A border crossing report for those who are interested in following our trail. If you are looking for biking adventure, better move on. If you are looking for drama, do continue to read…
FINANCIAL SUMMARY for the border crossing
- Passenger fee ₪100 shekel per person + ₪7 shekel admin fee (€25 / $30)
- Passenger fee 25JOD per person (€30 / $33)
- Boat ticket $75 per person and $75 per motorcycle (€133)
- EGP 520 per carnet stamping fee
- EGP100 copies
- EGP 300 insurance per motorcycle
- EGP 200 licence plate and drivers licence fee per bike +rider
- US$ 25 per person visa (to be paid in US dollars) ———————————————————————————————————+
ISRAEL > EGYPT @ TABA €132 / $148 per motorcycle & rider (₪107 + $25 + EGP1120)
JORDAN > EGYPT @ NUWEIBA €223 / $250 per motorcycle & rider (25JOD + $175 + EGP1120)
- Tip for the fixer US$10 (would have cost us EGP2000 per vehicle but since he failed we didn’t pay) EGP 300 for an Egyptian sim card and unlimited data for a month, which turned out not to be unlimited but about 2GB. We’ve obviously paid too much but it was such a lifesaver. After a few days the guy who sold us the sim card reported it missing so I lost all the data I had put on the card and didn’t have any service anymore. Typical scam in Egypt so make sure to buy a SIM from an official provider store as soon as possible.
- EGP 2000 deposit for leaving the bike at customs, but someone told me that it costs EGP 100 per day so we assumed we get the deposit back minus the amount we need to pay for the time it was there but that turned out to be untrue and we parted with all of that money.
- EGP 680 Two bus tickets to Cairo and back
- EGP 105 Fax and copies
- EGP 200 Tip for the helping officer
- EGP 2288 for the Carnet Verification stamp
- EGP 1000 Guarding fee
- EGP 310 Leaving tax or something
- €276,47 new carnet + shipping to Cairo ———————————————————————————————————+
EXTRA COSTS TOTAL €643 (EGP 6883 + $10 + €276,47)
Advice for those who are debating this route
Taba vs Nuweiba route
We recommend taking Nuweiba route over the Taba border since we experienced less corruption there than at Taba .In the end they did not even let us in to the country due to security issues at Taba.
Fixer or no fixer
It is a more expensive route and it is up to you if you want to use a fixer at Nuweiba border but I would recommend it because if all the paperwork would have been in order then we would have left the port before 08:00 making it out within 6,5 hours compared to the reported 17-20 hours without a fixer.
As we have learnt now, if you are planning to visit Egypt with a vehicle that is not yours, do make sure that the carnet is in your name even if that person is traveling with you. The carnet must be in the name of the driver, it is possible to cross if you are not the owner as long as you have a letter of attorney.
We experienced little corruption at the Nuweiba border compared to the Taba border but it’s hard to compare because we didn’t have a fixer there. We did talk to the guy coming from Kuweit with his car and said as an Arab he needs to bribe heavily to get into Egypt but that we as Westerners are not subject to this. If that is true is hard to judge because I don’t know if our fixer slipped money into peoples hands. As much as I hate bribing and it goes against all my personal values we did try it when we got denied but failed horribly. Maybe we are bad bribers, I don’t know.
Israeli stamps in Africa
I've read rumors where people say that you might get into trouble trying to enter Sudan (or any other muslim countries) with an Israeli stamp in your passport.
First of all Israel anticipates this and doesn't stamp passports anymore, there is no need to ask for a paper slip. You will automatically be issued an entry slip (green if I recal correctly) and an exit slip (purple...) when you leave.
Offcourse neighboring countries will still give you stamps with the name of the borderpost and an intelligent agent would be able to deduct that you have been to Israel. We had multiple of those stamps in our passport yet were issued a visa for Sudan and granted entry at the border without any question. I have met, talked to read about many people before and since who have similar experience to us and never read any story confirming the rumors, so I wouldn't worry too much about it when you are planning your route.
