Sudan, Part 6: Across the Sahel and to the Border

21 June 2011

Sudan was super hot and while I enjoyed the friendly populace of this desert state, I was ready to escape from the heat to the cool mountains of Ethiopia.

Khartoum marks the southern edge of the Sahara and I rode through the transitional region of the Sahel before seeing green as I neared the border with Ethiopia.


The start of a long day on the road, heading southeast out of Khartoum, along the Blue Nile. I thought I would get close to the border and spend the night somewhere, but I ended up riding straight into Ethiopia by the end of day; a good 580 kms (360 mi) away.

Taking refuge at a petrol station as the day warmed up in the town of Wad Medani. An interesting facet of overland travel is learning all the different names for petrol. Here in Sudan, they refer to it as Benzine, which I think comes from the German’s. In English, it’s technically not the correct use of the word as benzine refers to petroleum ether, which is a different product than petroleum, but once ingrained in a culture, proper nouns are hard to change. The flipside is that diesel is referred to as ‘diesel’ in most countries (except Portuguese-speaking areas, where it’s confusingly called ‘gasoleo’ – not to be confused with gasoline). That’s because diesel fuel is named after a particular person, Rudolf Diesel, unlike petroleum, which is named after a process. This helps me in situations where the pump attendant thinks my massive-looking bike probably runs on diesel, like a truck, and I have to insist that no, it’s runs on petrol (using the local word for it).

I turned east from Wad Medani, moving away from the Blue Nile and heading to the junction town of al-Qadarif (Gedaref). After seeing flatland for the past few weeks, I was thrilled at these small hills and the sight of trees. It whet my appetite for the massive mountains of Ethiopia coming up.

North of Khartoum, there weren’t any settlements outside the major towns, or at least what I could see from the road. So, I was happy to see this typically-looking African village with cone-shaped roofs on round huts. This also signaled to me that I was finally entering the region known as Sub-Saharan Africa, which is everything below the Sahara Desert. While the countries in the Sahara are definitely part of the continent of Africa, for me, that image of ‘Africa’ relates specifically to Sub-Saharan Africa. I think this is partly because a big chunk of my childhood was spent in Southern Africa (Zambia).

Taking a break under the little shade of these acacia trees; the first sighting of many more to come in the dry areas of Sub-Saharan Africa.

I wore this blue cooling vest all through my ride through Egypt and Sudan and it’s an excellent piece of gear for keeping my body temperature a few degrees cooler than riding without it. It’s work on the principle of evaporative cooling. The vest is quilted and after soaking it in water, I wear it under my jacket and as I’m riding, the flow of hot air evaporates the wetness of my core, removing heat from my skin. It focuses on keeping the core cool so that as your blood circulates, slightly cooler blood is taken to your extremities. The vest stays wet for about two hours of riding, depending on the humidity. In northern Sudan, it lasted only an hour but that one hour of respite was much welcomed.

The northern edge of Sub-Saharan Africa is defined by the region knows as the Sahel, which is a transition zone from the deserts to the savannahs and forests. The Sahel wasn’t that pronounced on this ride in southeastern Sudan, due to the abrupt rising of the Ethiopian highlands just a hundred kilometers or so south of here, but I expect to be riding through a lot more of it in Western Africa.

I got to the busy town of al-Qadarif by mid-afternoon and after a futile search for affordable accommodation, I decided to just head straight to the border town of al-Qallabat, about 160 kms (100 mi) away. While there, I had a refreshing snack of tasty mangoes that were brought up from the fertile regions south of here. They say the southern parts of Sudan and most of South Sudan have extremely fertile soils and have the capacity to produce enough food for this whole region of Eastern Africa, but sadly, due to on-going instability, these areas are heavily dependent on food aid.

Passing another old-school Bedford truck, temporarily broken down by the side of road on the way to the Ethiopian border. Being an automotive enthusiast, it’s a real pleasure for me to be passing through countries where vehicles that would be in a museum in the developed world are still toiling away in the ‘field,’ a couple decades past their retirement. Having a mechanical engineering background, I really appreciate the fact that back in the day, products were designed to last. This is in contrast to our current global disposable culture, where a modern product is only designed to last through its warranty period, if that.

Greenery! I was so excited to see grass and green leaves after being inundated by the browns and yellows of the desert sands. I could smell it in the air and had a big smile on my face.

Noticing a big insect that got caught in my boot buckle; another sign that I was heading into an area of more vegetation and wildlife.

A hard, green flower of this plant that grows in the boundary between the desert and the highlands of Ethiopia. I’ve seen them before in India and they were fun to pop as a kid, but I’ve learnt now to live and let live.

Camel crossing. These desert beasts are so adaptable that I wasn’t surprised to find them here as the elevation rose. I was now at 720 m (2,360 ft) as I neared the border and welcomed the slight chill in the air that comes with rising altitudes.

A truck loaded with fresh timber from the highlands of Ethiopia. I had made it to the border and thought I would spend the night in al-Qallabat, the town on the Sudanese side. But not finding safe-enough accommodation and being pressured by border hustlers, I decided to rush through the border crossing and spend the night on the Ethiopian side, in the town of Metema. I got processed through the Sudanese side, which took longer than expected due to the extra bureaucracy that Sudan loves, and ended up clearing Ethiopian immigration just before the office closed, but I didn’t make it through Ethiopian customs. So, I spent the night in the Ethiopian customs compound, which was an interesting experience.

I traveled only two weeks in Sudan, which was much shorter than I had originally planned, but the heat was a driving factor. It was a short time for such a massive country but I felt satisfied with my time here, especially due to my memorable stay with the fisherman of Quikkah. I was able to concur with all other traveler’s opinion of the friendliness of the Sudanese people and wished I had passed through here at a better time of the year (winter) when the temperatures wouldn’t be so stifling.

Sudan was one of only two countries (the other being Argentina), where I felt completely relaxed about bike and personal safety. There were many times where I would leave my helmet and gloves on the bike as I took a juice break and while keeping an eye on the bike, I noticed many locals walking past and not one of them was interested in swiping my gear left in the open. I couldn’t imagine doing this in Egypt or many other countries (even developed ones). My theory on why this is the case in these countries is that they both had a golden age a couple decades back, which I believe bred a sense of nobility and respect in the culture. And even though the economies might be struggling now, that aspect of their culture (respecting personal property) hasn’t been lost. Being sparsely populated (outside metro areas) also might have something to do with it. I have a feeling that it’s a similar situation in Iran.

