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Antarctica update 2014

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As there was an overland vehicle involved this season as well, I thought I should do a write up on the main events in this year’s Antarctic season. We arrived back home in Norway mid September, and after about four…

Things to do after an overland trip

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Hi All, We’ve been off-line for a while, but are now back in Norway after a great couple of months on the Antarctic continent. Malin was part of the shut-down crew this season, and they flew out on the 11th…

Waiting for weather

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Hei! Thanks so much for all Your comments! We haven’t been very active online lately, and we’ll probably be relatively quiet for the next couple of months too. Right now we’re stuck in Punta Arenas, Chile, waiting for a weather…

Norway – home at last

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Dear friends, fellow overlanders, and all readers, This post has been looming in the distance for some time now. But no matter how hard we’ve tried to postpone this part, the time has come. The arrival home, and the final…

Euro-drive

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Europe is full of interesting places to see, and it is extremely hard to choose a few. As we have now chosen the route along the Adriatic coast, one stop gave itself: Dubrovnik in Croatia. In August most tourist destinations…

Back in Europe – Greece & Albania

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As you’ve seen from our border crossing / shipping post, we made it to Europe and Greece. And even if Israel in some ways felt quite European, arriving in Greece definitely took the edge of the adventure level. We quickly…

Shipping from Israel to Greece

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Coming up the east coast of Africa there are at the moment very limited options for finding your way to Europe without container shipping. The ferry that used to run from Egypt has been canceled, and the other routes from…
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Israel and the Golan Heights

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Arriving in Jerusalem on a Thursday, the hostel we had planned to stay in was fully booked. As we were sitting in the parking lot behind the hostel, the parking lot owner offered to help us searching the internet on…
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Arrived safely in Israel

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It is strange how different the feeling can be for two places just a few hundred meters apart. The Sinai Peninsula is considered dangerous, and most governments around the world have travel warnings for this area. A couple of hundred…
Crossing
the border to Israel is another one of the infamous border crossings in Africa.
Many travelers have told us about hours and hours of questioning and waiting.
Some even say that they don’t even want to try as chances for getting a visa is
slim. Some overlanders we knew well drove through Israel a few months before
us, and they reported back that the crossing is slow and tedious, but that it’s
not really a problem. As you know from previous blogs, our first plan was to
cross from Egypt to Jordan, and then from Jordan to Israel. As we were delayed
first into Egypt, and then stopped by the demonstration and unrest, we decided
to try to ship out from Egypt to Turkey. This didn’t work out as planned, and
the only option left to us was to drive across the Sinai, and ship out from
Israel. Now we were even more delayed as we’d been waiting in Port Said to
arrange the shipping out of Egypt, so we saw Jordan being postponed to a later
trip. We drove to Taba and started the process of leaving Egypt. T&he main road ends in the border station..Compared to
the customs in Aswan, the Taba customs came close to be referred to as
efficient. Everything is relative in this world. We were three cars driving
together, and this slows down the process considerably as the officials for
some reason like to get all three of us through a certain step in the process
before moving on to the next one.      After driving into the customs zone, and pay
2 EL each (about 35 cents), you take a left a few meters after the gate (and
just in from of the Immigration Office) and park on a big parking lot to the
left of the Immigration building. Proceed to the building on the other side of
the parking lot.      Walk in through the door in the center of the building, and
turn right to find the customs office. And the very first step was for the guys
at the customs to call and get the guy with the stamps to come to the office.
This never stops to amaze me… Anyway. There is a form to fill in, and to process
the Carnet you have to pay 21 EL.Next step
is to go across the hall to the police office (in through the main door and to
the left). While we were in the customs office, and engineer was outside to get
the vin number from the Patrol. Also here he needed to “rub” off a print on the
vin number stamped into the frame of the car. In the police office another form
has to be filled in, and then you can hand in the Egyptian transit license
plates. The fee is 10 LE. We got receipts for the costs.From here
proceed to the Immigration office. Note that this is the only border where
we’ve processed the vehicle before our passports. We walked back to the
Immigration building and got the exit stamp in our passports. You leave on the
other side of the immigration building, but it is okay to walk around back to
the parking lot. Paperwork finished!But the
most meaningless and annoying part is still to come. Before they let you drive
over to the Israeli side, they need to inspect the vehicles. Every overlander
we’ve talked to say the same. In our case there were two officers going through the whole car. There
was a third one coming over and asked Malin to open the backdoors, but she said
no, as we like to see what is going on. Each of us watched one customs officer.
We’re not sure why it is important for them to do this on exit and not on
entry, as there was no inspection in Aswan upon entry. We suspect it is because
it would be embarrassing for the Egyptians if the Israelis find things they
don’t, but who knows. And because they wanted to inspect all three cars before
letting any of us through, we spent about two and a half hours on the Egyptian
side. Much of it waiting for the inspection of the two other vehicles.Finally we
could drive across to the Israeli side. Here they have a system where only one
car can drive in at the time. Before they let us in they collected our
passports and vehicle papers, and looked under the car with a mirror. And as
overland vehicles generally are so full of stuff there was only enough space on
the parking outside the customs building for two cars. The British guy was
“stuck” at the gate while we and a German couple emptied our cars into plastic
boxes and “shopping carts”. Fortunately we were mentally prepared for this, and
we knew beforehand that EVERYTHING has to come out of the car. I’ll say it
again: absolutely everything that is not permanently bolted in place goes out! Knifes
and dangerous looking tools, like an axe, is collected, and we were told we
would get these back at the exit gate. When everything is out, all this goes
through a luggage scanner. It really is incredible how much crap is collected
over three years of overlanding… The car also goes through a vehicle scanner,
and a customs officer makes a manual/visual check in a closed garage. You are
not allowed to drive the car in, and you are not allowed to be there to monitor
the inspection. This is slow and time consuming, but everybody involved are
very professional and polite. Everything is thoroughly explained, and you’re
even offered soft drinks from the custom officers. At no time were we worried
about our stuff or things “disappearing ”. When everything has gone through the
scanner, we proceed to the Immigration in the same building.Malin and
the retired German couple got their three months tourist visas right away. It
took about two minutes. They do not stamp your passport, but give you a small
printed piece of paper with the visa. British guy and I were told we had to
talk to another officer before we would get our visas. I was called into
another office and a nice lady asked me a couple of questions about our trip.
The Sudanese stamp in my passport was mentioned, but when I explained that this
is the only way to drive through Africa (eastern route) it was not an issue.
They wanted my father and my grandfather’s name so they could run a security
check on me, and I believe it was the same for the British guy. We waited about
15 minutes for the security check to go through, and she came out with our
visas.When the
visas were ready we went back outside and started loading everything back into
the car. 30 minutes later we drove towards the exit gate, and parked there. In
a building just to the right of the gate, is the desk that issues the temporary
vehicle permit and where pick up your vehicle papers. They do not process the
Carnet. European insurance companies can issue a so called Green Card, and we
had picked up ours when we were home. If you don’t have this you need to buy an
Israeli insurance here at the border. There is another building on the left
just before the exit gate where you can buy this. In the same building it is
also possible to exchange money. We got our temporary vehicle permit and were
ready to go. There are no costs at the Israeli side of the border, unless you
need to pick up local insurance. I don’t have the prices for the Israeli
insurance, but it is quite expensive. I think one of the other guys said he
paid over 100 USD for three weeks.When we
drove up to the gate, a guy handed back our kitchen knifes and the axe. The
whole process on the Israeli side took us at least four hours, so in total for
crossing this border it was nearly seven hours for the three cars. If we’d been
alone it would be less, but you should count on five – six hours and make sure
to have some snacks or food available. Anyway, we were in Israel!Espen

