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ADV NewsHere’s A Unique Way To Explore Egypt’s Ancient Sites On Two Wheels

Here’s A Unique Way To Explore Egypt’s Ancient Sites On Two Wheels

A cross-country adventure through the land of the pharaohs.

Published on 09.07.2021

Just the name Cross Egypt Challenge tickles one’s sense of adventure. A motorcycle race across one of the most exotic, historic countries in the world?  Well, not exactly. More like a 10-day,  8-stage, 1500-mile run what you rented, partial off-road ride from Alexandria to Cairo. Anyone can sign up…as long as you’re cool sharing the road with some scooters. 

The FIM-recognized Cross Egypt Challenge, which begins Oct 7, 2021, first kicked off back in 2011 with just 14 riders signing up for the journey. As the years went by, the rally rotated through different routes, hosting guests from 50 countries and evolving to include motorcycles in addition to the 150cc scooters that still dominate the field. 

Cross Egypt challenge adventure rally

The largest turnout (75 riders — including 17 women — from 14 countries) was in 2015 when the course traveled across the Western Desert, visiting several of the country’s famous oases as well as many of Egypt’s top sites —  think Luxor, the Red Sea Riviera and the pyramid complex of Giza. This year, for the event’s 10th birthday, the route will again follow the popular 2015 course. 


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Participants will gather in Alexandria, the Mediterranean’s largest seaport city for the kickoff, then ride to the capital city of Cairo before heading into Egypt’s Western Desert. In addition to stopovers at the famous oasis of Bahariya, Dakhla and Kharga, the days spent riding in the west will include visiting the White Desert, the Black Desert and the Ruins of Al Qasr.

Cross Egypt challenge adventure rally

Following the stages in the Western Desert, the route heads to the Nile Valley and Luxor, with its extraordinary temples and legendary Valley of the Kings. And because, thankfully, the Challenge is not a race, riders get a rest day here so they can thoroughly enjoy these ancient wonders. 

After Luxor the Challenge heads across Egypt’s Eastern Desert, one of the harshest landscapes on earth, toward the Red Sea. After a stay in the resort city of Hurghada, riders will travel north along the Red Sea Riviera, eventually arriving back in Cairo to finish the event under the shadow of the famous pyramids of Giza, one of the most sacred sites in Egypt. 

Cross Egypt challenge adventure rally

While the Cross Egypt Challenge has organized tour written all over it, don’t mistake it for some cushy Edelweiss-like offering. This event, by nature, will feature long days, grueling temperatures, and the occasional peril of Egypt’s city traffic, not to mention the basic fact riders will be touring through major metropolitan and remote areas of a country not well known for carefree travel. 

And herein lies both a key factor this event scores high on the adventure scale, as well as the reason behind its inception. 

Cross Egypt challenge adventure rally

The Cross Egypt Challenge “was created to prove that Egypt is safe for tourism,” the event’s Official Spokesperson Ahmad Elzoghby has said, adding that for ten years now, the tour has sent a reassuring message to the world. “Our efforts, combined with those of other NGOs and the Egyptian government, resulted in Egypt topping the world’s tourist destinations in recent years.” 

For some, this opportunity to roam through these ancient lands on two wheels with a bunch of new best friends from around the world will be worth enduring group travel at scooter speeds. It might also provide an opportunity to bring along a spouse or friend who’s newer to adventure riding in foreign countries. And keep in mind, though under-represented in event photos, there are options to rent actual motorcycles for the tour. 

Cross Egypt challenge adventure rally

Here’s the rental rooster: After the base entry free of $2100 for the 10-day event, which includes mid-range hotels and most meals, you can choose the standard option step-though Sym Fiddle II for $450. If you (like us) don’t relish the idea of riding a scooter, you can upgrade to a middleweight Honda Hornet, (basically a naked CB600 street bike) “or similar” for $800. On the top shelf of possibilities is a Honda Varadero 1000cc V-twin adventure bike “or similar” for $1000, which was a pretty interesting rig when it came out in 1998. For expectations sake, keep in mind Honda stopped making the Varadero in 2013. But then again, an Egyptian rental bike is part of the adventure, right?  

Of course, if you happen to be in the neighborhood you’re welcome to ride your own motorcycle.

Sound interesting? There’s still time to sign up. Check out the Cross Egypt Challenge website for more details.

Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

Author: Jamie Elvidge
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One thought on “Here’s A Unique Way To Explore Egypt’s Ancient Sites On Two Wheels

  1. I encourage you to visit their web site. I was struck by the fact that the entire ride is done “convoy style”, in one big group. Only the lead rider gets a change of scenery, and you have no way of determining the riding ability of those around you. No thanks.

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