Last Modified: 12 Apr 2013
Khartoum to Cairo
Trip code: XDVD
Validity: 01 Jan 2011 to 31 Dec 2013
Marvel at ancient wonders on this 27-day adventure deep into the arid heart of North Africa. Covering some of the planet's most spectacular landscapes, this unforgettable journey from friendly Khartoum to vibrant Cairo takes in legendary sites of antiquity, lush oases and remote desert settlements. Voyage across mighty Lake Nasser, follow a camel route over sandy dunes and gaze in awe at the famous Egyptian temples and tombs of Giza, Luxor and Aswan. Discover the rich culture and mesmerising charm of this remarkable region on this incredible Overland trip.
This trip is operated by our experienced local partners Dragoman Overland. Dragoman shares Intrepid's ethos for adventure travel and has many years' expertise in overlanding.
Table of Contents
- The best value journeys on the planet! On a Basix trip you can expect amazing experiences, but none of the inclusions that you may not want. Which means budget (1-2 star) accommodation, plenty of free time, activities that are optional and the freedom to choose meals to suit your budget. On some trips you may be camping and required to set up your own tent. You'll also have access to a group leader to offer advice and help you uncover the region's hidden gems. On a Basix journey, the way you travel is all a part of the adventure. Depending on the destination and the itinerary, you could find yourself travelling on anything from a donkey to a bus or a private safari vehicle. These trips are ideal for first-time travellers seeking fun and independence with the support of a group leader. They're also ideal for independent travellers looking to make the most of their travel time with minimum hassle and maximum experiences.
Day 1 Khartoum
Salaam! Welcome to Sudan.
The trip begins with a group meeting at 6pm.
You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If your flight arrives too late, we recommend that you consider arriving a day early and book a night's accommodation prior to the trip so you are able to attend. If you are going to be late please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your kitty, insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting so please ensure you have all details on hand to provide to your leader.
The friendliness of the Sudanese people is legendary in traveller circles. For a country that has experienced such a long and drawn out civil war it is amazing that the local people are so welcoming, genuinely warm and always willing to help. This is the country where you want to brush up on your smattering of Arabic. Just a few words can open doors into chai houses, into living rooms and into the world of Sudanese hospitality. People are genuinely curious and pleased to see outsiders.
Khartoum is really two cities: the colonial city of the British and General Gordon on one side of the river, and the sprawling settlements of Omdurman on the other. Here you find one of Africa's most interesting market where souvenir hunters can get some excellent Beja Ben Amer tribal swords. These tribal people are easy to spot. Very tall and distinguished-looking, with the telltale hair and traditional swords slung over the shoulder. Their ancestors played a major role in the Dervish uprisings in the 19th century at the battle of Omdurman. The best place to find out more about this period of Sudanese history is in the Khalifa Museum in Omdurman, near the Mahdi's tomb.
If you have free time before the meeting you can explore Khartoum including the bustling Omdurman market.
In Khartoum we stay at a comfortable hotel.
- Mardis tomb & Khalifa Museum Entrance, Khartoum - USD1.00
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Meroe
Today we leave the hustle and bustle of Khartoum behind us as we head out to Meroe stopping to explore the Kushite temples of Naga and Musawwarat es-Sufra. If time allows today we will also visit the pyramids at Meroe.
We spend tonight bushcamping.
Perhaps the most splendid of all the Kushite temples and pyramids are those at Meroe, Naqa and Musawwarat. The pyramids at Meroe are the most impressive in Nubia and the site is very well preserved and restored. The site of Meroe was home to a large population supported by advanced irrigation and a centralised political system. This was high culture, and the area was in its zenith. Roman baths, royal palaces, pyramids and temples all tell the tale of an advanced Egyptian-style civilisation. Today the site is virtually unvisited. Scattered across the sands of the desert are numerous steep pyramids with entrance pylons. The guardian of this Nubian site has been there since 1977 and has probably seen every visitor who has passed through since then. While the mainstream tourists flock to the Egyptian ruins to our north, you will have this remarkable site to yourself. Only a few travellers and one or two tour groups a year come here.
