Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Egypt: To drive or not to drive?

I am in holiday planning mode and the destination is Egypt.
Obviously the pyramids and sphinx will need to be visited, as will some amazing museums in Cairo. 
After a week of sightseeing we are hoping to retire to Sharm el Sheikh to while away the hours on the beach, scuba diving and relaxing.

It sounds very pleasant doesn't it? No real adventure there.

That was until I goggled “Driving in Egypt.”
The more I read on the dangers of driving in this north African country the more I want to do it! 
If I survived Casablanca – this cant be too bad can it?

“Cairo is one of the biggest and busiest cities in the world with more than 25 million inhabitants. Roads in the centre of the city can have up to 8 lanes, although the lack of actual marked lanes is what makes driving here quite difficult," explain Rhino Car Hire.

Traffic in Cairo  http://erinsjourney.blogspot.co.uk
Ah the old 'lack of marked lane' issue. I drive on an 'unmarked' country road in Ireland most days – would that experience help?

“Not only do you have to deal with unruly cars but you can often see livestock and donkeys in the middle of the road.” - Ah so my country driving will come in handy. Livestock pouring onto the road will be no challenge. That is of course unless the said livestock is also combating the eight 'marked lanes' in the city ...

It is obviously a bit of an Arch de Triumph roundabout situation – so just push ahead I say. The speeding limit is 90kmph (about 59 mph) in Egypt so once we have out seat belts on we should be safe as ...
By law you must wear a seat belt at all times, front and back. Hardly any of the local cars in Egypt have working seat belts so it would be extremely unfair if police were to punish you for not wearing yours.” 
-Great. Really reassuring.

A different kind of traffic (c) fifiheavey
And just in case, I dared think that out of the city we were motoring happily: “Due to the heat, water should be carried with you at all times. You should also have anti-dehydration medication. If you get stuck in the sand don't spin the wheels as this will make a car sink deeper. You should avoid driving at night at all costs as there are many hazards in the form of pedestrians and carts.”

Also parking is next to impossible. And driving is one the right hand side. 

On the positive side we would get to cross the historic Suez canal, get a taste of the open road, get to see things off the beaten track, stop and go where we please.

And it would be strange of me to take a big holiday that does not hold any risks, no concerns for loved ones to worry bout back home Though maybe the unstable political tensions might take care of that one. 

Should we hit the open road?? (c) fifiheavey
So do I take a boring flight or risk my life?
Any positive Egypt driving experiences out there?

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