A private escort

Cycling through Africa so far hasn’t been the low carbon journey we were hoping for. From Al Wasta all the way to Luxor we’ve had a police escort behind us, steadily pumping out fumes whilst their van chugs away behind us at 20km/hr.

There is a huge paranoia about tourists travelling through middle Egypt in case something bad were to happen and as a result future tourists stopped visiting. We knew this was likely to happen but I don’t think we were quite prepared for the level of control and surveillance. At first it was fun, we made friends with them and had a joke. Over time however it became a little more difficult as we lost all freedom which is part of travelling by bike. Every 20km we had to stop and wait for the next van to arrive, which we would be told was only ever ‘five minutes away’ 🤨. When we stop to take a drink they pull up alongside us and say ‘finished? we go, we go’. Camping wasn’t an option, so we accepted staying in cheap hotels, which is fine until they bang on our door in the morning because they want to get moving.

On a few occasions we’ve taken them upon their forceful request to put our bikes in the van and managed to get a few more miles behind us. This has in general been lots of fun, as we have chance to actually speak to the police in the back with us and build more of a relationship which is usually impossible when they switch over so frequently.

As beautiful as Egypt is, it’s certainly not a place meant for cycle touring which we just have to accept and be grateful for the freedom we’ve had everywhere else. For now we are going to keep our heads down and peddle fast so we can get to Sudan sooner than planned.

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