horus temple
typical lunch
the ferry
typical camp
maps with locals
wawa local
me and donkey rider

luxor to dongala.

January 13, 2012

Luxor to Dongala

1400kms… only 10,500kms to go.

So it’s been a while since my last update which is due to several reasons i.e. I think the internet only came to Sudan last week and secondly I have been pretty busy on the bike.

A lot has happened and many places have been seen since I last sat in front of a computer.  From Luxor we continued on with our journey south which is always a good sign as it’s our definitive direction.   We managed to check out ‘egpyt’s best preserved monument’, the horus temple which along with these complimenting credentials was made even better by the fact we were the only people there, quite a treat after coming from the busier sites.  The other benefit was no touts trying to offer us ferry rides, hash or fortunate opportunities to take a photo.  The final parts of our Egypt experience also included Aswan, the most southern town for tourists and for us a ferry port to North Sudan.  It was also a town for another rest day which is always much appreciated, an opportunity to see the sites and just as importantly not go through the routine of turning your legs over and over (and over.)

The ferry to Sudan was all and then some of what we expected i.e. people taking all white goods from Egypt home to Sudan (think an entire electronics store) and simple chaos.  Trying to get four fully loaded bikes onto a ferry whilst people are pushing past carrying fridges on their backs is not the easiest of tasks.  Once we checked into our first class lodgings (think bunk bed with little else) we checked out the rest of the boat which was literally families of Sudanese in any open space bordering up their own areas with said white goods/electronics to form sheltered rooms.  A first a little envious of their ‘proper’ way of travelling on the open top deck it was quickly dissolved once the sun went down and its accompanying temperature (and the fact we could watch more episodes of the wire inside on the ipad.)  Certainly an experience I won’t be forgetting in a hurry, heightened in the morning when the masses faced mecca for prayer time.

Once at port at the other end it was evident we were in another country, one a little less developed with the port more so resembling a concrete boat ramp then an official immigration point.  Surrounding this was well nothing, just a heap of sand dunes.  The first ‘town’, Wadi Hafa resembled your typical border town offering not much besides customs, food and a lot of money exchangers of who all were keen for our crisp US dollars.  It was here we spent a comical 4 hours going from one office to another and back to the original one and then some to compile individual manila folders of stamped stamps and normal stamps.   I was keen to offer several ideas to speed up the process for future efficiency although if this was the case you wouldn’t get to meet the signature offering ‘captain’ on four different occasions as we did.  Considering his rank I was a bit concerned when I fell straight his now broken plastic chair.  I am thinking that having whole chickens accompanied by several sides and bread for lunch and again for dinner has some effect.

I think the most evident change once entering North Sudan is the people; straight away their extra efforts of hospitality were very evident.  From roadside assistance offering, thumbs up encouragement to today where I received two cloves of garlic for free.  We stayed in the delightful town of ‘Wawa’ (tiny village on the nile) the other night where we were put up in a guest house and our dinner was served along with local dinner guests.  Always fun having a conversation over several hours of 4 shared words in addition to equally understood international hand signals.  To say we feel very welcome would be an understatement.   It’s literally like a scripted set where everyone has been told to be nice to the foreigners as we need to world to know that all is ok (compared to recent government led atrocities – Darfur.)   I can certainly get used to the generosity as I hear the prices of garlic fluctuate quite dramatically throughout Africa.

The landscape at the moment could certainly be used as a stage for a mars landing, if ever required.  I think the word ‘barren’ was specifically intended for it.  Large (large) spaces of proper desert broken only by random hills of rocks and livened by sand storms that sting my delicate pins.  I am thinking we’re probably going to see a little more of this with slight changes to its shading.

Ok I think that’s me done from a town called Dongala and to be more specific the ‘Nubian’ guest house which is run by a South Korean family despite being referred to as Chinese by most of the town’s residents.  Today we have enjoyed another rest day, a day involving some sightseeing, being led around town for preferred eateries and Justin trying to use some hair removal cream very unsuccessfully as seen right now with him standing in front of me clad in cream.  It’s a town that we could easily stay in for another few days.  This said we must get back on the bikes as we have a little way to go, hoping we remain friends with the tail wind which has allowed back to back 190kms days.   Next major town is Khartoum, the capital before heading south for most likely more desert and Ethiopia.

Please leave comments for grammar corrections (most likely many), thoughts on blog (besides my mum) and to say hi – thanks very much for all to date.  Alternatively shoot me an email and when there is internet besides standing outside a closed internet store with a ridiculous amounts of flies to ‘borrow’ their wireless connection for speeds to resemble pre 1988 I will reply.




