Dag 72 Luxor Egipte

Luxor is mooi en ‘n regte toeriste bestemming. Ons bly langs die Nyl met al die rivierbote. Kamp is verby en ons mis dit. Besoek die Valley of the Kings met al die Faros se grafkelders. Die interessante een was Tutankhamen se een waar sy mummie nog steeds le. Besoek ook die Karnak en Luxor tempels. Dit voel half onwerklik om hier te staan en te dink ons het gery tot hier. Ons probeer die hotelbestuur se arm draai om ‘n vuurtjie langs die swembad te maak en ons laaste tjoppies te braai, maar die ou kry amper die stuipe.

Luxor is beautiful and a tourist destination in the true sense of the word. We stay next to the Nile with all its river boats. Gone are our days of camping and we are missing it.

We visit the Valley of the Kings with the tombs of the pharaos. Here the most interesting one is the tomb of Tutankhamen where his mummy is still lying. We also visit the temples in Karnak and Luxor.

It feels almost surreal to be standing here and to realize that we drove all the way here.

We try to convince the hotel management to allow us to light a fire and braai the last of our lamb chops, but the man nearly had a fit!

 

Dag 71 Aswan na Luxor Egipte

Ons het gedink die Ethiopiese kinders is erg, maar die Egiptenare klop hulle by verre. Hulle los jou eenvoudig nie uit nie en groet met hul idee van humor ‘Welcome in Alaska’ terwyl dit 40 grade is. Ons besoek die tempel van Philae per bootjie wat op ‘n eiland is. Vertrek later na Luxor met die ‘green route’, al langs die Nyl met die klein dorpies en landerye. Daar is ‘n nuwe pad deur die woestyn aan die wesoewer wat die tyd halveer, maar dis gebou na die Arabiese lente revolusie en word net deur die militer en polisie gebruik.

We thought that the children in Ethiopia were persistent, but the children in Egypt beat them hands-down. They just do not leave you alone and constantly greet you with their attempt at humour: Welcome in Alaska – at 40C.

We visit the Temple of Philae by boat – the temple is on an island in the Nile. Later we leave for Luxor and we take the green route, next to the Nile with its small villages and crop fields.

A new road was built through the desert on the western bank of the Nile. This halved the usual travelling time.

The road was build after the Arab Spring Revolution, but it is only used by the military and the police.

 

Dag 70 Abu Simbel na Aswan Egipte

Die Egiptiese Polisie vat nie nonsens nie. Ons moet in ‘n konvooi ry na Aswan, 275 km. Ons probeer nog wegglip maar die Offisier duld nou nie sulke gedrag nie en sit ons gou op ons plek. Dan vertrek ons in een dolle gejaag deur die woestyn. Dis 42 grade, ‘n sandstorm woed, sig is swak, net sand, maar ons moet jaag om by te bly, partykeer ry ons sommer so twee twee langs mekaar, dis net flikkerligte en hulle ry soos ons die Argus ry, wissel mekaar af. Diesel kos R2,88 per liter.

Aswan is ‘n mooi en interessante plek. Ons gaan teen sononder op ‘n Felucca, die ou tradisionele seilbootjies, vaart op die Nyl. Ons stap die aand deur die straatwinkeltjies en sien hoe die Egiptenare lewe.

Ons is in Egipte, die 10de en finale land op ons toer, ons is bly, maar ons voel soos ‘n atleet wat om die draai by die pylvak kom met nog net die laaste 100m oor, jy weet jy kan wen, die adrenalien pomp, maar nou moet ons fokus, Kairo is nog 800 km .

The Egyptian Police takes no nonsense: we have to drive in a convoy to Aswan, 275 km away. We try to slip out of the convoy, but the officer will have nothing of it and quickly puts us in our place.

