Aswan/Egypt – Khartoum/Sudan

Alright, there we are again. The sun is gone already, here in Khartoum, sending its beams to continents, islands and waters further west from Africa. It is Friday night. 7:30 pm. 25 C degrees outside. The aircondition is running. 4:30 pm in London. The office week is almost over! Do they still have the 2 for 1 (beer and cocktails;) offer down there in Charterhouse? ;) Not that I do miss a cold glass of beer here, but once or twice we bought the non alcoholic version, brewed in Egypt, more a malt drink, just for the different taste of it, after a hard day on the bikes. But to be a bit more correct, only David and me! ;)

Back to the harbour in Aswan again, where we arrived at ten in the morning. To watch the loading and unloading procedures, while relaxing in the shadow, is more then just entertaining. Well, at the point, when we got a bit worried, if there will be a bit of space left for the bikes and us, it was arround 3pm already, we pushed our bikes on the boat. Other passengers and the hired carriers still rushing on and off as well. Alright. Let’s see how we can pass here with a loaded recumbent. David was already 10 meters ahead. The space was full of people and luggage and the path through as wide as in a packed train back home. But the people where relaxed and there was a helping hand here and there as well. We lifted them up the stairs up to the 2nd open deck and after 2 persons saying ‚No, you can’t leave them there‘ and 2 other boat authorities saying the opposite, we decided to leave them there. Great feeling again! There we are. 18 hours on board ahead of us.

It was a short and windy night, but the mood was good, watching the rising sun. The Temple and Tourist busses of Abu Simble. A strange feeling, looking at it from this perspective, knowing, that they relocated this unique cultural site with immense efforts in favour for this huge water reservoir called Lake Nasr. A similar destiny hit Wadi Halfa, the Nubian settlement on the Sudanese side. They simply flooded the old town, 1964, against the resistance of the Nubians. History now.

We arrived at the pier in Wadi Halfa arround midday and in the ’new‘ village centre, which is about 3 km away, around 4 hours later, after passing the customs and passport procedures. We liked the relaxed and friendly atmosphere immediately and the different sound of african music, from a radio in one of the shops. We were hungry and tired, changed some money as well. It was already too late for the required official registration. But there were two nice men helping us, providing us with important informations about this procedure, the road condition, the currency, the prices…

After a good portion of fuul with bread, the national dish here in North Sudan and a glass of tea we enjoyed the evening together with two other european travellers, who where with us on the boat. Because we were told, that we can register also upon our arrival in Khartoum, we decided to spent the night here and to leave early morning, more than 425 km of unpaved road, or better ‚route‘ ahead of us. It was a challenge, no question, physically and mentally and also for our heavily loaded bikes.

So, right at the end of our first day, after 65km, the rim of David’s back wheel cracked, no chance to move on anymore. After a few worried minutes we were evaluating options, set up a camp for the night and relaxed after a good meal together. Again this marvellous silence of the dessert at night. Time for other thoughts and questions.

The next morning, after breakfast, David hitched a ride back to Halfa, to organize some help from there. Meanwhile Tom and me went over to this spiky tree, providing some shadow and started to loosen spoke by spoke, in order to change the rims from front to back. Fortunately Tom knows by memory, how to put the spokes back in place and how to make the wheel round again. About 3 hours later a car was approaching us and David jumped out, a used but good looking replacement for his front wheel in his hands. Wow! Great! But then only 10 minutes later, the edge of the back wheel hub broke!! Unbelievable. We were watching each other in disbelief. Only Tom was still optimistic and straightened the wheel as good as it was possible, now with 2 spokes less. What a bad luck all at once. For us also a sign, that with this load and on this road the bikes and the material are at the limit. So we took some weigth off from Davids bike, put it on ours and on we went, at least still 10 km away from this spelled place. The ’new‘ wheels were fine. David could go on together with us. He said, if it will take him to Khartoum, he is more than happy! And, it did!

The next day was one of the hardest so far and brought us an hour after sunset to Akasha, a small village overviewing the Nile. There we asked for water and got the offer to stay overnight and to use one of these little tea-kitchen-huts. A warm Welcome! The next morning we were invited for a tea in the house of our nubian host and his young family. Also the next two days we received invitations, for a breakfast and for the two nights, passing through Abri and Wawa, where we got the Chance to cross the river by boat and to visit the Sulib temple, an impressing and inspiring sight in the Sunday afternoon light, still visited only by a few tourists. Also the crocodile, taking the sun on the opposite riverbank is part of the memories of this wonderful day!

We arrived in Dongola, after crossing the Nile again by boat in Argo, on Wednesday, the 14th and checked in in the ‚Lord‘ Hotel for two nights, enjoying the street life and new atmosphere of this nubian-arabic part of Africa, still about 600km away from Khartoum after eight sandy and dusty and rocky days… and there were still more ahead of us, although we thought, after various informations, from Dongola onwards it will be an easy ride on a paved road. These tricky expectations. They were making the last two days on the mostly unpaved or still unfinished road even harder.

