I’ve been browsing the internet for the past few months trying to find a ‘safe’ way to travel from Europe to mainland Africa on the eastern side of the continent. I have found many out-of-date blogs and some possible solutions, but they weren’t very solid leads. Eventually, I figured it out.
Getting from Europe to Africa is easy. Spain - Morocco, Italy - Tunis. All good. However, getting from Europe to the east side of Africa, is rather tricky. The ‘old routes’ (Italy - Tunis by boat or Turkey / Syria overland) are all risky, the overland route because of Syria, the oversea route because getting to Egypt will involve either Lybia, Niger or Chad (or basically going to the middle of Africa, crossing there and going back up).
Both of these are not an option unfortunately. I’ve done my research and if there was a possibility to do either, I would, but it seems there is too much of a beef going on there to go through them.
Turkey - Saudi Arabia (Iskenderun - Duba)
This is a rather elaborate way to do it. I’ll have to travel down from The Netherlands, so going overland through Turkey will mean a lot of extra kilometers. Next to that, I love Italy and would like to travel down through that. While that is still technically possible, it would involve a couple of ferries to get to Turkey from there.
From Duba, one could drive down and take a ferry from Mecca to Port Sudan (in theory, I’m not 100% sure, this one would be winging it a little).
Greece - Israel (Lavrio - Haifa)
This is a possibility worth considering. I haven’t found ferry lines but it seems salamis shipping is doing transport on these lines. Unfortunately, no idea of timetables or schedules and they don't respond to my emails.
Italy - Israel (Salerno - Ashdod)
This is one of the best possibilities for me as I would like to travel down through Italy and go to Africa from there. Salerno is a city with a port directly underneath Napels. From there, there is a ferry roughly every week going to Ashdod in Israel (taking around 3 days and stopping in Cyprus).
The shipping company is Grimaldi-Lines. They responded within a day only one day later, hooked up with a cabin and a place for my Motorcycle.
Sidenote: Traveling through Israel
There is one problem with traveling through Israel unfortunately. It is a ‘conflict’ area. Meaning that with an Israelian stamp in ones passport, there are some countries that will not let you enter (if I’m not mistaken, Sudan is one of them).
Fortunately, some countries (like The Netherlands) have thought of this and you can get a second passport specifically for this reason.