Next: Ethiopia, Part 1: Riding into Gorgora and TimKim Village

Previous: Sudan, Part 5: Khartoum and The Sufis of Omdurman

Sudan, Part 5: Khartoum and The Sufis of Omdurman

17 – 21 June 2011

I had toured all through northern Sudan and as all roads in this desert state lead to Khartoum, it was time to see the capital billed as the hottest major city in the world. Khartoum sits at the confluence of the Blue and White Nile and is relatively modern compared to the rest of the country.

My main task here was to do some bike maintenance and get my Ethiopian visa. I met up with local biker Omer and another traveler, Tom, and we explored some of the cultural sights of the city.


After spending the last few days out on the open desert highway, I had to switch into urban-riding mode about 40 kms (25 mi) from Khartoum. The road split into dual-carriages and I welcomed the concrete median, which meant no more crazy on-coming traffic.

Khartoum doesn’t have that many affordable lodging options, so I opted for the overlanding junction of the Blue Nile Sailing Club. It’s an old establishment that’s been friendly to overlanders, allowing us to camp for the moderate fee of SP 25 ($11.30) per night.

I was lucky to show up on a Friday as that’s when all the local club members meet for a brunch and the Sudanese being such welcoming people invited me to join them. There was the staple fuul (mashed fava beans) with bread, salad and fresh fruits.

In the afternoon, another traveler showed up. This is Tom Richardson and he’s been riding this Suzuki V-Strom from South Africa and he’s heading for Europe. Crazy man, he started riding motorcycles at the age of 62 and soon after toured around South America and now at 70, he’s riding through Africa. It just goes to show, you’re never too old to welcome the joy of motorcycling into your life.

On Fridays in Khartoum, there’s a special weekly cultural event and Tom and I are asking for directions on how to get to the site in Omdurman. The greater Khartoum area is made up of three cities that are demarcated by the confluence of the Nile. The White Nile flows from the south and the Blue Nile flow from the east with Khartoum proper below this intersection, Khartoum North on the north side of the Blue Nile and Omdurman on the west bank of the White Nile.

We arrived at the Hamad al-Neel cemetry for the start of a weekly Sufi zikir, a ritual involving dancing and chanting.

Members of the Sufi Order of al-Qadiriya gathering next to the mosque that houses the tomb of the order’s founder, Sheikh Hamad al-Neel.

Like Sufis elsewhere, dancing and getting into a trance is a way for devotees to get to a higher spiritual state and connect with their god. There were about 500 members there, mostly dressed in white gelabiyas (long robes) and they formed a large circle with higher order members in the middle drumming up the chants and getting the crowd revved up.

The weekly event is open to all and I got into it, as well. The dancing motion involves slightly crouching forward and pumping your arms back and forth. The rhythms from the tambours (drums) and the zikir (chanting) were so intoxicating that my body had to join in.

As the crowd was getting worked up into a frenzy, this man with the staff was parading inside the circle with an entourage in tow. I presume the color of their robes were significant with many men sporting green gelabiyas with black and red ascents.

A Sufi elder walking through the crowd and blessing the devotees with incense.

The event was highly entertaining and I enjoyed seeing the smiles on everyone around me. And what I especially liked was seeing women and men together, dancing and being free. Sufi rituals are actually looked down upon by conservative Muslims for many reasons, one of them being that women are allowed to partake in the rituals alongside men. I’m all for gender equality.

A short video of the buildup of the chanting from a slow, walking pace to a frenzied sprint. Do the motion when you watch it.

Older women, younger women, children, men, all together enjoying a meditative state of mind. Sufism is very popular in Sudan with many different orders present and they say mainstream Islam was brought to the region after Sufism made it way over in the 16th century. But still, other Muslims don’t appreciate these kind of events taking place and just outside the cemetery were soap-box imams trying to encourage devotees not to participate and instead to follow mainstream Muslim practices such as praying at a mosque.

Three Muslim girls with different-colored head scarves looking on just as the ritual reached its climax at sundown. After reaching spiritual ecstasy, the devotees spend time in prayer.

I met up with Omer, who’s a local biker and meets all the bike travelers passing through his city. He took Tom and I to the Sufi event and showed us around the city. He studied as a veterinarian in South Africa and while his focus was on tropical animals, he’s now with the government and working on improving livestock (cattle, goats and chickens).

On a night tour of Khartoum and coming across the iconic Corinthia Hotel, dubbed as “Gaddafi’s Egg,” because it was funded by Libya.

I spent a few days in the city, taking care of trip business and getting to know more of the local members of the Blue Nile Sailing Club. It was run by Osama (blue-striped shirt) and he invited me again to join them for a Saturday lunch of mutton. I placed my tent under that tree back there and enjoyed the tranquility of the place. It was extremely hot during the days, reaching 50 C (122 F) in the afternoons and maybe dipping below 25 C (77 F) at night. As soon as I woke up, I had to down a liter of water before I could move.

A tasty, spicy mutton stew brewing on the grounds of the Blue Nile Sailing Club.

Communal eating is the preferred way food is consumed in Sudan and as soon as the food was placed on the tables, it was a free for all. Osama told me to put down the camera and get some grub before it disappeared but I had to capture the moment. Any efforts to spread the tenets of the Slow Food Movement would be futile here.

A delicious spread of mutton, a salad of tomatoes and onions with a yoghurt sauce, some greens and fresh bread. The mutton was still steaming hot but it was devoured in a few minutes.

Omer would stop by after work and we chatted on the shores of the Blue Nile in Khartoum. He’s riding a Suzuki GS500 now (one of the first bikes I had) but has dreams of getting some bigger to tour around Africa and thus had many questions for me on bike maintenance and necessary gear for traveling.

The al-Mac Nimir Bridge connecting Khartoum with Khartoum North across the Blue Nile, which wasn’t actually blue due to lots of sediments that flow down from the Ethiopian highlands.

On one of the evenings, Omer took me to meet some of his friends who gather at this spot on the banks of the Blue Nile over some tea and shisha.

They were all very friendly and I felt very much like I was back in India. Actually a couple of them thought I was Sudanese and I told them in return that they could all pass for Indians. And many of them actually did their university studies in India. There’s been a long-term bond between our two countries, which dates back to our common British overlords. The Brits actually brought over many Indians at the end of 19th century to help in infrastructure projects and they even dismantled a bridge in India and rebuilt it across the Blue Nile. I enjoyed the conversation and felt at home among my brown peoples.

