On the boat coming from Assouan, I can see already how Sudan looks like and it’s how I imagined: a desertic land!
Cycling in Sudan is an amazing and extra ordinary experience, you are lost in the middle of no where but it’s also where you’ll find the most hospitable people!
The first kilometers are very tough: a vast barren area, where I only find dead animals, left behind from big cattle trucks. Sad company…
Sand, rocks, stones… The silence… I just hear from time to time a truck honking with a warm hand waving out of the window!
I spend the night in a hut in the middle of nowhere… the 1st kind of building I find from the border… I’m actually surprised to see people in the hut, waiting for the bus, or just having a tea. The next village is not so far, 7km from the main road. And a bit further I’ll find a few ephemeral villages of gold diggers!
Then I reach the Nile and its strip of vegetation. It’s nice to see that there is some kinds of life here. Now villages will be closer to one another, I’ll be able to find some small restaurants on the way as well as families to host me.
I decide to follow the Nile, to Karima, even if sometimes the road is a few kilometers away. On the way, I visit temples and pyramids, left alone in the desert.
I arrive in Dongola, one of the biggest city between the border and Karima, then at Al Kandaq castle and the ruins of Old Dongola, a medieval town built as a fortress during the 5th century. It was then the capital of kings Makurian until the 17th century.
The road follows the Nile but it does not look like, I’m still pedaling in the desert, with strong headwind. The countryside is stunning but very hostile.
I arrive in Karima over heated but I’m happy to see the Jebel Barkal and its pyramids in front of me, as if it was a movie setting but no film maker. No tourists here, no fence, no guard.. I could even take the stones home!
From Karima, I cannot follow the Nile because the road is too sandy. I have to cross the desert to Atbara, 300km of nothing, no trees, no villages, just a few brave nomadic beduins living in poor conditions, with their few goats and camels.
Before arriving in Khartoum, I stop at the famous pyramids of Meroe! The most ‘popular’ sight for tourists! But they don’t even receive tourists every day! It’s good to have the place for yourself, just me, the pyramids and sand!
I’m even able to sleep there and enjoy sunset and sunrise!
However, I’m desappointed I’m not able to reach Naqa and Musawwarat es Sufra temples, the road is too sandy to cycle and it’s too far from the main road to push my heavy-loaded bicycle all the way and back…
In the capital city Khartoum, I can rest and visit Omdurman souk. Sara’s family hosts me a couple of nights, I know Sara from Barcelona and it’s very nice to her!
I also have time to request my Ethiopian visa at the embassy.
I spend time to wander around Omdurman’s market, one of the biggest in Africa! I love markets and I could spend days lost there… I also enjoy seeing the derviche at the mosque on Friday.
The last days in Sudan are super hot, even at night when it is still 40 degrees C. I stop during the hottest time of the day, around lunch time. I left the Nile in Wad Madani. The road is still a bit busy here, as it’s the only road to Ethiopia, the next country I’ll be cycling in. I enjoy my last days in Sudan, I know Ethiopia will be very different…