Check out all the photos of this trip on our Facebook page ” African Trails Overlands and Safaris”


A big thank you to the Starbucks team (where Carrie used to work) who have been following our adventures in Africa and shown their support by sending us loads of supplies of tea and coffee to keep us awake and alert on the most recent leg of our journey. Thanks again for the goodies!


We cross from Sudan to Egypt via Lake Nasser on the overnight passenger ferry. Some of the group upgrade to cabins and are thankful for the air-con, whilst Ches, Carrie, Jose and Mark brave sleeping on the deck with the locals. Arriving in Egyptian waters, we get a great view of the sunset and as darkness falls we get our first glimpse of the illuminated statues of the gods that guard the Great Temple of Abu Simbel.

Arriving in Aswan the next morning we are ready to tackle Egypt head on, but we have to go through the departure processes first. After having our temperatures taken, clearing customs and then waiting for most of the cargo to be offloaded over our heads, we are finally allowed to disembark and officially arrive in Egypt. Unfortunately, we are without Ruby who still needs a couple more days to clear customs, so we are off in search of a place to stay. We find a hotel and settle in – with views overlooking the Nile and a rooftop pool, as well as the local markets (and McDonalds) at our doorstep, we find ourselves feeling more like tourists than overlanders but no one is complaining!

We depart at 3am the next morning in convoy to Abu Simbel to visit the enormous temples built by Ramses II. The temples were originally carved into the mountainside that now resides underneath Lake Nasser. The Great Temple, flanked by four 65-foot tall gods that guard the entrance, is dedicated to the gods Ra, Amun, Ptah and Ramses II in his godlike form.  We are amazed at the sheer size of the temple, with its halls and sanctuaries, and get our first look at true Egyptian hieroglyphics depicting significant moments in the rule of Ramses II. The smaller temple at Abu Simbel is no less impressive, and was built as a dedication to Queen Nefertari, the wife and chief Queen of Ramses II. At the front of this temple six rock-cut statues of Ramses II and Queen Nefertari are prominent, surrounded by some of their children. The temple, dedicated to Hathor (the goddess of love, beauty, music, and dancing) also shows many decorations of the royal couple making offerings to the gods.

Back in Aswan, we make the most of our surroundings and take advantage of the pool and McDonald’s air conditioning to beat the heat. We get down to some serious negotiations at the local markets, and travelling in style in a caleche (a horse-drawn carriage, which requires some strong negotiation skills to haggle a good price).

Mark heads off to retrieve Ruby from customs – a process which takes the better part of the day, but finally we get the all-clear and armed with new Egyptian number plates we are ready to leave for Luxor.

 Ches, Sue, Dean, Willy and Chad depart on a 2-day felucca trip up the Nile. With lots of lying around and drifting on the waters it’s a relaxing way to travel. They stop at Kom Ombo to see the Temple of Sobek and Haroeris, dedicated to the crocodile god and falcon-headed sky god. The temple is remarkable for its duplication – it has two of everything allowing priests to make simultaneous dedications to its two gods. Leaving Kom Ombo they head for Edfu and Temple of Horus, famed for being the most completely preserved temple in Egypt. With most of the temple intact, including one of the remaining few that still has a roof, the Temple of Horus provides a good perspective of how the actual structures appeared in their time.


Our next stop is Luxor, and we are ready to tackle one of Egypt’s most popular tourist destinations. Divided by the Nile into the East and West Banks, Luxor is teeming with historic monuments, combined into a modern town. We tackle the East Bank first and head to the Temples of Karnak, dedicated to the Theban gods and Egypt’s pharaohs. Passing through the avenue of ram-headed sphinxes we pass through the complexes of Amun-Ra, Mut and Montu. The site is a myriad of pylons, obelisks, sanctuaries and temples, intricately carved with hieroglyphics, some with the original colours remaining.

We pass the Temple of Luxor, and take in more amazing ruins. With pylons, columns and chapels, the temple is similar to those of Karnak but on a smaller scale, but significant for the Christian paintings in the antechamber which demonstrate the conversion of one of the chapels to a Christian church.

Jose, Carrie, Sue and Ches get some more  history at the Luxor Museum, with the statue of Thumose III and the relics of Tutankhamun’s reign, including a golden statue, carriage and sarcophagus top the list of must-see’s.

Crossing the Nile, we hit the West Bank. Know as the City of the Dead, the West Bank is home to temples and tombs honouring the pharaohs, queens, noblemen, artisans and workmen of Thebes. We start with the Valley of the Kings, and Willy, Dean, Chad, Mark and Ches take a unique approach to travel by jumping on some donkeys. The rest of the group travel by more traditional means, stopping off at the Colossi of Memnon to take in the 18m statues that are all that remain of the temple built by Amenhotep III.

Arriving unscathed if not saddle sore, we negotiate our way around the site which contains 62 tombs. Most can be viewed from outside, but after careful selection we pass through the tombs of Thutmose III, one of the great warrior kings of Egypt, Ramesses II and IV, Tausert and Sethnakht, the only Queens to be buried in the Valley of the Kings), and the infamous Tutankhamun.  Whilst much smaller than the other burial tombs, the tomb of King Tut contains his unwrapped remains, and the decorated burial chamber containing one of the gilded coffins where the mummy originally rested.

Leaving the Valley of the Kings, Jose, Carrie, Sue and Ches make their way for some more tomb-raiding at the Valley of the Nobles. This  site containing more than 1000 tombs is where nobles, priests and other officials are buried, and is renowned for its funerary scenes as well as depictions of daily life. The Valley of the Nobles is also notable for the great artistry and craftsmanship of its painting and other artworks that adorn the tombs. They also stop at the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut (Deir al-Bahri) which, built into its surroundings is an amazing piece of architecture noted for its modern look, and dedicated to Hatshepsut, the most important women to rule over Egypt as a pharaoh. Chad and Dean decide that they need some exercise and view the Valley of the Nobles using peddle-power.

With the historic sites of Luxor ticked off, we traipse the local souk for bargains with jewelry in the form of cartouches, rings and bracelets engraved with hieroglyphics, cushion covers, chess sets and leather goods topping the list of our haul. We also take time-out from the heat and make the most of the campsite with frequent dips in the pool, movie nights and games of giant chess.

We  leave Luxor and drive up the Red Sea Coast, stopping at Safaga for a dip and our final bush camp before arriving in Egypt’s capital, Cairo.