I secured my visa for Ethiopia and after doing an oil change and air filter cleaning on the bike, I made a quick tour to capture the feel of this modern city at the confluence of the Nile.

Taking photographs in public is not encouraged in Khartoum as the regime suspects that all foreigners are spies. So, I reverted to my FotoMotion technique of clicking away with my left hand while riding. A pretty good shot of Gaddafi’s Egg, which stands out in the Khartoum skyline.

The confluence of the White Nile as it meets the Blue Nile coming in from the right. There isn’t really a good place to capture this hydrological event, so I took this in motion from a bridge. They had security guards at either end of the bridge, so it wasn’t possible to stop for even a second. I was told by my father, who visited Khartoum about ten years ago, that it was possible to see the two tributaries actually mixing, but I think I was here in the wrong season and they were both quite muddy. The White Nile flows more slowly from Uganda and through South Sudan, while the Blue Nile comes from Ethiopia and is responsible for the rich sediments that Egypt used to depend on, before the Nile got dammed.

The staple food of Sudan and Egypt, a bowl of fuul served with a liberal dose of olive oil and grated cheese. A hearty helping like this cost SP 2 ($0.90).

The grounds of the Blue Nile Sailing Club, who still welcome overlanders to camp, relax and get to know a bit of life in Khartoum.

After four days here, I felt I got a quick overview of this developed, modern city, which stands at congruence with the rest of the country. There might be strict economic sanctions placed on Sudan, but life still goes on and the conversations I had with Omer’s friends told me that the younger generation is eager for a chance to be welcomed on the world stage. With the independence of South Sudan just a few days away and with the promise that sanctions might be lifted, their hopes seem attainable.

Next: Sudan, Part 6: Across the Sahel and to the Border

Previous: Sudan, Part 4: Thru Dongola, Karima and The Pyramids at Begrawiya

Sudan, Part 4: Thru Dongola, Karima and The Pyramids at Begrawiya

14 – 17 June 2011

After being filled with wonderful impressions of the Sudanese people from my stay in Quikkah, it was time to cover some miles and cut across northern Sudan. The roads were all paved and the landscape was flat through this part of the Sahara. The intense heat dictated my riding schedule and kept me on the go.

I passed through the towns of Dongola, Karima and then paid a visit to the Pyramids of Meroe at Begrawiya, before heading into Khartoum.


South of Quikkah, heading to the regional capital of Dongola, 215 kms (136 mi) away. This brand new road was laid down by the Chinese and I’m wondering what the solid yellow line on the edge of the road means… It’s nice to have some color in the desert, but my road rules tell me it should be white.

I rolled into Dongola, the first sizeable town heading south into Sudan, and got there by 11 am. Just like the locals, I quickly found shelter to hide away for the hottest part of the day. Everything shuts down from around noon till 5 pm.

For 10 Sudanese Pounds ($4.50), I got a shared room at the Lord Hotel and indoor parking for sanDRina. There was a ceiling fan that made the inside slightly cooler than the oven outside. My roommates were a few older gentlemen who looked like long-term residents, just hanging out and sleeping.

I enjoyed multiple cold showers and the ice-cold drinking water from the clay urns. I think that chair is there for the elders and I sat there while brushing my teeth.

While the Sudanese people are extremely friendly to foreigners, the government on the other hand doesn’t trust us and requires foreigners to register with the police in every town that we stay in. We’re actually not allowed to even check-in to a hotel until we register as hotel managers can only allow foreigners to stay after they’ve registered with the police. Luckily for me I arrived just as the police shut down for the afternoon and could go in the evening to do my registering. The manager got me an auto-rickshaw (tuk-tuk) to take care of business.

It had been a long time since I’d been in an auto rickshaw and I enjoyed the ride through town. The police were friendly and asked to see my passport and travel permit before issuing my registration receipt that I had to give to the hotel manager. Got to keep on top of all the bureaucracy in these countries. A foreigner’s presence spreads fast in these towns and I was told that if I avoided getting registered, the police would come for me.

Once all that paperwork was taken care of, I strolled through town and came across the market, which was just reopening for the second part of their day. Here, a date seller had many different kinds with varying prices. The dates in Sudan were different than the ones in Egypt as they’re drier but have more of a caramel taste.

In the evening, I found a road-side restaurant and had this tasty fish fry for dinner, SP 6 ($2.75). I people-watched and observed the evening life of Dongola, which goes on past midnight, to make up for the shut down during the day.

The next morning, I had an early start and was rolling by 7:30 am, heading for Karima, 220 kms (136 mi) southeast of Dongola. This is where I departed from the Nile as this route cut across a bend in the river and headed straight through the desert.

The bleak landscape was dotted with a few shrubs and I was surprised how the ride reminded me of my time in the Argentine Patagonia. The mornings in the desert here and the deserts of Patagonia were both still and tranquil. An ambient trance track by Chicane came up on my playlist and I was feeling rich in awareness as sanDRina glided through the landscape.

That moment ended as the Sun rose ever higher. By 9 am, the heat was becoming intolerable and I felt my feet burning inside my thick plastic motocross boots. Safety first. Depending on your perspective, that landscape is either bleak or vast. I like vast spaces. It makes me feel small and insignificant on this massive planet that we inhabit.

Ridges in the sand of northern Sudan. I had my water bladder from Klim feeding into my helmet now and was constantly sipping water through the ride. A few seconds without water would leave my mouth completely dry and I was thankful to have the capability to constantly hydrate. My riding suit is full Kevlar mesh, which makes it comfortable when I’m moving as air flows all over my body. But this flowing hot air, as it keeps my dermis cool, takes away a lot of my water.

As the temperature picked up, so did the winds. It was a marked change from the calm of the early morning to the near gale-force, sand-laden winds of the mid-morning. Just like Patagonia, minus the sand and the mercury.

Around the town of Karima, back on the Nile, lies various ruins that make up the Jebel Barkal site. These steep-sided pyramids, in various states of decay make up the royal cemetery of the Napatan civilization that existed here around 1,000 BC. Across the river is the geological landmark of the Jebel Barkal mountain, which marked the southern boundary of Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III’s empire. Unlike tourist sites in Egypt, the ones in Sudan were void of crowds and touts.

