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Crossing the border into Sudan we are back in the heat with the temperature reaching over 40 degrees every day. We celebrate Sue’s birthday on our first night in the desert, with home-made custard (in lieu of cake) and gifts of coffee and a new plunger to see her through to the end of the trip.
We drive through to Khartoum the next day and meet with Midhat Mahir, who comes from the nicest, most welcoming family in the whole of Africa. Midhat not only proves to be a godsend in helping us navigate our way through the registrations and permits we need for Sudan, but he becomes our official translator, tour guide and information source for everything we need to know about Khartoum. Midhat also sets us up to meet with his brother when we arrive in Wadi Halfa, and we would like to thank him for his time, friendship and invaluable assistance during our stay in Khartoum.
Visiting the sites in Khartoum, we stop at the NationalMuseum which reveals the many well-preserved treasures of Sudan, including pottery, carvings and many Egyptian-influenced artifacts. The museum also features many religious frescoes and murals, depicting the influence of Christianity on Sudanese life.
We stop to see the other significant attraction in Khartoum – the Confluence of the Nile, where the Blue Nile and the White Nile meet. With good rains it is said you can see where the two rivers meet – unfortunately we were not so lucky but can at least say we have been to see where they merge!
Leaving Khartoum, we have early starts and hot, dusty drive days, trying to avoid the hottest part of the day wherever possible. We take in the sights along the way, stopping at the pyramids of the Royal Cemetery of Meroe, with Dean and Willy exhibiting their camel-riding skills across the dunes.
We stop and meet the locals in Atbara and Karima, where the warmth and friendliness of the Sudanese is evident – everyone is extremely welcoming and interested in our journey through their country.
We stop at Jebel Barkal, the “holy” mountain, visiting more pyramids and the Temple of Mut, dedicated to the Egyptian sky goddess. We also celebrate Rebecca’s 35th birthday with some creative gifts including a very special doll, autographed (and graffiti-decorated) by the group, which seems to fascinate a number of the locals.
We have more drive days, following the Nile through to Wadi Halfa. The palm trees along the river offer a respite from the heat of the day, and we stop most on most afternoons as it is too hot to drive.
Arriving in Wadi Halfa we are met by Mazar Mahir (Midhat’s brother) who takes us under his wing, and becomes our family in Wadi Halfa. We are invited to stay with his family, where we are treated to the most amazing kindness and generosity we have experienced in all our travels in Africa.
We are exceptionally lucky to have experienced the hospitality of Mazar, his mother and sisters and the extended family who shared their home and their hearts with us. We were hosted in Mazar’s home, camping in the family compound, where we were spoilt by Yeoman’s (Mazar’s mother) cooking including falafels, pizza and numerous cups of tea and coffee.
We attended the week-long wedding celebrations of one of Mazar’s close friends, where the ladies were kitted out in traditional Nubian dresses and the men wore their newly purchased jaballeyahs. We were taught how to dance in true Nubian style, which we got the opportunity to display at the wedding reception and then got to join the bride and groom the next day for a coffee ceremony which extended to food, drink, and more dancing, as well as henna tattooing, body scrubs and perfume spraying (to make the ladies more eligible so we can find ourselves a husband!)
Mazar even went out of his way for us using his business “Mashansharti” to create new stickers for the truck so that we now have “Ruby” in Arabic adorning the front grill.
We cannot thank Mazar and his family enough for the wonderful experience that they have given us during our stay in Sudan – words cannot describe our appreciation of their generosity and hospitality, and we are grateful to them for sharing their lives, friends and family with us during our time with them.
After a wonderful time in Wadi Halfa the truck heads off on the ferry, and following a sad farewell to Mazar and his family, we follow the next day on the passenger ferry crossing LakeNasser and on our way to Egypt.