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Safari

 

The Adventure
Sinai is probably one of the most beautiful deserts in the world. Considering that 3 of the 5 major religions in the world have their origin in this peninsula, there must be some special magic about it. And, driving through this misterious country will definitely make clear that this magic will slowly but therefor deeply take over your heart and soul for this breath-taking scenery.


 

Many companies are offering their service for desert tours, simple ones or more extensive ones where you'd even perhaps sleep in the desert. This experience is - by the way - not to be forgotten.

However, you might be courageous enough to do a trip on your own for example with a rented Jeep. If so, please consider to take a beduine guide with you who is known as a good guide by your hotel. If you still prefer to go completely on your own, there are some major dangers that we can only mention some of them as follows.

 
Dangers

Landmines:
Because of its geographical position Sinai has always been a place for many armies to pass through. Egypt has one quarter of the world's landmines buried in its deserts, most left over from the Second World War, some from the wars between Egypt and Israel. Despite several efforts, sand is moving the land mines and they couldn't be removed yet. Unfortunately, a lack of money does not support this situation. Before you are to travel in this desert on your own, please inform yourself carefully about the danger and risks.
Also, read about the Landmines Struggle Center (Egypt).


Car Break-Down:

Sinai is a desert. There is sand but also massive rows of huge mountains. Driving inside the desert with a 4x4 (e.g. Jeep) might cause a breakdown. A wheel might brake, the cooling water might heat up too much or another motor damage might happen. Being away only 5-10 km from the main road can make it already impossible to find the way back. Therefore, it is recommendable to have a good functioning GPS system in the car.


Get Stuck:

If sand becomes very volumenous it might happen that even the best 4x4 vehicle gets stuck. The only one exeption might be a Hammer, but in most cases this vehicle is far too expensive. To get a car out of this sand again takes lots of effort and time. Nevertheless, there are methods that you can deal with (see further down).


Water Lack:

The sun is strong enough that 8 liters of water is well recommendable per person/day, in certain situations even much more.


Others:

There are plenty more dangers that can be calculated (like snakes etc.), others may not. Make sure that you are prepared. Well known "desert-specialists" have never returned because they did not obey simple rules. However, if you prepare your trip well, obey the preparation rules and if you are careful on your way - then this trip will become a great and save adventure, something you've never seen before and you'll for sure do again!





 

 
  Right Preparation

 
4x4 vehicle

Without a 4x4 you will probably not reach more that the first 2 km, so the right car is the most important thing. Make sure your car is strong and suitable for the desert. A Jeep (Cherokee or Wrangler) would be perfect, but also a Defender or a Mitsubishi is fine. You get these cars at car rentals in Sharm El Sheikh or Naama Bay. Also, make sure your car has no major problems (cooling etc.). A good idea is to take photographs of the car before you rent them, so you can prove later what kind of damages it has had already.
Be alert in terms of the insurance: most gold credit cards do not cover 4x4 cars.
Once you recieve the car, make sure the tires are fine, the profile is deep enough and that the lifting jack works properly (sometimes they are not checked by the renting company - we have seen this already). Ask, if there are any deficiencies that could become a problem in the desert, even small things.








water For a 1-day trip into the desert, you should take 3-5 liters of water per person plus 10 liters extra for emergency cases (e.g. cooling of car).
compass / GPS A compass is a must! don't go into the desert without a compass and be prepared to work with it. If you have difficulties in working with the compass have a look to our small guide. Here you can see how a compass is working in general.
A GPS system is not necessary but very usefull. If you happen to have a GPS, you should take it with you. You will then always have a good control over your current situation.
wood Wood may help you to get your car out of difficult sandy situations. Make sure the woods are flat, medium long and strong enough (1m is mostly sufficient). Then, in case you'd like to spend the night in the desert, you meight still use some wood for fire reasons. Since Sinai - as a desert - doesn't have lots of trees it is not that easy to get wood (never take woods from alife trees). However, there are some places in Sharm or in Naama Bay, where you can buy some. Make sure you have lighters on you.
outfit