After registering with the police, I got myself checked-in to Al-Nassr Hotel in Karima.

sanDRina enjoyed some shade from this tree and mingled with the local crowd…

…while I tried to stay cool by guzzling lots of water. A bed inside a room here went for SP 10 and if I had opted to sleep outside, it would’ve been only SP 7.

Back on the road, early the next morning and I enjoyed riding towards the green band of vegetation along the Nile. But it didn’t last long.

Camels in the Sahara. I don’t think they were wild, as someone probably owns these desert cruisers.

The route from Karima to Atbara again cut across the desert, instead of following a bend in the Nile and I did that 300 km (186 mi) section with no breaks, a record for me. I was just in a zone, constantly sipping water and listening to an audio book that kept my attention rapt. It was one of Arthur C Clarke’s stories, Richter 10. When the ride becomes mind-numbing, I use audio books to keep fatigue at bay.

From Atbara southwards, the ride lost its desert solitude as this part of the highway forms the main commercial artery for Sudan. It links the capital of Khartoum with Port Sudan on the Red Sea, through which almost everything flows into and out of the country. The two-lane road was packed with trucks and that too most with double trailers, which made over-taking even more fun.

I finally got some elevation change, but it was short-lived. I enjoyed looking briefly at what the geology is like, under the skin here.

At just past noon, I arrived at my destination for the day, the Pyramids of Meroe at Begrawiya. There was a small tourist office and some shelter from the Sun, but nothing else around. I got sanDRina as close as possible without digging her into the sand and got set to hang out until it got cooler to visit the pyramids.

A donkey for tourists. The official name for the site is the Royal Cemeteries of Meroe, which house the remains of the rulers of the last Kingdom of Kush. There were three Kushite kingdoms, one at Kerma (2600 – 1520 BC), another at Napata (near Karima) from 1000 – 300 BC and the last one here at Meroe (300 BC – 300 AD).

This was the lady who was in charge of the ticket office and after quickly charging me the entrance fee of SP 20, she decided to call it a day and head home. She’s walking to the highway with her water cooler. Like most other remote tourist sites, if I had arrived after office hours, it’d be free. She said about one or two tourists show up everyday and there are many days where no one shows up.

But the security guard hung around for a few more hours. I put out my tent and tried to keep cool by not moving much and constantly hydrating. If a breeze was detected, I got up to cool the sweat on my back. The guard brought out this five-stringed instrument and knew how to pass the time.

Playing a traditional Sudanese string instrument as I waited for the Sun to cool down at the Begrawiya Pyramids. The guard said this instrument was used in folk music, but it was slowly fading away. I don’t play the guitar but I imagined myself strumming like Rodrigo y Gabriela.

At 6:30 pm it was finally cool enough to visit the pyramids and plus, the light was much better now. These pyramids serve the same purpose of the grander variety in Egypt, that of marking the tombs of royals. The design is different here, with smaller bricks used and the sides steeper.

They’ve survived about 2,000 years, but some of them have fared worse and have given in to erosion.

Sadly, these are not ancient carvings, but defacing of ancient monuments by tourists. Who knows, some of the defacing might be as old as the pyramids…

A reconstructed pyramid. The antiquities department has taken it upon themselves to rebuild some of the ruined pyramids. I’m not sure if I agree with that but it is nice to see how they once stood.

Relief in the stone-work.

A rebuilt gateway to a temple. This last Kushite Kingdom was pushed south due to continuing warfare with Egypt.

Entrances to the Nubians Pyramids of Meroe at Begrawiya.

Detailed relief in the stone-work. The Kingdom of Kush adopted the use of hieroglyphs from the Egyptians, but adapted them with local Nubian symbols.

These Nubian pyramids were built very close to each other, indicating that either space was scarce back then or these were prized locations to have your tomb.

An imposing wall of the Nubian pyramids at Begrawiya. The Kushite Kingdom at Meroe was known for its iron smelting and was involved in international trade with India and China, 20 centuries ago, much like what’s happening in the present day in Sudan.

Another beautiful sunset in the deserts of northern Sudan.

I had an excellent night, camping out next to these pyramids and woke up before sunrise to enjoy them in a different light.

The shifting sands of the mighty Sahara.

Just as the new day’s Sun rose up above the horizon, I captured this shot of the Pyramids of Meroe at Begrawiya. May they stand here for eons to come and help us reflect on how great our past is.

The monuments weren’t defaced as badly as the sign telling visitors not to deface them.

I got rolling before the Sun got too hot and had to make a tricky u-turn in deep sand. It involved heavy throttle and fine steering balance. Something was lacking and sanDRina laid down for a nap. She’s a beast to lift up and I can do it myself, but it would take about two hours. So, I just waited for about 15 minutes and the lady who sold me the entry ticket came to work and helped me heave sanDRina back up. Now you see why I have some sponsor (Happy Trails) stickers on the bottom of my panniers.

Back on the highway to Khartoum, which was about 200 kms (125 mi) away. All though the landscape was bland, the winds were fierce and the buffeting from passing trucks made it an exciting ride.

I was surprised to see standing water by the road side, after seeing nothing but sand. Don’t know if it rained or the Nile flooded over…

I had covered the top half of northern Sudan and enjoyed seeing the life in the small towns along the Nile. They’ve been around for centuries and will probably be around as long as the Nile keeps flowing. There’s a lot of history in the sands of Sudan, but due to a lack of development and the thorny stance of its president, this country will probably stay off the tourist trail for years to come. While that’s too bad for the local population, who yearn for more income opportunities, it’s great for the adventure traveler to come across grand pyramids in the desert with not another soul around.

Next: Sudan, Part 5: Khartoum and The Sufis of Omdurman

Previous: Sudan, Part 3: The Fishing Village of Quikkah

Sudan, Part 3: The Fishing Village of Quikkah

11 – 14 June 2011

This journey, for me, becomes magical when I meet strangers whom I have a great connection with. My decision to camp by the Nile opened up a wonderful experience of getting to know some fishermen of the Sudanese Nile. Saleh invited me to stay for as long as I would’ve liked and even though we couldn’t speak a common language, I felt a genuine bond with him. Of course, it helped that Mohammed Bashir was there, who could speak English and Arabic and communicate for us.

This next photostory shares my view of Quikkah, the village that Saleh and his family live in. Their house is next to an old tomb that provided some excellent shots and I also managed to test my hand at rowing the fishermen’s homemade felucca.

The mud houses of Quikkah, along the Sudanese Nile. It hardly ever rains here, so building with mud isn’t an issue. The mud is taken from the fertile sediments that the Nile deposits along its banks. sanDRina was parked under the little shade that I could find.

