Welcome to dagsVStheworld’s definitive motorcycle guide to Egypt! (well some of it anyway…)
History of Egypt
Egypt is a timeless, ancient place and the amount of history here is just mind-blowing. Structures that have stood the test of time and still remain standing will leave you in awe. Even the painted hieroglyphic artwork and stone carving is of an impeccable standard, even today. One can only image how this incredible civilization was interpreted by travellers, who managed to stumble upon the place in the Pharaonic heyday. With history dating back some 10 thousand years Egypt will leave an impression on you that will last for a lifetime.
If you want to check out the villages by yourself and don’t mind a road that’s shitty in parts, go down either the Western Agricultural Road or the Eastern Agricultural Road. I you want to get there flat-out, use the Giza-Luxor Highway. I mixed up all three. When the shitty road gets too much, head to the highway and at a checkpoint the police will interrogate the shit out of you and insist to be your chaperone and treat you like a simpleton.
You can sign a waiver that says you don’t want police protection and take full responsibility for any problems that may arise, and trust me, after about 5 hours with these guys, you will be signing those fuckers in triplicate. I recommend going through villages as there are more people around and it’s generally safer than the desert highway. I had a few minor breakdowns and within minutes people would stop to help out. Pretty cool actually.
Dags Tip: Be nice to the army and police and you will have no problems. A good handshake and say “Salam Aly-Koom” (peace be with you) and you will be instantly super-cool.
Places to See
Cairo is a bustling and chaotic, mayhem-driven city and it’s definately an adventure getting about on a motorcycle. Traffic drives to the right and keeping to lanes are non-existent. On a three-lane highway there are usually four cars/trucks abreast and cars will over-taking whenever there is a gap. Pretty fucking hectic. The Egyptians are a pretty rowdy bunch so expect to see some fisticuffs and yelling on street corners or wherever there’s been a fender bender.
Pretty entertaining stuff. Keep your guard up and keep a thick skin and you will be fine. I recommend staying in Giza at ‘The Pyramids View Inn’-the guys here are absolutely fantastic, it is safe and secure, well priced and has a rooftop view of the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx. They have a secure place for your motorcycle as well.
Absolutely breathtaking. Riding up to Giza you will see the pyramids looming on the horizon, getting bigger and bigger. A juxtaposition of a noisy, smog-ridden metropolis and the remnants of a by-gone civilization that spanned over five thousand years. I recommend entering via the ‘Sphinx Gate’ (opposite Pizza Hutt) and as an international tourist you will get sent straight to the front of the line. Sweet! No motorcycles allowed I’m afraid, you gotta walk or catch a camel.
There are quite a few pushy touts around, just say “La shukran”(no thanks) and keep walking, they will eventually lose interest. If they persist say “Mafish Froos” (I have no money) You can go inside the Great Pyramid, but honestly it’s devoid of any colour or hieroglyphs and it’s just a long-ass staircase to a tiny humid room. A 200 Egyptian Pounds punch in the balls is what I call it.
Stay at the Pyramids View Inn, which is directly opposite the Sphinx entrance. This place is awesome, well-priced, friendly staff, very secure and has a rooftop view of the whole Giza plateau. They may even help you purchase a motorbike. (But look after them with some baksheesh)
Dahshur is about 30km south of Giza and you can get there easily by taking the ‘Al Manseyara’ farming road directly south from Giza. It’s bitumen and off-road and through bustling villages. A great little ride. This place has several attractions, but the only notable ones are The Red Pyramid, The Bent Pyramid, and The Black Pyramid (totally fallen apart)
When you get to the Dahshur compound, tell the ticket guy you want to take your bike in. This is where bakshish (bribes) will get you a long way. In fact, if you want to get anything done in this country you will get used to paying this small but necessary fee (just keep it on the down-low!) Once you are in you can blitz around the gravelly sandy roads to your heart’s content. You can even ride up the side of the Red Pyramid if you so wish. No restrictions here at all. If you have any problems, good old baksheesh will get you where you need to go.
This is where the Step Pyramid of Djoser lies and it’s another balls-out-blast- around-the desert fun ride as well. As of March 2016 they were doing some restorations, so the pyramid itself was covered in scaffolding, but it was still quite impressive to see. There are a bunch of tombs and ruins to check out as well and it’s quite a big area.
They have dirt-bike tours here too, which would be a lot of fun. Just be sure to purchase all your tickets before you get there, as they have a different ticket for every tomb. This happens at all Egypt’s archaeological zones and it’s a real pain in the ass.
Enroute to El Minya take a detour to get to the Maidum Pyramid. It’s totally in the middle of nowhere and really cool to see. Thought to be one of the first attempts at building a pyramid, it has unfortunately collapsed here and there, yet it is still impressive none-the-less.
There are police stationed close by, so it’s pretty safe to leave your bike with them and head over to the big ol’ pile of rocks and sand.
A wonderful and chilled out small city on the banks of the Nile, that seems to harbour some relatively wealthy and happy people. Lots of smiling faces about and I stayed at the Tut Hotel, which is an old cruise ship turned into a hotel, moored on the banks of the Nile. Very cool! Great place to get some rest before your next ride!
