Firstly… Please don’t forget about our cause- raising money for the Earthchild Project and the wonderful work they are doing in underprivileged schools.
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We are currently writing to you from Khartoum where we are camping at the Blue Nile Sailing Club, a famous haunt of overlanders, in the middle of the city next to the Nile. We have really enjoyed the last two days riding through Sudan and have been completely charmed by the hospitality, warmth and kindness of the Sudanese.
On Saturday we left Wadi Halfa to ride the road to Dongola. This road takes you through some very stark desert stretches that seem to go on forever. The harsh environment is quite intimidating and it seems like the people who live in this region need to wage a constant battle for survival against the unforgiving terrain… the several emaciated and dehydrated carcasses of camels and other cattle are testament to this. But overwhelming evidence would have it that people rather then living a constant struggle have in fact become quite in tune with their surroundings as we found it truly impressive how people have managed to cultivate a hospitable world around them.
August is a month notorious in Sudan for its desert storms and we sure did get a taste of these swirling dust devils, which sweep across the road relentlessly, buffeting you around like a plastic bag in their wake. Some times it is hard to tell whether you have hit one of these devils or if there is actually a massive dune that has moved into the road…desperate to take back its territory.
The scene was really quite something though, contrasts of the golden, red and black dunes with the beautiful village greenery that nestles itself along the Nile. At around 2pm we arrived in Dongola where we decided we would like to relax and soak in the atmosphere of this quaint and charismatic Nile-side village. Just as we were struggling to find a place to have some lunch… a bit of a testing task during Ramadan… a friendly couple of over landers stopped next to us and asked us if we were lost and the next minute we were following them down a sand road leading to a shady picnic spot on the Nile. We had a wonderful lunch and a very refreshing swim in the Nile in complete biking kit… to cool down our severely overheated bodies. After swapping stories over a wonderful lunch with our very generous fellow travelers, whose slogan I have to share with you, “Adventure before Dementia,”- Brilliant! … We hit the road again to find a place to camp.
|Much needed swim in the Nile :)|
We pulled over on the side of the road and rode a way off into the desert to enjoy our first night of ‘wild camping’ since our trip began. It was quite magical to put up a tent, in the middle of nowhere… not in a national park or anyone’s land but just camping in no-mans land, so to say. Temperatures do not however allow for sound sleeping and we were off again to Khartoum this morning after enjoying a really beautiful fuschia sunrise over the desert.
|Our camping spot...|
|Sunrise over the desert....|
|Stopped for a drink on the side of the road...|
Riding into Khartoum is quite a spectacle. Its outskirts look no different from the several rural villages we have driven through along the Nile, filled with Tuk-Tuks, Donkey carts piled five storeys high with grass and people, colourful markets and school children dressed in their rather striking army-camouflage school uniforms. However after you cross the bridge that runs over the Nile into central Khartoum the city makes its miraculous transformation into a modern, bustling metropolis fit with modern glass-dome buildings stretching into the sky. Quite a contrast.
|Camp site in Khartoum|
We had not eaten since yesterday lunch… and were quite starved so finished the night off cooking a simple dinner next to the Nile pondering upon the magnificent landscapes we have passed these last two days and Sudan’s greatest attraction- its people!