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Western Desert Road, Luxor - Aswan

Lancashire, England
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1,328 posts
160 reviews
201 helpful votes
Western Desert Road, Luxor - Aswan
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There's been a lot of discussion recently about this road, so as a regular user, I thought more information might be useful.

The road runs along the west bank of the Nile. I usually stay on that side when I'm in Luxor, as it's easier for me to access the sites, so it's the logical route for me travelling to and from Aswan.

The road is quite rough in places, but Tarmac does occasionally make an appearance around the large towns en route, particularly at Edfu, but that's about it. A multi-lane highway it aint!

Here are some photos that I've taken on my trips along the road:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/indianarowz/

As you will see, there's a lot of dust being thrown up! The driver always has to have his wits about him, due to the various hazards that can appear without much warning, but it's always a very entertaining drive! LOL

There are checkpoints where sometimes money changes hands, but not always. I'm lucky in that I have permission to visit some closed sites, so I just use that.

I have known tourists being turned back as they leave Luxor. They reach the checkpoint and that's it, they have to go all the way back to the city and return to Luxor via the eastern road.

So my point is that if you do decided to use this road then make yourself fully aware of what to expect.

Scotland, United...
Destination Expert
for Luxor, Nile River Valley, Egypt
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15,637 posts
311 reviews
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1. Re: Western Desert Road, Luxor - Aswan
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Adding to making people more aware of the pitfalls, a family we know and met again in September, at the WP, were booked to go to Aswan using this road in September, having booked with one of Egypt's well-known, on here, licensed, tour companies. The night before they were due to leave, they got a message - It was no longer possible to go that way. They therefore missed out on visiting Gebel el Silsilah and had to use the eastern road. There wasn't enough time apparently to arrange a motor-boat for the crossing from the East Bank to Silsilah.

Post #139 here also relates a recent experience from another member http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g294205-i9426-k8923699-o130-Visited_Luxor_Sept_2015_female_solo_visitor_Wonderful-Luxor_Nile_River_Valley.html#70252034

Moscow, Pennsylvania
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349 posts
6 reviews
1 helpful vote
2. Re: Western Desert Road, Luxor - Aswan
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Interesting read! Thanks for posting.

I'm taking a guided tour from Luxor down to Abu Simbel, do you think this is the road they will be taking? Or is there a different road?

Exhall, United...
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1,108 posts
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3. Re: Western Desert Road, Luxor - Aswan
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The normal road is the Eastbank road, that goes through Esna, Edfu past Kom Ombo and into Aswan. That is the proper route (for want of a better word). It will be highly likely that the Eastbank road will be used.

Moscow, Pennsylvania
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349 posts
6 reviews
1 helpful vote
4. Re: Western Desert Road, Luxor - Aswan
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So do you think my tour company is taking us through the road you described above (where people have been blocked and told to turn around) of this other route?

Exhall, United...
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1,108 posts
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5. Re: Western Desert Road, Luxor - Aswan
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No, allmost assuredly not the WB road, BUT only the tour company will know that for sure. Don't worry.

Edited: 6 years ago
Lancashire, England
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1,328 posts
160 reviews
201 helpful votes
6. Re: Western Desert Road, Luxor - Aswan
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No, the tour companies use the normal route, on the east bank of the Nile.

But of course you might feel better asking them as well.

Edited: 6 years ago
Scotland, United...
Destination Expert
for Luxor, Nile River Valley, Egypt
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15,637 posts
311 reviews
571 helpful votes
7. Re: Western Desert Road, Luxor - Aswan
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You would have to ask your company. (Or if they say it will take 3 hours rather than 4.5, that's the one you are on)

Are they a licensed company with the ETAA? i.e. are they here http://etaaegypt.org/all_companies_en.aspx

The road is basically an army road built to move the army around at high speed during emergencies. The basic concept is that there is no point in having a fast road if it is full of traffic jams when you are trying to get your tanks down it. Tourists etc. are therefore, as a first step, not allowed on it, but if the paperwork is obtained, they can be.

Other people, taxis, unlicensed travel companies etc. rely on bribery at each checkpoint. Most of the time it works. Just occasionally it doesn't.

You pays your money & you take your chance.

I don't worry - It might take me longer to get to Aswan or Luxor if we get turned round, but I will get there.

A read here of the OP shows a typical experience http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g294204-i9480-k7789105-Just_in_case_anyone_is_interested_Aswan_edition-Aswan_Aswan_Governorate_Nile_River_Valley.html

Moscow, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
349 posts
6 reviews
1 helpful vote
8. Re: Western Desert Road, Luxor - Aswan
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Thanks for the info.

They are "Egypt Day Tours" out of Alexandria and they get a lot of good trips here on TripAdvisor

Wales, United...
Destination Expert
for Luxor
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2,643 posts
183 reviews
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9. Re: Western Desert Road, Luxor - Aswan
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Another point of clarification, just in case anybody gets confused: the town of Edfu is situated on the West bank but can be reached from either road as there is a convenient bridge very close to the centre.

Scotland, United...
Destination Expert
for Luxor, Nile River Valley, Egypt
Level Contributor
15,637 posts
311 reviews
571 helpful votes
10. Re: Western Desert Road, Luxor - Aswan
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Peter P

Please note that there is no connection between being licensed and reviewed on TA! One forum has had a company at the top, for a long time, that is not licensed.

Just to make it clear - I'm not saying I'm a goody goody - But if I use an un-licensed one, I know I am doing so and therefore have to be happy to take the risks this brings.

I do try to alert members, though, to the differences.

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