Cross Egypt Challenge gives motorcyclists a new path through which to traverse the Western Desert…
The Western Desert of Egypt is vast and virtually untouched, save for a line of oases inhabited by rustic towns - and soon, it will be the site of the exhilarating Cross Egypt Challenge. Featured on BBC, National Geographic and the Discovery Channel, this annual motorcycle cross-country rally invites riders from all over the world to explore Egypt’s high roads and ancient desertscapes. To be held between October 7th and October 16th, the 10th edition of the Cross Egypt Challenge will cross through the Western Desert for the first time.
“Cross Egypt Challenge is an international series of endurance motorcycle and scooter rallies conducted throughout the most challenging roads of Egypt,” media manager Ahmad El Zoghby tells #SceneTraveller. “It is the only cross-country rally of its kind in the entire region.”
Officially recognised and organised by the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme, the global governing body of motorcycle sports, this year’s Cross Egypt Challenge will begin in historical Alexandria, before taking riders straight south through Cairo. From there they will take a sharp south-west turn 370 km deep into the Western Desert until they reach Bahariya Oasis, where they will find thick troves of palm trees amidst the vast, yellow dunes and mountainous outcrops of stone.
Once they’ve had their fill of paradise, motorcyclists will ride in a wide, 671 km counter-clockwise curve towards Kharga Oasis, the capital of the New Valley governorate. On the way, they will first pass through the Black Desert with its mounds of iron quartzite or iron sandstone topped with black basalt sills, and then the mystical White Desert, a national park with giant chalk rock formations that loom over passersby in strange alien shapes. Once they reach Kharga, they will find a modern town surrounded by ancient temples, most notably the Temple of Hibis, a well-preserved structure with depictions of hundreds of Ancient Egyptian deities within.
The rally will continue eastwards towards the more familiar tourist destination of Luxor, before continuing all the way to the eastern coasts of Egypt, where they will arrive in the Red Sea resort towns of Hurghada and Ain el-Sokhna, before turning right around to end the trip at the Great Pyramids of Giza. That’s a total of 2,440 majestic kilometres of territory throughout the entire itinerary of the trip.
Prices for the rally begin at $2,200 if you are a rider, and $2,100 if you are accompanying a rider. These prices include accommodation for eight nights in 3-to-5-star hotels based on triple room occupancy, a possible camp out on the desert or the beach, all meals throughout the rally, road tolls, cost of special permits, airport pickup, refueling and oil changes, all motorcycle maintenance and - of course - branded shirts. Motorcycle rentals starting at $450 are available for international riders. Visitors to Egypt must present a negative PCR test before departure that is no older than 72 hours. To register for the Cross Egypt Challenge, you can visit crossegyptchallenge.com.