THE FIRST ATTEMPT @ TABA
We camp close to the border, it’s a popular site among locals and backpackers as it’s for free and on the beach. It’s also quite unorganised with caravans parked there for long term and the amount of people without proper facilities makes it a little unsanitary but we are unwilling to pay the prices of Israeli hotels so we pitch the tent anyway.
The next morning we drop off the sim card we borrowed from Hagay at the post office and head to the border. At the gate on the Israeli side we get warned by them that we might not get into Egypt but we say we are willing to risk it so they let us inside the border area. Leaving Israel is still much easier that entering as long as you pay the ridiculous amount of passenger fee. Immigration, customs and we are out riding to the Egyptian side.
We are welcomed very friendly and directed to the side where we start with a customs inspection of our stuff. All the bags off the bike and through the scanner. It’s a process since with all the separate bags and them being heavy and not easy to handle. They pick out some random items like the binoculars, the go pro hero 7 and Jojo’s knife. These seem to cause problems yet they are not really telling us what the procedure is or what is happening. Waiting is part of the game and in the end we are not allowed to bring the go pro, the rest is fine. We opt for breaking the lens on the camera in the hopes that we can fix it later and proceed.
The visa is next and we get taken inside to buy our visa, long story short, we were utterly unprepared and didn’t know that the visa only costs $25 per person and you can just buy it at the bank. We went with a middle man who charged us double. I don’t wanna talk about it anymore.
It went steadily downhill all throughout the afternoon. We get to the next station which is customs for the motorcycles. All seems fine until they discover that the carnet is on my name and not on Jojo’s. It’s impossible for them to let his bike in, we try to argue but it’s useless. We should have given up at this point but we decide to stamp the one carnet and change the name on the other when we are in Egypt. We are now waiting for the guy to give us the licence plate with our arabic number and a egytpian drivers licence. We wait outside and see all the people passing by. Mainly Israeli tourists going to Dahab or Sharm for diving. They come and leave while we sit and wait. Occasionally one of us goes in to check but for 2 hours we get told to wait.
We get tired of waiting and at this time are fuming about the way this country treats it’s visitors. We get a new story that we need security clearance from the secret service to enter the Sinai on our motorcycles before he can issue the plates. So we walk over to the office and the agents says it’s fine but he is unwilling to give me a written statement. So I take the guy back to the customs officer and they have a discussion in the middle of the parking lot. I don’t understand a word but judging on the hand gestures and the rising volume they don’t agree and part ways after 5 minutes. Nothing happens.
I beg some Israeli who speaks Arabic to help me translate and it basically comes down to the fact that these people are incapable of working together. One needs a piece of paper who tho other is unwilling to provide. We are stuck and have had enough, we will go back to Israel and try a different border.
Angrier than ever we hop on the bikes while the sun sets on the horizon, I have never been treated like this at any border. Pakistan, Tajikistan, Indonesia, you name it, this has been the worst experience of my life. We stamp our passports out again and grudgingly undergo the process of entering Isreal. Even though they ask a lot of questions and look grumpy at the passports we are happy to be treated as humans again and have a clear and easy to understand process to go through. It feels like a fresh breath of air and the best of it all is when we come to the customs office for the motorcycles the guy behind the desk saved our papers and saved us a ton of time, thank you kind man with brains. You made my day! We ride back to the beach and throw the tent on an empty spot. It’s time to take a break and regroup, it’s time for a plan B.
Watch the videos for some visuals
THE SECOND ATTEMPT @ NUWEIBA
The boat leaves at 23:00 so we have the whole day to relax, work on the computer, do groceries and eat our last Jordanian kebab. We finally try the restaurant behind the hotel and eat the best kebab we have eaten in the last two last. I didn’t plan on filming it but I had to take a picture of it.
We stock up on cash, water, food and snacks so we can survive the ordeal that we are about to put ourselves through. The horror stories of people who have gone before us are easy to find on the internet and in the communities. Nobody get’s into Egypt easily but this route is one of the hardest.
