11. Travel report: Sudan 29.01.2008 - 15.02.2008
Wadi Halfa - Abri - Kerma - Dongola - Abu Dom - Khartoum
Sudan, a country which is better known for civil war and a radical islamistic government, shows us travellers a different, a friendly and warm picture with very hospitable and helpful people. We travelled a tiny part of Sudan, the North, mostly following the river Nile and the narrow strip of fertile land on either bank that tries to hold back the desert.
At 11 in the morning we got on the ferry in Asuan after easy immigrations procedures. At 7 in the evening, all passengers and heeps of goods were on board, and the not very relaxing trip on hard wooden seats between bags and cartons, ended next day noon in Wadi Halfa.
With the bicycle we were fast in the village to register with the immigration, which costed us another 43$, after having payed a visa fee of 100$ each already.
Next morning we fill up extra water, vegies and fruits, which should last at least 3 days for the 130 km of desert to the next village. A strong tailwind is blowing and 40 km tarmac smoothens the first stretch of the trip. Then we fight against corrugation or soft sand road, which needs concentrated cycling and was challenging for the riders as well as for the bikes. Sometimes hit us clouds of finde brown dust too, but we got rewarded with a very beautiful landscape.
The villages along the river Nile are wonderful. The Nubian houses sit in a large courtyard surrounded by a high wall. The windows are coloured and the gateways decorated with bright colours in geometric pattern. The Nubian people are very friendly, helpful and pleasant and we find many villagers speaking English too. In each village there are earthenware pots on stands for passers by to refresh themselfes and for us to refill the bottels with water which is often murky but good for drinking.
One week - and we hit the tarmac road. From Dongola to Khartoum the temperature rose on the scale up to 37 degrees C. With these good roads there we reached the capital (530 km) within 4 days. This part through the desert has no villages, but every day we found a teahouse where we were able to refill the water and enjoy a bowl of the legendary ful (brown beens stewed, mashed with an empty bottle and served in a bowl together with the round bread). Wintertime is the best season to travel in Sudan, not too hot, no real sandstroms yet. From here we decided to fly to San'a in Yemen and hope to cycle that country before the rainy season starts.