Off to the most northern border town of Sudan – Wadi Halfa – today.
This was a real trip through extremely rough desert terrain and through temperatures reaching 46 degrees. The road was fully tarred in a very good state and often running parallel to the river Nile.
The teams stopped closed to the river for a break and in order to put their feed in the water. This was done various cautiously as all seemed to be convinced that crocodiles were watching them. The Nile at that point was about 700m wide and flowing fast.
Back on the road Mazaa Mahir the ferry agent from Wadi Halfa phoned Willy and advised that there might be a problem with the ferry on Wednesday in that not all cars and bikes could go on due to space shortage. However – Mazar mentioned – that there is a barge in town today which could take 3 cars and if the teams could be there early then this would be a possible solution.
The teams decided to send Lipstick ahead -because it had a higher top speed then the rest – in order to start the admin process involved with getting the cars on the barge.
With 46 degrees and mountainous up and down drives not being enough all of a sudden Lipsticks air conditioner refused to work much to the dislike of Andre and Willy.
When approaching Wadi Halfa Willy contacted Mazar who then met Lipstick in the centre of this medium sized border town. Mazar explained that unless we can load the 3 cars today it would mean that we would have to wait another week before the next barge could take them. Unfortunately the barge could not take any passengers so the cars would need to go ahead of the teams and team members could use the passenger ferry on Wednesday to become reunited with their vehicles.
What can one say – is it safe in the middle of Africa to hand over three cars to a captain of a barge, giving him the key and hope that he will drive the cars safely off on the Egyptian site of the border, park the vehicles and hand over the keys to an unknown custom official over in Egypt – whilst the team members have to sit it out for another 3 days in hot Sudan??
With the option to maybe being stuck for another 1 to 2 weeks in this hot pot town the team members decided that the cars need to get on the barge as soon as possible.
Mazar guided them to a guest house where the team members could stay for the next 3 nights. The rooms were found to be relatively clean with airconditioning and the more important things were taken from the cars for safekeeping by the members.
Paul, Andre and Willy then drove down to the harbour accompanied by Mazaar to clear customs and getting the cars on the barge. This was however a very slow process as the customer and harbour official seem to have all the time in the world whilst having perfected the science of management by chaos.
Eventually the 3 teams were told to proceed putting their cars on the barge -a project which was both hair-raising and required maximum driving skills in order to avoid the cars sinking into the Luke warm waters of the Assuam dam.
Pictures below and Videos on this web site will show in more detail how a regular boat transport from Sudan to Egypt takes place and how a well-functioning harbour looks on a Sunday afternoon.
The task was completed, the cars sailed away leaving the team members behind – will they ever meet again …… time will tell.
Charcoal was organises, a braai fire started and a good time had by the teams wondering whether their cars would be safe.
A quick check up of the remaining stock of wine ,whiskey and beer showed that strict rationing need to take place as alcoholic beverages would only become available in some 5 days’ time in Egypt……..
The bikers were informed by sms about the current status quo and they were expected to arrive the following day to meet up with Lipstick, Bulldog and Icevan …..