Archive for October, 2010

We left Jungle Junction in Nairobi today and did a massive 100km to Lake Naivasha in Kenya 🙂

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We were the only campers I think

We came here to Camp Carnelleys on recommendation from Mark we met at Jungle Junction for a change to see some hippos and stuff.

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Bar and chillout area

Great place, HUGE camping area, great chill out bar/restaurant with some beers and great burgers.

We went on a boat ride out on the lake for some hippo watching which was quite cool.

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Some Hippos from the boat

Didn’t do much else today … tomorrow we should hit Uganda, I’m sure 🙂

Nairobi Kenya …

Posted: October 30, 2010 in africa overland, Kenya
Tags: , ,

After about a 300km ride from Isiolo on decent tarmac roads crossing the equator in Kenya we reached Nairobi … big city and hitting rush hour traffic at 17h00 …

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In the southern hemisphere

I was still feeling very rough, coughing in my helmet constantly, headache, sore chest …. sometimes when we stop it feels I just want to get off the bike and lie down for a bit.

Lindsays bike started overheating in the chaos of traffic so he waited for a while we carried on towards Jungle Junction.

I love Nairobi … in a good and bad way. I guess I love it because it reminds me so much of back home (South Africa) … same kind of shops, petrol stations, things are just a little bit more developed here than the northern part of Africa …. but then again, is that why we are doing the trip ?

Jungle Junction is really cool … nice system they have going here, full use of lounge, internet, kitchen, nice clean and hot showers. Rooms are a little expensive, but camping is only 500 KS .. around 5euro per night. It is just a big house on a big yard and you pitch up anywhere. There is a fridge on the porch stocked with water, beer and soft drinks. You just tick a sheet everytime you take something and pay for it later … I like it here and I plan to stay at least until I feel better.

I also need to do a few things on the bike like oil change and the side stand needs serious attention after it was badly damaged on the truck from Marsabit to Isiolo.

Chris at Jungle Junction said they do have the equipment to do it and only about 20 euro, great … tent pitched, cold drink in hand … think it will be an enjoyable stay.

The next day, I bought some 10W-60 oil from a KTM shop and did a complete oil change while Lindsay and Delilah cleaned and worked on their bikes. While we worked on the front yard, some Finish guys came in also in F800GS motorcycles, but who knows what they have done to their bikes …. 4 bikes broken, one missing the complete front end, crazy !

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One of the damaged F800GS’s at Jungle Junction

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Our tents at Jungle Junction

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I finished all the things on the bike and was just now waiting for Chris to work on my side stand … but then he started taking the other bikes that arrived after us. Everytime I ask Chris if he can look at my side stand .. he just says, “We shall see” .. with a sneaky grin on his face … never a Yes or No, but I don’t mind, I think we will still be here for a day or two.

Yesterday we went to a shopping mall just up the street, called The Junction shopping centre … nice, looks like any shopping centre in South Africa complete with Mr Price and a Wimpy 🙂 We spend most of the day there, had lunch and did some shopping stocking up on breakfast bars, etc …

On our return to Jungle Junction I found Chris has not even touched my bike yet, even though he took all the other bikes that arrived after us … I soon realized why .. he only does jobs that’s big money and he doesn’t care about the smaller jobs. If I could only have gotten an Yes or No, three days ago, then I would have known and could have made another plan. He is just wasting our time now as we wanted to leave already … us staying one more night means an extra 2000 KS for him in camping.

We went to his office and asked him if he can please look at my side stand tomorrow morning as we really wanted to leave and he just went off on how he is just one man and can’t do all the work himself, I told him my bike has been here for 3 days already before any of the other bike that have come and gone already and then he said the most arrogant thing I have ever heard … in his words “It is not like you can go somewhere else anyway” … how cocky is that? .. like he is the only person in Nairobi that can bend a side stand. I said, yes, I can .. so he said, go then …

So, I did this morning .. rode up the street to some metal furniture manufacturers next to the road and in no time the side stand is bend … and they even welded a little “flat foot” on the bottom for me …. all for quarter the price Chris was going to do it for ….

