A Motorcycle Tour Of Ancient Egypt

For those with an interest in human history, there may not be a more stunning country to travel through than Egypt. It’s a deceptively large country for one thing, which means you can truly treat it as a journey rather than a casual one- or two-day ride. Best of all however is that there’s a relatively straightforward layout of incredibly ancient sights to see on your way up or down the country.

Naturally specific routes will differ, but we’ll lay out one possible itinerary below. We’re recommending you start in Alexandria, where there is an international airport and where you can, if necessary, rent a motorcycle for cross-country purposes. We’ll begin with the first attraction you might want to cross off your sightseeing list.

Pompey’s Pillar
Pompeys Pillar

This is a stunning structure that doesn’t get quite as much attention as some other Egyptian monuments – perhaps because by comparison it’s quite young. The pillar, about 20 meters tall and weighing as much as 285 tons, was erected in the 3rd century A.D. to commemorate a victor of the Roman emperor Diocletian. It was named erroneously for Pompey because Middle Age crusaders mistakenly believed that the old general’s ashes were in a pot at the top of the column. Taking an in-person look at this freestanding column is a great starting point before you head on to the main attractions of the journey, in Cairo.

(220km on Route 75M, southeast toward Cairo)

Great Sphinx & Pyramids Of Giza
Sphinx Pyramids

The ancient sites of Giza just across the Nile from Cairo, are naturally the stuff of legend. The Sphinx is a mythical creature that has appeared in legends and fantasies even quite apart from Egyptian culture. For instance, the famous Harry Potter novels involved a living Sphinx at one point – a mysterious beast who told riddles to characters looking to make their way through a magical maze. Because of interpretations like these it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that the Great Sphinx is a real structure. It’s a stunning limestone monolith dating back to about 2,000 B.C., and thus one of the most fascinating man-made structures on the planet. It also gives the appearance of guarding the great pyramids beyond – perhaps the most famous buildings on Earth.

With the pyramids too, we can lose sight of the reality of their construction and existence, simply because there are so many fictions that revolve around them. In 2017 alone we’ve seen multiple video games celebrating the pyramids. First there was the circulation of “Pyramid: Quest For Immortality,” a slot reel in which symbols are made up of ancient Egyptian wonders; then there was “Assassin’s Creed: Origins,” a wild adventure game set in a vividly rendered take on the ancient civilization. It speaks to the buildings’ mystique that people are still designing these kinds of fictional interpretations. But nothing compares to seeing the pyramids in person. They’re larger, more beautiful, and more astonishing than most visitors realize they’re going to be.

Once you’ve seen the ancient wonders of Giza, it’s time to pay a visit to Hatshepsut and the Valley of the Kings.

(620km on Asyuit Desert – Cairo Road/Route 75M toward Qus)

Hatshepsut’s Temple & The Valley of the Kings
Hatshepsut Temple

Qus is a city you might want to stay in to break up your journey, and makes for a nice starting point from which to visit the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, just south along Route 75M. Located on the Nile’s West Bank near the famous Valley of the Kings, this is one of the more impressive funerary shrines in Egypt, though it has been reconstructed over the years. Built into the base of the towering Deir el Bahari cliffs, the ancient shrine is considered to be among the more sophisticated examples of Egyptian architecture – not unlike some classical Greek and Roman building.

Close by you can visit the Valley of the Kings. In fact, it takes only a matter of minutes to get from one to the other – a sort of loop northwest along Kings Valley Road. Once in the Valley of the Kings, you’ll find that there’s as much to learn as there is to actually see. There are not towering monuments here, but rather a surprisingly humble set of rolling burial mounds and hidden tombs. This is where you’ll find yourself in the presence of perhaps the most famous archaeological find in Egypt – the tomb of King Tut.

Following this sightseeing tour, which should take a full day between Hatshepsut’s temple and the Valley of the Kings, you might consider staying the night in nearby Luxor, a city as closely tied to the ancient civilization as Cairo or Giza. It’s just across the Nile to the east and slightly south of the Valley.

(30km on Aswan-Giza/Aswan Western Agricultural Road toward Luxor)

Luxor
Medinet Habu

In Luxor and in its immediate vicinity, there are several stunning structures to take in if you’d like to stay put for a day, or even a morning. Luxor Temple, a place of worship beginning in 1500 B.C. is still standing; Medinet Habu is a temple in honor of the great Ramesses III; and the Colossi of Memnon, two giant sandstone statues at the edge of town, are certainly among the entire country’s most impressive monuments. Indeed Luxor can be difficult to tear yourself away from. But to complete the journey, there’s one more drive south to the village of Abu Simbel and the Abu Simbel temples.

(488km on Luxor-Aswan & Aswan – Abu Simbel Road/Route 75M toward Abu Simbel)

Abu Simbel Temples
Abu Simbel Temples

Near the border with the Sudan and on the bank of Lake Nasser you will find these two temples – far south of the rest of Egypt’s most noteworthy monuments, but well worth the journey. These temples were built not as a posthumous tribute to a ruler, or a celebration of the gods, but rather directly by pharaoh Ramesses II (who lived in the 1200s B.C.). The temples were actually dismantled and relocated in 1968 when there was a new damn built in the area, so they’re not quite as they were thousands of years ago – but the structures themselves, including temples and giant, incredible statues, are the same. It’s an awe-inspiring place to wrap up your motorcycle journey through ancient Egypt.