This is no doubt - if you are in the desert, you need the right outfit. Make sure you have stable shoes (e.g. sport shoes or hiking shoes), light clothes that do protect you at the same time from sun. Also, make sure you have sun protection with you as well as a protection for the eyes (sunglasses) and your head (e.g. base cap).
At nighttimes it becomes sometimes quite cold, especially in the mountain areas. Here it makes sense to be equipped with pullover, long trousers and a jacket.

sleeping bags In case you are going to sleep in the desert sleeping bags are necessary. Since the ground might get quite cold at night, it is advisable to have some blankets. In case of a sudden car break down in the desert, it is also advisable to have sleeping bags, since nights are coming very quickly after sunset.
mobile phone Already 3 km away from the main road or larger villages will mostly let the network of your mobile phone get down to zero. However, even if not throughout the entire main road there is network, it might still happen, that you are close to it and don't know it (mountains block the view). In this case it is of good use to have a mobile phone.

 

 

 
 

Car Handling

Getting stuck in the sand is for most drivers probably the worst imaginable situation while unfamiliar with deserts. But actually, there are many ways to prevent from getting stuck as well as once you are stuck there are other ways again to get out again.

 
4x4 The two wheels in front turn simultanously as well as the two wheels in the back.
4x4 differential Each wheel turns independently.
steering wheel If your feel that your wheels are about to get less grip in the sand, try to turn your steering wheel quickly to the right and to the left several times until you are out of the sandy situation. While you turn you steering wheel from left to right and right to left, the wheels are going a bit left and right as well. This enables them to get more grip. This sequence must be done quickly, so per 1 second once left + once right.
deflate wheels This is commonly done by most people in the desert: deflating the wheels down to 20-22 PSI (or even lower sometimes). This deflating has the effect that the wheels do have much better grip on the sand. Especially in the midday heat this could be efficient, since the sand at that time of the day is very soft.
Make sure you don't let out too much air, since you will have to go on the streets afterwards again! One way to avoid problems is if you carry an inflator (air compressor) for car wheels. They are generally sold in safari shops, mostly in Cairo.
sand mates or woods In case you are stuck in the sand and the above mentioned hints were not successful, you should have sand mates, flat woods or something similar with you that you can put below the wheels.
Sand mates are normally quite heavy unless you use the aluminium ones. Some people don't use them because they are quite heavy to carry. And then, if you come out of one whole, you might get stuck again after 15 meters. You would first need to get out of the car, get the mates, carry them for some meters to put them again into the right position in order to get a few meters further. To avoid this, it makes sense to tie up the sand mats to the rear bumper, so it gets pulled behind the car once the wheels are over it.
   
   
General Rules  
Gas padel Avoid to suddenly press the gas pedal, rather be smooth and soft. In sandy terrains this lets you lose speed and your car will be digging up and might even get stuck.
2 wheel drive On harder sand you might want to use 2H (2 wheel drive) instead of 4H (4 wheel drive). You will save lots of gasoline, which might be necessary to have if you go for longer distances.
Security Always fasten your seatbelt if you are in hilly areas and you intent to climb them up by car. When you plan to drive up a mountain, make sure that you know what expects you. It is always recommendable to first climb it by feet if you don't know the area.
downhill When going down on a slippy hill, you must use a very low gear. In these situations you should never use brakes, since this will not stop yyou car but will make you lose control over your steering and over the car. This might even let your car bring into an upside-down position if the hill was very steep.
uphill When you want to climb a mountain by car, make sure you have enough speed to reach the top. Never allow the car to side-face the mountain, always front towards the top and the rear to the bottom of the mountain. Be prepared that once you are up, the way down might be slippy, so slow down fast.

 

 

 

Car Hire

 
Avis Morgana Mall, Naama Bay, South Sinai, Tel.: 069.602400, email: ruavis@rusys.eg.net
CRC Soliman Plaza Mall, Naama Bay, Sharm El Sheikh, Tel: 069.601297, mobile: 010.1811035, email: silimansharm@hotmail.com
J. Car Plaza Mall, Naama Bay, South Sinai, Tel.: 010.1542608, email: hawad_ssh@hotmail.com

 


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