When this Moyale – Isiolo road is fully tarmac in a few years … he is going to suffer with his business as a lot less damaged bikes will come out on the other side. He needs to learn some manners and treat his customers better …

Anyway, here now … all fixed and almost ready to go. Next stop will be Uganda somewhere, I think …

Kenyan border was by far the easiest and quickest border crossing ever … 1..2..3.. and we were done and we were on our way. At first I loved it .. off road, Kenya, wildlife, Africa baby !!

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At the Kenyan border, Moyale

All that soon came crashing down … who ever thought they could call this a road … I am sure the surface of Mars is better than this .. corrugation, rocks, mud, sand, more rocks, some boulders … just constant, never ending .. and almost 500km of this, nightmare ! About 100km into this road, I was in so much pain, ankles, wrists, back, just everything … and to top it off, I started developing a nasty cough, tight chest and a headache … not the best place or time to catch a cold.

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On the good section of the Moyale – Marsabit road … soon to get much worse

While in the camp site in Moyale, we met an Australian / ex-South African (Paul and Jan) couple also on bikes which did this road with us … Jan had a few falls and she was shaken up bit as I understand, so they decided to put her bike on a truck all the way to Isiolo while we carried on. Pete and his Land Rover have completely left us in his dust and we haven’t seem them the rest of the day. It was only Lindsay, Delilah, Andrey (Russian), Paul (Aussie) and I left to try and reach Marsabit in one piece.

We eventually gave up to pure exhaustion and pain around 40km before Marsabit, around 210km into the road and decided to stay over in a small village as the sun was setting. All day going on this road and by this time, my head was pounding, chest sore and I was boiling from the inside out … feeling very rough. The “hotel” consisted of just a room with 3 beds, no shower, toilet or running water. Lindsay and Delilah decided to sleep outside in their tent. Paul (the Aussie) realized he has completely lost his bash plate on the bike … completely missing, including his toolbox on the front .. didn’t even notice it .. he ought he just went over a big rock 🙂

Next morning early we left for Marsabit … it was so misty, you couldn’t even see 10m in front of you, no photos sorry, but got it on video … will do a post on youtube one day.

Reached Marsabit, found Pete and the Landy there, had some breakfast and by this time I was ready to pass out … this flu has got me bad … I was wet and cold from the rain as well, not going well for me 🙂

We all (5 bikes) mutually decided that it would be better for us to put the bikes on a truck for the next leg of the journey to Isiolo or at least until we find some decent road … the bikes is just taking too much of a pounding and of course I welcomed this decision as I didn’t know if my body could take another day of these roads, I can barely pack my pannier without being out of breath.

While on this truck journey, I sometimes thought the bikes are even worse off … and maybe they were, all bikes probably suffered more damage on the back of the truck then on the first leg … 3 bikes with bend side stands, 1 or 2 bikes with badly scratched paintwork … nightmare ride. We eventually reached Isiolo well after sunset .. probably around midnight actually .. off loaded the bikes and stayed the night in a hotel .. which was quite decent .. I had an en-suite shower/toilet with running hot water which is a luxury in this part of the world.

Today we are heading off to Jungle Junction in Nairobi for some repairs on the bikes …

I haven’t been blogging for a while as it wasn’t so easy to find internet connection since leaving Wims House in Addis.

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All of us with Wim and his wife Raheel at Wims Holland House in Addis Ababa

Back: Aisha, Pete, Wim, Raheel, Andrey .. and me

Front: Lindsay and Delilah

Since Wims Holland House (soon after the picture above), Aisha left us back to the UK and then New York for work commitments .. so she is no longer on the trip, but we have met two new friends at Holland House, two kiwis on bicycles who asked Pete for a lift to Isiolo … so they will join us for the next few days.

Well, Pete’s Land Rover got fixed eventually and while at the shop to get fixed and italian/ethiopian guy approaced asking if we need motorcycle tyres. I am sure our frantic search for motorcycles tyres made the rounds between the local KTM riders in town and he had a barely used front TKC80 for me for a price of 80 EUR which I grabbed up … really difficult to find tyres in this country.

Tyres fitted, Land Rover fixed, we headed out of Addis in some of the worse traffic ever, but soon out of the city it turned to a lovely ride. We made some good miles and around 3pm I guess we started looking for a place to camp early around Lake Langano in Ethiopia. The first place we stopped was very nice, like an African Safari Lodge, but obviously with prices to match and no camping allowed, so that didn’t work for us.

