[13/11/20~12/03 (D+823) North Sudan/to Wadi Halfa] Following Nile River
Along amazing Nile River, I move to the Egyptian border slowly. Although the weather gets hotter and hotter, I feel so grateful to cycle to next Nile River.
25th Nov 2013
Thanks to one of my friends who introduced me to his friend in Dongola, I got a chance to stay at his family’s house for a week. After getting some rest, I am on my bike again! I had something to do in town, so I left the town around 12 pm. I had some lunch on the highway after leaving town. There is no headwind so I can cycle faster. When I feel so awesome while cycling, kids throw stones at me. Oh.. please.. don’t do that!
The color of the goat’s ears is white. When their white ears wave, it looks so cute!!
It looks very hard to farm in the desert even though the Nile River is there.
Thanks to the Nile River, people can farm.
My favorite animal, the camel
Because of abundant water from Nile River, their agriculture is developed more than other country. How do I guess? I could see many tractors.
I start cycling very late around 12 pm. But when I see the computer around 6 pm, I am surprised that I cycle over 75 km (46 mi)!! Last week I could only cycle 60 km (38mi) for 11 hours because of headwind.
I try to find a small road, but it is too sandy. I move very slowly and local people keep watching me coming to them. Finally they come to me and help my bicycle moving to their house. They are very welcoming to me.
Lovely night in the desert with a local family
The lady on the right is very interested about me and takes picture of me with her phone.
26th Nov 2013
It is very quiet road.
Cycling and cycling in the desert
Always it is good to see Nile River in the desert.
Fox in the desert! But it is already dead one. It is hard to see wild animal in the day time..
According to info, here is a gold mine. I want to buy a few things to eat, but there are only few things and the place is too dirty. I buy cola and bread and run away as soon as possible.
After uphill I could see wild desert.
It looks like Mars.
I feel like I am cycling in Mars.
I feel so good that I find a village just before the sunset.
But there are too many vinegar flies around the village.
This village is weird because there are too many vinegar flies ever. The local people and I could not talk easily because we were trying to protect our mouths while talking.
Another weird thing is that people do not allow me to pitch my tent anywhere. Usually Sudanese are always welcoming , but this town is the exception. One local woman said “You can’t. Because you are solo woman.”
Come on, we are both females!
Another local woman who is holding smart touch phone follows me and shouts at me
“Hey, give me money, money, money give money, what’s your name, give me money”
Come on, you have ! smart phone which I don’t have!
If the my last attempts fail, then I will set up my tent at cafeteria where there is no woman. But luckily there are people smiling and welcoming me, as you see in the picture.
27th Nov 2013
I look at Nile River while trying avoiding many vinegar flies. I heard from a local restaurant that around Oct, Nov and Dec their area has lots of them.
I could not easily eat my food because of the vinegar flies. So, I covered my face with a handkerchief. I can still see you~
After I finished yogurt, big flies rush to it.
It is a typical Sudanese instrument. It is made from a pot.
In Sudan most of the workers is men on the road. It is hard to find women. But anyway people in Sudan are so friendly.
According to info, there is an old mosque.
I can’t find anyone or reception to pay. When I just wander, one elder man comes to me. He says it is built in 1779.
The builder is buried at the center.
The inside is much beautiful than outside.
It is kind of window that the light comes through it.
Their relatives are buried as well at the inside.
Typical Nubian tomb
An elderly man invites me to tea. I try to hand him some money for the tour, but he denies gently. It seems like it is not a tourist place, but a more sacred place.
It is a very old building, but they don’t have much money, so it is hard for them to manage it. They never know when it will collapse. If the government helps them, they will lose their rights, and it will be turned into a touristic place.
I asked “If some rich architect will protect your famil’s rights comes to help you, would you mind?”
“Then we will be happy.”
Yeah! so here is an opportunity for you if you are rich, have enough time, and are interested in rebuilding it!
The day time is hot that we drink a tea under the tree. When I say I want to go to Sai Island, he says he will introduce some guy who has a motor boat.
Wow! It is very easy to find a boat (30 SDG ($4)), thank to Elder man. Elder man says he will go together.
Around 20 minutes, we follow Nile River. Amazing experience!
There are many crocodile around Nile River. A boatman says he will go other side and wait elder man. Elder man and I keep walking to some place. Actually I don’t know where we go. It is too hot and my bike is heavy to be pushed.
I ask elder man “Are you okay? Would you like to drink water I have?”
“Yes I am okay. But I am worried about you. Are you okay?”
Frankly speaking I am not okay. I sweat too much and I stop at every step.
After some minutes there are one people shaking hands at us. Elder guy asks me “Can you see something over there?”
“Yes, somebody is coming to us”
I think elder guy though we got lost.
The guy coming is a boatman. He asks me that he will push my bike. I say I am okay. But already he steals my bike from my hand and goes faster than me.
The place we arrive looks something special. They say every year French come here. Maybe for studying or vacation? I don’t know.
