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 .
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 .
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.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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 .
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 .
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 .