As Anna described in the last post, we’d been under near constant tension during our stay in Aswan, worried that we wouldn’t get ourselves on to the weekly Aswan – Wadi Halfa ferry. As we dragged ourselves through the hordes of Sudanese people making the trek home, before finally carving ourselves out a spot in the ‘2nd class cabins’ (ie on the deck), it was like a heavy weight had been lifted off our shoulders. We were on the move once more.
Another heavy weight (ie The Beast) looked even less comfortable on its ride to Wadi Halfa after the barge was fully loaded. Driving a car that big, on to and off a platform that small kindled a kind of fear I will never forget!
|The beast crammed in on the barge from Aswan to Wadi Halfa|
Sadly this marked the end of our time hanging out with Mahmoud (a friend we’d made at the port) and his chickens / goats / turkeys / pigeons who rather strangely live in a shed right in the middle of Aswan– he even managed to host a fairwell bbq for us
|Farewell BBQ in the chicken shed|
Despite all the palaver of getting yourself on the ferry, the trip is incredible. There’s no light for miles around, so the stars are incredible, and the journey was made all the more sweet by the laid back Sudanese lute music, which sung us softly to sleep at night, and was generally the sound track of our journey.
|Beautiful Sudanese singing|
It’s also a great opportunity to meet other overlanders, sharing information, planning routes and indulging ourselves in some talk of home. In our case, we met overlander celebrity (his own billing) Omar Mansour, the first Egyptian to ride Cairo to Cape Town who along with his travel buddy Abdullah kept us highly entertained for the journey and beyond; and also 4 Brits – (Crazy) Tim and Sharon who are travelling by bicycle, and Rich and Tom who are travelling with two WWII Triumph motorbikes which seem to go through a litre of oil a day
On arrival we also met a few people coming the other way. I found these guys really humbling to meet because they had already achieved everything that we have set out to do (and have the war stories to prove it). They mostly look dusty, but I think that’s just Sudan.
|Leaving Wadi Halfa with Omar and Abdullah|
|Rich pleased to have his bike back – a very nice WWII Triumph|
Egypt is so full of tourists it can fell like an extension of Europe, but now, in Sudan we really know we’re in Africa. Wadi Halfa in particular, feels like the kind of town you find at the end of the world. Isolated, dusty, windswept and stripped to the bone. As I walked through the town with our desert supplies slung over my shoulder, the sun waning and the mellow tones of the Sudanese folk music ringing out from the pool hall I was passing. I couldn’t help like feeling this is what I came for. In a good way, I couldn’t feel like I’m further from home….