It is time that they go back to mosque where I met them. Elder guy holds my hand and says to me “I wish I can see you again”
I have to hold my tear. Although we have spent just short time together, I feel as if he is my grandfather. He is the most generous and warm heart person that I’ve ever met in Africa. He always use regardful word such as “please,may, let me”
I look at them leaving for a long time, because I don’t want to leave them from me.
I pitch my tent in front of Nile River. Amazing landscape!
Many starts around Nile River
Stars fall into ruins which is thousands years old.
Shooting star falls in to the earth. Let’s wish. My wish is always to feel happy with everything.
28th Nov 2013
When I come back to a tent after taking picture, I can see that the sun goes up.
Amazing the earth
I go to the ruins where I took the picture of the night sky in the morning. It is too hot from early morning.
There is no any tourist and guide. I am wondering what was going on here.
(I didn’t know at that time about info of ruins. But after visiting many temples in Egypt, I realize it is old Egyptian ruins which is made 2000~3000 years ago)
I am wondering what it means.
(Recently I learn this one from many Egyptians temple. It is called Key of Life which means forever life. Usually king or gods hold it.)
These are old buildings, but they don’t look that different from buildings made by local people in Sudan today. Although a hundred years has passed, there isn’t much development in how the local people build their houses.
There is some farm along Nile River.
Nubian house and tombs
The inside looks very simple.
Floor is simple as well.
Visit another ruins
It is church.
I wait ferry over an hour. Nubian is one of tribe who lives between northern Sudan and southern Egypt. Nubian has their own language and has their typical way to build house.
Just before sunset I find a small village. People are so welcoming although we couldn’t understand each other’s language.
It is so beautiful sunset.
29th Nov 2013
I love desert which looks like Mars.
There are too many flies coming to my body ever. It seems I am the only creature around here which they can be stuck on.
While eating lunch around noon, I ask owner if there is any other cafeteria from here to the border town, Wadi Halfa which is far 90 km(57 mi). He says “Nope”
It is a big problem that there is no place to set up tent if I cycle again after lunch, because I can only cycle 40 km (25 mi) more .
But I want to keep going. What should I do? Try wild camping which I’ve never done??
Oh… Never knows! Just let’s go!
This is Islam country that here is no beer!!!
Seriously I can’t find anything on the road except the desert.
Two hours before sunset I keep saying to me “It would be okay. Everything will be okay. No worries. I will be fine. Don’t be afraid. Let’s try to set up tent at the desert. Think only good things. Be positive”
Tree and desert
There are abandoned houses. But I mind setting up tent here, because other people can come here for resting. Also I find some print of a wheel. So, I decide to keep going.
There are only few cars coming and going on the road. Just before sunset One car stops at me and asks I need a lift to the town.
My answer is “Nope”
Because I want to move by my bicycle.
There are small hills that I stop and wait until the sun goes down. It is finally to sleep at the middle of the road. Wild Camping!!
It is kind of my mistake to sleep around a transmission tower because people from the road can see my tent if they look carefully. But actually the thing is it is the desert that there is no place to hide perfectly. So I wait until dark comes. After dark I set up my tent. It is very interesting that although there is no moon and sun, I can see still everything without lantern.
30th Nov 2013
The sun goes up faster around horizon. I could sleep well, because there is no any clue people will come to my tent. There is no any town! It is the desert! No people means Safe!
It is the place I sleep I try not to be found from the road that I set up tent at hill.
It is my poor emergency food. The bread is only 12 cents. Taste is some chemical thing. But it is enough to fill my stomach.
My bicycle doesn’t work properly for a few days with a back wheel. But now I can’t cycle even well. So I lay down my bike. I find all screw from spokes are unscrewed. I changed all spokes two weeks ago in the capital of Sudan. My wheel’s shape is like “S”. So I fix it a bit. But I am not a mechanic, so I can’t do it perfectly.
I am too exhausted with hot heat and lack of sleep. This week I feel too exhausted. I think because of heat. Two weeks ago it was not much hot.
I arrive at the small border town around 1 pm. It is hard to find the ferry office. When I find office, it is already closed. I goes “Cingan” hotel which is okay for $10. The border town is too small to expect good things.
1st Nov 2013
From Wadi Halfa, Sudanese border to Aswan, Egypt, it is only possible to go by ferry. The border is closed. I don’t know why. Ticket is 212 SDG ($28). After buying ticket I eat some local food which is only $1.
This is a ferry office.
The way to find – pass police office at the main road and turn to left. And turn left again. It is around some hotel. The ferry office looks just simple company office.
The ferry usually leaves on Sunday from Egypt and arrives on Monday in Sudan. The ferry leaves on Tuesdays around 3 or 4 pam from Sudan and arrives on Wednesday in Egypt around 12 pm.
If somebody who wants buy a ticket comes on Monday afternoon, they cannot buy ticket and have to wait for a week for next ferry in this small town.
(I met some other foreigner on the ferry. She arrives on Monday afternoon but she could buy a ticket because her visa will expire after two days. And actually it seems there is no limit for people on ferry)
It is cheap hotel but it is okay.
In front of my room. Cheap hotel has a nice view in Africa.
This is Sudanese money. Usually now $1 = 7.8 Sudanese pounds, but governments control the exchange rate. If I exchange money on the bank, it is $1=5.8 SDP.