- Guided trip to Meroe Pyramids, Naqa Temple and Musawwarat Temples
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 3-5 Nubian Desert
The next three days we journey across the Nubian Desert. We drive between 5 and 8.5 hours each day, covering a total distance of 1000 km.
To travel in northern Sudan is to journey across deserts, not on tarmac routes, but off piste, finding your way through the dunes or along the plains. We may be lucky enough to pass some camels, making their way along the infamous '40 Day Camel Route'. These magnificent animals travel in herds of up to 1000 with just two or three herders. They come from either the western province of Darfur or nowadays increasingly from Omdurman and Khartoum, bound for the great camel market in Cairo, as Sudanese camels are highly valued in Egypt.
From Karima in the South to Aswan in the north, there are a succession of ruined temples along the River Nile. As you would imagine with such a long history of civilisation, these date back to many different periods of Kushite and Egyptian history. Many are in a poor state of repair, but some are classics. They are often quite inaccessible and we will not guarantee visiting any particular temple. However, we will try to visit the Temple of Kawa near Dongola and the pyramids and temple complex on top of Jebel Barkal near the town of Merowe (as opposed to Meroe which is near Atbara).
On the road between Dongola and Merowe we explore ruins at of the Temple of Amun at Jebel (Mount) Barkal. On the hill top of Jebel Barkul the Temple of Jebel Bakul was one of the earliest capitals and spiritual centres of Kush. The all-powerful Pharaoh Ramses II constructed a temple to the Theban god Amun here in the 13th century BC. 600 years later the great Nubian Pharaoh King Taharqa had the mountain's peak covered in gold during his reign in the 7th century BC. A monument remains to him with his name inscribed on it.
This portion of the trip is rugged. We will be travelling through the desert sands, following the Nile as it cuts through vast fields of sand dunes. Along the Nile small villages and towns cling to a narrow belt of cultivation. Trade routes through the area date back to ancient times, but the roads are mere sandy tracks, often difficult to find and always a struggle to get through. You will be expected to help sand mat the vehicles and to be part of this expedition. There are no passengers here, only people who are prepared to get stuck in to achieve their goal - the exploration of the relics of the Kushite kingdom and the Nile Valley of northern Sudan.
These nights we camp out in the desert vastness and sit around our campfire in the middle of this wilderness.
- Kushite temples and pyramids at Jebel Barkal
- Temple of Darfufa, Nubian Desert - USD10.00
Bush camp (no facilities) (3 nts)
Days 6-8 Wadi Halfa
Today we will visit the Temple of Sulb early in the morning.
Across the river opposite the small village of Wawa lies the remains of the Temple of Sulb. The temple is spectacular and very much in the Egyptian style. We take a half hour boat trip by small boat along the Nile through stunning scenery. It is the positioning and the remoteness of these sites along the Nile that makes them interesting. We usually stay with a local family in the village of Wawa for the night.
Our final drive in Sudan today takes us to Wadi Halfa. The road between Wadi Halfa and Abri heads inland from the Nile along a rough piste through rocky terrain. We are well away from civilisation here and you will see few other travellers on this section of the journey.
The port of Wadi Halfa, our entry point to Egypt, is situated on the southernmost tip of Lake Nasser in the Sudanese Sahara and is the most northerly place in Sudan. The following day is free to explore Wadi Halfa.
In Wadi Halfa we stay at a rustic guesthouse.
Guesthouse (2 nts)
Day 8 Overnight Ferry
From Wadi Halfa we board a ferry to cross Lake Nasser. How many days we spend here and when we board the ferry is dependent on ferry schedules.
The crossing of Lake Nasser is certainly an experience. Don't expect a Nile cruise boat or you may be disappointed! An old passenger ferry plies the waters between Aswan and Wadi Halfa and it has limited comforts. However, to make up for this you will be travelling through the spectacular scenery of a harsh and craggy desert landscape. The journey usually lasts 17 hours, but it is notoriously unpredictable. Depending on sailing routes and conditions we should pass the beautiful temple of Abu Simbel en route.
Accommodation aboard the ferry is very basic.
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt), Overnight ferry (1 nt)
Days 9-11 Aswan
Upon disembarking the ferry we have a short drive of 20 km (approx. 30 minutes) to Aswan in Egypt where we have three nights to enjoy wealth of history and culture that Aswan has to offer.
