We left for The Sudan after a restless night , I was worried about the time it would take to firstly get to the border , secondly how long the crossing would take and lastly would I make it up to Gedaref before sunset . Had breakfast and rode out of town trying to find fuel . When we arrived yesterday seven of the stations had no fuel but apparently the tankers would arrive in the night . No luck so I used the reserve and we took the road to Metama .

 

Leaving Ethiopia .

Leaving Ethiopia .

The road was full of life as per usual so between the time wasted looking for fuel , the rain that no longer was just a threat now a reality we left Goder , 200 kilometres to the border .

 

Last of the mountains .

Last of the mountains .

We arrived at the border just before twelve , the Ethiopian side was extremely efficient , customs cleared Vic and then off to passport control , the crossing took no time at all and then it was the Sudanese side . The border was much quieter than I expected  I was the only person crossing into Sudan , the process does take a lot longer and there is much more paperwork to complete , only the beginning I would come to realise when I got to Khartoum . The border officials were extremely friendly , offering me tea and water while I waited , offered me a seat under the cool shade of a large tree and about an hour or so I was on my way after clearing immigration , customs and registration with security.

 

My green welcome to The Sudan

My green welcome to The Sudan

The first thing you notice once you have entered Sudan  is how few people and animals are on the road , it felt really peaceful and the vast space much emptier .  The road was fantastic in parts , but the tar very rough for the most with a lot of rain damage to the road surface . Sudan is very wet and green down here . The next thing I noticed was how orderly the villages set up was , far more structured and the thatch homes much closer to each other and in most cases surrounded by a perimeter wall . My ride up to Gedaref was fairly easy and luckily there was fuel on the Sudanese side I was unable to find any on the way up through Ethiopia and was almost running Vic on a fume or two .

I followed the GPS to a hotel that I had heard about , found a room and was looking forward to a hot shower and then relaxing catching up on some emails as I had not had a connection in days . I had made a point of asking the hotel manager on check in about both , he assured me that this was the best hotel in Gedaref , hot water was no problem , nor internet . Unpacked , I went down to reception to get a towel , they had none so I was given a bed  sheet , the hot water tap could not even turn but the shower was still very rewarding after a long day on the bike . Down to reception computer in hand ready for cold water and a connection I ran .

 

Villages along the road.

Villages along the road.

The hotel .

The hotel .

Long story short after almost two hours of up and down to the reception desk trying to sort out  or even find a connection , one of the staff told me the hotel does not have an internet connection at all . By the time I got this information the shift had changed and the new manager was on duty.

I was about to receive my initiation into Sudanese hospitality ,  one of the hotel  staff called a friend , he arrived in his Bajaj , took me into town to another friend , who took me to another  friend of his , and within the shake of a tail feather all was done , I could download my mail .

The only response I got when offering to pay , was welcome to Sudan . The Sudanese are extremely helpful , kind , hospitable and welcoming , a trend that was going to follow me all the way to Khartoum .

The ride up to Khartoum started in the rain at first light , a journey of around 400 kilometres . As I was riding out of Gedaref  a fellow motorcycle rider , welcomed me to Sudan and took it upon himself to escort me to the main road to Khartoum before waving me off , just the nicest people you meet in Sudan.

 

Sunrise on the road.

Sunrise on the road.

On the ride up , the countryside was absolutely waterlogged , water everywhere like a flood plain with water running alongside the road , very thick and soft mud on the impassable side roads , water , water everywhere.

 

Roadside rivers .

Roadside rivers .

We rode in the rain for a short while , came across some children pulling a huge cat fish from the mud and enjoyed the scenery . The people are very warm waving me along , thumbs up  and the odd welcome scream.

 

The land starting to change about 200 kilometres from Khartoum.

The land starting to change about 200 kilometres from Khartoum.

 

As I got closer to the city the wind picked up dramatically as did the temperature and the riding was very tiring , the air dries your throat and eyes out , the heat glues the  clothing to your body , the wind noise makes you think you are in a twister and the sand starts making an appearance everywhere  .

 

Roadside village

Roadside village

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The homes along the road started changing from thatch to low built mud homes , I assume to combat the effects of the heat and wind , the dark mud homes start lining the road .

 

Changing styles .

Changing styles .

 

 

Finally I rolled into Khartoum mid afternoon my neck and shoulders aching from the continuous wind wrestling , the heat dry , the dust forming a haze , but I was glad to arrive . I found a place to stop for some juice and water to rehydrate after the hours of riding , called Peter who I had been introduced to by Deanne in Kampala and he had kindly offered me his guest suite . I enjoyed an ice cold , thick mango juice and waited for Peter to come and collect me .

What a haven his home was to be , cool air conditioned rooms , fantastic food prepared by Amira , great conversation, beautiful views of Khartoum and a wonderful serene and calm space . What a gift , thank you Peter .  Below are a few pictures of the city from my balcony  .

 

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Peter has been incredibly generous with both his time and hospitality , we spent the first day together doing all my administration , I had to register with the authorities in Khartoum , organise my travel permit North to Wadi Halfa , as well as get the  authority to take photographs . Luckily I had been put in contact with Pavlos at the Acropole  hotel , who kindly organised all the paperwork for me . What an amazing hotel , they have been in Khartoum for 62 years and three generations later are still going strong . I was made to feel like family from the very first second and was lucky enough to meet the family . Thank you for your kindness , help and hospitality .

So my time has been in Khartoum meeting wonderful people with open generous hearts who welcome you into their lives and homes with a sincerity and kindness I have not before experienced . One hears how wonderful the Sudanese are , but what you experience once here is very touching .

My time has been filled with many highlights in Khartoum , meeting Peters friends , lunching out , fantastic breakfasts at O Zone and just really spectacular company ,  a washing machine for my clothes , Amira’s kindness , great home  cooking and help . Peter’s kindness has been overwhelming .

This journey so far holds all that is precious to me in the people I have had the privlidge and honour of meeting , be it briefly , by chance or over a  few days as a part of their lives . My memories made  richer  by those I have met .

Until we meet again .

 

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