Wadi Halfa – our Nubian experience
2nd- 7th April
We are told by Magdi our cars would not get off the car barge for for another 5 days as the jetty was the wrong height for the water level and the barge had to be moved to another jetty. The car barge set off two days behind the passenger boat so this was a little frustrating as now had to wait a further 4 days for our cars.
Our first night in Wadi Halfa was at the Cougan hotel. It looked interesting from the outside but the rooms were not clean and the toilet was smelly. The hole in the floor toilet had poo marks around it and obviously had not been cleaned. Fortunately the toilet door had a lock on the outside, which was great to keep Lily out and not to stick her arm down the hole in the floor! The rooms hadn’t been swept and the one sheet on the bed just covered a bloody stained mattress. Lily loved jumping and groveling on the floor and I had to cringe and let her get on with it! My mum would have been horrified!
After the one night at the Cougan hotel we decided to stay with Magdi and Elissa and their one year old Eleoweia for 4 nights in their Nubian home. They really looked after us and loved having Lily run around their house playing with their one year old. They fed us sweet tea, lots of food and tasty puddings! I was poorly during my stay with a cold, chesty cough and flu like symptoms and in the 45 degrees baking heat this was not great and wasn’t the best welcome for me in Sudan.
We left Wadi Halfa on the 7th April for the 1000km journey to Khartoum. It was sad leaving Magdi and his family but once the cars were out of the port we really wanted to head south through the Nubian desert and alongside an old train line the British laid a hundred years ago. We said our goodbyes and exchanged toys and left at 4pm in 45 degrees heat. We lost Sib and Pris as they set off earlier into the Nubian desert in the heat of the day.
The desert was so hot and at 7pm we got stuck in the sand. We were doing well but after seeing Sib’s car on the train track in the distance (thinking why are they on the track??) and the distraction of chatting on the walky talkies made us lose our concentration and come to a grinding halt in the sand. I kept looking at the sun thinking it’s going to be gone in a few minutes along with the light!! Stuck and camping for the night was not appealing and we had to get out! I radioed Sib to say we were stuck and they muttered something ‘so were we’ and promptly drove on leaving us to fend for ourselves! Nic and I managed along with Lily playing in the sand and after the second attempt we got out with Nic pushing the car like mad and me driving. It worked thank god.
We caught up with Sib and Pris just by the side of the rail track between railway stations 5 and 6. They were lying down next to their car like corpses. They were so exhausted from also getting stuck at 2pm in the heat of the day that they decided to wait until it was cooler to dig themselves out. However it only really cools down here when the sun disappears hence them being so tired.
I was still feeling pretty unwell with my cough so Nic and I just had some eggs and bread for supper and watched the stars in the Nubian desert without a single noise (apart from Sib or Pris snoring!). Lily played for a while and then up in the roof tent and into Lily’s corner.
It took us three hard and long days to get to Khartoum in the heat. Even with the air con on in the car we were all still sapped and tired and drinking fluids by the gallon. Lily seemed fine, better than us but it really did feel like we were fleeing Sudan due to the heat. God knows how Sib and Priscilla coped!
We stayed in Khartoum at the expensive Holiday Villa hotel for two nights and then headed in one day for Metema the Ethiopian border and bush camped 10km from the border. It was a relief to be so close to Ethiopia and the highlands.