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Road just outside Addis Ababa

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Pete and the Landy in the background (with the kiwis bicycles on the roof)

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Bikes at the “pricey” Safari Lodge

We thought we would at least get some lunch or beers, but then we met a really nice couple, British and German (Tony and Gina) with their little boy, Connor. They have lived in Ethiopia for just over a year, we all had burgers and some beers … which they have very generously paid for and to top it off, they even insisted we come back to their house on the lake for the night … how cool is that !

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Us enjoying a beer with Gina and Tony (left)

We left the next morning heading for the Kenyan border town Moyale. On the way, we rode through a town called Awasa, where we made a pit stop at the Time Cafe … yes for some more burgers 🙂

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Time Cafe, Awasa, Ethiopia

We reached Moyale around midday today and with the border customs (to get our carnets stamped) being closed, we have to sleep over to do the border early tomorrow morning and then to tackle the dreaded Moyale – Marsabit – Isiolo road … the worse road in Africa, they say … wish me luck !

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Roads on the way to Moyale, Ethiopia

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We left Debra Markos, Sunday morning the 17th, hoping to be in Addis Ababa later that afternoon, well didn’t really go as planned.

On the way there, once again beautiful scenery, some dodgy roads and lots of people. It still amazes me how quickly people appear out of nowhere when you stop next to the road.

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Scenery on the way to Addis

We went up a mountain and down again over the Blue Nile Gorge, on the second ascend up the mountains we went over a rocky gravel track, Delilah following shortly behind Lindsay meant she couldn’t accelerate out of trouble hence coming off … not too bad though, just a slow fall. Andrey (http://www.andreymoto.com the russian travelling with us on a R1200GSA) also came off twice on this gravel road … no one seriously injured though.

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On the old Blue Nile Gorge bridge. New one behind.

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The gravel track in the background where Andrey and Delilah came off

By this time Pete’s Land Rover started overheating … this went on for at least a few kilometres. After one petrol station, Lindsay said that I should go ahead while they still waited to fill up the bikes. I left, rode for about 50km thinking they are still behind somewhere, stopped, waited for a while and then I received a phone call from Lindsay telling me the Landy has finally given up completely.

I had a choice to go back 50km or go another 89km to Addis Ababa. I decided to carry on to Addis on my own.

Once I arrived in Addis, the sun quickly set and soon it was dark. I pointed the GPS to the Hilton Hotel (yeah I know … took a chance) and they wanted 400 USD per night, unbelievable. My mobile phone also stopped working, so I couldn’t get in touch with Lindsay or the others. I left the Hilton and the road quickly turned to nothing and no lights, am I heading out of the city ? I turned around and pulled into the first hotel I saw, the Jupiter Hotel International, 100 USD per night … well what could I do, I paid up and stayed a night in luxury 🙂

Pete has a satellite phone, so I could send him a message via a website as soon as I settled in the hotel which had free wifi. He had to be put on a truck and was driven to Wims Holland House in Addis. Lindsay also have not had much luck, he suffered a blow out on his front tyre 25km before Addis and also had to be put on a truck.

Next morning I checked out and headed for Wims Holland House (http://www.wimshollandhouseaddis.nl/) myself. What a nice place, beer on tap, again, very nice food and excellent hosts. It is run my Wim (dutch guy) and his Ethiopian wife, Rahal (I think). They have a very nice setup and even gave me an old used front tyre that a previous overlander left behind to replace the badly worn front tyre I have, luckily no blow out for me … but it was close.

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Wims Holland House, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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My badly worn tyre and the used tyre Wim has given me

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New and used tyres fitted this morning …

This morning, after breakfast, I replaced my back tyre with a brand new TKC80 which Pete has very generously carried for me in the Landy since Egypt. I also fitted the used front tyre Wim has given me which will hopefully last me until Nairobi, Kenya where I should be able to find a new one.

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Robert and Clary cleaning their truck

We also met a dutch couple, Robert and Clary (http://doubledutchworldsafari.com), living in Australia travelling around the world in about 7 years .. amazing. They also have an amazing truck, from microwave, toilet, bbq, shower, fridge/freezer all inside the truck … brilliant.