The Nile, Elephantine Island and white-sailed feluccas: welcome to Aswan. This Nubian city is Egypt's southern gateway to Africa and an important market town - take time here to check out one of the country's best bazaars.
At Aswan you can visit the Philae temples, and the high dam, built to control the flow of the Nile thus creating Lake Nasser, the largest artificial lake in the world. There is also an opportunity to trek into the desert by camel to a deserted 6th century monastery. You may take an option to fly or drive down to Abu Simbel to visit the two magnificent temples. They were moved uphill from the rising floodwaters of Lake Nasser by a Unesco project in the 1960s. Perhaps finish off your days with a visit to the stunning new Aswan Museum, before dinner on one of the many floating river front restaurants.
- Entrance Abu Simbel, Abu Simbel - EGP80.00
- Abu Simbel Flight, Aswan - EGP700.00
- Tombs of the Nobles, Aswan - EGP25.00
- High Dam Trip, Aswan - EGP8.00
- Felucca day trip incl lunch, Aswan - EGP65.00
- Philae Temple Sound & Light, Aswan - EGP33.00
- Transport to and from Abu Simbel, Philae and Dam, Aswan - EGP80.00
- Elephantine/Kitchener Island Boat Trip, Aswan - EGP50.00
Hotel (3 nts)
Days 12-14 Luxor
This morning we head to Luxor, a drive of around 220 km, taking around 3.5 hours.
On the way we make a visit to The Temple of Horus in Edfu (also known as the Temple of Edfu); considered the best-preserved cult temple in Egypt.
From the spectacular temple complex of Karnak to the Valley of the Kings, Luxor is full of wonderfully preserved reminders of the Pharaohs.
In Luxor we take a donkey ride on the west bank before visiting the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. This is one of the highlights of any trip to Egypt. The amazingly well preserved paintings in the tombs of the Pharaohs are brought to life on this guided adventure. We will also go and see the biggest of all Egyptian temples, the mighty Karnak with a local Egyptologist.
There is also plenty of free time for you to explore. Perhaps hire a bicycle to ride through sugarcane fields and nearby villages to see a different side of Luxor. It is worth visiting the smaller Luxor temple located smack in the middle of town and the small but beautiful Luxor Museum filled with priceless treasures from this amazing area.
In Luxor we stay in a hotel.
- Guided visit to Valley of the Kings and other West Bank ruins
- Guided tour of Karnak Temple
- Karnak Sound and Light Show, Luxor - EGP75.00
- Luxor Temple, Luxor - EGP35.00
- Museums, Luxor, Luxor - EGP40.00
Hotel (3 nts)
Day 15 El Kharga Oasis
Driving about 8.5 hours today (280 km) we reach the El Kharga Oasis.
Desert travel is uniquely romantic. No matter what desert you are crossing, being in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by solitude and wilderness, is a fantastic experience. It is even better when you can camp out in the desert and visit true oases. The Egyptian Western Desert has five thriving oases and on our route through the desert we will be able to visit three of these: Bahariya, Dakhla and El Kharga. The added bonus of
travelling through this desert is that most of these oases have a long and interesting history stretching back to
We will visit El Kharga Oasis and its surrounding area. Here there are numerous other sites of antiquities. You
will have the opportunity to visit a number of these including the Bagawaat Necropolis, Hibis Temple and Kharga Museum.
El Kharga Oasis is definitely a place to go for exploration. There are many monumental sites here, including the Temple of Hebes. You can go for a camel ride around the oasis, and this could be an adventure in itself. The palm tree lined city is the spot to find beautiful handicrafts and unspoilt springs. It is a beauty of Egypt and will certainly create life long memories.
Tonight we'll be camping.
- Kharga Museum, El Kharga Oasis - EGP20.00
- Hibis temple, El Kharga Oasis, El Kharga Oasis - EGP20.00
- Bogawaat Necropolis, El Kharga Oasis - EGP20.00
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Days 16-17 Dakhla Oasis
Today we drive about 280 km to reach the Dakhla Oasis.
You can also take the opportunity to trek out into the desert here for the day or even overnight on camels. The overnight trip is usually the favourite as you can head off into the desert and camp out by hot springs for the night.
