Sudan 

22-12-2006
I (Leen) have arrived in Aswan, Egypt yesterday. Pietje and the car are drifting somewhere on Lake Nasser.

In Khartoum we decided to change camp sites and moved to the Blue Nile Sailing Club. Though not as impressive as its name it's a nice place. We think a lot better than the National Camp (in contradiction to a lot of other Overlanders). We had a shower since a long time and sat along the Nile with a coke. Suddenly we remembered we forgot to register with the authorities. Nobody knows why you have to do this, but you have to and within 3 days of arrival. So we went to the Aliens Registration building which of course was firstly moved and secondly closed; the following morning they would open at 9am. For the registration you need a stamp from your accomodation and luckily we could arrange that in the evening at the BNSC, but costs another hour or so. We had dinner at the Steers (South-African hamburger joint) which wasn't nice. Sunday morning we returned to the Aliens building and found out again we were living in a different time-zone than we thought, we arrived at 10am. Every paper and visa and stamp has to be checked a couple of times and you pay pp. 40usd! At last at 12am (or 13am, we have decided not to adjust to time-zones anymore) we could leave Khartoum.

We tried to make it to Dongola, but this was to far. The road started out as good tar, but later on was just sand and rocks. This was the beginning of the desert. We stopped driving just before sunset and put up our tent somewhere in the bush. Along the Nile it's green and fertile and you have palm trees etc. Immediately some locals came, too bad we don't speak Arabic because that would have helped communications a lot. The locals had a look at the tent and the car and laughed a lot and then left. We made a fire and had tuna, beans and corned beef as dinner. At night it got really, really cold!

The next day we woke up early and started driving. It's amazing that there is nothing here, just sand and rocks. And that for hours and hours on! You'll see on the pictures which will be added later (when Pietje arrives in the civilized world). The only green and fertile you see is the area along the Nile. We took it easy and enjoyed the scenery. Bad thing is the corrugation is terrible. We spend the night just next to the Nile, had the same tuna and beans and a good nights rest. We didn't see any locals at all. The following day about the same. Nothing but rocks, sand and sometimes the Nile. The corrugation now becomes the worst in the whole wide world and we often had to drive trough the desert. In the afternoon we arrived in Wadi Halfa. No more dirt roads for us! We soon found Mazar and he showed us around. Wadi Halfa is nothing so you don't have to walk to be shown around: there is my office, there is a restaurant, there is my house. We had beans, fish, meat and bread at the restaurant and put up our tent in the desert. Again the night was freezing.

Wednesday we would arrange all the documents for the ferry. Actually there are two ferries: passenger and cargo. We quickly discovered that only one of us could come along with the car on the cargo ferry, so one had to go with the passenger ferry. The passenger ferry leaves on Wednesday and arrives on Thursday (18 hours). The cargo ferry leaves on Thursday, also takes 18 hours, but doesn't sail at night. So Pietje will arrive on Saturday. I left in the afternoon with the passenger ferry. You have to be at customs at about 3pm and the boat leaves when the captain is ready, but normally between 5pm and 6pm. Mazar really helped by not waiting in line but just get stamps and luggage checked and stuff. So at 5.30pm I left Sudan heading for civilization!

You receive about 5 notes with stamps etc. all in Arabic so you don't know what it's for and if you can throw it away. One of them is for dinner. I will eat a lot of strange things but the dinner on the ferry really did not looked for eating. So I exchanged my coupon for 5 pieces of bread, yeah. I was accompanied by 2 Italian women and 2 Austrian guys. We estimated there were about 500 locals on the ferry. Below deck there were 2 enormous spaces with a lot of benches and the problem would be where to sleep. I tried my luck on deck because here it was cleanest, but after 3 hours my feet were frozen so after 4 hours I decided to have a look at the cabins. Those people spit everywhere and just don't smell like flowers at all. I found a place in the cafetaria where I could lie down, it was warm enough and didn't smell too bad. I slept about 5 hours and then got up. We arrived in Aswan at about 9pm. The customs had to be done aboard and you couldn't leave before everybody was checked. We waited and waited and at the end nobody knew what we waited for anymore. At 12pm we could finally leave the ferry. 200 metres later we had to wait again, because somebody had lost the key of the gate. But, at 12h45 we could really leave. It was 10 minutes by taxi to the centre of town. I checked in a nice hotel, had a hot shower and walked around. Aswan is quite big and has many tourists (damn, I saw Dutch people again) and you can get almost anything here (of course beer as well, finally!); a good thing after Ethiopia and Sudan. People on the street want to sell anything and are sometimes quite hard to kick away.

I couldn't resist to have some Heineken (I promised Pietje not too) and slept OK. Today I visited the Nubian Museum, very interesting and nice. Later on I will make a tour on a local sailing ship, must be fun and I have a meeting with a guy who will help us get the car through customs. Tonight nothing special and probably tomorrow Pietje with the car will arrive!

16-12-2006
The next day we got to the border. Here you stamp your passport and everything went without any problems; we had to pay 6 usd forÖ I donít know what for. Quite soon we saw tar and it had been a long time since we did more than 600 kmís in one day. We arrived in Khartoum at about 6pm and spend the night at the National Camp, not interesting but did just fine.

Today we have just visited Midhat Mahir (midhat.sudan@gmail.com - 0912253484 - 0922009195) who arranges the ferry from Wadi Halfa (Sudan) to Aswan (Egypt). He is really friendly and had made reservations already. His brother Mazar (0122380740 - 0251822388 - 0251822330) is in Wadi Halfa and will help us with customs etc. We left but not without having breakfast; our first encounter with the friendly Nubian people. Furthermore we went to a mechanic today to fix a noise in the engine. He corrected the valve-timing and the noise was gone! Funny thing is we didnít have to pay anything, thank you guys. We will later on put the coordinates of this Landrover mechanic on this site.