Then we set off on this mad chase through the desert. It is 42 outside, there is a sand storm howling, visibility is almost nonexistent, but we are in this convoy and we have to make sure that we keep up. Sometimes two of the vehicles drive side-by-side: indicators flashing and driving like we do in the Argus ? in a type of relay race.

The price of diesel is R2,88 per liter.

Aswan is pretty and interesting place. At sunset we sail on the Nile on a felucca, the old traditional sail boats. That evening we stroll through the small shops next to the streets and experience the Egyptian way of life.

We are in Egypt, the 10th and last country on our tour. We are pleased, but you feel like an athlete about to come around the final bend of the track with only 100m before the end of the race. You know you can win, it is an adrenalin rush, but we still need to focus on Cairo – 800 km away.

 

Dag 69 Abu Simbel Egipte

Besoek Ramses 11 se Sun Temple. Ons kan amper nie glo ons staan hier nie. Die twee bakkies tussen die toerbusse en ons tussen al die toeriste wat van Kairo af kom. Op ‘n manier verlang mens weer terug na veld en kamp, dis darem te beskaaf. Die tempel is indrukwekkend met Ramses se beelde wat uitgekerf is teen die rotswande met sy vrou Nefertari en die songod Re-Herakhte. Dit was om die reisigers uit Afrika as hulle teen die Nyl opkom te intimideer en te wys wie heers hier. Ons het die vorige aand by die Nubian Guesthouse baie Nubiese sakemanne ontmoet. Hulle was besig om ‘n dokument op te stel met voorstelle vir die Minister wat die grenspos kom open. Die Nubiers is ‘n minderheidsgroep en die verskuifing uit hul geboorte grond met die bou van die Aswan dam is ‘n seer wat nog vlak le. Laataand het ons nog sit en gesels met hulle, ons verstaan hulle gevoelens.

Vanaand het Goma (Friday) ‘n baie spesiale Nubiese man wat ons mooi versorg het die afgelope twee dae, ‘n tradisionele Nubiese gereg gemaak wat ons buite in die maanlig eet met Nubiese musiek in die agtergrond.

We visit Ramses IIs Sun Temple. We find it difficult to believe that we are standing here: our two bakkies parked amongst the tour busses, and the four of us amidst the throngs of tourists who are here from Cairo.

In a way we are missing the bush and camping. Everything is just too civilized.

The temple is impressive. The enormous statues of Rameses, his wife Nefertari and the Sun god Re-Herakhte carved from the rock-face. This was an intimidating way to show travelers from Africa who were travelling down the Nile who was in charge.

The previous evening at the Nubian Guesthouse we met a large group of Nubian businessmen who was drawing up a document with recommendations for the Minister who was due to open a border post. The Nubian is a minority group and their removal from their ancestral land for the building of the Aswan Dam is a pain which runs close to the surface.

We talk until late: we understand their pain.

Tonight Goma (Friday), a very special Nubian man who has been taking good care of us over the past two days, prepared a traditional Nubian dish for us which we enjoyed outside in the moonlight with Nubian music in the background.

 

Dag 68 Wadi Halfa Sudan na Abu Simbel Egipte

Die dag wat seker die grootste uitdaging moes wees breek aan – om van Sudan in Egipte in te gaan, dit het overlanders al weke besig gehou. Vergeet om dit alleen te doen, ons gebruik twee agente Mazar Mahir in Sudan en Kamal Muawad in Egipte, hulle is baas op die plaas en die paar dollars moeite werd. Voorheen moes jy ferry ry vir 18 uur tussen Wadi Halfa en Aswan, maar die grens is nou oop en jy gaan net oor die Nyl na Adu Simbel met ‘n ferry en dan ry jy landlangs na Aswan. Die geluk is aan ons kant, more is dit die amptelike opening van die roete en ministers en hooggeplaastes kom vir die opening. Hulle sluit die hekke agter ons, begin stoele aandra en begin markies tente opslaan. Toe daag die manne op met hul luukse Land Cruisers, stywe bene en pakke en almal begin hol. Hulle gee ons een kyk, skree ‘n paar bevele en daar gaan ons. Ons is deur Egipte in 2 uur 10 minute, sekerlik ‘n rekord.