Verdant cultivated areas and a great wall of rose-hued rock across the northern horizon make a feast for the eyes in Dakhla Oasis. Dakhla has Pharaonic, Roman and Coptic antiquities, dunes, palm groves and hot springs to explore.
- Western Desert Overnight Camel Safari, Dakhla Oasis - EGP200.00
Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nts)
Day 18 White Desert Bush Camp
The following morning we have a free morning in Dakhla or some may be returning from the overnight camel safari. This afternoon we drive about 5 hours (250 km) to reach our bush camp in the White Desert.
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Day 19 Bahariya Oasis
Today we drive about 6 hours (250 km) through the White Desert to reach Bahariya Oasis.
Situated in Egypt's Great Western Desert, Bahariya is the smallest of the four oases in this area. It used to serve as an artery between Libya and Egypt, but these days people come here to enjoy the hot springs and palm groves, and to get a feel for the Western Desert. There are numerous sites of antiquities including the Temple of Alexander and various Ptolemaic tombs, as well as a museum that houses the golden mummies found here. Just south of the oasis lie the White and Black Deserts, easily visited from the town.
We will visit the museum that houses the golden mummies. Just south of the oasis lie the White and the Black Deserts. We will spend a day exploring these as well as visiting Crystal Mountain.
- Visits to Crystal Mountain and Black Desert
- Entrance Golden Mummies Museum
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Day 20 Egyptian Coast Bush Camp/El Alamein
Today is a drive day as we travel north from Bahariya Oasis, bypassing Cairo and heading to the coast. If we get time today we will stop at the war cemeteries and museum at El Alamein.
El Alamein was a battle fought during the Western Desert campaign of World War II. The battlefield stretched from Alexandria to Libya and was contested by mostly Commonwealth forces and combined German and Italian forces. The cemetery contains over 7,000 Commonwealth burials from the Second World War, as well as those of other nationalities.
Tonight we aim to wild camp en route.
- War cemeteries and museum
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Days 21-22 Siwa Oasis
We head south into Egypt’s Western Desert to the Siwa Paradise. This area is famous for its dates and olives, and is one of the most beautiful landscapes of Egypt.
We will be treated to a Bedouin meal on the first night and you will have the option on the second day of a half day or full day desert safari.
We spend two nights here in rooms.
With its extraordinarily lush vegetation and relaxed atmosphere, Siwa seems a world away from the bustle of the cities. Explore the vast, maze-like ruins of Shali, the mud brick fort which overlooks the town. Made with a mixture of salt and clay, the buildings here were in full use until early last century, when three days of torrential rain washed most of the structures away.
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 23-24 Alexandria
Leaving the desert behind us, we journey back north towards the coastal City of Alexandria, where we will base ourselves for 2 nights. If we didn't manage to stop at El Alamein before then we will do so today.
Whilst in Alexandria we will stay in a comfortable hotel.
Egypt's second largest city and main port, Alexandria was built by the Greek architect Dinocrates in 331 BC under the orders of Alexander the Great. The city, immortalising Alexander's name, quickly flourished into a prominent cultural, intellectual, political and economic metropolis.
It was the renowned capital of Ancient Egypt's last royal dynasty, the Ptolemies, and the site of the Pharos. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, this lighthouse acted as a beacon, guiding sailors away from this notoriously treacherous stretch of coastline.
Alexandria is also the city of seafood, so be sure to indulge in some fresh ocean produce during your stay here.
- Roman Amphitheatre, Alexandria - EGP15.00
- Catacombs of Kom ash-Shuqqafa, Alexandria - EGP35.00
- Alexandria Library, Alexandria - EGP10.00
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 25-27 Cairo
Our final drive today is of approximately 230 km from Alexandria to our final destination, Cairo.
Wonderfully chaotic and always colourful, Cairo is a fascinating mixture of modern city and ancient wonders.
There are plenty of things to see and do with free time in Cairo. Travel along the river by felucca, head out to explore the markets or If the crowds and the noise of the city are too much, catch the metro into the oldest part of the city, the Coptic Christian sector - with its narrow cobbled streets and ancient churches, it's a haven of peace and quiet.
In Cairo we will have a guided tour to visit the Pyramids at Giza and Saqqara, and the Egyptian Museum.