We have been in Ethiopia far too long and I am a little concerned that I will not make South Africa on time … I surely hope so. At least Wims Holland House is very nice and is a very enjoyable stay. Still waiting for Pete’s Land Rover to be fixed and then hopefully we will head off the Kenya very soon.

…. with such helpful service from your local BMW Motorrad dealer? They are such a great help when you are stuck in the middle of nowhere with a bike they call “unstoppable” …. Isn’t the GS range of motorcycles designed for these sort of conditions?

They are bloody useless … BMW London Battersea / Park Lane will never ever see me again. The bike is nice and luckily in the end it was a small problem I could fix myself, but when asking my local dealer for some advice or help with the recent problems I had on this trip … this is the reply I get:

Good Morning Mr Els

Thank you for your email, Dean is unavailable this week so I have replied in his absence.

Your machine records show the fuel pump electronics were replaced under your machines warranty.

You could encounter many problems on a trip such as yours, unfortunately none of the team at Battersea have direct experience of using a machine in these conditions.

Kind regards

Paul Wheatley
BMW Battersea Motorrad.

Wow … thanks, that is great service and support !! 😦

It feels like so much has happened since my last Sudan update … so this might be a long one … will try and keep it interesting.

From Sudan we decided to push to the Ethiopian border and arrived just before sunset, even though we promised each other we will not ride at night. The Sudan/Ethiopian border formalities were at least not as bad as expected although we had to part with some more cash on the Sudan side … just for leaving you have to pay customs … crazy.

Ethiopian side we didn’t have to pay anything … we finally had all our passports and carnets stamped after sunset and we were advised not to ride at night on the roads …. maybe a good thing ! They recommended we stay over in a “security” compound/camp just inside the Ethiopian border. I have learned on this trip to be really skeptical about anything they call a camp site or hotel … far from it, I’m afraid.

It was kinda horrible though .. felt to me like we almost stayed in a refugee camp. They offered us rooms, but we decided to camp, pulling the bikes at the back and Pete with his landy at the front to give us some privacy.

One good thing was the shower … at least not as bad and running water .. more than other places we have been before .. running water in these parts of the world is a luxury.

The “toilet”, again a word I am very skeptical of … consisted of a hole in a concrete slab where you are supposed to squad … and it stank like sh…. 🙂

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Camping in the “security compound”

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That “toilet” shack

Anyway, we survived the night, up early the next morning, packed up and left. As we left the camp site, my bike kept on cutting out … completely, when on level ground it is ok-ish, while riding it is spluttering and I thought, please not here of all places. As soon as you stop, you are surrounded by people of all sorts and for some reason all people that hang around at borders seems a little dodgy. The bike eventually ran ok and off we went.

We headed straight for Gonder and realized why they recommended not to ride at night. These roads are full and I mean, jam packed full of animals and people … all over the road, anything from horses, cows, sheep, goats … all over the place. Sometimes the cattle, donkeys, whatever just lie in the road …. could be really dangerous to try and ride at night in this country.

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Beautiful scenery on our way to Gonder, throught the mountains

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Kids always popping out from nowhere

We eventually arrived and stopped at a petrol station, but immediately we were approached by someone who apparently owns a hotel and will show us the way. It is amazing how quickly these people appear out of nowhere. We decided to follow him and ended up at Fogara Hotel in Gonder. Not too bad, running (but cold) water, decent place for the tents with a nice view and beer, so we decided to stay. That night, this mysterious man convinced us to go on a “guided tour” the next morning into the mountains where we will see baboon, birds and wolves. . yeah right !

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View from the camping at Fogara Hotel, not bad …

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Bikes parked at Fogara Hotel

We fell for it, parted with another 40 US dollars each and off we went the next morning .. a long off road ride into the mountains in a normal minibus, shaking every part in our bodies to bits. Walked another who knows how many kilometers, but at least some of the views were nice, no baboons or wolves though … no surprise there. He then ended up taking us to some old castle in Gonder, ending the day at the Dashen Brewery (local Ethiopian beer) which was quite nice and the beer was cheap. We arrived back at the hotel/camp and decided to stay another night since it was already too late to hit the road.