Dit is ‘n emosionele oomblik, die tiende en finale land op ons reis – ons is amper by ons doelwit.

Ons boek in by die Nubian Guesthouse in Abu Simbel. Ons overland vriende Nick en Gillian Waterson van Oos Londen wat ‘n paar dae voor ons op reis is na Cyprus na hul seiljag vanwaar hulle dan verder wil vaar om die wereld het gereel vir koue biere wat ons inwag. Hulle was goud werd en soos ons gereis het het hulle ge-sms om te se watter pad om te ry, waar om te bly, wanneer grensposte oop is, ens. Overlanders is afhanklik van mekaar en dis net wanneer jy so alleen reis in verre vreemde lande dan besef jy wat dit beteken.

The day to cross from Sudan into Egypt arrived. This was our much-anticipated biggest obstacle. Overlanders can potentially be delayed here for weeks and you can forget about trying to do this crossing on your own. To facilitate this, we used two agents, Mazar Mahir in Sudan and Kamal Muawad in Egypt; they are the chiefs in charge there and worth the few dollars more.

Previously you had to take the ferry between Wadi Halfa and Aswan. That trip lasted 18 hours. Now the border is open. You cross the Nile to Adu Simbel by ferry and then take the road to Aswan.

Lady Luck was smiling at us, because the road was to be opened officially the next day, and ministers and other dignitaries were about to arrive for the ceremony. They locked the gates behind us and started arranging chairs and setting up marquee tents. When the men arrived in their Land Cruisers with their stiff legs and smart suits, they glanced in our direction once, barked a few instructions and off we went. It took us 2 hours and 10 minutes to get into Egypt. This must be some kind of record.

This is an emotional moment for us: The tenth and final country on our journey. We have nearly reached our goal.

We book in at the Nubian Guesthouse in Abu Simbel. Our overland friends, Nick and Gillian Waterson from East London, who are travelling a few days ahead of us to go to Cyprus to pick up their yacht on which they plan to sail around the world, organized the cold beers which are waiting for us when we arrive. They were extremely valuable on this trip. As we were travelling, they communicated with us via SMS about which routes to take, where to stay, which border posts were open, etc.

Overlanders are dependent on one another and it is only when you travel on your own in such distant places that you realize exactly what this kind of support means to you.

 

Dag 67 Wadi Halfa Sudan

Na Dongola ry ons deur die Nubian woestyn met die Nyl aan ons linkerkant op ‘n nuwe en goeie teerpad. Al die woestyn dorpies le teen die Nyl en ons ry deur ‘n paar en koop die heerlikste vars brood. Die dae van supermarkte is lankal verby en ons koop by die kleinste winkeltjies, sommer ‘n tafeltjie onder n grasdakkie. Ons kom te vroeg by Wadi Halfa, dis vrek warm en ons loop op die souk -mark- rond. Plakkies in die stof, hoed op die kop. Vrouens koop klein Sudanese koffiekannetjies. Farangis in Sudan. Ons soek ‘n toilet maar hulle verstaan nie- toe demonstreer ons maar met die bypassende geluide tot groot vermaak van almal. Ons slaan kamp in die stof straat op by ons agent, Mazar Mahir se huis. Sy vrou maak vir ons brood en bone en so tradisionele koekie in deeg. Vroegoggend sien ons die desert fox, hulle hardloop op die huise se mure en platdakke rond. Dis warm en Wadi Halfa is nou nie eintlik ‘n plekkie waar jy wil bly nie, dis die deurgaan dorpie na Egipte.

Leaving Dongola we drive through the Nubian Desert with the Nile to our left. We drive on a new, well-built tar road. All the villages lie next to the Nile; we pass though a few of them and buy the most delicious fresh bread. Gone are the days of supermarkets. We shop at small shops ? nothing more than a little table under a small thatched roof.

