Part One –
A 12 week adventure, with a motorhome, through Italy, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Turkey ending in Greece needs tremendous planning and preparation. Not only do you need to ensure that your vehicle is fit for the voyage but you need to obtain documents not normally needed for most motorhome journeys. An International Driving Licence and International Vehicle Registration Document are perhaps the easiest as both are available from the RAC and AA.
For us the most problematic document was the Carnet de Passage that is needed for most of the countries that we would be travelling through. This simple document avoids the necessity to pay import duty for the temporary importation of a vehicle. This too is available from the RAC but it is costly; our 4 year old Rapido is worth at least £25,000 so the RAC asked for a bank guarantee or insurance cover of £125,000 since we were going through
The next hurdle is the question of visas.
The final problem and almost insoluble for most
From the vehicle viewpoint, and having experienced this journey ourselves in the spring of 2006, I would ensure your tyres are good and the valves have been renewed. Also despite what your service schedule might say have the oils in the engine, gearbox and rear transmission changed, also have new oil, air and fuel filters fitted and carry spares. Good brakes and suspension are also essential as they will be tested to the limit. Over this 5 month trip the problems encountered by our small group, fuel pump/filter problems, punctures and tyre valve problems, could in the main have been avoided if prior servicing had been completed including the points made above. The other problems we had perhaps could not have been foreseen nor avoided and were electronic in nature not helped I am sure by the holes, bumps and poor roads encountered almost everywhere.
Although our journey really started in
The next day we started our journey south, initially heading for Kairouan. A perfectly timed coffee break saw us along side the remains of a 90km Roman aqueduct that originally served
The next few days saw us at Tozeur, Douz, Matmata and many other places on route. Everywhere we were well received by the Tunisians and although the campsites are not of western European standards they are adequate and generally clean. In Tozeur we camped for 2 nights at the campsite Beaux Reves (beautiful dreams) so had time to take a 4 x 4 trip out into the desert and the mountains close to the Algerian border. The following day’s drive across the causeway that dissects the Chott El Jerid,
We were able to visit on our way the location used in the original Star Wars film and fans will recognise the name Tataouine from the film, which is a village in southern
On our last day in
We then proceeded, duly chastened, to another area where our passports were processed, our carnets stamped and checked, and our Libyan number plates issued. Various fees were payable even though we had our visas in place. We also obtained our compulsory third party insurance. Total costs were not far short of 200€ (£138). We were comforted by the fact that this was just a practice run for the far more lengthy process that we would endure at the Egyptian border later in our journey. In the end we entered
During our 11 days in
It is quite apparent that most Libyans enjoy a good lifestyle and we were welcomed where ever we went. Indeed the people we met were kind, helpful and generous and it took us a couple of days to realise that when we bought bread and payment was refused just what was happening. Bread in
The second half of our trip across
We took a diversion one day to visit the magnificent engineering project called the
An early start to the Egyptian border is essential since the formalities on both sides can easily take 8 to 10 hours and requires patience and tolerance. The last 140 kms in