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  • Saffie Shayne

    Keep it up guys , I`m enjoying following your trip through Africa , I`m on the net everyday , what an experience for you blokes , live the dream !
    Regards Shayne Rookhuyzen – friend of Robert Knol – World Record Holder Cape-Cairo !

  • Stevie B

    Wados, your experience so far sounds amazing. Keep safe buddy. Zara sends her love. Man love Stevie B
    Ps I am writing this on the toilet while my one year screams at me through the child proof gate. Hostile environment eh!!

  • Emmsy

    Wt I tired this before but it did not work so sorry of u have 2 messages with same stuff in it! Ferry looks like amazing beautiful chaotic madness and sounds like you are of course having an amazing adventure thus far. Enjoy every minute of it, i adore the pic of u and the donkey rider, can imagine you guys riding forever with no one and then passing him on out of the blue. Send my love to the guys and please suggest to jusin that hair removal might be best kept to your major cities by professional beauticians, I am keen to hear the results from the Sudanese village nevertheless. So lovely to talk yesterday and very much Look forward to chatting soon wt. xoxo

  • Mum

    I have been waiting for an update,so glad all is well and you are seeing so many amazing things.I am following your route.Love and miss you…Mum.

  • Jaya

    I like your writing Wade! Who cares about grammer. I can see where you are and feel the importance of that garlic, what else matters? Keep up the good work :)

  • Jaya

    Or grammar or spelling…

  • scotty douglas

    look after yourselves mate
    enjoying the posts

    Email me for any medical advice !

    like if ya wang suddenly drops off


  • David

    Hi Wados. Dave Mayer here, just letting you know that although I think you’s are crazy, I am enjoying your posts and glad I can do this trip vicariously through you guys, I have so many questions, like, how do you get water??? But I’m sure I;ll ere something in the next 10,000 kms.. Stay safe and good luck!!

  • Shaun T

    Great photos. Glad you’re all well and the legs are holding up. ‘Tour’ week is kicking off tomorrow, I’ll publish some photos to remind how it all unfolds back here in Adelaide. Nick made contact and his bicycle tyres will hit South Australian roads later in the week. Up at 530am tomorrow to jump on the bike with a few thousand others. I will be thinking of you guys. Tremendous effort so far!!!

  • Dylan

    Hey Wade,

    Love the blog and awesome photos! Looks like you guys are having an amazing time and congrats on the great effort so far. Be sure to include photos of yourself, I can see the interesting looking old men in my own edition of lonely planet.

    I reckon you might all be in need of a haircut soon?? Please get the best local hair cut you can find and include photos in the blog.

    I’m also thinking of starting my own riding blog. Cooper and I went to the You Yangs yesterday, do you reckon that would be interesting??

    Take care Mazungoos.

  • Mum

    I hope all the boys are well,enjoy your garlic.
    Mum……Take care and have fun.

  • Max Orchard

    Hi Wade, great pics. and I think there could be potential for change in career, possibly travel writer? Continue to enjoy your adventures. Cheers. Max O.

  • Gypsy

    I cant wait to see your incredible tan lines when you return mid-winter. I hope you have some sweet permanent-white sunglasses marks.

    P.s. your grammar isnt nearly as bad as i expected, well done. Kudos on the blog, snaps and videos… as mentioned i’m thoroughly enjoying following this adventure.

    P.P.S. if you can bring back a cheap yet efficient dehumidifier i’ll fix you up when you get here. I heard there are whitegoods a-plenty in your neighbourhood.

    Take care

  • Treest

    Awesome! Keep the blog posts coming as we’re all following your adventure but not crazy enough to even think about doing it.

  • Kate

    Hey Wade, great to see you arrived OK and no problems with excess luggage! It’s already been an epic journey and your only 3 weeks in, awesome work. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for Madge in Malawi, she may decide she needs to adopt a white 30 something Australian next, Kx

  • Kristel

    Hey lovely! I am jade green with envy in some ways, in respectful awe in others and partially speechless about the whole thing really! What an adventure, i know the lead up was bumpy, im sure the daily grind is monotonous, you know ‘mono’ being the key word and there would certainly be some tense moments too. But in the end, this trip, this moment in time, will define you Wade, in a magical way. Miss you & wish you all the best. Ps enjoyed a lovely brekky with Em today in the land of awesome soy latte’s, no beans in sight, but kids loved their persian fetta on sourdough 😉 (WUWH)xx

  • kieren

    Hi Wade,

    Yeah yeah.