We ride to the port and find the gates we need to pass through. It’s quite unclear where we have to go but after parking in front of the big building Jojo goes off to get our passports stamped and to hand in the TIP papers. After 10 minutes he comes running back heated saying he needs the money to pay the passenger fee. A whopping 25JOD per person and bike, the second time he comes back he is even more irritated because we now both need to come to get the leaving stamp in the passport.
We semi run to the office and there I see why he is so irritated, the official who is helping him is accusing us of being late while the girl at the booking office clearly told us to arrive at 8:30 which is exactly when we arrived. We get all the stamps required and hurry to the passport control upstairs. There we get stamped out quickly and we rush back to the bikes. It’s again confusing where we need to go but we head in the direction of the big ship. When we get there we get sent back to go through the Xray machine. Built to scan trucks it’s a gigantic building with a huge portal inside where we need to ride through one by one at a pace of 5km/h. It feels like one of those scenes of old 90’s series where the move from one dimension to the other. Wasn’t that series called sliders? This time it will take us into Africa, a new dimension on our trip so it seemed fitting.
We are now finally allowed to board the boat and we are assigned a parking spot in the corner. We take the escalator up, hahaha, yes there was an escalator on this ferry!, and get directed to a passport check. It’s hectic and busy with 99% male Egyptian/bedouins and Jordanians on board. After a frustrating wait the agent takes our passports and says we will get them back at the passport control. We leave the hot main cabin and cool off on the deck. Not only the temperature was hot inside but we also had a heated discussion on how to handle things and how the situation is making us feel. The ocean breeze is cooling our minds down too and we talk things through. We cannot let these situations get to us, the bureaucracy, the stupidity but if anything it is making us feel grateful for the fact we call Europe our home.
We chill on the deck and I feel tired so lay my head down on the bags. Only 10 minutes into my chill session someone comes walking out of the kitchen and tells us to follow him to the VIP lounge. Yes, please! The other lounges were so full we couldn’t find a spot so we happily follow him through the bowls of the ship upstairs to the place where all the other foreigners are stored.
We get comfortable for the 2 hour sail which flies by because we both fall asleep. I wake up off the feeling of the boat docking in the harbour. The engines that are used to dock are loud and vibrating and are uniquely different from the forward propelling engines. A feeling I remember from our sailing to Israel.
The foreigners get herded into a group and taken off the boat first, through a maze of doors X-ray machines and halls that are completely abandoned because it is now 01:30 in the morning. We can buy the visa for $25 and get it stamped on the spot. Then we are taken back to the boat where as the others are released into the wild.
As we are given permission to ride down the ramp we join the other 4 foreign cars on the big plaza in front of the terminal. Here we run into Muhammad (phone number ) who we had contacted earlier as a fixer but never agreed to meet he showed up anyways. He doesn’t speak more than 3 words english and is very tall for an Egyptian. We ask how much he will charge per bike and we agree to EG£2000 which is around €100/$115 and we agree. Let’s see what he is capable of and if he can get us in.
The other vehicles are parked next to us and take all their bags out, they tell us to do the same and we unload all the bags. Once the police officer guy comes over and says we cannot come in at which he demands to look at the triptyk (carnet) and our newly appointed fixer starts yelling back. After some examination by multiple people the situation is diffused and he leaves again.
Our motorcycles get checked by the checkers, seats opened and tanks and tyres tapped. We pass with flying colours as we have outsmarted them (see this article). Our bags need to go through the X-ray machines too but they don’t seem to be scrutinise at all here. Our fellow vehicle travellers are from different places in the Arab world, I check the licence plates and see they are from Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. We are going through the same motions and are all in the same boat. Including the fact that everyone has a fixer.
The next station is the customs building where we arrive after an hour or so. The fixer now has all our paperwork. We already paid EG£520 per carnet at the previous location but we still need to pull our wallet out. We pay EG£100 for copies, EG£300 per motorcycle for insurance and licence plate fee of EG£200 per motorcycle. In between there is a lot of waiting, we occasionally get called in to state our names and there is some confusion about the fact there there is no end date for the registration of our vehicles on the document.
