(Day 34) Gedaref to Khartoum – 3 May 2011
Gedaref is an eye opener. It is organized chaos at its best and it feels like you’re stuck in some sort of maze and you cannot get out. The GPS was our saviour and it is a big challenge to find your way around the city, even with one. Directions are poorly marked and are in the local language. We stayed at the El-Motwakil Hotel, which was a rip off. It at least had a descent internet connection to catch up some work.
We left just after sunrise and filling our petrol tanks at the lowest rate for the trip so far – R6.58/L. The road was straight and easy to ride, but with some potholes, which you had to look out for. Everybody seems to get more anxious of fearing that something will go wrong the closer we get to Cairo. Our tyres have seen better days and we have to nurse them well to see us through all the way. We were stopped several times by Police roadblocks to check our drivers’ licences and passports.
The landscape was a lot different to what we saw in Ethiopia, with much flatter terrain and a lot dryer. From Al Kamilin we were riding next to the Blue Nile River from Ethiopia that joins the White Nile River at Khartoum. We saw many carcasses of dead cattle all along the road, which indicated how hard it is to live here.
The heat was unbearable and the ride difficult with a strong warm wind hitting us from the side. The wind was so hot that you had no choice but to completely close your visor which made you sweat a lot. We stopped every 100 km’s to have a cold drink or water and Stelios was complaining about his bike loosing power and cutting out. We stopped at a filling station and decided to clean the air filters after all the dirt roads we have done. His bike seemed to run better after this.
In Khartoum we visited a few Hotels and one camping ground, but were horrified with the rates and what you get for it. We booked in at the Regency Hotel after negotiating our way in gruelling heat through the traffic hold ups of Khartoum. Stelios’s bike kept on cutting out and we he to push start it a few times. The city gives you the impression that business is vibrant and you see a mix between modern buildings and old simple run down buildings.
The evening we took a taxi and went to a local restaurant, which was Richards’s choice and we soon knew why. It had fans everywhere blowing a water mist into the air. We believe that he has a thermostat malfunction in his body and is always hot. Sudan is definitely not the place that he will ever want to move to.
Norman we believe had a very long and tiring two days to get back to Addis Ababa. Fuel was a problem and he had to buy on the Black market. It does not look like he will be able to get a passport and visas organized to continue on the trip!