2013 Oct 1-10, Eilat to Netanya

    • Unpacking for the second time at Eilat border
    • Migdalor Beach at Coral Beach Nature Reserve, Eilat
    • American battleship sailing into Eilat port
    • View from our campsite to Aqaba, Jordan
    • Driving through the Negev desert
    • Bedouin style camping, Eilat

    Egypt refused us re-entry via the Taba border post. The reason: no 4×4 vehicles allowed in Sinai. After six hours at the border post, having unpacked the entire vehicle, and countless reasons for wanting to confiscate items ranging from cameras to gas bottles, they told us that incidental fact. Could they not have mentioned this as we came through from the Israeli side?

    Regardless that nobody in Cairo at the AA, or the customs people at the border in Aswan, had made any mention of this. Everybody was fully aware of our itinerary, we even had a letter in Arabic with us when we crossed into Israel so that the Egyptians would know that the vehicle was coming back the same way.

    So it was back into Israel, where the entire vehicle had to be unpacked again, every item scrutinised, bags and ammo cases screened. Taking out Israeli licence and insurance again. Ons was nie dik van die lag nie.

    Next morning we were at the Egyptian consulate in Eilat and the consul was extremely sympathetic, well spoken and decent. Although he did not give us any hope, he gave us his full attention, made photocopies of all our documentation, and submitted our request to Cairo. After two days he had not yet heard from them, and then it was weekend, and then 3 days holiday in Egypt. We could wait for weeks and weeks…

    The ferries from Aqaba in Jordan run only to Nuweiba, also in Sinai. Same problem.

    There is a ferry from Ashdod in Israel that runs to Athens via Limassol in Cyprus, but then no ferry back to Alexandria or Port Said. So the Prado was stuck. Quite literally.

    We did the only sensible thing, and contacted an Israeli shipping company to  have the Prado put in a container back to Cape Town. It will cost an arm and a leg, but at least it will be efficiently handled. From Eilat we took a hurried but easy-going drive through the Negev Desert, and arrived at the Ocean Relocation offices on Kibbutz Yakum just south of Netanya an hour before the weekend started. Quotation prepared, 20ft container ordered, carnet de passage off to customs – all within 30 minutes.

    We feel terribly for Aart and Coby, whose plans have also been completely upset. They will have to wait until the container arrives in CT port, 7-9 weeks, before flying to SA and starting their trip from Hermanus.