Leaving Egypt we had to go through the usual routine, driving from one run down office to another, filling in forms, greasing a few palms and handing back our Egyptian number plates and Egyptian driving license, and most importantly getting our carnet stamped.
With all these things done we were able to load the car onto a barge. Trying to manoeuvre the car through all the goods stacked on the quayside up two ramps and park the 5 metre car on 6 metre wide hatch a cover with six or seven Arabs all shouting something in the way of directions was a touch nerve racking to say the least. Later the barge set sail, leaving us with our fingers crossed as it went out on to Lake Nasser.
With all this going on we had to get our Sudan visas. Our fixer took us round to some run down high rise council estate, I wondered what we doing, but it appeared that the Sudanese consulate was operating from some rooms in one of these concrete towers. We are used to embassies of one country having different rules in different places but Sudan has just taken my proverbial biscuit. Sudan’s embassy in London, want at least six weeks to give a visa. Their embassy in Turkey does not give visas to foreign tourists, I am still a little confused with that one. Their embassy in Cairo want a letter of introduction from the UK embassy (£45) and 90US$ plus one week for a visa, and in Aswan, a visa the same day, and at a cut price rate of 50US$ and NO letter from Her Most Britannic Majesty’s government.
I suppose if they are working from a run-down council tenement they can afford to sell visas cheap.
Next morning we went off to the port again to get ourselves on to the ferry, we were told there were only second class seats left, we were not looking forward to this, and when we saw the mass of Arab humanity and their luggage, scrambling and fighting for tickets a feeling of dread came over us. But our fixer came to the rescue and got us into a back door of the ticket office, and I was asked if I wanted a cabin, it meant spending an extra £30 but I went for it.
It is a cabin, I have to admit, but I have stayed in better sheds, it is scruffy, but then the whole ship is scruffy, but we can lay down over night, and for the duration it is our own personal bit of scruff, we do not have to share it with the Arab nation.
When the locals travel they seem to take two or three camel loads of luggage with them, all around the ship there were bodies, sacks and boxes, there was a time when I would have been looking for a bit of spare dirty steel plate amongst this chaos to get my head down. But no matter how grubby or how small, I am really glad we have a cabin. I must be getting old.
Sometime during the night our ferry overtook the barge with our car on it. The barges do not have GPS so they only go during daylight hours, our ferry took twenty hours, and the barges take a lot, lot longer. Two days later our particular barge completes the same journey as the ferry.
Hanging around Wadi Halfa is dreary, it is definitely a one horse town, or at least it would have been if the horse in question had not died of boredom some years ago
I am told I can go down to the barge and drive my car off and take it to the customs area, walking down the pier I could not see the barge with my car on it, there is only one pier and only two barges, it cannot be that hard. But I was looking for my car standing proud, but when I found it I was gobsmacked, in Egypt I drove the car, onto the top of a hatch cover, after I left they filled the hatches and did not stop until they covered the car.
Enough cargo was shifted so I could get the car off, but it took a bit more time to find the ramps under some cargo elsewhere, and it is all done by hand, putting the ramps under the car would have been so much more sensible and a lot easier but they do not seem to have that mind-set.
Another hour or two of paperwork and we are on the road, no more ferries………………..EVER
More photos on;-