This is Saleh’s house that I stayed at for five days. They don’t have any vehicles, besides a boat, so a gate for parking isn’t a design feature here. But private property is extremely respected, so I had no qualms about parking sanDRina outside.

Detail of the swirls in the mud patio surrounding Saleh’s house. The straw that’s showing through is used to reinforce the mud.

Gelabiyas (men’s robes) drying in the courtyard of the family’s living quarters. Being a Muslim culture, outside men are kept away from the family women and I usually stayed in the guest quarters but was allowed to walk around to take some photos. Saleh’s house sits under a towering tomb that I made way to.

The streets of Quikkah. It was quiet, as most inhabitants have moved to town or down to Khartoum. I enjoyed the softness of the colors and the rounded-edges of the mud construction.

Saleh’s children followed me around and were extremely eager to show me the tomb.

Noussa, Magda and Hamoudi, children of the richest man in the village and being spoilt accordingly. Their excitement at this new stranger in their house was uncontrollable.

Hamoudi gesturing his displeasure at my refusal to allow him to hold my SLR camera. That looks like a pretty aggressive gesture to me.

The tomb at Quikkah. Mohammed told me it was more than 300 years old and that Saleh’s family was probably related to the sheikh that was buried here. The survival of such a large mud structure is testament to how little rain falls here and of course, the great engineering skills of the builders.

Inside the tomb and looking up the multi-storied mud tower. The small openings for light and air lead your eyes to the central opening on top.

A stitched four-wall shot of the inside of the tomb. The green structure might be the actual tomb and on the right are probably family and other important members of the buried sheik. The globe mobile hanging in the left caught my attention.

A balanced shot of staring straight up the tomb’s tower. The pattern of the windows was hypnotical. Early design for a worm hole…?

A wide-angle shot outside the tomb with a customary outdoor drinking water shed on the right. In the dryness and serious heat of northern Sudan, having access to water is critical and I saw clay pots with water outside many homes. It’s a way of caring for your fellow human in this harsh climate.

Pillars in vain? There’s a roof there; if you squint really hard you can see it.

When Saleh and Mohammed got back from their daily rounds of picking up fish from various camps, they took me for a tour of Saleh’s farm. He was growing lots of dates, okra, tomatoes, onions, beans, greens and a lot more. Mohammed told me that they’re very self-sufficient here and can live without money. But this new business of his, where he buys their fish has injected surplus cash into the village. And what do they spend their money on? Mobile minutes. Everyone is so excited to get a mobile phone and start calling up friends. It’s made their social networks much more tighter, which is a blessing in a place like this where travel is hard.

A date palm tree on Saleh’s farm on the banks of the Sudanese Nile.

Unripened dates, growing in thick bunches.

The sun setting across the Nile. Something about the hot, desert air and striking colors at sunset…

We took a little boat ride to enjoy the coolness after the sun went down. The beauty of random connections is that Mohammed studied for a pharmacy degree in the same college that my sister studied medicine, SRMC Porur, in the backwater suburb of my parent’s home in Madras, India. It was interesting to hear about his experiences in my home town. He said he really enjoyed it, especially the food, but he did get insulted a few times for being African. He was called “karupu,” which could be taken as a derogative term for black people, almost like “nigger.” Just goes to show that there’re racists everywhere.

A bird dipping into the Nile for a fish snack.

The wonderful afterglow of El Sol and its reflection on the Nile.

Saleh gave me a big bag of dates to take when I left. I really like them for snacking while on the go and it makes up part of my motorcycle diet when combined with nuts, such as walnuts.

The village of Quikkah at twilight.

Saleh firing up the local generator for a few hours of power in the evening, which allowed me to charge up my electronics. Quikkah isn’t connected to the electricity grid, yet, but the Chinese are on it.

Sleeping outdoors, under the stars at Saleh’s house. The mud construction kept the dwellings relatively cool, but it was still too hot to sleep inside. The nights started out around 33 C (91 F) and got down to say 25 C (77 F) at 3 am and at first light, the mercury shot up again, heading past 50 C (122 F) in the afternoon. Waking up in the morning, my throat would be completely dry and I had to guzzle down a liter of water to start the day off.

The bathroom at Saleh’s house. Water was piped in from the Nile and I enjoyed the bucket baths. I took about three baths a day to cool down the body: morning, afternoon and one just before sleep. I’ve learned to bathe with very little water and can use under 3 L (0.8 gal) for each bath. One jug to wet the skin and soap up and two to rinse off the soap. It helps not having hair.

The kitchen where Saleh’s wife prepared delicious meals ranging from chicken, pigeon, lentils, fuul and lots more.

Speaking of pigeons, Saleh woke me up one day to this sight.

Saleh is his pigeon coop. They were being raised just like chickens and taste much better.

On my last full day at the fishermen’s camp, not much was happening and the shisha was brought out.

I asked if I could have a go in the felucca and Fara joined me to make sure I didn’t float away down the Nile.

My poor felucca skills showing as I get dragged downstream from the landing. It was quite hard to row the homemade felucca as the oar masts were not aligned and the motion of each hand was not synchronized.

Finally getting into a rhythm and cutting across the Nile. This is hard work and I appreciate what these fishermen do to land a few fish each day and put money on the table.

Mohammed took this excellent shot from the landing and I’m that white dot on the opposite bank.

Coming back to the landing and doing the right thing by rowing upstream near the shore, just as I saw Fara and Bedwa doing on the previous days.

I made it back and Fara laughing after being asked by Saleh if he would consider swapping Bedwa for me. Mohammed joked that if I stayed any longer, I’d need to start fishing to pay my share.

After burning a few calories on the Nile, we went into the nearby town of Abri for a nice lunch. The delicious food consisted of fuul (mashed fava beans) with onions and cilantro, falafel, lentil soup, omelet, cottage cheese, salad greens and bread.

An oil tanker, Abri-style. A healthy-looking donkey, but check out his hind legs… Maybe that’s how he relaxes?

The indoor mall at Abri. It’s so hot outside that most shops open to an inner hallway.

Dramatic sky over Saleh’s house in Quikkah on my last night there. What is it with the Sun in the Sahara that produces such wonderful colors for our eyes to feast on?