Otherwise things seem to be moving along as they should and nobody is raising the point that both carnets are on my name. We see the sky lighten up as day is about to break and start thinking that this might be going to happen very soon. The guy who does the checking of the VIN and engine number comes by and uses the ancient paper and pencil technique to verify that the documentations is the same as the vehicle numbers.
I can already spot 4 small size licence plates that I think are meant for our motorcycles. It is really happening! We get called in for probably the last time for the final check of the triptyk boss. He asks us where Jojo’s name is in the carnet and we instantly know we are in trouble. We show him the authorisation letter that we attached to the carnet because we lost the other one at the previous crossing but he says that is not enough. He insist that Jojo’s name must be on the white slip that they keep in their documentation. We repeat our explanation at least 10 times but there is no convincing the big boss.
They ask if we want to go in with 1 bike and come back and return to Jordan, as that is what we told them we will do in order to avoid any discussion about the security issue in the Sinai but we keep saying we want to go in together. So out of anger or frustration on of the officers just rips out the entire page out of the carnet. Now I get upset because that is not how the carnet works. I need all the pages to get my deposit back. After some arguing he puts the page back and puts a big cross through the first stamp on both carnets.
We go outside and sit down to cool off. It all went sideways really fast and we wonder why they always figure this detail out at the last stop of the process. It’s like nobody is paying attention or they want to collect all the money which seems unlikely in this case because they gave us back the money we paid for stamps etc.
At this point our fixer walks up to us and announces, through a friendly translator, he is leaving. He is giving up and asks for a tip, we give him a $10 bill and he leaves. He didn’t complete his job so we will not pay the man. We get taking in under the wing of the tourist police officer and we wait and think about what to do next in his office. We buy a local SIM card (for EG£300 for 1 month unlimited data) from a guy who is walking around in the terminal building that is now slowly filling up with new passengers who will go to Aqaba later. Now we can at least communicate with our connections and make a plan.
We decide to ask the ADAC, our carnet issuer, what to do and send them an email even tough it is only 8:00 in Europe she replies and the short answer is that we can apply for a new carnet with Jojo’s name in it. She says that she already told us this was going to happen but we both swear that she did not. We don’t mention it to her and try to move the situation forward as fast as possible even though we now already accepted that this is going to take us at least a week. As Jojo communicate with the ADAC, figures out where to send the paperwork, I go back to customs with the police officer to get my bike out so we can go places. It still takes half an hour to get the stamps back but I don’t have to pay anything anymore and get handed the new licence plates. I’m now #112.
I find Jojo locked into the police officers office and he already transferred the money, found a place where to send it and generally in an optimistic mood. The police officers shift is about to end so he gives us the phone number of the officer we should contact when we come back to pick up the other bike. He kicks us out of his office and we start to put the plates on my bike and unpack the other so we can park it at customs.
I feel like we are almost there, we will get into Egypt even though it is giving us a hard time! A new agent is appointed to us and with his fake Rayban sunglasses he is looking pretty cool. We thank the other agent for helping us and offer him some money but he straight out refuses. What a nice guy, unlike most of his countrymen.
The new agent get his bike and takes Jojo on a tour through the process of leaving the bike at the port. I stay behind with all the luggage and work on the Carnet application until I cannot continue. I look on my phone for a while and send messages to some friends. Jojo has been gone for more than 30 minutes and I am running out of things to do and start getting worried. This should not be so complicated. I get back to the phone to try and distract myself from my spiralling thoughts. 10 minutes later and he is still not back. I decide to try and get all the luggage on the bike and do this for about 5 minutes. Now he is gone for 45 minutes and because I am so tired I get super emotional. I haven’t really slept for 28 hours and I’ve never been a person who functions well without a decent 8 hours a night. I start slide into an emotional hole and start sending Jojo messages on WhatsApp even though I know he doesn’t have any connection and will only read them once he is back. I need to sleep soon! I ask a military who comes by and informs about my motorcycle. He assures me they are working on the paperwork and he will soon be back. After another slow 10 minutes they appear but still with 2 bikes.
