I loved my time in Sudan. The people were so very friendly, possibly the friendliness of all the countries I’ve visited. This made Sudan a great experience; also one of my hardest challenges due to the desert heat in the high 40°. The towns and cities, interesting in a dirty, dusty, dilapidated way.
My first night was in Wadi Halfa. That evening, as I walked around the small town, so many people came up to me, wanted to talk and made me feel so welcome. The grilled goat was delicious. The temperature was incredibly hot, so the following morning I got up in the dark and started riding at 5am. Rule No.1 for me is ‘never ride in the dark’. However, there were virtually no other vehicles on the road. At 6.45 am I felt the warm air and luckily came across the first rest area / coffee stop. There aren’t choices in the desert, so you have to grab a coffee when it’s available.
As petrol is near on impossible to find, I planned to fill-up in Arbi. I arrived at 8am, but all of the petrol stations were dry. Some men sold me 8 litres on the ‘black-market’. This would be the case wherever I went in Sudan.
One day whilst riding through the desert I saw a single headlight coming towards me, I instantly knew it was another ‘overlander’. Nico was heading to Egypt and home to Spain, he had been riding in Africa for 2 years. How funny 2 Europeans swopping travel stories in the middle of the desert!
I arrived in the town of Gondola at 11.30 am, it was so hot I had to put my mobile inside a fridge to get it working. First thing is to get petrol, it took 30 mins to find a petrol station that had some, it was easy to recognise as there was a cue 300 metres long of cars waiting. They waved me to the front where some army guys were in control. I filled up. Happy days, I’m ready for tomorrow now.
I stayed at Acropole Hotel, in Khartoum for a few days and regained energy after the desert. A fascinating hotel, the oldest in the city. It’s mainly used by journalists, NGO workers and the odd overland traveller.
I left Khartoum and the desert slowly changed to rich fertile plains, crops and livestock everywhere. I was glad to see the back of the desert! Butterflies, birds, cattle, goats and dragonflies.
The last 100 miles to the Ethiopian border was so slow as the road was riddled with checkpoints and potholes.