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Some of the views in the mountains

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Castle in Gonder, Ethiopia

The next day we decided to head for Bahir Dar, just south of Lake Tana .. set the GPS to a Hotel close to the lake, but my bike was just unridable … loosing power, cutting out, sometimes completely dead and I thought that is probably the last of trip. My heart sank as this trip was something I have been looking forward to for a long time.

Something I did notice thought, when the engine cut out it does not want to restart unless I stop completely and put the bike in neutral. As soon as I put the bike into 1st gear the engine dies. Sometimes when I put the side stand down and up again, it would go into 1st and I can ride for a while. Hmmmmm, that is typical of a side stand switch issue …. so the first petrol station we saw, I “glided” in, stopped and completely removed my side stand. I then took the side stand switch out completely, disconnected the plug and connected the red and white wires together. This way, I bypass the side stand switch completely and the bike thinks the side stand is permanently up.

Soon I also had some local help, even if it’s just holding the side stand for me while I tightened the bolt again .. very helpful people. Filled up with some petrol … and WALLAH … no more cutting out, bike has been running fine all day since then ….. sorted I think !!! Thank goodness and by the way, thanks for all the help, tips and suggestions from everyone on twitter, email and blog to help me fix this issue…. which I actually had since Egypt, amazing that it could be such a small thing. (by the way, BMW Battersea/Park Lane in London has been utterly useless and offered no assistance or help at all … I will NEVER go back to them again, EVER)

Anyway, we arrived at this hotel in Bahir Dar on the lake and we had some lunch, nice burgers, beer and pepsi. Just as we finished, Pete and Aisha arrived by coincidence (by the way, we parted ways about a day or two before as they wanted to go explore the Simen Mountains). We had some more drinks and by this time it was already around 16h00, so we decided to stay the night at this hotel. Pete, Aisha, Lindsay and Delilah decided to camp, but Andrey (Russian guy we met in Egypt who has been traveling with us) and I decided to take a room instead.

Again, someone convinced us to part with 40 US dollars the next day and they will take us to Lalibela to go have a look at the Monolithic Churches. This meant we had to leave the bikes in Bahir Dar and take another rattle ‘n shake off road minibus ride to this town. It took about 5 hours to get there, spend the afternoon at the churches, but that meant we had to stay the night.

The churches are actually very interesting .. all the churches have been carved out of solid rock … amazing actually and took 23 years to complete. We spent all afternoon looking at these churches, went back to the hotel in Lalibela, had some beers, nice dinner and some very nice local coffee. We arranged with the driver to meet us at 6am the next morning as we woud like to get back to Bahir Dar and the bikes and try to make some miles towards Addis Abeba much to my relieve as it felt we have been here for ages .. too long actually.

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Riding from Gonder to Bahir Dar

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Some of the photos at the Monolithic Churches, Lalibela, Ethiopia

We arrived back in Bahir Dar this afternoon early, had a quick shower (the hotel in Lalibela had no running water) and packed the bikes. I was a little nervous as today will prove if the side stand switch bypass has really fixed my issue. Clean and bikes packed we rode about 260km to a town called Debre Markos (another 300km to Addis Ababa from here). We found a great little hotel, again with nice food and beer and the rooms are only 250 Birr (around £10). Very nice and clean, apparently the hotel has only been opened 3 months ago. Hope they keep it like this .. Hotel name is Tilik Hotel … all the way here .. NO problems with the bike … so I am convinced my issue has now been resolved, bike ran beautifully today.

Another thing maybe worth mentioning is that our front tyres (MITAS T-664 Army special) is completely shattered already. We have to buy a new tyre in Addis Abeba and get it fitted …. this army special is crap, I do not recommend them, although the rear MITAS E10 Enduro still seems good !

That is Ethiopia in a nutshell so far … now in Tilik Hotel, heading for Addis Abeba tomorrow, probably get there late afternoon .. get the tyres sorted on Monday and then head down to the Kenya border from there …. sorry this was such a long post 🙂 Laters !!

We finally got our vehicles back around mid afternoon in Thursday, we packed all our stuff and hit the road … we couldn’t wait to leave Wadi Halfa.

