2012 Season Log

Friday, October 19th, 2012 - To the finish line

As they drew nearer to the finish line, organizers and riders shared feelings of excitement and relief.


They had their last daily brief and the riders were given the chance to talk about their impressions on the 2012 season of Cross Egypt Challenge, their expectations and their overall satisfaction. It was a bittersweet meeting for everyone.


As the end drew near they had one last photo-stop before reaching Luxor, as if trying to stretch the final hours they would spend together as a team. They reached the finish line at Karnak temple before sunset, where a grand celebration was held in their honor.


They were greeted by school children dressed in Pharaonic and oriental costumes, boy and girl scouts who waved Egyptian flags side by side to their city flags. The governor of Luxor greeted and congratulated the riders one by one. The governorate provided the team with a special tour of the Karnak Temple, one of the most fascinating temples of the world. It took nearly 2000 years to complete the massive structure.


The 2012 season of Cross Egypt Challenge ended in Luxor and was officially declared a success.


Thursday, October 18th, 2012 - The outers

After spending a relaxing night at Dakhla Oasis, the Cross Egypt Challenge team was on the move again, this time towards Kharga, the last of the oases on their route, and their last stop in the vast Western desert. Kharga is the capital of the New Valley Governorate, so here the adventurers were welcomed by the governor and other officials, who offered them a tour of the city.


Sadly a few of the riders suffered a minor accident in Kharga and had to be taken to hospital for minor bruises and cuts. The rest of the team went sand-boarding and ate batata (sweet potatoes). There, some local scouts played music for the riders and served them tea and snacks. Many riders were surprised to discover that in few days the Egyptian Sand-Board Olympics were about to take place in Kharga.


The team was reunited at the hotel for dinner and enjoyed the local Bedouin entertainment that was provided by the governor. Reassured by the fact that everyone was okay, the team enjoyed the rest of the night.


Wednesday, October 17th, 2012 - The inners

The team set off from Farafra on Wednesday morning heading to Dakhla Oasis, known colloquially as the inner oasis. Their journey on that day was again through vast sand dunes.


City officials greeted the riders at the entrance to Dakhla. They were given a tour of the fortified Islamic town of Al Qasr which was built by Ayubid kings in the 12th century on the remains of a Roman era settlement. They did some shopping at the town’s old market which is known for its Bedouin handmade straw baskets and other straw products.


The team spent the night at the environmentally-friendly Desert Lodge Hotel. The hotel runs on hydroelectric and solar energy, has its own water well which is also used for agricultural purposes, making the hotel self-sufficient. It is staffed by locals who always greet you with a smile.


Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 - Black or White?

In the wee hours of the morning the whole Cross Egypt Challenge team was up and running, armed with cameras they waited patiently for the desert sunrise. The organizers were satisfied, as this meant they could have a head start. Their aim was to finish what was left of the rough road and take the road to Farafra Oasis, which is the most isolated oasis in Egyptian desert.


The road from Bahariya to Farafra may be one of the most picturesque roads of the whole journey. The Black Desert is located just outside of Bahariya oasis, it is unlike any desert in the world, instead of sand it is formed of layers of black rocks smoothed by winds. A sharp contrast is the White Desert, 45 km north of Farafra. The desert has white, massive chalk rock formations and strange balancing of rocks on top of white pillars. Egyptian and international participants alike were amazed by Egypt’s hypnotizing beauty.


They reached Farafra sometime before sunset. Christine Manoukian remembers the team’s entrance into this oasis with particular fondness. “It was a small oasis, with a few but friendly inhabitants”, she says. The local Bedouins of Farafra all came out to greet their guests. They smiled and waved at them and shouted words of encouragement. The children of the oasis were excited the most and they even came out to see them taking off the following day before going to school.


The team was pleased with the warm and friendly atmosphere, and was even happier to be in a cozy hotel designed in the tradition Bedouin motif, but with all the comfortable facilities. It was a chill out night at the hotel for the riders who enjoyed the traditional music of Farafra played by local musicians who played Bedouin music on their special instruments. The more resilient riders continued the night at Farafra’s healing hot springs.


