The owner of Adam’s guesthouse has a number of relatives who work in the Traffic Court, so he kindly offered to assist by helping us skip the queue. While the main chap did not arrive until around 10am, I received the signed and stamped document after just 30 minutes which I thought remarkably efficient given that the waiting area had since become busy with 20 handcuffed men!
With the correct documentation obtained we joined the convoy that departs from the Obelisk in Aswan at 4am and 11am daily. We were forewarned about the speed of the convoy and managed to keep up with them through Aswan and over the dam until we reached the straight tarmac of the desert, at which point the convoy sped off into the horizon at 130km/h – far quicker than Melvin was willing to travel in the 45 degree heat! The journey was faultless though, and took 4 hours. We did later meet up with one of the convoy cars where the road split to go to Abu Simbel or Wadi Halfa. We had heard about a new road down to Dongola and had seen it on Google maps – but nobody seemed to know whether it was open or not. It turns out that the road is officially opening on the 6th October, however whether or not that is for Goods/Trading and Tourists is unknown, however one chap we met mentioned that the road was build by an individual who will be charging a toll fee of $150! The road does mean that, in future it may be possible to drive from Dongola to Aswan without needing to ferry across Lake Nasser.
Desert road from Aswan to Abu Simbel
After arriving in Abu Simbel we soon found the Temple car park, up the road from the Ferry port that links Abu Simbel with Wadi Halfa. After asking the local tourist police if we could stay the night and providing them with a copy of our passports we found a lovely spot (in an empty carpark) to camp for the night and decided to explore the Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which were stunning – even more so given the fact they had all been moved, brick by brick from their original site (now below the surface of the lake) to their current position during the 1950s!
Temples at Abu Simbel
Having marveled at the Nubian statues, we returned to Melvin to cook dinner. Whilst doing so a monster Mercedes overland truck pulled into the car park, belonging to Robert and his wife – our first overland encounter (www.doubledutchworldsafari.com)! We spent the evening sharing stories and information – they had nearly finished their journey from Cape Town to Egypt. Mid-way during the evening another chap called Frederique from Montréal, Canada, appeared on a bike! It turned out he was cycling from Cairo to Cape Town and catching the same 8am ferry the following morning as us.
Meeting Robert and his wife in the car park at Abu Simbel