Day 35 – 5 July

Last morning in Ethiopia. Set off after breakfast at the hotel for the Sudan border. Not too far to go as we are only going 80 km into Sudan and then bush camping. We are astounded as the road is new tarmac and very few people and animals on this side compared to the rest of Ethiopia. The only real problem that slows us down in that there is evident a sale of cattle somewhere and great numbers of herds of cattle are being driven along the road.

The border crossing is a nightmare with “customs” wanting to look at all the vehicle engines etc, which takes about an hour. On the Sudanese side photo and copies of passports have to be produced the officials are officious. Customs are a real joke with not knowing how to fill in forms and wrongly tearing papers. This is happening inside the office with the 3 drivers, Paul, Mark and Willy, while Denys, Andre and Rene standing outside in the sun not knowing what is happening and contemplating the worst. This takes 1.5 hours to sort out. Eventually we get away having paid our taxes. As usual it is to too early to set up camp so we will look for something in Gederef itself. No luck, which in itself is a blessing for us as we find a super bush camp site about 90kms further on behind some rocks away from the traffic and remote enough to away from prying eyes. This is the best bush camp so far by far.

Camp outside Gederef
Camp outside Gederef

Day 36 – 6 July
The road to Khartoum takes us over the Blue Nile into a small town called where we are to have breakfast at a restaurant alongside the Nile. What a joke as the restaurant is run down and filthy. We land up buying bread and cokes at a little corner shop. The bread ( small loaves more like buns) is very good, hot and fresh sold in newspaper.

Khartoum is far more organized than the cities of the countries we have been through so far. Teams Lipstick and Bulldog have decided to have the luxury of a hotel for the 3 days in Khartoum while we decide to stick to the plan and camp next to the Nile at Blue Nile Yacht Club. The place is run down but suits our needs as we are pretty self sufficient.

Denys in the meantime who has been running a temperature and has a headache comes down with malaria.

On road to Khartoum
On road to Khartoum

Days 37 -7 July and Day 38 – 8 July
While Denys sweats it out Paul takes the time off to read and catch up with some rest time.

Day 39 – 9 July
Denys still under the weather but having taken the course of Coartem for malaria is hopeful that today should be a better day.

We get through Khartoum and head north according to our schedule for Kerma. The road north is a brand new road and the travelling is easy, reaching Dongola at about 2.00pm and have coffee with a local resident ( read the other team’s blog). After coffee we head north to Kerma and stay in rooms at a museum site where they are still uncovering ancient buildings and artifacts.

Unfortunately the scribe is still trying to recover from malaria.

Day 40 – 10 July
On schedule we have a casual start as we head off for Wadi Halfa our final destination in Sudan before crossing the Aswan Dam into Egypt. There is no real hurry as we have to meet our “fixer” who is going to sort all our documents for the shipping onto the barge and our ferry ride up The Aswan. The vehicles go separately and are going on Wednesday. The ferry is also leaving on Wednesday so we have plenty of time. At about 11.00am we receive a message from the “fixer” that there is a barge leaving today AND we can leave with the same barge. Naturally all teams members are excited as we can make up 3 days by not having to wait in Wadi Halfa for the 3 days. This time can rather be used by driving up Egypt alongside the Red Sea with some scuba and swimming instead of sitting in a hotel.

Team Lipstick go on ahead while we together with Team Bulldog to bring up the rear. Sorry to say as we arrive in Wadi Halfa we are met by Team Lipstick who tell us we cannot go with the vehicles. This is devastating after the anticipation of leaving today. The good news is that our vehicles can be loaded so they will be waiting for us at Aswan when we arrive on Thursday.

A mad panic to get clothes, food, freezers and documents out and taken to our rooms in the “hotel” before the drivers take the vehicles to customs and then to load them onto the barge. The big wait starts.

Museum at Kerma
Museum at Kerma

Day 41 – 11 July
There is nothing to do Halfa and the day is simply whiled away doing nothing! What a waste of time. The “hotel” is simply a kitchen (absolutely no comment) bedrooms with no linen and unclean ablutions. Not all the electrical points or lights are working, but luckily Rene and Andre sort a few connections so the freezers can at least work.

Lunch is at a local restaurant – quite an experience.

The rest of the day is at the hotel in air conditioned rooms until the electricity packs up. Well, we are in Africa and as the saying goes “Africa is not for sissies”. Supper tonight is as last night – a braai, to enable us to finish the bit of meat which has been brought from East London.

Day 35 to 41 – Team Icevan

3 thoughts on “Day 35 to 41 – Team Icevan

  • July 14, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Hey Guys! Sounds like you’ve had a rough week Denys! Hope you are on the mend, I hope the heat will make you sweat the malaria out a bit faster!!! Hope you got some sympathy from the gang! I bet all the driving must be quite exhausting by now! It looks like you are having some wonderful experiences over there, I’m sure all the egyptian sites will be amazing too, you’ll get nagged to buy all sorts from the locals!! Paps, the kids all send lots of hugs and kisses and miss you very much and want to know when you’re coming back!! It’s school holidays, and Dave is in Holland this week, so its wonderful for us all to sleep in! We are building up the area around the stoep with rocks over the weekends so we can hopefully get some grass down before the long hot summer arrives. The driveway goes in in 10days, so we are all excited – I’ll just be happy not to have all the sand in the house!! I have to have my foot surgery redone as the bone graft didn’t take – so having the big op on the 2nd of August, another 9 weeks of not being able to drive, so am looking for au pair as Dave leaves for Brisbane on the 3rd of September for the new job which is bad timing. Our female kangaroo now waits for me at the door for her dose of greens and bread – she has a very young joey who stuck its head out for the first time yesterday! Have a fantastic time in Egypt, we love all being able to read about what you are all up to!!! Take care Lots of love Gis and co

  • July 15, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Hi Everyone! It looks like you have some really exiting time, hope Denys feels better now and can fully enjoy the experience.
    I went to Poland for few days and just came back 2 days ago. It was very hot and sunny, real summer (unlike UK). I told my mom about your trip Paul, she sends her love and wishes you safe journey. Mark starts his new job at the beginning of August, so it is very unlikely we are going to come to SA this year, as Mark won’t be able to get holidays ;( We are thinking of March next year now. Any way if you feel like visiting UK, please do.
    In a meantime keep well and enjoy your trip through Egypt.
    Love Bogusia & Mark

  • July 20, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Hello! I’m sure you are all looking forward to getting back to “civilization” after the week you have had. Shame Denys, I hope you’re feeling better now! I’m sure it must’ve been a terrible experience especially in the heat and discomfort. Paps, we missed you in EL this weekend but it was very nice to see Michele again. We had a very busy weekend but it was fun. Things here are plodding along, still waiting to hear about the bond for the property in PE, been nearly a month and a half already. What a pain! Will keep you posted on how it goes. Otherwise not much news this side. Jaime finally getting her two top front teeth so it’s been two weeks of not sleeping!!! Think I’ll come drop her off with you when you get back! Heehee. Not really, she is so much fun and so cute and friendly. Anyway, we love and miss you stax. Hope you have a better week!
    Lots of love and hugs
    Clauds, Vernon and Jaime xxx

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