Date: 27th November 08
Location: Meroe, Sudan
Weather: Blue, blue skies, one of the hottest parts of the trip….40°c
Status: Making great progress towards the next border….
We awoke at first light with the most incredible view around us of the famous pyramids at the old Royal City at Meroe and before the office opened and the touts arrived all went for a walk around the World Heritage Site, a little naughty I know to avoid paying the entrance fee but you have to appreciate quite how incredible this place is without the hassles!
As there was such along way to cover on the roads we decided it’d be a day of continual progress with our final destination being the end of the tarmac just north of Dongola….before another “Road of Hell!”
Progress went well, sudan has got some of the best asphalt roads in Africa and we arrived at Atbara by mid morning and then proceeded to sit at the ferry point to wait for the next available ride across the Nile. Three boats came and three boats went each time the damn thing pulled into one of the other waiting areas beside us…but never our one even though we’d been advised which one to wait at. Frustration grew and eventually we commandeered our floating barge to take us across…and then we were on the road again.
The sun dropped low in the sky and eventually disappeared behind the horizon but still we pressed on, it seemed at times we were the only vehicles on the road which absolutely nothing in the way of traffic passing us for almost two hours. We turned north at Dongola and followed the new tarmac until 20kms from the town it ran out…abruptly and became the suspected roadwork infected stretch we’d all been dreading.
Rocks, sand and deep sections of pure mud dust became our hell for the next few hours as we struggled to see the correct route through the darkness and battled with the clouds of dust which surrounded the vehicles as soon as we slowed. We’d fuelled up a good 400kms beforehand and were growing anxious our tans would soon be empty and summoned the powers of the gps to find our next stop off….some 180kms north, at the speed we were travelling at it’d be another 3hrs before we’d arrive there….after 2am!
The constant attention and strain on both drivers and vehicles finally came to and end at just before 3am when we pulled into the silent town of Abri, found the diesel pumps and parked 100m away on the bank of the Nile ready for an early off in the morning. A very tiring but successful day.
End of day location: Abri, Sudan
Distance covered: 800kms