We arrive at Wadi Halfa too early, it is extremely hot and we stroll on the souk – a market. We are wearing plakkies in the dust, and hats. The women buy small Sudanese coffee cans. Farangis in Sudan.

We look for a toilet, but they do not understand, so we resort to demonstrating with sound effects. This causes great amusement to all who witnessed.

We camp in the dusty street at the house of our agent, Mazar Mahir. His wife prepares bread and beans and a traditional dough cookie.

This morning we saw the desert fox. They run around on the houses walls and flat roofs. ?It is blazing hot and it is not a place where you would like to stay.

You pass through here on your way to Egypt.

 

Dag 66 Khartoum na Karima Sudan

Na die nag se bly in die Bougainvilla gastehuis vertrek ons verder noord. Eers moes ons as aliens registreer (R1200) binne drie dae – jy kry eintlik die gevoel jy is ‘n alien in hierdie vreemde land. Gelukkig gee die gastehuis hierdie diens en spaar ons al die red tape. Ons neem die Atbara, Karima, Dongola roete, ‘n splinternuwe teerpad deur die Buyada woestyn. Ons besoek die Meroe piramides, 270 BC gebou. Daar is oral Polisie check points en twee keer stop hulle ons lank, hulle soek ‘n dokument wat ons nie het nie. Na baie bell-en-ry tussen mekaar dan laat hulle ons maar gaan. Ons vermoed dit is dalk ‘n travel permit wat jy voorheen nodig gehad het om noord van Khartoum te reis, maar na ons wete is dit opgehef. In elk geval, ons hou ons maar dom en so gaan ons net verder noord. Teen sononder anderkant Karima in die woestyn soek ons ‘n aftrek plekkie – in Sudan kan jy bos/woestyn/wild camping doen. Ons ry ‘n ent in die woestyn in en slaan kamp op terwyl die son sak. Dit is ‘n pragtige aand, windstil, maanlig en sterre maar nog steeds 42 grade. Ons braai SA skaaptjops in die verre woestyn en ‘n koue wit wyntjie wat uit sy skuilplek opgediep word.

After having spent the night at the Bougainvilla Guesthouse, we drive north. First we had to have ourselves registered as aliens (R1200) within three days ? you actually do feel like an alien in this strange country, but fortunately the guesthouse provided this service and we are spared all the red tape.

We take the Karima-to-Atbara Route, a brand-new tar road through the Bayuda Desert. We are looking for the Meroe Pyramids, which was built 270 BC.

There are police check-points everywhere. We are stopped twice for a considerable period of time; they are looking for a document which we do not have. After a number of phone-calls they just let us pass. We suspect that it might have been a travel permit which used to be required for travelling north of Khartoum, but as far as we know, that has been lifted. We just pretend to be ignorant and push ahead north.

At sunset we look for a spot to camp on the other side of Karima in the desert. In Sudan you can camp in the bush/desert/wild. We drive into the desert and set up camp while the sun is setting. It is a beautiful evening, no wind, only the moonlight and stars, but the temperature is still 42.

We braai lamb chops from South Africa in the wide desert accompanied with a chilled white wine pulled from its hiding place.

 

Dag 65 Khartoum Sudan

Na min slaap is ons, as die son opkom, in die pad. Dit is ‘n ander wereld, dis woestynagtig, die temperature daal nie onder 24 C in die nag nie en gou is dit in die 40 C. Die beste plek is in die bakkie met die aircon. Khartoum is ‘n moderne stad en ons gaan kyk waar die Wit en Blou Nyl bymekaar kom. Die mense verstaan nie Engels nie en dit lol maar om oor die weg te kom. Daar is ook geen ATM’s nie en ons versteekte dollars moet nou die ding doen. Geen alkohol word toegelaat nie en ons het maar die skaars wyntjies aan ‘n Duitser in Ethiopia verkwansel. Die straf is 40 houe met ‘n karwats. Ons drink nou net tee, koffie en Coke – Eintlik ‘n goeie toets, sal nou sien of ons ontrekkingssimptone kry. Ok, dis nou behalwe die klein botteljies KWV 5 jaar wat versteek is.

