30-Apr-2005 -- We had back to back long weekends in Egypt, the first was three days followed by four days with a Monday off in between. We set off to attempt 30N 33E on the first weekend, overnighted at Moon beach before a collapsed suspension only 15 km up Wādiy Sidriy meant we failed for the second time at this Confluence. So it was back to the beach without even a worthwhile story.
By the next weekend I had some work that required a visit to the Luxor/Aswān area, so it made sense to take the opportunity to combine work and pleasure. Since coming to Egypt I had not visited this historic area, saving it till some of the family came on holiday. Having decided to go I was faced what to do in my spare time, visit the historic temples and sites, or try for some of the many Confluences gagging for their first visit? No competition really, the work meant I would have vehicles and a letter explaining why I needed to get off the beaten track, so the Confluences won!
The first attempt was on 26N 32E. I had used satellite imagery to identify a couple roads that were not marked on the commercial maps, the first lead off the Luxor-Kharga road and up the large scarp that holds the Valley of the Kings to Ḥammādiy where the Nile completes its loop around the scarp. There was also what appeared to be a road that led west out of Ḥammādiy that passed within 1 km of the Confluence. It looked easy, so we tried to make it harder by looking for some tracks that are shown on maps leading up from the Valley of the Kings. However, after an hour exploring around the valley and asking questions without success, we gave up and headed west on the Kharga road.
We climbed the scarp and then entered an impressive sandstone wādiy, which had me convinced we were climbing steadily for 40 km. We seemed to be climbing but the wādiy walls were getting higher and then we emerged from the wādiy and could see the Nile valley across the gravel plain: either I was messed up or the Nile flowed uphill! Khayruddin my partner seemed to agree with me or was so concerned that his navigator did not know the difference between up and down to disagree.
Anyway, we cleared the wādiy in a level gravel plain, so we left the road to cut across country for the last 10 km. It was easy going until we reached the "road" I had digitized, but which turned out to be a railway line with a high embankment. A similar wrong classification would cost me the following day when attempting 24N 33E. It took a little while to find a low spot and with difficulty get across. It was then onto the Confluence which lay just short of a large solitary jabal.
Afterwards we stayed north of the railway line until we reached the blacktop and headed south for 25N 32E. This time I watched the elevation on the Garmin as we drove across the plain and into the wādiy. This time we also appeared to be climbing and the Garmin told we climbed from 100 m to 500 m through the wādiy, so I was happy that the Nile does not flow uphill.