Monday, October 15th, 2012 - The challenge within the Challenge

The road from Siwa to Bahariya was the most challenging part of the journey for Mohamed ElSherbiny, team leader of the 2012 season of Cross Egypt Challenge. Ahmed Elzoghby, president of Cross Egypt Challenge and Mohamed ElSherbiny had conducted an exploration trip in the summer of 2012 to evaluate the condition of this road. Not only was the road itself in bad condition, with parts of it are extremely an off-road experience and other parts had construction work going on, but it also lacked any rest houses or fuel stations. For that reason, the organizing team was prepared with a mobile gas station that carried enough fuel for all the scooters to travel 500 km. The plan that day was to cover the larger part of the road on the fourth day, camp that night in the desert near Bahariya Oasis and on the following day to continue the ride to Farafra Oasis.


On day 4, everyone woke up early as usual, and geared up for camping in the desert. The road took them further into the desert from the Governorate of Matrouh into the southern end of the governorate of 6th of October. On this road they could see the huge sand dunes of what has become known as the “Great Sand Sea”. They saw the mountain plateau of “Gilf Kebir”. The scenery around them compensated the hardships they experienced maneuvering their scooters on the rough road.


Overcome by the beautiful sites around them they had several photo-stops, one of them at a salt lake near Siwa and others on top of sand dunes. They reached the camping destination and went 3 km off road into the desert to reach the camp site.


It was a moonless night and in the darkness they could see the outlines of mountains surrounding them. They sat around the campfire after dinner gazing into the night and behind the mountains, the night sky lit up with stars, and our Galaxy, the Milky Way which was extremely visible on that night was the best background to the scene.


Sunday, October 14th, 2012 - From the waters to the sands

The next day the team had an early start. They had their breakfast and daily briefing on the terrace of their hotel and listened to the day’s precautions as they gazed out at the white soft sands and the turquoise waters of Marsa Matrouh’s enchanting beaches. This is where they had to say good-bye to the big blue sea, and look forward for five days of desert land.


Excited to visit the first oasis in the challenge, Siwa, the riders quickly assembled in the parking lot and hopped on their scooters for their first ever oasis experience. All the way from Cairo to Marsa Matrouh, the roads were well paved, civilized, with trees and shade. But as they penetrated deeper into the governorate of Matrouh, they would sense the gradual change in topography. Even the least sensitive to these changes would notice the change in road signs; here you would see signs warning of camel crossings. From here on, it was a vast desert.


There was only one rest stop from Marsa Matrouh to Siwa, “Cafeteria Ammo Sayed”, an exotic structure on a lonely road. There, they had a brown bag lunch, prepared for them by the organizing team.


At the entrance to Siwa, they were greeted by the oasis mayor who offered them oasis grown dates and mineral water. This has been the traditional snack offered to weary travellers for centuries, but unlike the past, they were served bottled “Siwa” water, a brand that is extracted from deep underground wells in the oasis.


The mayor offered his guests a tour of the old city of Shali, a city constructed entirely from mud and salt. After reaching their hotel, a swim at the hotel pool was the plan to relax and rejuvenate their tired muscles.


Saturday, October 13th, 2012 - The coast

The riders woke up on Saturday morning to the scenic view from their Maritim Jolie Ville Hotel windows. After a fresh breath of Alexandrian autumn air, and a healthy breakfast, they gathered in the hotel meeting room for their daily brief overlooking the Mediterranean and the magical Corniche -seaside road- of Alexandria.


After the daily brief, the team took a quick city tour, and rode from one end of the city to the other before passing by the Bibliotheca Alexandria – the famous Library of Alexandria – and joining forces with riders from “Alexandria Scooter Riders Club” who were riding along the challenge for the day to mid-way to Marsa Matrouh.


Both the riders and their friends bid farewell to the “Pearl of the Mediterranean” and started the long journey to the coastal city of Marsa Matrouh. They had lunch mid-way between the two cities at one of Egypt’s most famous North Coast resorts, Porto Marina.


