|Cairo, Luxor, Western desert oases,
is a report of my
trip to Egypt
in January - February 2001. I'd classify it as a budget trip with some
comfort, meaning that I stayed in inexpensive hotels/guesthouses with
bath and used a mix of buses, private taxis and internal flights to
Basically I flew to
by plane to Luxor and from there drove back overland to Cairo along the
desert route, stopping in the oases (Kharga, Dakhla, Farafra,
I travelled with a
high end camera,
a subnotebook and a mobile phone. I used GSM data services and a local
Egyptian internet account to send and receive emails while travelling
kept in touch with my fiancee by daily email).
26.01.01, Friday: Flight
I'm supposed to land in
21:50pm local time.
27.01.01, Saturday, Cairo
Yesterday evening I
arrived in Cairo
and now I am staying in the Swiss Hotel. Today I booked a flight to
(leaving Sunday evening 8:30pm) and I visited the Pyramids
in Gizeh and Sakkarah. They are supposed to be the best, on of the
world wonders, but actually they were quite disappointing. A mass of
stones, full of dust and ruins everywhere. Tomorrow I'll visit the National
Egyptian museum. I'll try to get a local internet account as
Finally I have an
account. Yesterday (28 Jan) I arrived in the evening in Luxor
(took the plane from Cairo). Today I visited the west side of the Nile,
opposite Luxor with all the graves and temples. Was interesting but a
tiring. Actually I'm staying in a noisy hotel and this morning I woke
I'm thinking what I
should do in
the following days. One option would be to fly to Abu Simbel in the
south of Egypt and visit the temple, but it would cost 230-250 US $ and
it's just another temple and I have seen already so many. The other
is to go back to Cairo crossing the western desert. That would be
1200 Km across the desert - from oasis to oasis. There are frequent
connecting the oasis, so it shouldn't be a problem doing the trip.
alternatives are a cruise on the Nile river (boring) or going to
on the Red Sea and swimming and snorkeling a bit.
Today I visited the Karnak
temple. Tomorrow I might go into the desert and then I won't be
able to send/receive emails for a few days. Not sure if there are
cafes in the oasis.The level of harassment in Luxor is very high. You
walk 2 minutes on the street without having somebody trying to sell
31.01.01, Wednesday, Luxor - Kharga
Today I'm leaving for the
There will be a communications black-out until probably February 5th
of course there are internet cafes in the oasis).
31.01.01, Wednesday - Kharga oasis
Right now I'm in the Kharga
oasis. I arrived at 5:30pm and to my surprise the mobile phone
works in the oasis, so I can send emails.
Basically this morning I
with the taxi driver the fee for the trip. It's 300 Km and we agreed on
a price of 300 Egyptian pounds (= 300 RM). The direct
road between Luxor and Kharga officially is closed to tourists
(or maybe not according to my guide book). Anyway the driver drove
secondary streets to avoid the first military check-point and insisted
that I wear the Egyptian headscarf (a turban, like the one of the
people) and a jellaba, the Arab dress. He said that I had to look like
an Egyptian, but even the children automatically recognised me as a
tourist. I looked like Mr. Stupid.
Anyway, after about one
we finally had left the Nile valley and were in the middle of the
I took off the Egyptian stuff. The scenery
was absolutely breathtaking. We then passed three army check-points and
the driver bribed the military personnel with some cigarettes so that
would let us through. Whatever.... In any case we made it to Kharga
at 5:30pm, shortly before the sunset.
Kharga is a relatively
big town (70,000
inhabitants). Hard to believe that in the middle of the desert there is
such a big oasis. But the town has not much to offer, so tomorrow I'll
go to Dakhla oasis which is supposed to be much nicer. Don't know if my
mobile phone works in Dakhla.
From Kharga and all the
way to Cairo
there are regular buses, so I don't have to take a taxi.
01.02.01, Thursday, Kharga - Dakhla
To my surprise the mobile
in all oases. Apparently I'm not so far away from civilisation after
Basically today I took
bus from Kharga to Dakhla where I arrived at 2:30pm. I was planning to
spend the night in Dakhla
but since there is absolutely nothing to do in Dakhla (and nothing to
I just had lunch in Dakhla and then took the shared taxi to Farafra
We (the taxi) left shortly before 5pm and arrived in Farafra at 9pm.
Right now I'm staying in
hotel for the equivalent of 17 US $. The room has a TV, a nice
bathroom and three beds. The place where I stayed last night was only 5
US $, but there was no water in the bathroom, so I had to take a cold
Since yesterday morning
a total of 800 Km across the desert. The worst of trip is over (today
passed just one military checkpoint, yesterday three) and now I'm back
in a "tourist zone". Yesterday was more of a "no-man's-land". Basically
there are virtually no foreign tourists in Kharga (and very few in
I was surprised because
(Kharga, Dakhla, Farafra) are HUGE. It's not just a few palm trees
a little water spring - these oases are around 50 x 20 Km in size. I
that Bahariya - the last oasis before Cairo - is even 90 x 20 Km.
The next few days I'll
try to do
some desert trips. I might spend one or two nights in the desert, but
nights are FREEZING, so I'm hesitating a bit.
03.02.01, Saturday, Farafra oasis
Right now (and the past
I have been in the Farafra
Yesterday afternoon I visited the white
desert, a desert containing stunning white rock formations.
I'll go to Bahariya
and then the day after I'll be back in Cairo.
05.02.01, Monday, Bahariya - Cairo
In the bus from Bahariya to Cairo. No GSM coverage in Bahariya.
05.02.01 - Cairo
Today I came back to
Cairo by bus
from Bahariya. And again all local Egyptians started talking to me on
street trying to sell something to me. This evening while I was walking
in the historic old town a guy approached me and tried to be my guide
order to get some money). I told him 'no thanks' and 'no backshish'
= money tip). He got very upset and said '...you think that I want to
your money... asshole.... shitter.... gay...'. Some people in
are very aggressive and impolite.
Cairo - Milan - Düsseldorf
In the morning I visited
quarter. Pretty interesting with the markets, mosques and old
I'm flying back to Germany at 3.45pm .
Copyright (c) 2003