We need to pay EG£2000 deposit to leave the bike here which is why Jojo is back here to get cash from the ATM. I’m so happy to seem him again but he is still in the I’m arranging shit mode so moves on quickly. I start to finish packing the bike in the hope it really won’t take long after this. I put the saddle bags that came off the other bike on the tank and strap them to the rollbars. Then I stack both roll bags on top of each other and strap them with our ROKstraps which are amazing and have no problem with holding the two bags in place.
Jojo finally arrives on the back of the small bike and we are cleared to leave. The agent shows us the way to the exit gate and after a final check of the carnet, my Egyptian licence and the passports we are off! Welcome to Egypt!
We ride South to Dahab, with the bike fully loaded and Jojo on the back we are like a overloaded truck you see in the photograph of Asia. A fully loaded donkey or a BMW traveler with spare tyres hanging off the roll-bar bags. Even though we didn’t need any more convincing we know traveling two up is not for us.
We cruise through the desert only going 80km/h since I don't’ feel comfortable riding so overloaded. We cross two checkpoints, one we were wave through without stopping and the other we were checked twice, asked where we were going, passports investigated and almost interrogated where we were going to stay. But surely, they let us through.
And finally, after a one hour ride, a 2 hour boat ride, 12 hour border crossing and 36 hours without sleep we arrive at the hotel we got recommended. Sending one last email to the ADAC to get the carnet sorted and we fall into a deep sleep on our Egyptian bed.
We wait in Dahab for the message from the ADAC that the new carnet has been sent, it takes a few days and we use the time to relax, snorkel around the beautiful reefs and work on the blog and videos. It’s not a bad place to be stuck, the town is laidback, small and cute. We find a restaurant that does great kebab and we go there every single night. Breakfast at the hotel is also delicious so there is not much to complain about except the incredible amount of flies that pester you while you try to eat.
When we receive the news from Germany we book a ticket on the night bus to Cairo where they will send the carnet. We plan to combine the trip to the capital with getting our Sudanese visa and visiting the pyramids so we can skip the town with the bikes later.
All goes well enough and we easily pick up the document from the DHL office and apply and get the visa for Sudan in one day which leaves the other day for our tourist adventures. A long trip on the bus back and we arrive tired but ready to free the bike back in Dahab. A quick nap and we jump on the bike to ride back to the port. It’s Friday by now and everybody who has ever been to a Muslim country will know that this spells trouble. It’s like Sunday in Christian countries. Most things are closed and getting anything done is a small nightmare.
We rock up to the port and even getting in is a problem and we wait around for at least an hour. We finally manage to get the right agent who can help us get the bike out and he takes us to the customs officer. He has a grumpy face today, although it looks like this everyday, he must really hate his job and after grunting some and discussing with our helping hand the verdict is that this document is not valid.
I’m ready to jump out of my skin and start punching some people, i’m not an aggressive type but this is the most frustrating piece of bureaucracy I have every come across. This is an internationally recognised, valid document that had been issued by a registered licensee and yet there is still something wrong?! This makes no sense to me at all. Yet we are sent away and go to a different building where we talk to a boss figure, it must be because he has a bigger moustache than everybody. He first tells us we need to go back to Cairo to get this paperwork verified by the Automobile Club of Egypt. We just came from there! We are not going back in that bus!
A discussion follows in Arabic where our agent friend is arguing on our behalf I assume. You get used to not understanding a word of what is being said. Luckily we also speak enough languages to always have a secret language to communicate in. Long story short they settle on the fact we can fax with the club in Cairo to get our documents verified, just not today because it is Friday and they are closed. I see a problem arise and as quickly as possible send an email to the ADAC since the Friday is coming to a close. They will not be working on Saturday so I need them to verify the document to their contacts in Cairo today otherwise we’ll have to wait until Monday to get this all sorted. I have to admit that Anna from the ADAC is an absolute superstar and she responds within half an hour that she has sent an email to Cairo and hopes that everything will be arranged tomorrow.