This a small but bustling town and I felt quite safe travelling through here. I stayed at the New Casalovy Hotel to do some repairs to my bike. They have secure parking for your steed as well if you ask.
This place will knock your socks off. Abydos is one of the oldest cities in Egypt and at once stage was the capital. Where talking first dynasty which is around five thousand years ago. It’s been here so long the successive Pharaohs have built tombs on top of tombs, temples upon temples and the ruins go so deep they are still digging them up.
Park your bike at the coffee shop to the right of Temple of Seti the 1st. Spend some time checking out this temple, its seriously fucking cool (this is where the infamous helicopter/UFO hieroglyphs were found)
Then head to your right through the old town towards the Temple of Ramses the 2nd and be awed by the landscape and dwellings.
You cannot go to Egypt and miss Luxor! This place is seriously beautiful and I felt extremely safe cruising around. Here you have the Luxor Temple, Karnak Temple, Valley of the Kings and Queens and the iconic Hatshepsut Temple. I stayed at the Cleopatra Hotel on the West Bank and it’s the best place hands down.
Great people, great food, great price and great location (right down the road from Valley of the Kings) They have secure parking for your bike and if you want to get to the Luxor Temple, ride the long way around over the bridge (25km) or stuff ya bike on a ferry (50EP) which is within walking distance from the hotel. There is a decent mechanic near here if you need any repairs. I had a full service, replaced my swing-arm bushes for $15 or 100EP!
Valley of the Kings and Queens
Grab yer bike and tear around through the canyons and through the desert Arabian Nights style, and see everything here. Get to the first ticket office and buy all the tickets. It’s just easier (these will let you cruise around the smaller tombs on your bike).
When you get to Valley of the Kings you will need more tickets. Same at Valley of the Queens and also Hatshepsut temple. Slow down around police checkpoints, say hi and introduce yourself so they know who you are.
The Temple of Horus/ Temple of Edfu
Around 100km south of Luxor is the amazing Temple of Horus. At a very young two thousand years old, its relatively well-preserved and holds a commanding view as you enter the grounds. With plenty of hidden rooms and always, you will have a lot of fun getting lost inside here and exploring the place.
The Temple of Kom Ombo
150km South of Luxor and 50km North of Aswan id the Kom Ombo ruins and its fairly well-preserved but fallen down in parts, due to earthquakes, flooding and pillaging. This temple is dedicated to two gods- the crocodile deity Sobek and the falcon-headed god Horus or Haroeris. You can even visit the nearby crocodile museum to see mummified crocs! Kom Ombo Temple is rather small and not as awesome as i thought it would be, but hey if you want to tick it off the list, go and check it out.
An incredibly beautiful town right on the Nile and I felt extremely safe getting around. This is apparently where they quarried a lot of stone for many of the statues you see throughout Egypt, and you can visit the ‘Unfinished Obelsik’ to see how it was done. Other things to see here are Elephantine Island, Temple of Philae, The Nubian Museum or just cruise around on a boat up and down the Nile for a while. I recommend hitting the back streets and wandering around the local markets, or ride your bike up into the Western hills around the town. Get down and dirty and mix with the locals! I stayed at the Keylany Hotel, which I highly recommend.
Abu Simbel is about 280km south from Aswan and is accessed by the desert highway. Traffic can only go in a convoy and all vehicles have to be registered with the police. Its a real pain in the ass, so I would recommend just jumping in with a van with other tourists. Getting your bike down there will just result in you having a migraine from all the police and government bollocks. Plus its a straight road that would only be fun on a sports bike anyway 🙂 The main sights are the Temple of Ramses the 2nd and there is a smaller temple dedicated to Nefertari.
Where to Stay
I always book my hotels in advance when possible through Agoda.com. I’ve never had any problems and when I have cancelled, my refund was promptly paid into my account within a few days. In Egypt if you try to get the cheapest hotel you may end up in a dump with little security, so mid range is the least you should aim for.
Getting a Visa in Egypt was so freaking easy. Walk up to the counter at the airport, pay $35 (single entry) and then you have ya visa. Simple!
There’s plenty of decent wifi around, but I recommend getting a sim card from Orange (Mobinil) where 15gig of data is yours for 200EP ($30) I had reception and data all the way from Cairo to Abu Simbel.
Best time to Go
Best time to go is now my friend. Hardly any tourists around and you have a lot of these iconic temples to yourself. Keep your guard up and don’t put yourself in any dangerous situations. Dress simply and respect the culture. The further south you go, the hotter it gets and from May to October is very hot! (summer)
Things are pretty cheap in Egypt. You can get a decent hotel for 20 bucks a night, fuel is dirt cheap (20EP or $3 for 15L full tank of fuel) and food, motorcycle repairs/parts are a third of the price you are used to paying in western countries. A large pizza and a coke will cost you about 40EP or $5 bucks. Fruit is extremely cheap and you can get a kilo of bananas, some apples and oranges for less than 30EP or 3-4 bucks.
My costs to motorcycle Egypt where around $40 per day
- Hotels $20
- Fuel $3
- Beer $7
Egypt Land of Legend