In Cairo we stay in a basic hostel.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
- Guided visit to the Giza Pyramids
- Guided tour of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo
- Sound and Light Show at Pyramids & Sphinx, Cairo - EGP60.00
- Cairo Tower Entrance, Cairo - EGP35.00
- Entrance Pyramid of Cheops, Cairo - EGP100.00
- Entrance Red Pyramid and Bent Pyramid, Cairo - EGP20.00
- Ethiopian Explorer Northbound (YDOHC)
- Ethiopian Highlands Northbound (YDOE)
- Nairobi to Addis (YDOF)
We must emphasise that the routes, activities and places visited described in these trip notes are intentions and are meant as a rough guide only. We intend following the route detailed but exact night stops cannot be guaranteed. It sometimes happens that we decide to make a change to our basic planned itinerary. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, road or bureaucratic conditions may demand it. Or it may be because we find a better, more interesting route. While actually en route, unexpected hospitality, a local festival or a great place to chill out can determine our exact route and itinerary on any given trip.
Overnight stops and driving distances each day may vary to best suit the needs of the group.
The comforts of home are more of a rarity. English isn't common and the food will be quite different to home. It's important to observe some of the local customs to not cause offence. Many of the locals’ standard of living may be confronting.
Be prepared for some serious physical activity. The majority of activities included on this trip will be challenging. The fitter you are, the more you'll enjoy your holiday.
In these parts of the world you'll need to be healthy enough to cope with extremes of climate; from hot deserts through to the cold of high mountain areas.
Overland travelling can be demanding - long, rough travel days and dusty conditions can be challenging to some. You'll need to be fit enough to help every day with the camp chores (cooking, washing up, general camp set up) as well as putting up, and taking down your own tent. There are some long driving days and some early morning starts. The step-up into the overland vehicle, while not overly high, can become tiring. You need to judge if you are physically fit enough to haul yourself up and down the step at least 8-10 times a day.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
On this trip it's compulsory to contribute to a kitty. The kitty is an on-ground payment put into a central fund and overseen by travellers and the crew. It helps fund accommodation, camp meals and some included activities. Kitty amounts are subject to change to reflect local price increases. Please check our website for the up-to-date amount 48 hours prior to your trip commencement.
Your kitty will be collected when you arrive for your trip, either on day 1 or, if on a combination trip, in stages throughout your trip.
You may pay your kitty in a mixture of US Dollars cash and the rest in local currency (amount and type of currency to be agreed by the leader at the start of the trip). Most of our travellers chose to bring a cash passport with them for withdrawing local currency (you can visit www.cashpassport.com for further information on these). This is a very secure way of carrying your money whilst travelling. You treat them exactly like an ATM card and draw out local currency from an ATM to give to your leader within each country.
If you do choose to pay part in local currency your trip leader will confirm the current exchange rates with you so you will know exactly how much to hand over.
Travellers cheques have become increasingly difficult to change around the world with passengers and our leaders experiencing huge frustration and numerous hours spent trying to find a bank which will change travellers cheques. For this reason we no longer accept them on our trips.
Kitty does not cover food while staying in hotels and hostels.
We constantly monitor local price changes and exchange rate fluctuations that could affect kitty expenses. Final kitty contributions are likely to be different from those quoted in the brochure or at the time of booking so you must check the final amount just before departure.
As our kitty is flexible the indicated amount is indicative only. Follow the link below to view the kitty amount for your departure date.
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
The official currency of Sudan is Sudanese Pounds (SDG). Cash is recommended over credit cards, and there are only limited ATM facilities in Khartoum. Money should be exchanged only at official exchange bureax and banks, and make sure you retain your receipts. There are severe penalties for changing money on the black market. USD and EUR are easiest to exchange, although GBP can also be exchanged in Khartoum.Traveller's cheques are not recommended.
The official currency of Egypt is Egyptian Pounds (EGP).
It's easy to get money when you arrive at the airport through money exchange or from the ATM. The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) which are plentiful throughout all the main cities. Check with your bank for information on international ATM fees.
When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it's stolen. Keep this in a safe place. When using your debit card, check your receipts and keep them to compare against your statement when you get home.