But again, the many friendly people we met along the way, the invitations for a ‚breakfast‘ together or a tea, a lemonade, the chance for a ride on a donkey for Tom, or to be part of a market scene during our middaybreaks, to take part in the daily live of the people here, to sleep under palmtrees at night, all this outbalances the personal efforts and the suffering moments. The Suffering of the burning sun, the dust in your pores, the sweat, all the days without a shower, the tired muscels, the many times you fall, stuck in the loose sand or dust, when you have to push the heavy bike, when you start wondering why the f… are you doing this, when you loose the right track, when you can’t avoid to ride over these hard ‚washing board ripples‘ over and over again, when you have to sort and evaluate the information of ten different people, talking about the same two route options, when you have to filter the many liters of water you drink, still beeing sceptical about the purity (the people there drink it directly from the Nile)…

Then, finally, the last 385km were asphalt again, asphalt of best quality and with a strong wind pushing us, from the roundabout in Abu Dom, southwards! What a feeling. It is like flying! Like a rush! You become adicted to the smooth asphalt and speeds of 30km plus, when you can only hear the humming of your tires and the sound of the chain… Lucky us, because the scenery arround offers not much of a change and the typical resthouses/ shelters/ kitchens not much for a pleasant rest.

On Tuesday in the middday heat we arrive at the so called ‚Lybian market‘ in Omdurman, right outside of Khartum, where we have a lunchbreak and enjoy the life and impressions of our first city-stop in Sudan. Again, lucky us, it was not that difficult to find the Blue Nile Sailing Club, directly on the river bank and only 2 km away from the ’souq arabi‘, the central market place of Khartoum. 3 USD per night that’s all they ask for. We decided to stay for 4 nights, todays beeing the last one for Tom and me.

David will stay longer because of his bike and also to visit the Merowe pyramids, north of Khartoum, probably together with Flic, a young woman from Melbourne, Australia, also on tour, by bike and bus, exploring the north-east of the African continent. I also want to mention Midhad here, a famous man, among bike travellers here in Sudan. He is a tour guide and bike-enthusiast, and he helped us a lot with the whole registration procedure, could provide is with helpfull information about our next destination, Ethiopia, and offered David help to fix his bike. Thanks a lot!

Well, tomorrow, early morning we will ride on, direction southeast. There are still about 600km up to the ethiopian border at Metema and from there about another 1000km to Addis Abeba, through the highland of Ethiopia. It will be another big challenge, but we feel good and well prepared and hope to talk to you again from Addis, in about three weeks… It is already 11pm now, time to stop and to shop… ;)

Thank you and all the best to all of you!


pictures to this article: Assuan/Ägypten – Khartum/Sudan : Fotos

23. Februar 2007 - Maik | english texts | Kommentare :: comments :: comentarios | Inhalt drucken

4 Responses to “Aswan/Egypt – Khartoum/Sudan”

  1. 1 Paolo 27 Februar 2007 @ 19:10

    Hi Maik,

    it’s been a while since you left and I never wrote. Too bad of me, but here I am now.

    Seems like you’re really enjoying your selves, having a great time and living a beautiful experience. I bet you’re not missing the grey skies of London.
    I very much like the pictures you guys are taking and having images to go with the posts makes the journal more interesting. I’ll send some to the volleyball team.

    From now on I’ll write more often.
    Best of luck,

  2. 2 La Pepu 2 März 2007 @ 2:24

    Hey Paolo! … Personally maybe not London weather, but we miss „our“ people overthere. Give my best regards to Alex and Gabriela. Elisa

  3. 3 L. 7 März 2007 @ 16:56


    Zufaellig habe ich eure Webseite gefunden…Endlich Maik machst Du Dein Traum! Ich bin froh, dass Du Mut gefunden hast, um etwas „gross und interessant“ zu machen (und eine Frau zu heiraten(!?)).
    Ich hoffe, diese Reise bringt viele Gefuehle, Farbe, Licht und Abstand mit dem „normalen“ Leben fuer euch beide. Ein Gruss an Tomas.
    Entschuldigung fuer die Fehler. Ich spreche die ganze Zeit in englisch und franzoesisch!

    Bonne Chance.


  4. 4 OLIVER 10 März 2007 @ 17:06

    hi ihr zwei,
    die tage fliegen dahin, ich ergehe mich in der langsamkeit meiner ungenutzten tage und genieße die entwicklung meiner kleinen charlize, die tag für tag die welt erobert, so wie für euch ist jede ecke unseres hauses eine große entdeckung. was bei euch fehlt ist, wenn ihr auf den schlechten straßen flucht eine riesiege hand die euch da einfach mal weghebt, knuddelt und wieder ins angenehme setzt.
    seit ganz lieb gedrückt von

    zwei frauen ein mann

Leave a Reply


deutsch :: english :: español

Rubrik :: category :: categoría

Archiv :: archive :: archivo