Getting off the ferry was as delightful as getting on. For some reason some dignitary pulled up alongside and decided to join the overloaded boat with his entourage in tow. We had to fill out some paperwork on board before alighting. Why we couldn’t have done this while sailing is beyond me. Soon enough we were fighting our way off and into the midday heat. My bike was already there alongside Gianni’s van and both were already cleared to depart customs. We met up with a guy named Mazzar who sorted everything else for us for a small fee and soon we were free in Sudan, well kind of, my front tire was flat again.
My first experience of this country was getting a tire repaired again. I asked the guy to put a tube in it this time but he refused and said he will be able to fix it and to my surprise he has managed to get it to stay up. This hasn’t repaired it by a long shot as its complexly warped and oval shaped but it’s staying up. It’s like riding with an egg for a front wheel but it’s going to have to do till I get to Nairobi. My buddy Steve in Kearys BMW Cork has come to the rescue again and DHL’d a new one out there for me. I just hope I make it that far.
We spent the first night in Sudan camping alongside a full hotel in Wadi Halfa. I didn’t get much sleep after hearing about the biker that was eaten by Hyenas some time back. There were packs of wild dogs roaming the streets barking all night long as well. From Wadi Halfa we (Gianni and his wife Fabi in their VW camper) headed off to a place called Gondola where we had to register with the alien police and pay more money. This took 2 hours for some reason. Then we went in search of a hotel. There were a few but after seeing the first one we decided to head out of town and camp. Gianni said he wouldn’t mind staying in the hotel for the experience as he has never been to prison.
We spent a nice night camping along the banks of the Nile but it was so windy I kept waking up thinking hyenas were pulling at my tent. I had my knife at the ready but I don’t know how successful I would have been in defending myself. The next ride was to the capital of Sudan, Khartoum. It took most of the day to get there tiding in temperatures of 40 degrees plus. It was a nice ride though. The desert had a strange and unique beauty of its own. Along the way there were heaps of camels both dead and alive. You know it’s hot when there are half rotten carcass lying everywhere in the sand.
We camped in the Blue Nile sailing club in Khartoum that night. The club is right in the middle of the city which is very handy. There wasn’t much sailing going on there though, I’d say the last time a vessel was launched there was a long time ago. It’s a nice safe place to camp if you’re coming this way. The next morning we were at the Ethiopian embassy for 8:30 am and out again at 10:30 am visas in passports, it couldn’t have been easier once we found the place. We thought it was going to take the whole day and were presently surprised when we were told we could have the visas in an hour. Rather than stay another night in the city we decided to head out and camp outside. We rode for 350 km and camped in a field. The next morning it was a 220 km ride to the border of Ethiopia. The landscape changed dramatically as I rode along. I was really beginning to feel I was in Africa now with mud brick huts dotting the roadside on route. The border crossing was a breeze; it only took 2 hours for exit and entry and cost $3 in total.
I only spent a short time in Sudan mainly because of the heat. It’s really uncomfortable to ride in from 11 am onwards. It was 32 degrees at 8:30 am one morning for the love of Allah. Sudan was fantastic and a real pleasure to travel through. The people are kind, generous and helpful. I only got to see the north of the country which is mostly desert, there’s a war about to start raging in the south again and obtaining visas is pretty difficult. I really enjoyed the bit of the country I was lucky enough to see and hope to return again one day.