Sporting a gelabiya, the dress of desert men in northern Sudan. It’s a free-flowing robe, allowing for air to circulate all over the body. Mohammed took this nice shot with the full moon rising at twilight in the Sahara. After feeling odd for wearing shorts on the first day, Saleh gave me a gelabiya that added comfort and allowed me to blend in much easier.

sanDRina enjoying her break for the past few days under this lone tree of Quikkah. I took this magical light on my last evening as a good omen for getting back on the road the next day.

I was thankful to Mohammed and Saleh for inviting me to stay and experience a bit of their lives in Quikkah.

Getting up just before sunrise and enjoying the lovely twilight of Quikkah one last time. After a bath and a cup of tea, I bid farewell and roused sanDRina as the open road was calling.

My stay in Quikkah captured a bit of what eudaimonia means to me. It’s a concept that’s found at the juncture of what’s true, good and beautiful. There are no set definitions for these words but being aware of my experiences allows me to recognize when a eudaimonic moment is happening.

I left Quikkah with a sense of belonging to the human race. Connecting with random strangers and feeling like family after a few days is just what is prescribed for reaffirming faith in our species. There are good people out there, with good intentions and I hope by sharing this journey, I can spread the eudaimonia that I feel.

Next: Sudan, Part 4: Thru Dongola, Karima and The Pyramids at Begrawiya

Previous: Sudan, Part 2: An Encounter with Fishermen of the Nile

Sudan, Part 2: An Encounter with Fishermen of the Nile

9 – 11 June 2011

Sudan is one of those paradox countries, where the external, political image is in stark contrast to the everyday reality on the ground. The news would have us believe that it’s a dangerous country, and whilst recognizing that there are dangerous parts of the country, such as the conflicts in the west and south, I heed more to the words of passing travelers who told me of safety and friendliness in the north. With this information in hand, I felt excited that I could wild camp again, having done it only once (in the White Desert) since crossing over from South America.

I enjoy wild camping because it makes me feel most like a nomad and puts me in easy reach of wonderful experiences. This next photostory tells of my encounter with some Sudanese fishermen along the Nile. I happened to pitch my tent next to their working camp and being such gracious hosts, they took me in and showed me their life.


About 190 kms (118 mi) south of Wadi Halfa is the small town of Abri. I had set off late in the afternoon and was looking for a place to camp for the night. My Tracks4Africa GPS map showed a campsite waypoint just past Abri, by the Nile.

There was no campsite here, but being a wonderful outcrop with a fantastic view of the Nile, I put my tent down and made home for the night. I usually setup camp before dark, but the heat of the day meant it was uncomfortable to stop riding before the sun went down.

Before I could take out my stove and start preparing some dinner, a young fisherman climbed up from the river bank and motioned for me to join them for food. My Arabic was still non-conversational, but the signs for food are universal. I walked down to the bank and found a wonderful little beach that the fishermen were using as a working camp. I jumped in for a bath in the Nile with all the privacy that dusk offers.

Two fishermen were manning the camp and this was their kitchen.

With a LED headlight, the younger of the two fishermen, Bedwa, was preparing a batter.

The batter was poured on the hot pan and it slowly baked into a thick, unleavened bread.

Having dinner with Bedwa and Fara at their fishing camp on the banks of the Sudanese Nile. The freshly-made bread was had with fish stew and eating is a communal affair here, just the way I like it. There wasn’t much conversation, yet it was a wonderful meal. I bid them goodnight and thanked them in my basic Arabic for the meal.

I slept without the tarp on my tent to get as much air blowing through, but it was hot through most of the night, only getting slightly cool around 3 am. I was up at sunrise with the intention of getting going before it got too hot. However, after making some morning oatmeal, Bedwa came over and invited me down for morning tea.

With morning light, I could now see the camp in all its detail. It was a small beach that was sheltered by trees and felt cozy.

Bedwa and Fara were doing their rounds of rowing up the river, crossing it and laying down their net, then following it downstream for a bit before gathering up the net and its catch and rowing back up near the shore.

It’s tough but honest work. They took turns with their fishing duties on their homemade felucca. Bedwa rowed this timed around and Fara cast the net. That plastic jerry can was used as the float for the net.

After an hour’s worth of work, they caught a good five fish. Not sure of the variety.

At the end of each fishing round, it was time to sort through the net, mending any tears.

After spending the morning hours with Bedwa and Fara and observing their work, I wondered how the day would progress and was deciding whether to get moving or hang out some more with them. Pretty soon, this fiberglass boat with its outboard motor showed up and I met the boss of the operation, Saleh.

Saleh showing me the combined catch of his fishermen. There still wasn’t much verbal communication, but I gathered that Saleh was the boss and he indicated for me to stay. Recognizing the wonderful opportunity I had, I made myself comfortable and let the day flow.

Everyone got down to their tasks and Saleh motioned for me to take a look at his outboard motor. It was firing poorly and he set about cleaning the spark plug. We took a test ride on the river and I enjoyed my first boating experience on the Nile (not counting the ferry).

Saleh’s brother Waleed laying out his net in preparation for his round on the river.

By mid-morning, the middle of the river was flowing very quickly and made the fishermen’s task of crossing it that much more difficult. The opposite bank is actually a huge island that the Nile flows around. I was told later that there are ruins among the palms with treasure hunters flying in to search for the gold bounty. The banks of the river are very steep and are indicative of the erosive power of this mighty river when it’s in flood mode. After the rains in Ethiopia and Uganda, the Nile rises by a few meters before being stopped by the various dams along its length.

Saleh dishing out some water from his boat.

I sat myself on this mat and enjoyed the peace of being in a comfortable and safe location and most importantly, a shady spot along the banks of the Nile.

Where there’re fishermen, there’re birds looking for scrapes.

The first birdie was joined by his buddies and they combed the sands for something to eat.

This little birdie was looking down at some garbage and I felt guilty for being part of a species that easily dirties its surroundings without care for the fact that we share this planet with other life forms.

Bedwa and Fara rowing up the river at the end of another round. A river flows faster in the middle than compared to its edges, due to friction with the banks, and thus when rowing upstream, it’s easiest to hug the shore.

Their homemade felucca made of beaten down oil drums and crude wooden posts for the oar masts. Fishing is already hard work, but their work is made harder with these crude tools.

After getting a few rounds in the coolness of the morning, Bedwa started preparing the first meal of the day. What else would fishermen eat besides fresh fish? He gutted them and threw the remains back in the river.

Other river creatures were quick to grab the remains of the gutted fish. Nothing goes to waste in nature’s cycles. Waste and garbage are purely a human concept.