We recommend that you carry some foreign currency cash for when ATMs can not be accessed, have broken down or run out of cash. There are few problems changing money at the many banks and currency exchange facilities. Cash in USD, EUR and GBP are the easiest to exchange.
Occasionally banks will allow cash advances on your credit card, but it's not recommended to rely on this.
While some banks and five-star hotels will change travellers cheques, the process is time consuming, commissions can be high (up to 10%) and it can be difficult to change on weekends and public holidays. The easiest cheques to change are Thomas Cook or American Express in USD, EUR or GBP. Traveller's cheques are not recommended in the Middle East.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
If you are happy with the services providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Please check the bill and if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.
At local markets and basic restaurants: Leave the loose change.
Local guides/Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$1 per person, per day for local guides/porters.
Your crew (including the leader and driver, and perhaps cook depending on your trip): You may also consider tipping your crew for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$2-3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Departure tax of EGP50 is payable when leaving Egypt by ferry.
Please note this Intrepid trip is operated by our experienced local partners Dragoman Overland. Your departure will be run in a Dragoman vehicle with a Dragoman crew.
The minimum age for this trip is 18 years old and bookings for minors, even if accompanied by a parent, cannot be accepted.
RAMADAN & THE EID UL-FITR FESTIVAL 2013:
In 2013, the important month of Ramadan will be in progress from 9 July through until 7 August, and the Eid ul-Fitr festival will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan, business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it's a period of national holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be affected.
Maximum of 21 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own room (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
Hotel (11 nts), Bush camp (no facilities) (9 nts), Camping (with facilities) (2 nts), Guesthouse (2 nts), Overnight ferry (1 nt)
The type and variety of accommodation is determined by conditions on each of our routes. Each route is different - on some we use a mixture of campsites and wild camps; on others we also use hotels.
Where it's not practical to camp (ie: in towns and cities), we use hotel accommodation and eat out in local restaurants. The frequency and regularity of hotel stops depends on the route and area.
Campsites will range from rather basic to those with excellent facilities, including swimming pools, restaurants and bars. In some cases it may also be possible to upgrade locally to bungalows, lodges or even tree-houses. One of the highlights of overlanding is that in more remote areas we will wild-camp. This allows us to get far away from the tourist crowds to some beautiful, secluded spots. We will also arrange as many village or local homestays as possible, allowing us to get close to indigenous populations and ensures our money stays within local communities.
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
When travelling on an Overland trip you have chosen a participation camping tour. This means that you will be helping your leader prepare meals for the group. You may also get the chance to help with the shopping!
Your leader will come up with meal ideas and quantities needed for large groups. Participating in the camp is usually done on a duty roster system with group of 5 or 6 people (depending on group size) having a different camp job each day. If you have any dietary requirements please tell us at the time of booking and also remind your crew at your welcome meeting.
All meals when camping
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
Ferry, Overland vehicle
On all of our Dragoman-operated Overlanding trips you will be accompanied by two Western crew members who are responsible for the group and the overall organisation of the trip.
While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad knowledge of the places visited and to offer suggestions of things to do and see. In East and Southern Africa we will also have an African camp master/cook who is in charge of running the camp and organising all of the meals. Their knowledge of the local produce makes shopping at the markets great fun and you will learn how to prepare and cook some unusual dishes. In the rest of Africa, South America and the majority of Central Asia and China we use local guides who may stay with us for just a few hours or will actually travel with us for some or all of the journey. In these cases they become a third crew member and are able to offer their local knowledge as well as a real insight into the lives of the local people. Our crew are chosen for their leadership skills, and most importantly have a passion for the region and its people.
We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader and crew; however, situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders
On any Overland trip, there are a number of tasks that need to be done. Our overland trip leaders will organise the group into smaller groups of two or three who will take turns in the daily shopping and cooking, vehicle cleaning, disposing of rubbish, etc. There are also a number of other jobs that need doing e.g. collecting water and firewood, luggage loading, supervising the kitty and food stores, which may be assigned to particular people or on a rota system according to group size, make-up, and so on. You must come prepared to 'pull your weight' and share in these duties; you will become very unpopular with other group members if they have to do your share. The more you put into a trip, the more you'll benefit.
