandria Euro MED and Euro Aegean, but is notorious in not replying to emails/online requests.
Their agents in Alexandria do actually reply to emails (contrary to the shipping line which is notoriously difficult to contact): – Marina Shipping Agency (+20 3 4863647 / 4856972 and [email protected]).
Is generally the preferred choice for overlanders as they have more destinations and are more flexible in accepting goods remaining in the car Neptune http://www.neptunelines.com/trade-areas : ship so Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus and Greece.
Agent in ALEXANDRIA: Evge Egypt Shipping Agencies & Maritime Affairs S.A.E Tel: +20 3 4868052 / +20 3 4872416 / +20 3 4874544 / +20 3 4872962 / +20 3 4872964 Email: [email protected] (operations) & [email protected] (terminal)
• Shipping your gear and personal stuff together with your car, although officially not allowed, is possible (experiences shared with me indicate that Grimaldi is easier with this than Neptune). In order to reduce theft make it as difficult as possible for people to get into the part of your vehicle where your goods are stored. Don’t leave anything in the car that you really don’t want to lose
• Containers can be shipped to/out of Alexandria, Damietta (where the stone of Rosetta was found), Port Said and Ain Sokhna. Many shipping lines can be used.
There are many agents that can handle your clearance etc. It is a good idea to ask a few quotes and try to negotiate.
Nahas – [email protected] 00201223236752, he is an independent fixer. He seems to reply to us straight away every time, but for clients, he can be a little less reliable, which is why as a business, we can not place reliance on him. However, those that have used him have provided good feedback. Pricing $400 outbound and $600 inbound.
Magdy Nofal of Interlog ([email protected] and +20 100 40 33 809, +2012 700 430 99). Make sure that you are clear about what the fees do and do not include. Other Agents, you can try: eiff-eg.com; egytrans.com; seabornegypt.com; starlinkegypt.com
CFS shipping is used by many and gets good reviews, but is expensive. Contact Nermien Mamish at CFS for quotes (+201222404884 and [email protected]).
Make sure you negotiate on the first price offered, most negotiate around a 25% on their initial quotation.
If shipping RORO, get the freight price direct as CFS at profit to this if you book the freight through them – Cost of shipping to/from Egypt vary (a lot), but shipping a car from Egypt to Greece will set you back approximately USD 1000 (this includes paperwork etc, but excludes costs on the European side, which are approx. 200 Euro) and takes roughly 5 days preparation and 5 days sailing.
- – The cheapest Route is from Alexandria to Cyrpus 1-2 day sailing with no other ports calls, you can self-clear in Cyprus, easy, and stress-free!!
– Recently a group of motorcyclists shipped their 3 bikes together to Alexandria in 1 container, with 1 Bill of Lading (B/L). They were not able to get their bikes in, even though the B/L mentioned the name of the owner of each bike. This could have been avoided if they had shipped it as a consolidated shipment with separate B/L’s for each bike. Make sure to call the agent in Egypt on documentation requirements before sending your vehicle. Saves a lot of trouble
Alternatives to travelling through Egypt
If for some reason you do not want or cannot cross Egypt these are your options: – Ship to Israel, drive through Jordan and Saudi Arabia, ferry to Sudan. Limitations: Saudi Arabia does not allow right hand drive vehicles; Sudan will not allow visitors with Israeli stamps in their passport (so the Israelis stamp a separate piece of paper). – Ship to Dubai, drive through Saudi Arabia, ferry to Sudan. Limitations: Saudi Arabia does not allow right hand drive vehicles; – For motorcycles: airfreight to/from Sudan. Oneroadoneworld paid USD 400 per motorcycle for freight to Istanbul (see link below). – Travelling through Lybia is NOT an option – There are NO ferries from Sudan to Jordan –
There are RORO options out of Sudan to India, Asia, Europe and Southern Africa however these tranship via Saudi Arabia and are more expensive than container shipping – Ask IVSSUK about what options there are