Sudan – Africa here we come!

The people here are indeed very warm and friendly, this is evident as you drive through the country. Not only do most of them all wave at you when you drive passed, but each car, bus or truck that you cross will hoot and flash their lights just to say hello.

Our first day on the road from Wadi Halfa en route to Dongola felt really good.  Whenever you are on the road, and driving toward your next destination with the thought of bush camping  under the night sky (and what a sky it is in Sudan)  you are filled with an unbelievable rush and great expectation. We found a pearler of a camp spot. We sat on the banks of the Nile  and saluted the sinking sun with a cool Sakara.

Saluting the sun with a Sakara

We whipped up a bush risotto with butternut, peppers, aubergine, lentils and feta – even at home that would be a good dish. A good bucket bath under the stars and off to bed we were.

Dongola is a great little town, you could honestly find anything you needed. Fruit and veg was in abundance and looked great! We did however miss the ruins, but one thing we have learnt about Sudan is that when they call something a ‘Ruin’ that’s exactly what it is – rubble, more like.

On our second night we camped right opposite the pyramids in Karima. Most of the sites in Sudan are not protected by walls or stand-off so you can literally walk right up to them and touch them. The weather is so harsh that most pyramids and ruins have been worn down so badly you can actually see evidence of wind erosion and a scorched color from the sun blankets the rock face.

The Pyramids at Karima

On our third day we headed for The Meroe pyramids and met up with our two Dutch friends Cynthia and Daan. We camped really close to the pyramids and watched the sun setting just behind them as we cracked open Cynthia’s bottle of Chardonnay (A Cape wine….quaffable). Daan being an avid cook, whipped up an Indian curry for us all, the temperature was somewhat fiery, but for a curry muncher like myself – I tucked right in.

Sunset over the Pyramids of Meroe

Meroe Pyramids

Meroe Pyramids

Meroe Pyramids

Meroe Pyramids

Meroe Pyramids

Meroe Pyramids

We were woken by kids, a donkey and two camels who had set up a blanket of trinkets to entice any tourist. After breakfast we had a look at what was on offer and we each bought a little something. Mike and Daan then told Cynthia and I ‘to take one for the team’ and accept a camel ride to the pyramids. Off we went. My camel galloped the whole way, not recommended for anyone with a full bladder. I am working on the next set up so the boys can take one for the team next… suggestions are welcome

Taking one for the team

En route to Khartoum we stopped off at Mashawarat temple and pilgrimage site. Naqa followed with  it’s very own Lion Temple. Both these sites were quite a drive from the main road  (in extreme heat too) and demanded the  guys’ full attention. They had a blast! We tackled crossing a dry river bed (soft sand heaven) and landed up having to whip out the tow rope to help the Dutchies . Competition between the Saffa’s and Dutch is mounting, so mike was gloating when this opportunity presented itself. No photo I’m afraid.

In Sudan you have to have a permit to take photo’s which you can only get in Khartoum (well not really, but we did try and find a place in Wadi Halfa by foot and that was torture in the heat) So if you are caught taking a photo and an official asks to see your permit and you don’t have one, you can sign off many hours to African beaurocracy and fall victim to a confiscated memory card. Bikers we met up with in Wadi Halfa found themselves in this predicament which took place in Atbara so they passed this info on as soon as we met them.

Therefore most of the photo’s we have for Sudan are sneaky ones taken with our point and shoot.

A sneaky pic of the ferry

Khartoum, well it must be said it was certainly a heap better than what I expected. This is where the White and Blue Nile’s join – Really great to see from  a big bridge in the city. Next great find was an awesome Lebanese restaurant and here comes the real delight – Steers and Debonnaire’s. Guess where we went for our next two lunches. Dinner at the Lebanese restaurant was AMAZING!!! Steers and debs were not as good as we remembered, but still worth it!

Camping in a city is never our idea of fun so were off again. This time to find what had been explained to us as a “romantic” destination. On this occasion, The lonely planet gets a thumbs down. Two nights in Wadi Medani were suffice to get some admin sorted out for the border crossing into Ethiopia.

We have heard so much about Ethiopia both really good and really bad. Ethiopians have all been exposed to the NGO’s ‘generosity’ of free hand outs from money to pens. As soon as you enter the country all the little kids run up to your car and shout “you you you, money money money, pen pen pen” Some even bend down to grab a stone to throw at your car as you pass. But we have been warned about this so we were prepared. We made sure our windows were down and anyone in a “ready to throw” position we would wave at, and this seemed to distract them…..for now. We have heard that the road to lalibella is really bad and you might actually have to stop the car and charge someone just to make them realise that what they are doing is not appreciated.

Oh and least I forget on our way through to the border, we had learnt that the Dutch were ahead and had chosen to sleep close to the border post and cross over early the next day. We weren’t having any of that! We set out at 06:00 and met them at the border, where they had been waiting at customs for an hour. The general was having breakfast and so you wait your turn, rightfully so. As soon as we arrived, the General appeared. The Dutch then went on to explain that when they had woken that morning, their car battery was flat, and the only thought that entered their mind was if we would stumble upon them and have to help again….  or if we beat them to the border. They were luckily helped by a local and still made it in time to greet us with big smiles.

Ethiopia – This is going to be an exciting part of our trip and this is where real Africa really starts to show it’s rainbow colors. Bring it on.


Some more pics from our sudanese adventure:

Mike & Joris

Our Hotel Wadi Halfa

Killing time in Wadi Halfa

Killing time in Wadi Halfa

Killing time in Wadi Halfa

Customs official posing for his pic on the internet - well chuffed

3 Responses to “Sudan – Africa here we come!”

  1. Kimmi says:

    What a joll you are having!!! Had breakfast with Nicola and Uldric on Fri morning. Miss you guys so much!!!

  2. Lisa Bucher says:

    Looks amazing Bee – so glad you are seeing and doing so much – thinking of you and love you lots XXX

  3. michele Sparkes says:

    Sounds like you are having an amazing time
    I am leaving tomorrow night 17 May and will be in the USA untill the 2 nd June
    we have a few interesting interviews. I believe you are meeting us on the 22nd in Kenya, very excited

    Miss you Mom

Leave a Reply