Kenya Motorcycle Tour with Elephants, Matatus and KLRs

In Kenya… you have to lane-split the matatus, best done at speed breakers, ride through dust clouds on the Masai Maara, keep distance from elephants protecting their young and enjoy some of the best riding in the world with a great group of friends. Join us! This September from the 14th to the 23rd, Jammin thru Kenya 2015 is adventure motorcycling at its best!

jamminglobal.com/kenya for all the details.

Riding in the Masai Maara
Riding through dust clouds in the Masai Maara on Kawasaki KLR650.

Lane splitting matatus
Lane splitting the matatus.

Elephants in the Masai Maara
Elephants protecting their young in the Masai Maara.

At Great Rift Valley Kenya
Group shot at the Great Rift Valley viewpoint on our way back to Nairobi.

Photo Credit: Raymond Shaw, our best rider on the tour 🙂

    Launching new tour: Transcontinental South to Southeast Asia!

    Excited to announce the launch of a new tour: Transcontinental: South to Southeast Asia.

    This isn’t a regular tour. It’s a real expedition. We’ll be crossing 4 borders from India through Myanmar, then into Thailand and ending in Laos, covering 5,000 kms on Royal Enfield Bullets. The tour will last 36 days starting in New Delhi, India and finishing in Vientiane, Laos.

    One of the most special aspects of this tour is the fact that we’ll be one of first few riders to cross Myanmar on a motorcycle from India to Thailand. The country is only now slowly opening up and if you are an adventurer, this is the time to ride through Myanmar. The sights and sounds along the way are just too many to list. Hit the tour page for more details:

    https://jamminglobal.com/transconseasia

    Transcontinental

    Bullets in Bagan
    Bagan, Myanmar

    Route Map
    Tour Route Map

    Jammin thru Mongolia Begins!!

    Jammin thru Mongolia begins and wow, just a few kilometers outside town and we’re in awe at the immensity of the landscape. Once the concrete gives way, the grassland takes over from horizon to horizon. It isn’t that flat as we rolled up and over hills that gave us views far across the land. It looks sort of like Montana but of course, there’s Russia to the north and China to the south here 😉 We had a coffee break up on one hill and after lunch, the big sky, bactrian camels and wild horses kept us enthralled and affirmed that yes, we were riding in Mongolia!


    Mongolia
    Jammin thru Mongolia begins!

    Mongolia
    We left the city behind and the landscape opened up in front of us and all around us. It’s not as flat as I imagined as we rolled up and over small and big hills. It makes for some pretty sublime riding and that too when chugging along on a #RoyalEnfiled Bullet

    Mongolia
    Coffee break out on the steppes and check out our super cool support van. It’s an old Russian UAZ-452 offroad van in an original fetching teal blue

    Mongolia
    Wild horses of Mongolia moving around in herds.

    Mongolia
    Riding a #RoyalEnfield Bullet across the mind expanding landscape of #Mongolia and looking cool while doing it

    Launching New Destination – Sri Lanka!!

    4 September 2014

    Launching a new destination for 2015… Sri Lanka! Come with me for a circumnavigation of this island filled with sublime coastal riding, offroad tracks through jungles and twisty mountain lanes all surrounded by wildlife parks, paddy fields and tea plantations. This is happening next April. Put in your holiday notice now 🙂

    https://jamminglobal.com/srilanka

    Other tour dates for 2015
    February – Kenya
    May – Mongolia
    June – Peru
    July – Ladakh

    New Tour: Jammin thru Mongolia this Septebmer

    28 April 2014

    Excited to announce that Jammin Global Adventure Travel will be riding in Mongolia this September! I’ve partnered up with Vintage Rides to put on this motorcycle adventure through one of the most epic landscapes to ride through. It’ll be a 9 day tour on Royal Enfield Bullets; riding through an ancient landscape on vintage bikes 😉

    https://jamminglobal.com/mongolia

    Get in touch if you want to do this or share with friends who might be interested 🙂

    Published: Piece in Little Black Book Delhi on Motorcycle Touring Outfits

    24 March 2014

    Here’s a piece I wrote on Indian motorcycle touring outfits, including my own 😉 over at Little Black Book, Delhi, a curated guide to the city and beyond.

    http://littleblackbookdelhi.com/31227/biking-tours-travelling-delhiwaala

    An excerpt: “When you hit the road, the destination becomes just an excuse to ride. It is the stories that happen along the way that make riders undertake this almost spiritual experience. Leave civilization behind, with just a few essentials strapped on your motorcycle. Ride across Ladakh. Cruise the Konkan Coast. Explore forests in South East Asia. Feel the space in the African Savanna. If these words speak to you, but you don’t know how to even begin to plan an escapade like this, here are your go-to people.”

    Featuring Vintage Rides, Helmet Stories, indiMotard adventures, IndusRider and Jammin Global.

    Tours: Ride the Highest Roads in the World this June with Jay

    11 March 2014

    Clear blue skies, high snow banks and a warm chai.

    Have you dreamed of riding in the high Himalayas? This June I’m leading a ride on one of the world’s most epic motorcycle journeys – the Manali to Leh Highway. It’s quickly getting tamed with tarmac so best to ride it sooner than later! Cross 7 extreme passes and top out at Khardung La.

    Tour info and book at http://JamminGlobal.com/ladakh