The most thing I regret is I didn’t exchange money from Sudanese money to Egyptian money in Sudan.
I have too much Sudanese money around $200!! Here is no ATM for foreigners and exchange rate is too low in the bank. So I exchange heavy dollars to Sudanese money in one time from someone.
Usually Egyptian money 1:1.15 Sudanese money. But I find some 1:1.10 or even 1:1.06 in Wadi Halfa
I thought if I go to the harbor I will see many exchangers. But it is my mistake. I can’t find exchanger~!
Here is the tip.
In undeveloped country, there is no exchange shop on the border. A traveler has to exchange from a local exchanger people. After crossing border, the values of ex-country’s money could be dropped. It is better to exchange money before crossing border.
The way to take ferry is really messy up and complicating. I pay for exit tax fee around $3 (24 SDP) and $5 (40SDP) for a bicycle. Later other traveler says she didn’t pay exit tax fee with saying she doesn’t have money.
How to take a ferry –
1. First, go to a police office and report you are leaving. You have to write some form and pay 3 SDP
2. Go to harbor which is the right side. It is 2 or 3 km (1~2 mi) from the town.
3. Pay for a bicycle. They give you a ticket for a bicycle. But it seems nobody check that ticket.
4. Go to messy dirty building. At the left side you have to pay exit tax fee, 21 pounds.
5. Go to right side and show your ticket. They will exchange your ferry ticket to some pink form.
6. Go forward and turn right and show your passport to the police. They will stamp on your passport for exit.
7. Get out of building and walk to ferry
8. At the entrance of ferry the guy will take your passport and throw it to the box.
(Don’t be embarrassed. They will give it back to you after the day)
9. Next morning immigration worker will call you. You have to pay $15.
10. After arriving Egypt and checking your luggage at the immigration building, you can find your passport at the immigration office.)
The rate of exchange money from Sudanese to Egyptian in Egypt is bad.
Ferry is really dirty. People just sit any place. I am sure there is no limitation about the number of people. If ferry sinks, there is no enough emergency boat.
Following Nile River, we will arrive in Egypt.
People everywhere in a ferry. They are enjoying watching sunset at the emergency boat. If a ferry sinks, they will survive too easily.
I meet some Russian traveler on a ferry. It is good to chat with only one foreigner on the ferry in this chaotic local place. While we are chatting, one local guy bothers her. When we decide to go down, he sits down on the floor. While we move, that stupid guy holds my ankle. If I have enough time and if it is enough bright, I am sure I will kick his stupid head with my foot. Stopping sexual harassment, you stupid!
The inside of ferry is separated by sex. Man and woman stay separately. It is really good thing that I don’t need worry about harassment. Actually some men stay in women room. I think because they want to stay with family.
In the night it is more chaotic that some people sleep on the floor and babies cry and people make big noise.
I can’t try to sleep. If I don’t sleep all night, the next day I am too exhausted and my mental and body will have problem.
Just in case I explore a little bit to find quiet place to sleep. At the end of ferry there is much luggage. The next luggage, I follow the stairs and I am so surprised that there is empty place!!!!!!!!!! LUCKY!!!! YEAH!!!!!!
I guess people are too lazy to put their luggage on luggage room at the down stair.
I share a secret place with Russian friend.
She laughs that it is funny trash place. But to me it is the best place ever I find!!!! It is just heaven to me!!! I feel so luck ever!! If I don’t find this place, I can never sleep at the night and the next day I will be too exhausted.
I sleep really very well.
We wait for a while, because there is no line and just people pushing each other in front of immigration building. My funny friend plays guitar while we wait. It is really good to have someone. I hope I can cycle with people in Europe. In Africa, I’ve never met any cyclist who comes from the same way. I have only met a few cyclists coming from opposite way.
Actually when we just got off from ferry, we shout.
“YEAH!!!!! We made it!!!!!!!! The last country in Africa!!!!”
I feel so impressed that I cycle from south to north in Africa. I never imaged it before, but I made it!
my trip in Africa is not finished yet. I must be careful in Egypt more than other country. Always mistakes could be happened at the last moment you think everything is being finished.
Days in North Sudan=47Days
Distance of cycling in North Sudan= 1,576.92 km // 985.57 mi
Cities I stayed in North Sudan= 23Cities
Gallaba, Tawared, some village, some town, Heriz, Some village, Kamleen, khartoum, wad morah’s (33km), some place (101 km), some place (161 km), some place (238 km), some place (303 km), El baja (374 km), Toloe (394 km), Some place (464 km), Dongola (498 km), Some village (556 km), Some village (643 km), Sai Island (718 km), Some place (753 km), Some place (845 km), Wadi Halfa (894 km)
Expenditure in North Sudan = $ 425 ($ 1 = SDP 7.5 )
(Visa $100, Bicycle’s part $ 65, Ferry $35)
The information from –
Maurizio Ceraldi (www.ceraldi.ch)
Sekiji Yoshida (www.sekiji.net) on April 2013.
Additional infos by Isa Kur
on Dec 2013