Taba in Egypt to Eilat in Israel

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Crossing the border to Israel is another one of the infamous border crossings in Africa. Many travelers have told us about hours and hours of questioning and waiting. Some even say that they don’t even want to try as chances…
blog (1)

Leaving Egypt

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   Warning: This blog post has a lot of details, might seem a bit confusing, going back and forth between things, but that it how the last two weeks in Egypt felt like for me. We followed the news…

Sudan to Egypt on Lake Nasser

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Usually we post the border crossing info only on our unurban.no website, but this one was kind of different. It also turned out that we have a new record in time to get the car into a country. USA with…

And then we arrived in Egypt

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Somehow we did not read or pick up on the announced demonstration on the 30th of June in Egypt before we arrived in Aswan. As we talked with people in town, we realized quickly that something was going on. The…

Nubian Pyramids

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The road from Khartoum to the border of Egypt is not as remote as it used to be. Both the direct route from Khartoum to Dongola and the route along the Nile are now new modern highways. Locals told me…

Sudan

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All the travelers we have met on this continent have told us Sudan has the friendliest people in Africa. We were looking forward to meet the people in Sudan, and we were curious about the country since most of what…

The Simian Mountains

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The Simian Mountains was one of the first must-see places on our list when we started planning for Africa. Many overlanders have discussed back and forth if this area is safe to visit, but apparently all are believe this is…

Northern Ethiopia

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Before I start writing this blog I would like to write short about the Ethiopian salaries and also the cost level in Ethiopia. During our stay this is level of salaries we have been told about: a small scale farmer…

Lalibela and the road north

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Our first stop going north from Addis Ababa was Lalibela. In Lalibela you find one of those rare historical sites in the world that you struggle to believe even if you are staring right at it. The roch hewn churches…

Visa waiting in Addis Ababa

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Our stay in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, turned out to last a little bit longer than we had planned. The visa we were told could just be “collected” at the embassy actually took us 10 days to process.…

Southern Ethiopia

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After a long day on the Marsabit Moyale road and then doing the border crossing from Kenya to Ethiopia it was time to call it a day. Our first night in Ethiopia was spent in a hotel 1, 5 km…

Marsabit to Moyale Road

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This piece of road must be one of the most famous drives in Africa. Mostly for the wrong reasons. Cars break down and people have to camp along the road as they can’t make it all the way to the…

Lake Turkana

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We have always read about how remote and difficult this route is. As usual, I think I will say, we find that this is quite exaggerated. Turkana is of course not a good place to have a break down, but…

Southern Kenya

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From Malin’s slide show of rain, you have probably figured out that now is rainy season in East Africa. We knew of course, but decided that this would only make it more interesting. Our first stop after Zanzibar was Manfred’s…

Rainy season

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Driving north from South Africa in May 2012 we traveled in the dry season for 5 months. We did not have a drop of rain for at least three months in the middle, and it made life on the road…

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