The riders arrived to the city of Marsa Matrouh after it was already dark, and were welcomed by the Governor’s representative and young girls in traditional costumes who handed them flowers. After the official ceremonies, the riders enjoyed an amazing Bedouin dinner, where they took off their shoes (as is the custom when entering someone’s house in the village) to walk into a one of a kind restaurant, styled like an Egyptian village home. They sat around the tableya – low tables - on gold printed leather puff cushions and tasted the different uniquely “Matrouhian” dishes offered.


Friday, October 12th, 2012 - Zero Hour

On the morning of Friday the 12th of October, the first daily brief was given to the riders where detailed information on the day’s route and a profile of the cities in the day’s route was highlighted. The riders were assigned to their vehicles and were given the keys to their scooters. The riders set off from the hotel onto the historical Kasr el Nile bridge, which had become a trademark of Downtown Cairo.


The official start line for the rally was in Abdeen square where a huge tent had been set up with the backdrop of one of Egypt’s presidential palaces; Abdeen Palace. Already fans had been gathering from early in the morning to witness the take-off of the 2012 season of Cross Egypt Challenge.


Different scooter and motorcycle clubs came to show their support for Cross Egypt Challenge, and to ride along till Alexandria. The Cross Egypt Challenge team were greeted by the vice governor of Cairo and other government officials. Journalists and television presenters conducted interviews with members of the organizing committee, riders and government representatives. Families, friends and fans came to cheer for the adventurers. Curious passers-by would watch the commotion and ask what was going on, being impressed by the efforts put in by their young compatriots and their long-term vision of promoting scooters as an alternative environment-friendly means of transportation, they would decide to stay and cheer.


After the celebration, and the first official photo of the team was taken at the start line, the Challenge scooters burst into the streets of Cairo followed by the riders of the “Cairo Scooter Riders Club” and “Egypt Riders”. They headed to the Pyramids of Giza.


Being a weekend, the streets of the big city were empty for the Cross Egypt Challenge scooters and their entourage. The riders quickly reached the Pyramids of Giza where they were treated like celebrities by tourists and locals who asked to take photos with them. After some free times and a few photos in front of the huge Pharaonic structures, the riders descended the hill atop to hit the Cairo-Alexandria desert road. They arrived at Alexandria City Center, one of the official sponsors of the 2012 season of Cross Egypt Challenge, around dusk for a celebration.


Families and friends of participants were gathered there along with fellow scooter riders and supporters from different organizations like the “Alexandria Scooter Riders Club”, “Rotary and Rotaract clubs of Alexandria Cosmopolitan”, and “Schultz American School” who gave a nice ambiance to the celebration.


Alexandria City Center had set up a stage where members from the organizing committee, sponsors and other officials gave short speeches, followed by music entertainment. It was a special celebration as it marked the success of the first day of Cross Egypt Challenge.


Wednesday + Thursday, October 10th + 11th, 2012 - The Countdown

As the final hour drew near, international participants had begun hailing into Cairo 48 hours before the Challenge. The Challenge organizing team from Alexandria and Cairo gathered in the challenge’s official hotel overlooking the Nile in the luscious Gezira district to prepare for the last minute arrangements.


They had turned the hotel meeting rooms into their operation center, filled with the riders welcome kits containing their riding gear, official Cross Egypt Challenge T-shirts, and most importantly, Cross Egypt Challenge information booklets that included all what they needed to know about riding instructions, road signals and details about the cities they were going to visit.


Cross Egypt Challenge had also taken over the hotel garage which was filled with colorful scooters awaiting the arrival of their riders. Everyone kept busy on the final few days of preparation; some helping riders with their check-in, others putting the final touches on the welcome packs and scooters, while others worked behind the scenes taking care of logistics and last-minute unwanted surprises that come up in organizing such big events.


On Thursday evening when all the riders had arrived to Cairo and checked in into the hotel, an orientation session was held during which some ice-breaking took place and riders were given general information about the Challenge, the route to be taken, riding instructions and safety guidelines. A dinner on the shores of the Nile ensued, where riders enjoyed the tasty meal and the beautiful scenery. The riders would be reunited again with the Nile in Luxor city, in Upper Egypt after a whole week of seeing nothing but desert.