After a night of very little sleep, sunrise finds us on the road. This is a different landscape; it is a barren and arid desert, the temperature does not drop below 24C at night and it quickly rises to 40C. The best place to be is inside the bakkie with the aircon switched on.

Khartoum is a modern city and we see where the White Nile flows into the Blue Nile.

The people do not understand English and this makes it rather difficult to manage. There are no ATMs and our stash of hidden dollars now has to do the trick.

Alcohol is forbidden and we sold the wine, which is so difficult to find, to a German in Ethiopia. The punishment for this transgression is 40 lashes with a horsewhip. So now we drink only tea, coffee and Coke. This is actually a good test: Now we shall see if we get withdrawal symptoms.

All right, this is not counting the well-hidden mini bottles KWV 5-Year old.

Dag 64 Sudan Lake Tana tot anderkant Gedaref

Vetrek na Sudan. Dit is ‘n jammer om Ethiopie te verlaat, dis nie ‘n land wat jy onaangeraak verlaat nie en was beslis ‘n hoogtepunt. Van die groen Omo vallei met sy tribes tot bo in die hooglande met sy hoe berge en dale. Die Sudan grenspos was ‘n plesier, die Immigrasie hoof nooi ons eers vir Sudan koffie en ons is gou gou in Sudan. Onmiddelik is daar weer n verskil, weg is die bedelende kindertjies, die pad is vol sulke ou lorries waarvan die kajuit oopgesny is en bo-op die dak sit ‘n horde met hul Tulbande. Die polisie checkpoints stop ons aanmekaar, hulle kan maar net nie verstaan dat daar wit mense in Suid Afrika is nie, maar almal is vriendelik. Die son begin sak en ons moet ‘n boskamp maak. Ons draai af van die pad, ry tussen ‘n trop kamele deur en kry ‘n lekker plekkie agter ‘n koppie. Dit is 42 grade en daar waai ‘n warm woestyn wind. Ons bosstort (ketel oor kop) in die maanlig en kyk na die sterre. Dit word ‘n lang nag.

We set out for Sudan. It is sad to leave Ethiopia, because this is a land which does not leave you untouched, and it was an absolute highlight!

From the lush green Omo Valley with its tribes to the highlands with its magnificent high mountains and valleys. The Sudanese border post was a pleasure, the Immigration Chief invited us to enjoy a cup of Sudanese coffee first and then we enter Sudan without hassle.

The change is immediate: gone are the begging kids, the road is full of old lorries: the cabin is cut open and on the roof there is a horde of people with turbans. We are constantly stopped at police check-points: they cannot understand that there are white people in South Africa, but everybody is friendly.

The sun is setting and we need to set up camp in the bush. We turn off the road, drive through a herd of camels and find a nice, cosy spot behind a hill. It is 42C and a warm desert wind is blowing.

We enjoy a bush-shower [kettle held over the head] in the moonlight and watch the stars.

It turns into a long night.

Dag 63 Lake Tana Ethiopia

Kamp langs die meer (Lake Tana)by Tim en Kim kamp. Die meer is pragtig turkoois en ons sien weer endemiese voels wat net hier voorkom. Dit is lekker om weer te kamp na al die hotelle, daar is niks wat kom om in jou eie daktent te slaap met koel lug oor jou en geen muskiete.

We camp next to the lake at the Tim and Kim Village on the banks of Lake Tana. The lake is beautifully turquoise and again we see the endemic birds.

It is bliss to camp after all the hotels: nothing comes close to sleeping in your own penthouse on wheels with the cool breeze and no mosquitoes.