It was quite late by the time we left Wadi Halfa, which only gave us about an hours ride, we pulled off next to the road just before sunset, rode into the desert away from everyone and set up camp for the night. Aisha made us a very nice cup of coffee … don’t think I had a cup of coffee since Egypt. Was so nice to camp in the middle of nowhere, the sky was beautiful, milkyway on display, something you do not see in London. Think this was our first real “adventure” camping since we started the trip

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Camping in the middle of nowhere …

Next morning, we packed up and headed towards Karima. Again, like Egypt … desert desert, heat, heat, warm water …. I wanna get out of here now and get to the greener part of Africa.

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Desert, sand .. sand … sand … and it’s hot ..

We arrived in Karima where I had my first fall .. not sure if it was just tiredness or what? There was quite a big hump in the road, I went over a little to fast and the same time trying to warn the guys behind me … and the bike just went … not sure why and what happened, bike and I ok though .. nothing major.

We headed for a hotel at Karima which was a little pricey, so we tried another one which was a little crappy, so we decided to just do another rough camp somewhere out of the city. We rode for a while until we couldn’t see any lights anymore, veered off the road and camped.

During the day, Pete and Aisha bought some lamb .. and the girls, together with Pete made us a beautiful “potjie” … awesome

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Little pyramids, just outside Karima

Now, we have not had a proper shower since Aswan almost a week ago … so we needed one desperately. Next morning (Saturday) morning, we got up early, packed up and headed to Khartoum.

Also, to make a long story short, I am suffering from a weird stalling, jerky issue, getting progressively worse since Egypt … not sure if it’s petrol or fuel pump … maybe something else, but it sometimes get so bad I pull in the clutch and then sometimes the engine dies completely. I still have no clue what’s going on … I do hope I make it to Cape Town, will be pretty pissed off if I don’t !

Anyway, with my problem and all, I do not want to stop as my engine might not start again, so I just went all the way, just over 300km to Khartoum, only stopping if I have to for loo or petrol breaks. The other guys stopped a few times, so I completely lost them and was way ahead.

I arrived on my own in Khartoum .. maybe the wrong side … horrible, busy and dirty place, but headed straight for the Blue Nile Sailing Club as agreed with the others to meet up. They arrived only about an hour later. By this time it was raining in Khartoum, windy and late … not wanting to camp and mostly due to the fact that we desperately need a proper shower, we all booked into a hotel for two nights.

Earlier this evening we went for a very nice Buffet dinner at a different hotel down the road actually for around 70 Sudanese pounds including two drinks. Going to pack up now, get some sleep for an early start tomorrow towards the Ethiopian border … yes, get me out of this desert and sand 🙂

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Khartoum tonight after dinner ..

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This is just craziness. We were told that we will get our bikes today and be on our way … 5pm became 6pm and then became nothing .. not a word. We contacted fellow Swedish travellers whos vehicle is also on the ferry and they told us we won’t get the vehicles today as they have not finished unpacking the barge, what a load of …….

Now we been told tomorrow, maybe midday … unbelievable, we are stuck in a small town with nothing, nothing to see, waisting time. It is so boring, we do not know what do to with ourselves anymore.

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Wadi Halfa

The town consist of at least a very tiny, hot, but kinda fast internet cafe … was quite surprised, it is 3 sudanese pounds per hour. I plan to go there tomorrow again to upload this post. There are also a few shops for cold water and cold drinks, but our lunch and dinners mostly consists of breads (almost like pita), chicken or fish. We buy so many water (I have never drank so many water in my life before) that we can use the bottles, cut them in half and use them as cups.

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Our dinner, can tuna and bread ….

The people here are either very friendly or stare at you .. mostly friendly though and understand english. No one begs, the waiter at one dusty restaurant did not even want to take our tip we left him, so overall this place is better than egypt.

Shower in this place pretty much consists of bucket showering as there is barely any running water and you have to shower in the squatting toilets. The rooms are warm with ceiling fans, but that just mostly circulates the hot air.

Petrol seems to be another problem, we heard that there is only 80 octane, so not sure if my bike will be too happy with that if it was “spluttering” in egypt on 90 octane already …. Lindsay do have some octane booster left and so do I … but not much !