For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.
14 May 2013 (XDVD130514), 25 Feb 2014 (XDVD140225), 08 Apr 2014 (XDVD140408), 23 Dec 2014 (XDVD141223)
El Qasr Avenue with Sayed Abdul Rahman Avenue
Phone: +24 9183775970
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the Joining Instructions section above for who to contact.
For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.
14 May 2013 (XDVD130514), 25 Feb 2014 (XDVD140225), 08 Apr 2014 (XDVD140408), 23 Dec 2014 (XDVD141223)
20 Abdel Rehim Sabry Street
Phone: 202 333 59455
Finish point description
The King Hotel has 90 rooms with en suite bathrooms, television and air-conditioning. Other hotel features include laundry service, roof top bar and restaurant.
Finish point instructions
Checkout time is 12 midday. Taxis can easily be hired from the street in front of the hotel. Bargain for the fare and aim to pay approx EGP80. Only the new White taxis have working meters. The drive can take between 45 minutes and 1 hour depending on the time of day and subsequent traffic conditions.
We can offer a pre-arranged private transfer service. Inform your agent at the time of booking if you are interested.
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
SCANNED PASSPORT COPY:
Please note that in order to confirm your booking on this trip we will require a scanned copy of your passport at time of booking.
The process of obtaining a Sudanese visa can be a complicated one so it is vital that you read the following information thoroughly.
All nationalities require a visa to enter Sudan and it is recommended that you obtain this visa in advance of your trip. All nationalities must check with their respective embassies. The whole process of obtaining a Sudan visa before travel can take up to 8 weeks and there are a few ways in which you can apply for your Sudan visa.1. Direct with the embassy
If you choose this option please check with your closes Embassy as some embassies will organise the authorisation for you as part of the visa application service. If your Embassy does not provide this authorisation then you will need to obtain this through a Sudanese travel company such as Lendi Travel (email email@example.com) who can help you for a fee.
For US citizens please visit the Embassy of Sudan in Washington on details of how to apply for the tourist visa www.sudanembassy.org
For UK citizens please visit the Embassy of Sudan in London for details on how to apply for the tourist visa http://www.sudan-embassy.co.uk
For Australian citizens please visit the following website for details of your closest Sudan Mission http://protocol.dfat.gov.au/Mission/list.rails2. Through a visa agent
If you decide to obtain your visa through an agent such as Travcour (UK) or Toll (Australia) then you will need to apply for the authorisation before you apply for the visa. The agent should list details on their website how to do this, otherwise you can contact a local Sudanese travel agent such as Lendi Travel (email firstname.lastname@example.org) who can help you for a fee.3. En route in Nairobi, Kenya
If you have obtained both your Ethiopian visa AND Egyptian visa in advance, or if you are flying out of Khartoum and have proof of exit such as your flight ticket, you can apply for a Sudan visa in Nairobi without an authorisation letter. You will however be required to submit a letter of introduction from your own Embassy confirming your nationality and stating there is no reason you cannot travel. Some Embassies charge a fee for this letter, and some will not provide it at all so please check with them well in advance.
The visa cost can vary significantly and cost US$50-$180. It generally takes 1-2 days. You will need approximately 6 passport photos for the visa.
US citizens who are unable to obtain the tourist visa before travel can obtain this in Nairobi, however you must first apply for your authorisation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sudan. To get this you can contact Waleed Arafat at Lendi Travel in Sudan - email@example.com who can apply for your authorisation number on your behalf for a fee (approx. US$165).4. En route in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
If you are travelling on a longer combination trip, you can also obtain your visa en route in Addis Ababa but first you must apply for an authorisation letter in advance. To get this you can contact Waleed Arafat at Lendi Travel in Sudan - firstname.lastname@example.org who can apply for your authorisation number on your behalf for a fee.PLEASE NOTE:
Due to the authorisation process being controlled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sudan, neither Dragoman nor Intrepid will become involved in any way in the authorisation process.
We try to keep this information as up to date as possible, however the process of obtaining visas can change suddenly and at any time. For this reason we advise you to always check with the Embassy.REGISTRATION IN SUDAN
Everyone is required to register with the Aliens Department within three days of your arrival in the country (2 passport size photos are needed and the fee is the Sudanese Pound equivalent of around GBP35). Once registered, you are not required to obtain an exit visa to leave the country. You are required to pay US$20 per person airport tax.
