HELLO + WELCOME as we drive from Sydney to London, across Africa.
In this post we leave off from northern Egypt and reach the very top of Africa. It’s Kirsty writing today. Let’s go.
In northern Egypt it felt like we had already left Africa behind. We stayed a night in Hurghada and not even the cold beers or naked Russians could keep us there longer.
It might have been the knowldge that we were just a couple of days drive away from reaching the top of Africa. I’m sure we were saying to each other ‘Let’s go North!’ at least a hundred times a day while in Egypt.
And so, we went North! Along the road that sweeps parallel to the Suez Canal. And it’s here that I offer you an apology for all the photos in this post – the Egyptian military aren’t too keen on having the road photographed and we weren’t too keen on sticking the camera outside the car.
Egyptians are incredibly proud of their man-made canal which links the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and whose passage provides a huge income to the country. We found it was well guarded by a 10-metre high concrete fence lining the entire way. And as we we drove we could see the top of ships flowing past.
We experienced how tense Egyptians were in this part of the country first hand. Driving along, we needed to chuck a u-turn and so Gareth skilfully turned the car avoiding the rubble laying in between the lanes. It was half way through the turn that we noticed a military man with an AK-47 sitting behind a 5-metre pile of sandbags staring straight at us with a confused look on his face. A split-second later we saw him line his eye up behind his rifle and prepare to shoot us!
Talk about a tense moment. At 40′ degrees heat we were both already sweating – but in that moment I’m pretty sure our sweat started sweating.
Hands went up, we waved… we survived! Boy, these Egyptians are tense along the Suez.
:: The road to Hurghada lined with beach goers besides a main motorway
:: Roadside rubble + grabbing a lift anyway you can is the norm in Egypt
:: Driving in parallel to the Suez Canal we saw the tops of ships pass by
:: Tall cement walls lined the canal as did plenty of military – which unfortunately we couldn’t take photos of. It’s a scene that has to be seen to be believed.
Other than the snipers lining up to fire at us the road police seem to know we are travellers and don’t want to bother us. We helped them along by not smiling and waving like idiots the way we have all up through Africa.
Half way along the canal we decide to stay in Ismailia to try and catch a better view of the canal from a higher view point. At 4pm we reach the town of cement and find an overpriced western hotel chain to fall into that has a view over the opening of the canal.
We spend the night and morning watching the hundreds of ships passing by with the knowledge that tomorrow we will be trying to get our butts on one ourselves.
:: We spend the night watching the hundreds of ships passing through the canal with the knowledge that tomorrow we will be trying to get our butts on one ourselves.
:: Here’s a snapshot via WikiMedia to show you the scope of the canal we drove along.
Along the way – and because of the many emails and calls - we had finally made contact with someone able to help us at a port and so we were headed to our final destination in Africa, Port Said!
Here’s a direct except out of my journal that night:
“Tomorrow, it seems we will be reaching our goal of crossing Africa. Port Said is apparently just 1-hour away. Which means 2-hours in Troopy. Which means 3-hours because we are still in Africa.
We’ve had night time chats about our plans in Europe. We’ve been WhatsApp messaging our fixer in Port Said who will hopefully arrange our shipping documents. We have our fingers firmly crossed everything will go quickly and smoothly. My god I hope we are the people it goes smoothly for.
There was even mention of getting to Port Said tomorrow at 8am to try and get on the ferry by 7pm! I can’t believe the ferries are miraculously going again. When we checked again to see if we could try, he said ‘maybe yes,maybe no, but I will do my best’. We decided to stay calm. And aim for the Tuesday ferry.”
It looks like we are getting there…
Thanks as always for joining us for the ride guys.
Leave us a comment below why-dont-ya! Have we primed you for a trip to Egypt soon?