  2012 Route


The Cross Egypt Challenge 2012 season began from Egypt's capital and the home of the famous Tahrir Square, Cairo then headed toward the coastal city of Alexandria before it went west to the city of Marsa Matrouh.


The challenge then headed down and explored the most fascinating oasis of the Egyptian Sahara (desert). A total number of 5 oasis were explored on route before arriving to the final destination, Luxor, the world's biggest open air museum.


The 2012 season of Cross Egypt Challenge was the most challenging season ever with total distance of 2400 KM that was covered in only 8 days. The 2012 season of Cross Egypt Challenge went  through some of the most fascinating parts of North Africa. This was the ultimate DESERT CHALLENGE.

275 km Cairo - Alexandria
325 km Alexandria - Marsa Matrouh
325 km Marsa Matrouh - Siwa Oasis
300 km Siwa Oasis - route to Bahareya Oasis
325 KM Route to Bahareya Oasis - Farafra Oasis
300 km Farafra Oasis - Dakhla Oasis
200 km Dakhla Oasis - Kharga Oasis
350 km Kharga Oasis - Luxor
  2012 Press Releases

September 1st, 2012: Cross Egypt Challenge returns in a bid to promote Egyptian tourism amid political change in the country (Updated).  [ENGLISH]   [ARABIC]


August 26th, 2012: 104.2 Nile FM partners with 2012 Cross Egypt Challenge.  [ENGLISH]


July 1st, 2012: Cross Egypt Challenge returns in a bid to promote Egyptian tourism amid political change in the country.  [ENGLISH]

  Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

The 2012 team of Cross Egypt Challenge has been announced today. With participants from 10 different countries, we welcome the following members into the 2012 team:


Aaser Ahmed, Egypt / Ahmad Elzoghby, Egypt / Dewane Vanleuven, USA / Dimitrios Gkiokezas, Greece / Emmanuel Shekoni, Nigeria / Gunner Skydstrup, Denmark / Ibrahim Elashmawy, Egypt / Jonathan Smith, Canada / Kenneth Wilson, USA / Khaled Eldarwish, Egypt / Maged Mansi, Egypt / Mahmoud El Sheikh, Egypt / Michael Bobadilla, USA / Mohamed El Sheikh, Egypt / Mohamed Elsherbiny, Egypt / Mohd Asraf Abdullah, Singapore / Owen Lewis, UK / Pablo Veitch, Argentina / Ramses Slim, Egypt / Ramy Amer, Egypt / Simon Haisz, Canada / Steven Burbidge, UK / Tarek Safwat, Egypt / Thomas Schneider, Germany / Timothy Shear, USA / Wallace Quan, Canada.

  Monday, July 16th, 2012

Follow Us on Facebook to know all the details about the exploration trip of the 2012 season of Cross Egypt Challenge route.

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/CrossEgyptChallenge

  Saturday, May 19th, 2012

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Due to the dates of Eid EL Adha this year being on October 26th, we will shift the Challenge date earlier than planned. The new dates for the 2012 season of Cross Egypt Challenge will be October 12th-19th, 2012 instead of October 19th-26th.

Please update your calendars :)

  Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

A call for volunteers to help with the overall organization of the 2012 season of Cross Egypt Challenge.

If you are an energetic person and have experience in any of the following areas: organization, design, social media, media? We want you. Sign up to join and be part of this amazing adventure


Volunteer registration: http://www.crossegyptchallenge.com/volunteer

  Sunday, May 6th, 2012

The new season of Cross Egypt Challenge has been officially announced. Today, the second season of the successful series has been announced with a more difficult route than last year. This year's route will pass the North African Sahara and 5 of the most beautiful oases in the world.


Official Website: www.CrossEgyptChallenge.com
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/CrossEgyptChallenge
Twitter account: www.twitter.com/CrossEgypt
YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/CrossEgyptChallenge
Flickr page: www.flickr.com/photos/CrossEgyptChallenge

  Thursday, April 26th, 2012

The route for the 2012 season of Cross Egypt Challenge has been determined. This season's route totals 2400 km of the most challenging routes and roads in Egypt. The route will pass through some of the most fascinating sites in North Africa and the world.