Luxor-al-Hurghada Road. One of the worlds most dangerous roads to travel. So what did we do? Well lets just start this story by saying “don’t try this at home or while in Egypt“.
This road is the one that links Luxor (in the southern Egypt) and Hurghada, the touristy city together. This road is extremely dangerous for several reasons. But before I get into that lets start from the beginning of that day – the day we went with Hassan to Luxor.
On a local train to Luxor
So while in Egypt, Mini and I got to know Hassan, a sweet guy that worked at a store near our hotel. After spending a couple of days with him we wanted to see Luxor, the ancient city with all its sights. To book a trip there with an tourist group would be quite expensive so we asked Hassan. Said and done – Hassan said that he would get us there. With us on the trip, Rickard, from Sweden decided to join. Hassan said that we should get a taxi to Luxor but I wanted to take the local train. Hassan tried to talk me out of it but I would not budge so next morning – off to the train station.
This was truly an adventure. I am not sure if it was a good one but definitely a different one. I do understand why tourists avoid taking the train while in Egypt. The train was filthy, dirty, smelly, rusty and all other words to describe disgusting. For example the toilet was a hole right down to the tracks. Imagine the smell inside the train due to a broken door to the bathroom. It was loud and dark and someone was up on the rack sleeping. My seat had cigarett burns and was moist (I am glad that I did not know what had made it wet).
Finally we arrived and we made a pact – not to take the train back but join the caravan back.
Touristing all day
So this post will not specify all day during in Luxor. We had a great day and got to see all the different sights like The Valley of the Kings, Luxor Temple and taking a sailing trip on the Nile. This will all be in different posts. With all that touristing we lost track of time and ended up missing the caravan back.
While traveling in Egypt by car you join a caravan. This is either if you are traveling to and from Luxor or the same when it comes to Cairo. A caravan is where a lot of cars join and drive together, one by one. When we went on a trip to Cairo (we booked an organized trip there), one of the passengers had forgotten his passport at the hotel. The delay made us miss the caravan heading for Cairo. Instead we got police escort all the way – that is how important it is to not drive by yourself.
In a van back – hiding through checkpoint
So Hassan called someone who called someone and suddenly there was a person, willing to drive us back to Hurghada. We got the information that Hassan and his friends did not have tourist- “id” which ment that they were not allowed to drive tourists. Yes that is true. If you are an Egyptian and you do not have an identification that allows you to work as a tour guide – you are not allowed to work and hang out with tourists.
We got the information that there would be some checkpoints along the road back and that we would have to hide in the back of the van so that the police would not see us. Said and done, we got into the van and off we went. Every once in a while the driver would yell “checkpoint” and we would crouch back in the seat. The car would stop and some officers would speak to Hassan and the driver. After a minute or so – we were on the road again – until next checkpoint.
Driving without lights
If the checkpoints weren’t stressful enough, we were driving with no lights on the car. It was pitch black and you could not see anything, and I mean anything! After a while we asked Hassan why we were driving in the dark. He told us that it was because we were saving the lights on the car and thats how you drive in Egypt. Being tired and nervous we did not question that and after a while Mini fell asleep. I was awake the whole time and noticed that sometimes the driver would flash his head lights but only for a split second. Today a couple of years later – we are smarter and now we know why we were driving in the dark!
In all honesty I do believe that Hassan did the right thing to lie to us because I would have s*it my pants if I knew the truth. If you want to read more about our dear friend Hassan you can klick here.
In the early morning we reached Hurghada and everyone was happy with the trip! Today we would have done it different – thats for sure. Better safe than sorry – even if we got extremely lucky! The dangerous roadtrip lasted for about five hours.
Why is Luxor-al-Hurghada Road dangerous?
There are several different reasons why the Luxor-al-Hurghada Road is dangerous – one of the most dangerous in the world. Here are the reasons why you shall be very careful while traveling here:
- There are many head-on collisions and fatal accidents due to drivers not turning on their head lights. The reason for drivers keeping their lights off is because bandits and terrorists patrol the roads and shoot at drivers!
- On this road between these 2 touristic centers, bandits and terrorist attempt to undermine the tourism industry. Frightened drivers have all combined to turn this asphalted road into a major nightmare.
- The violent attacks along this road are dangerous enough by themselves. And if the bandits don’t get you, the terrorists probably will. On 17 November 1997, there were 62 German tourists shot and killed.
Did we get lucky or what?! But in all honesty that was just stupid of us. This is NOT the way we want to travel. Safety comes first!