Bedwa, at 25, was the youngest among the fishermen there and he was tasked with food preparation. I guess all the others were tasked with this when they were young, too.

Leftover fish stew from the night before.

Baking some fresh bread and heating up water for tea.

The encounter shifted a dimension with the arrival of Mohammed Bashir in his shirt and jeans. He spoke English and asked me what I was doing here. After explaining my story, he said he was from Khartoum and was involved with buying the fish from these fishermen and taking it down to sell in the big city.

He spends a few days here, loading up his refrigerated truck with the fresh catch and then when full, heads back to the city.

Bedwa had a hefty catch of 30 kgs (66 lbs) already.

Mohammed’s truck for transporting the fish back to Khartoum.

Bedwa inside the insulated truck with layers of frozen fish from previous days. The thick ice blocks keep the fish frozen until their arrival in the city, but I was amazed that all the ice didn’t melt in this searing heat. Mohammed said all the fish freeze into one solid block and thus don’t spoil.

A larger than normal fish that Bedwa caught yesterday.

Eating the first meal of the day of freshly-baked thick bread with fish stew. It’s the same food for every meal at the fishermen’s camp, but this is a working food; simple to prepare, low-cost and filling. The man with the trousers was a local government official and Mohammed explained that Saleh owns the license to fish this particular 6 km (3.7 mi) bend in the Nile. He then allows others to fish on his stretch of the river with payment to him being a cut of their daily catch.

Being a Friday, it was time to head into town for Friday Prayers at the local mosque. Everyone washed up and donned some fresh clothes.

We all went over to Saleh’s house in the nearby village of Quikkah for a snack of sweet tea and sugary, fried bread snacks (like doughnuts). The tea was super sweet (two teaspoons of sugar in each little cup) but if felt refreshing for the intense heat of the afternoon. One can only drink so much water to hydrate in this dry heat and tea actually helps the body get hydrated, even though it’s slightly caffeinated and diuretic. Coffee wouldn’t work, as it’s too strong of a diuretic and if these desert inhabitants have been drinking tea to hydrate, let me learn from them.

Saleh with two of his children, Magda and Hamoudi. Being the richest man in the village, I could see that he spoiled his kids with love and toys.

After a visit to the mosque, they gave me a little tour of the town of Abri. Colorful shop fronts on the main drag in Abri. Businesses were reopening after shutting down during the hottest part of the day. They still get their business hours in by staying open late into the relative cool of the night.

A cellphone tower in Abri, connecting this remote dwelling to the rest of the country and the world. Sudan’s mobile network is very well established and their data rates are incredibly cheap. I was given a local SIM card from a traveler heading north and plugged that in to my phone and after topping up with some credit, I could get online and post a few updates. Places like this have skipped land lines and gone straight to mobile networks as they’re cheaper to setup and provide better connectivity.

Waleed playing some pickup football on the streets of Abri.

We wandered over to the town hangout and had some tea and shisha. Yeah, I quickly realized that showing off my legs wasn’t that appropriate, but it was so hot! Mohammed said I was excused as I was a visitor but I felt exposed in this land of Sharia Law.

Men at a nearby table playing a game with dominoes. It was highly energetic with lots of table slapping and bravado.

I spent five days in Quikkah and moved between the fishing camp and Saleh’s house, taking things slow; reading, relaxing and washing clothes. These are the clothes that I wear regularly off the bike and they suit me in most situations. I have a few more t-shirts and base layers, but that’s it. That little orange towel is a quick-dry towel from REI. It’s all I need to dry up and it absorbs a lot of water. The clothes dried within an hour as the temperature peaked at 53 C (127 F) every afternoon.

Hanging out on the mat in the fishing camp and drinking lots of sweet tea made with water from the Nile. Everyone else there was drinking water from the Nile straight up, without even boiling it; a testament to the body’s ability to adapt to its local bacteria and build a custom immune system. I was filtering the river water with my LifeSaver water bottle, which allows me to have sufficient clean water without having to buy it bottled from stores. In a place like Sudan, where I was drinking around 8 L (2.1 gal) of water per day, buying that much mineral water would become expensive and increase my contribution to plastic waste.

The kitchen at the fishing camp. We brought back supplies from Abri that consisted of onions for the fish stew, flour and oil for the bread, and tea, sugar and salt.

A fresh pot of fish stew boiling with onions and salt. Simple, tasty food.

Bedwa and another fisherman preparing bread for the meal to come. It was like a thick pancake and tasted excellent when warm.

The fire was taken off from under the pan as Bedwa poured on the batter and spread it out with his fingers.

Freshly-baked bread with fish stew.

Today’s meal was a bit special as Saleh brought some extra items from home. There was fuul (fava beans), falafel and a thin variety of the usual thick bread. It tasted excellent; eating outside, next to the Nile, sharing it with these friends who absorbed me into their lives.

After all my travels, so far, I’m glad I can recognize when an interesting opportunity presents itself, like this stay with fishermen of the Nile. I was happy not to be riding on a schedule at this moment and enjoyed letting the trip materialize into this encounter. These kinds of experiences are present all around us. It’s just up to us to slow down and become aware of our surroundings.

Next: Sudan, Part 3: The Fishing Village of Quikkah

Previous: Sudan, Part 1: Wadi Halfa, Entrance to the Sudanese Sahara

Sudan, Part 1: Wadi Halfa, Entrance to the Sudanese Sahara

7 – 9 June 2011

Welcome to The Soudan, the ‘land of the blacks.’ The present-day country of Sudan, while still massive, is only a fraction of the area that was referred to as The Soudan in centuries past. The name was a catch-all phrase for lands south of the Sahara that harbored black Africans. It also denoted a change in landscape, with the sands of the desert giving way to the savannahs in the south.

I traveled through northern Sudan just before another milestone in this region’s history, that of secession of its southern region into the new country of South Sudan. The region of ‘Sudan’ has had a very tumultuous history since recorded inhabitation began in 8,000 BC. The harsh climate and resource-rich land has allowed it to be influenced by outside forces throughout its history. It was a part of Egypt in various times of the past and being close to Arabia, Islamization happened early. In more recent times, controlling access to the Nile drove European colonial powers into Sudan, who bear some responsibility for the current state of the region.