Without a second bike we return home. The multiple police checkpoints we pass along the way are starting to recognise us and passing through is starting to get easier and easier. Tomorrow is another day.
Saturday the sun rises and slowly heat up the sand in the desert. Our breakfast is served and we enjoy the rich flavours of the falafel, bean mix and veggies. Once again we jump on the bike and ride back to the north, the policemen always ask where we are going and what we are doing there and by now they wish us good luck that they hope it will work out today. So do we, will this really be the last time we ride this stretch of the earth?
Things go smoother today at the gate and soon we get walking to the fax, which of course for one costs money and two is not even on the premise of the port. It’s like a little internet cafe just outside of the gate but instead of internet, they do copies and faxing. And so we part with some of our money and the paperwork get’s faxed to the capital.
Next up there is a fee to pay, off course, which we can pay at the post office. We ask how much it is on the way there and find the amount quite high. Magically, once we get there we get a discount and only pay half. It’s still a mystery to me why to this day.
Waiting for the reply fax takes up another hour or so, things go on their own pace here. Bureaucracy is not a race. We receive some official looking letter with the letterhead of the automobile club and we are back to the customs office.
I will not pretend that the officer looked happier today yet he is in a carnet stamping mood and after some more discussion a miracle happens. We get a stamp! I feel so relieved that today might actually be the day we ride home with two motorcycles and will be free to continue the trip. The amount of paperwork that still needs to be done is astonishing. It still takes us another 3 hours to get the licence plates, pay all the fees and free the bike from the storage facility. That deposit we paid we have to leave behind and spending money to keep things running smooth is part of the process. Even though we receive plenty of paperwork each time we need to pay something the amounts feel made up or unnecessary. In the end, when all seems done and dusted we go back to the office of our helping hand and he springs up the question if we can give him some cold hard cash too. We saw this coming and give him some too because he has been a great help, but it still feels wrong. This is supposed to be his job, isn’t it? We proceed to the gate where they won’t give us a pass to leave, there is another fee to be paid. Something to do with safety, it’s aggravating but we have no choice but to pull out the wallet and receive another slip for the collection. Finally, it seems like it is about to get real,
Then we had to pay the fee for getting this letter at the bank. EGP 1500 per Carnet and even though the 1 bike was already stamped and out we still had to get both carnets verified so it set us back about €150. When we arrived at the post office to pay our dept we were miraculously given a discount and only had to pay EGP 2288, no real explanation except for the officer repeating that he is trying to help us.
We went back to the fax office to fax the proof of payment. Then we waited for the reply. Luckily we had already contacted Anna from the ADAC the day before and explained the new problem facing us. She responded quickly with a verification letter and sent it to the Egyptian contacts as it was Friday afternoon and she was about to leave the office for the weekend. So we had confidence that all would go smooth this Saturday.
Waiting in such a situation is not fun, it’s incredibly stressful since you don’t know what lies around the corner. It’s like climbing a mountain and you think you see the top, so you gather all your energy and hurry to the point and you are ready to enjoy the rewards. But as soon as you reach you imagined summit your eyes cross the horizon and you see the path continues even steeper than before. At this point we are still unsure if we will get the second bike out of the claws of Egyptian customs. It just seems like such an impossible task that every step of the way you feel like it still might all collapse.
Also, when they tell you 1 minute in Egypt, don’t expect that they mean it will be a quick fix. No, no, no, no, no. One minute in Egypt is at least one hour. Things move at a different pace. It’s infuriating, not only for us foreigners, but also for the locals. Many of them told us that the system is broken. Where we wanted to dislike the country as a whole so much, but there were always people who brightened our day and made us realize again and again that you cannot judge a country by its officials or politicians.
