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Binoculars confiscated by Egyptian authorities at airport (3 Viewers)

Ian Lewis

aka Gryllo
Europe
I have had no problems with using binoculars in either Egypt, Tunisia or Jordan (and the tour leader had a scope and tripod in the first two, the visit to Jordan was off our own back).

However our visit to Tunisia was really about going to Algeria to see the nuthatch and other Atlas specialities. We had to leave our bins and scopes with the hotel manager in Tunisia, cross into Algeria & be escorted by two police cars to the hotel.

The next day there were six police cars in the forest car park (12 officers) the forestry department boss, two forestry research workers (who knew where the nuthatches were nesting), a local reporter and a photographer to escort us around the forest so we could watch the nuthatch, Atlas Pied Flycatcher, Maghreb Owl etc though our telephoto camera lenses!

It was the most bizarre birding trip I've ever been on.

However we did do some general birding in Tunisia where we saw lots of goodies including my lifer African Desert Warbler plus several great mammals.
 
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Bubbs

Well-known member
Although it’s some time back, birding around Suez was virtually impossible due to the over zealous soldiers everywhere.
 

Ted Y.

Forum member
Supporter
Canada
It does seem very bizarre, however, that binoculars are considered a risk, but other optics are not.

My 2c
A binocular 10x vs a camera with 10x optics:
-less weight, less volume and less exposure
-no battery is needed
-the binocular is sealed (waterproof, sandproof, etc.)
-very little knowledge needed to use a binocular
-if all is forbidden, maybe tourists can be less interested

It seems the binoculars are not confiscated, the owner can retrieve the optics at the same airport. If the owner do not do that, ...
 
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Dyrlege

Well-known member
Norway
I wonder who exactly does Egypt have to worry about when it come security..
There is a well-known smuggling route going from the west (geographically) to the east through Egypt and the Sinai, transporting all kinds of goods including weaponry. Not everything transits Egypt, rather, it stays there, and there you have the security worry.
 

Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
There is a well-known smuggling route going from the west (geographically) to the east through Egypt and the Sinai, transporting all kinds of goods including weaponry. Not everything transits Egypt, rather, it stays there, and there you have the security worry.
Hmm, why would weaponry be transported through Egypt , and to whom I wonder. Doesn’t seem like an international hub for weapons smuggling.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Hmm, why would weaponry be transported through Egypt , and to whom I wonder. Doesn’t seem like an international hub for weapons smuggling.
Gateway to Africa, full of regional, factional and religious conflicts from Western Sahara to the Horn, from Algeria to Mozambique and for that matter animal poaching with fully automatic arms right down to South Africa. Why wouldn't it be a weapons smuggling route?

John
 

Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
Gateway to Africa, full of regional, factional and religious conflicts from Western Sahara to the Horn, from Algeria to Mozambique and for that matter animal poaching with fully automatic arms right down to South Africa. Why wouldn't it be a weapons smuggling route?

John
Thank you , I stand corrected. Now an interesting topic for some research on my part 🙏🏼✌🏼
 

Dyrlege

Well-known member
Norway
Hmm, why would weaponry be transported through Egypt , and to whom I wonder. Doesn’t seem like an international hub for weapons smuggling.
Check out the regional polictics (not necessarily national ones) and the picture becomes clearer. The same route also brings foot- and mouth-disease eastwards.
 

Dyrlege

Well-known member
Norway
Actually the implication is that the trafficking goes out of Africa to the east. Obvious destination is the Gaza Strip. Arms don’t necessarily originate in Africa but arrive from e.g. Iran via a circuitous route.
Cheers
James
And we must not forget the IS-affiliated groups "working" the MENA region.
 

YuShan

hikingbirdman.com
United Kingdom
I never even considered this risk of confiscation at the airport :oops:
Sure, I understand that using binoculars around strategic places like airports, harbors, military installations etc could be risky. That has always been on my mind, but not outright confiscation when entering the country. One more thing to worry about...
 

MiddleRiver

Well-known member
United States
And, it can be very arbitrary... we just returned from Nepal and Bhutan. We tend to do all carry-on and had one set of trekking poles between us. They went 1)into Nepal, 2)out of Nepal and into Bhutan, 3)back out of Bhutan and into Nepal, all w/out incident. Finally, leaving Nepal en-route to Delhi layover, the security guys said they were not allowed. I politely mentioned that they had already been through Nepalese security in Khatmandu 3 times, but of course they would barely address me and went back to their work. The options were to back track into the chaos of checking the bag/poles and standing in lines for who-knows-how-long, or just suck it up and lose $100 worth of gear. FWIW neither USA (TSA), UAE, Bhutan, India had any issues with the poles. We've also carried them into several S.American countries w/out incident. Somehow it seemed like we were being ripped off, given that the agents full-well know we're finally heading home and have few options.

Sigh... Really too bad because other than this incident, we love the country and its people.

I hadn't even considered binos being restricted... yikes!
 

YuShan

hikingbirdman.com
United Kingdom
And, it can be very arbitrary... we just returned from Nepal and Bhutan. We tend to do all carry-on and had one set of trekking poles between us. They went 1)into Nepal, 2)out of Nepal and into Bhutan, 3)back out of Bhutan and into Nepal, all w/out incident. Finally, leaving Nepal en-route to Delhi layover, the security guys said they were not allowed. I politely mentioned that they had already been through Nepalese security in Khatmandu 3 times, but of course they would barely address me and went back to their work. The options were to back track into the chaos of checking the bag/poles and standing in lines for who-knows-how-long, or just suck it up and lose $100 worth of gear. FWIW neither USA (TSA), UAE, Bhutan, India had any issues with the poles. We've also carried them into several S.American countries w/out incident. Somehow it seemed like we were being ripped off, given that the agents full-well know we're finally heading home and have few options.

Sigh... Really too bad because other than this incident, we love the country and its people.

I hadn't even considered binos being restricted... yikes!
Trekking poles are often considered potential weapons. I always take my trekking poles apart and put the inside my backpack, which I check in. My binoculars are always in my hand luggage.
 

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