Even while Sudan happens to be in the world’s consciousness for all the wrong reasons, such as conflicts in Darfur and Abyei and its authoritarian president, Omar al-Bashir, the people of Sudan were one of the nicest that I have encountered on this journey, so far. I felt extremely safe through my travels in northern Sudan and was welcomed warmly by all its people. It’s too bad the news doesn’t report on all the regular, good people of the world.

This first photostory documents my entrance into Sudan at Wadi Halfa, a port town on the southern reaches of Lake Nubia (Lake Nasser in Egypt).


The mad scramble to disembark from the overnight ferry from Aswan. It was all calm on the ship, but as soon as the doors opened, it was a rush to get out and get processed into Sudan. Before we could leave the ship, an immigration officer came on board and interviewed all the ‘foreigners’ before issuing us a travel permit so that we could move about independently.

The Sagalnaam, our wonderful ride across Lake Nasser from Egypt into Lake Nubia in Sudan. It was close to noon and the temperature was rising past 50 C (122 F).

From the pier, we had to board a bus to take us to the Customs and Immigration building. There were about 300 people who arrived on the ship and not enough buses, so a lot of pushing and shoving ensued. This is Ben, traveling overland in a Toyota Hilux with his friend, Edward.

After having our luggage scanned through customs and passports stamped, our group got into an old Land Rover Defender that served as a taxi for the short 5 km ride into town.

The town of Wadi Halfa, or actually New Halfa, because the original Wadi Halfa got submerged when the Aswan Dam was built. Under pressure from Egypt, the Sudanese government in the 1960s forcibly moved the residents of the old town to this new location and built them a small dam to encourage them to resettle and get into agriculture. Well, that all dried up and the current town is a ghost of its former self.

Having our first meal of the day after getting into town and right away we encountered the niceness of the Sudanese people that we were told about by other travelers. This restaurant owner went out of his way to procure different foods for everyone in our group as we slowly got used to the intensity of the heat.

The quiet streets of Wadi Halfa, where nothing much happens during the heat of the day. Most of the buildings were made of mud bricks, that have to get redone after the rains and the streets were sandy, choking the area when a strong breeze came through.

Desert lodging in Wadi Halfa at The Defintood Hotel, for 7 Sudanese Pounds ($3.20) per night. There was a fan that blew hot air down and cool drinking water in clay pots.

The town came to life after the sun went down and we gathered in the central square where the locals were focused on a football match being broadcast. All the businesses in the square were decentralized, meaning that you got tea from one stall, then falafel from another stall and shisha from another. Ed pointed this out and said if this was some square in Europe, there would be one boss who would be controlling all the services in this area, ensuring efficient delivery and making big profits. But, thankfully, this is not Europe and things happen on a much slower, relaxed rhythm where everyone can run their own business at their own pace.

Our beautiful Nubian tea lady for the evening. Being a Muslim country, and one that Sharia Law is enforced in, alcohol sale is banned, so everyone drinks tea. And they make some fantastic tea in Sudan; check out all the various herbs she had. I enjoyed her spiced tea with cummin. Northern Sudan is the land of Nubia, with the distinct feature of beautiful round faces of its people.

The next morning, we were alerted that the barge carrying our vehicles had arrived at the port. It usually takes 2 or 3 days, so we were all pleasantly surprised that things were moving quickly. We hailed a Defender taxi to get us to port. Just like how Bahariya in Egypt was the land of Toyota Land Cruisers, Wadi Halfa is the place that old Defenders go to have a second or third lease on life. The road to the port is paved and straight; yet, our driver was wildly swinging the steering wheel to keep the old Defender tracking straight ahead. Poor thing could use some new bushings.

Once in the port complex, we boarded a big truck to take us to the pier.

A bunch of friendly Sudanese dock workers riding past with a truck loaded up with fresh cargo from Egypt.

Back at the pier and we were all happy to see the vehicle barge docked across the Sagalnaam.

A big dent in the ramp from the barge. The pier is higher here than the one in Aswan, so off-loading was a bit trickier than getting on. I found that slanted rock nearby and placed it as a ramp for the bike and the other vehicles.

Guy, backing up his Defender under Ed’s guidance.

Riding sanDRina off the barge and onto Sudan. I was glad to note that the bike hadn’t moved at all during the voyage.

On the ground in Sudan and waiting to process through customs.

We handed our carnets over to Magdi, the local fixer in Wadi Halfa, who has a good reputation among the overlanding community. With a customs fee of SP 100 ($45), he got all the required stamps done and after having our VIN numbers verified, we were free to ride into Sudan. But, there was one last piece of paperwork before we could leave Wadi Halfa. Upon entering Sudan, all foreigners are required to ‘register’ their passports within 72 hours of entering the country and that costs $40. We paid Magdi $15 for helping us out and after tipping the barge captain $5, the total cost for entering Sudan, including the $100 visa comes up to a whopping $190. Just like Egypt, it’s expensive to enter, but once inside, it’s cheap.

A Defender, loaded up with cargo from the port, heading into town, which comes alive the two days after the ferry docks. Stocks are replenished and trade thrives, until the next ferry landing.

Cargo from Egypt piled up outside my hotel before it gets taken further south into Sudan.

The start of the highway to Khartoum from Wadi Halfa. I bid goodbye to my fellow travelers, as I stayed an extra night in Wadi Halfa.

I left Wadi Halfa in the late afternoon, to beat the heat and headed south to meet the Nile. All 900 plus kms (560 mi) to the capital have been paved in the past few years, taking some of the riding excitement away and making the journey a bit easier.

My route through northern Sudan, entering at Wadi Halfa and then following the Nile on its course from Khartoum and exiting in the south east into Ethiopia. The time zone changes as Sudan follows East African Time (+3 GMT). Click on it to go to the interactive version in Google Maps.

Past overlanders have regaled about the grueling ride through the deserts of Sudan, which nowadays are a thing of the past thanks to the Chinese who have delivered on their promise to improve infrastructure in exchange for oil and mineral resource rights. It’s high time to ride the world, before it gets all paved over by the Chinese!

Curves in the desert, as I approached the Nile.

Riding into the sunset as I searched for a place to camp for the night in the deserts along the Sudanese Nile.

With a good introduction to Sudan, I was excited for the journey through this unknown land to me. Going with the flow, in the next photostory, I encountered some fishermen on the Nile who took me in for a few days and showed me a slice of their Nubian life.

Next: Sudan, Part 2: An Encounter with Fishermen of the Nile

Previous: Ferry Ride on Lake Nasser from Aswan to Wadi Halfa