So we waited some more. The guy from the fax office cheered for us as the machine was printing the reply. Official looking logos, a lot of Arabic and an official looking stamp. All we had been working for for the last few days. So we walked back and went straight to the customs officer who was another stern looking man with a big mold on his left cheek. As soon as he saw the fax he started shaking his head no and our police chaperone started arguing to no avail. He told us to sit down and wait while he left with the fax in hand. Again we were sitting and waiting not knowing exactly what was happening.
He came back after about 15 minutes and I saw he had copies with red pen signed on top of it. I guess he went back to the customs boss to approve or something. As soon as he came back things started rolling. We paid the fee again and stamps were put on the new carnet.
I felt elated and almost started crying but held back my tears knowing we were not there yet. Only when we had the bike out of port we could celebrate. We still had some steps to go.
So Jojo walked around with the money, the documents and his passport to the different stations and after he left to pick up the bike from where it was parked. I waited in the office of the grumpy man.
While waiting I noticed once more that I was the only female in this place. The officials were all men. The fixers, all men. The ‘customers’.... all men off course. In my honest opinion, a reason why Egypt is not working as a nation. Women in the workforce change the dynamics for the better. But this might not be the place to go deep into such argument, you came here to read about getting into Egypt. So we move on.
We meet our old fixer again as he is working his new case. He remembers my name and we get a handshake but since he doesn’t speak any English that’s all we get out of him.
I waited long, but I was not surprised because putting away the bike had taking so long too. I got kicked out of the office because they wanted to lock it. I waited outside until I heard the sound of the engine. So happy to see the yellow bumble again. The officers crowd around it and finally we are given the plates. Number 110! We feel elated as we are again one step closer to leaving. Another office where we are supposed to pay, we didn’t pass this station with the other bike but are still supposed to drop off egp 310 without any real explanation what it is for. Smelling the outside we pay without question and proceed back to the terminal where we walk to the main gate.
The police officer starts talking to the guys in the office and explains the story but we don’t know what is happening. An officer comes out and explains is that we still need to pay egp 2000 for the guarding off the bike. Since the bike was standing by itself in the warehouse and didn’t enjoy any privilege of a personal guard we both feel like this is just corruption but we don’t have any choice but to wait and pay. We get invited to tea as if this will lessen the pain of letting go off another €100.
As if to make us feel better about getting ripped off he offers us a discount. The man arrives and we walk to his office. We do get the discount and pay egp 1000 (only €50), receive an official slip and leave again.
And then it seems the moment is finally there, our chaperone for the day says it’s finished. We look at each other but know we won’t celebrate until we are on the outside. While we pick out the helmets from his office he dares to ask for a tip, then backs out and then asks again. We give him egp 200 for the effort but feel cheated nonetheless. I leave through the front gate as Jojo takes the guy on the back and rides to the back gate where we meet up again.
The sun is setting behind the port and the sky is turning bright orange. I see them at the gate and wait patiently for them to finish the paperwork, a final check of the stamp and whatever else needs to be checked. It seems to last forever. Separated by not only the gate, but by the last hurdle of bureaucracy. And yet finally, the miracle happens and he rides through the gate while a tear slowly rolls down my cheek.
We did it! After 11 day we are finally in Egypt with both bikes. We persevered, we pushed, we paid and we waited until we made it in. As darkness falls we ride the 70km back to Dahab to our hotel. We deserve a feast when we get there although the biggest reward is having our freedom back again. This nightmare is over and now we can finally start exploring Africa.
More video footage
Remember that if you are preparing to follow are footsteps and cross into Egypt at Nuweiba that this is just the process we had to follow. All steps described are not a fixed process and Egypt will throw you a curveball with corruption and creative customs officials. Stay positive, stay flexible and keep the money rolling as it seems that that always moves the problem forward.
I highly recommend using a fixer at this border but remember there is no right or wrong way to go about this. It is possible to cross without one and the tourist police officers have been incredibly helpful to us.
Lastly, before I finish off this post, I would like to thank Anna from the ADAC for all her help. Her problem solving mindset, swift replies and never complaining about the amount of messages we send or the requests we make she kept us sane. So if you are ever in trouble know that she will have your back.