EGYPT overland from Sudan:
You'll need to obtain your visa before you travel. Please contact your nearest Egyptian embassy or consulate for more information.
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
The size of baggage that can be brought on this tour is limited by the locker space on the truck. Different trucks have different sized lockers however to be safe we recommend that your bag be no larger than 66cm deep, 30cm wide, and 30cm high. You will need to bring your own lock for your locker. We recommend a 20-30mm sized padlock with a long shackle.The weight limit for luggage on all trucks is maximum 20kg. Backpacks shouldn't have an external frame unless it can be easily removed and stored separately to avoid damaging other people's luggage.
CAMPING EQUIPMENT / MATTRESS:
A sleeping bag (we recommend a 3–4 season). It can get very cold at night in winter months in desert and mountainous regions. If you're travelling during the hot season you may wish to also pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter the weather. Pillows are NOT provided so please bring a travel pillow along.
We don't provide a mattress so please bring your own (a Thermarest / inflatable mattress is recommended).
A simple plastic bag / waterproof toiletry bag (that can hang on a nail on the back of a door) will be useful to keep your clothes dry inside basic camp shower structures.
You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing, some warm items for the evenings, and long shirts and pants for protection against mosquitoes in the malaria areas. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Some people like to take jeans for evenings out but they can be tough to dry and should not be used for trekking. Avoid nylon and other synthetics, which can be very uncomfortable in hot weather. Ex-military or military style clothing and equipment is NOT recommended.
Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras every couple of days. We always recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera just in case. Your vehicle will be equipped with a 12 volt “cigarette lighter” socket which may be used at the crew’s discretion, however, do bear in mind that only one piece of equipment can be charged at a time and it will not be allowed if there is a risk of running the vehicle’s batteries low. Batteries may also be recharged from hotel room wall sockets. We suggest you bring a mix of normal and rechargeable batteries and the appropriate recharging unit. Hotels and many campsites have electricity and charging of batteries is advised before checking out the following day.
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe and the safe on the overland truck to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden.
We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.
Please bring two (2) copies of your passport. These may be used to assist with hotel check-in, and sometimes at road security points.
If you are a student and can produce a valid student card you will be able to get discounted rates at some of the historical sites. Entrance prices are clearly posted at the ticket booth entry points.
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilized water stored in the purpose-built storage tank or in water jerry cans in your overland vehicle. You're free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like.
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
When booking this tour we ask you to consider that it travels to areas which are currently classified by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) at a Level 5, "do not travel". While there are many reasons for an adverse travel warning and not all National Governments classify these reasons to the same degree, travelling in spite of a warning is a serious decision and we strongly advise you to consider the potential ramifications to you and your family before booking. We also recommend that you check before departure that your travel insurance is valid for travel in these regions. Where we use a local partner to fully operate one of our itineraries we use the travel advisory of the country where that operator is based rather than the Australian DFAT advisory. This itinerary is operated by our local partners Dragoman and as such will follow the British Government (FCO) Travel Advice. To view these travel advices please log on to
UNFENCED CAMP SITES:
On some trips you will at times stay in unfenced camp sites within national parks. While this is a fantastic experience, there are a few safety rules to follow. While staying in national parks it's important that you listen to any advice given by your tour leader and the park rangers regarding responsible and safe behaviour.
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
When packing be aware that dress standards can be conservative in some parts of Africa. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means covering shoulders and no short shorts in culturally sensitive areas: Mosques, small villages, etc. We recommend a mixture of loose, lightweight clothing and warm clothing for the evenings. Topless sun bathing is unacceptable through out the whole of Africa.
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Responsible Travel projects
Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Egypt include:
* Animal Care in Egypt is a true friend to Egypt's mistreated animals. They provide free professional veterinary care, food and medication for some 4,000 injured, sick and mistreated animals each month. In addition to rehabilitating the mistreated, ACE also provides local people with education in appropriate animal care.
Donations of second-hand tack/dog collars and flea treatment are always welcomed.
Carbon Offset C02-e 804.00 kgs per pax.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.