Other than that, we are all still healthy and doing well … would just be good to get on the road again ….

It definitely has been a crappy last two days, for me at least. Yesterday morning we had to be at the Traffic Police around 8am to give our number plates back and then to be escorted to the ferry. Peter and Aisha was ready and we told them they can get going while we still packed the bikes.

We arrived at the Traffic Police around 8:40am, finding Pete and Aisha still waiting, so at least we weren’t late. As soon as we presented only one number plate per bike (…and that is what they gave us in Alexandria), I just saw the guy shaking his head, explaining to someone that can speak a little english that we needed two plates, they can’t accept only one. My first reaction was ….”What the *&@*%%$ now??”

The more we explained to them we only received one plate, the more they say we need two. We then had to get back on the bikes, ride across town to the Tourist Police to get a report stating that Alexandria only gave us one number plate …. well good luck explaining that to them, all we got was confused looks … my patience has been wearing thin already, I am hot, sweaty and they just stare at us.

I eventually found an older man that speak a little english, went back up to the Tourist Police for him to explain our situation. They then said, we need to go to the normal Police instead of the Tourist Police. We left Delilah to look after the bikes and Lindsay and I walked with the man to the police station. Once we got there, they didn’t allow us into the building as they had prisoners in the office who apparently committed murder, so maybe a good thing.

The older man eventually re-appeared, shaking his head. By this time it was probably two hours later and we had made no progress. We went back to Toursit Police again and by this time I asked if I can phone Mr Salah (the guy who sold us the ferry tickets) to help us. He explained to the tourist police over the phone, but they seemed unwilling to help. Eventually, probably after another hour, they agreed to do a report for us. We had to lie, writing a report that we lost one number plate (so now it’s our fault) and we do not accuse anyone … After probably another 30mins, they translated the reports and we could get on our way.

We arrived back at the Traffic Police, gave them some papers and the police report (which they didn’t even read) and we were free to go to the ferry port. Arriving at the ferry port, more crap … checks, checks and more checks. We had to pay more money … around 253 egyptian pound per bike … and then another check at customs, another 22 egyptian pounds and then another 3 egyptian pounds for a stamp in the passport and then we movd down to the port itself.

The ferry is so overloaded … people everywhere, weird people, some guys wanting to take photos of just the girls, checking them out and just overall very strange. I think by this time I had enough of this country .. just want to leave now.

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Peter and I checking out the barge

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Our bikes loaded on the barge

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Pete driving his landy onto the ferry

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We loaded the bikes and the cars onto the overloaded barge and went inside for our “first class ticket cabins” …. what a load of rubbish …. first class my ass. For a start, my room got hijacked, around 6 sudanese men in my 2 bedroom cabin. Toilets and everything else is just horrible, the only good thing were the cold drinks and water we could buy and maybe the fact that they at least had aircon, but it was so cold … maybe better than hot hey ?

I had to share a very tiny cabin with Lindsay and Delilah, even though I paid 500 egyptian pound for my own first class ticket, but I am not sleeping with 6 other men and all their belongings in a tiny cabin. We had a meal consisting of some beans, boiled eggs, bread and some cheesies and then we decided to go to sleep … what else could you do?

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Andrey, a russia we met, also travelling on a bike

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The meal on the ferry

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The next morning 4:30am was some sort of a loud prayer call or something so that woke us all up. We got up and Lindsay and I sat outside for a while. Around 7am we went past the Abu Simbel, the guys took some photos … I didn’t sorry and we went back to the cabins.

Not sure if I should put this in, but my stomach was not very well at this stage, must have been those beans … I dreaded this as there was no way I was going into those squatting toilets, they stank and was overflowing. I just had to go, but went to the ladies toilet instead, screw them ! at least I felt much better after that.

After loads more checks and forms as we came off the ferry, we were escourted to a “hotel” near the port as our vehicles only arrive tomorrow sometime. We are now staying in this place, which just really consists of a few beds and no running water … but at least they have satellite TV. We are now sitting outside, playing cards and stuff … going to bed soon and hope the bikes come quickly tomorrow so we can get out of this place.