I'm planning a trip to Yemen next year (and all the ME countries in between, including Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and Iraq) overland. I was wondering if anybody knows exactly how dangerous driving there really is - so far I've read that driving in Yemen and Saudi Arabia (and obviously Iraq) is quite the adrenaline rush.
Also, any tips about equipment, spare parts, clothes, GPS gadgets, maps, and any other bits of info you might find interesting are more then welcomed. Is it safe to go there alone or should I get other people to join?
If anybody wants to tag along, I'm planning the trip for April/May next year - it can't take more than 21 days total since I gotta get back to work and I get that much vacation time per year. My ride has room for another 3.
Lastly, if anybody has some experience with 4x4s, I'm in the market for one and would love to get your opinions - it's a pretty long drive (10,000 miles or so) and so far all I got is an imported Toyota FJ Cruiser (since its fairly cheap, looks sturdy and offers decent mileage - as opposed to a Ford or a Jeep GC).
Thanks in advance
No tips on driving or interested to come along, but:
- Do you think 21 days is enough to get to Yemen from the Netherlands, let alone go back. Or are you going to sell the car?
- I wonder if the Iraq-Saudi Arabia border crossing is open.
- You need transit visa for SA, which if you have your own vehicle is possible, but if you want to visit also Bahrain, Qatar, Oman etc. you need several of them. Iraq to Bahrain, Bahrain to Qatar, Qatar to UAE/Oman. I doubt that SA will give you more than one.
- A Toyota FJ Cruiser is the fairly new type, that's actually not sold in the Netherlands right? Better to get an old Toyota Landcruiser
i'll take the trip from the netherlands to romania by plane (and have the car shipped over there) - getting to turkey will take another half a day at most (and I know the area) so its basically turkey to yemen in 20 days (which is doable) - besides Im not really going for the museums but for the landscape.
the saudi border with iraq is not open (yet) but the turkish and kuweit ones are (as of january this year, to my knowledge)
as for visas, you can buy a multiple entry business or tourist visas for 14 or so days (checked with the ministry of f.a.) - the paperwork is not an issue and im hoping the political and military climate will calm down this year
the fj cruiser is not sold in europe at all but a company in spain is well known for importing them from the us (the only downside being that the outlet in the trunk will be an american one)
is the land cruiser a good or at least decent 4x4 for rocky terrain and sand? i remember it being a bit pricey and not sporting attractive mileage - i know they sell sand tires there though ive never seen any in europe
also, thanks for the input