Erin's Tour d'Afrique Bike of a Blog!
An 8,000 mile personal and philanthropic adventure across Africa…

I heart Sudan

An aerial view of the mounting ferry chaos

Before the trip, the country that conjured the most trepidation and curiosity among our TDA cohort was definitely the Sudan. I have been excited about Sudan’s myths and mysteries for months, because its a country I may only get to experience once and have often heard is unfairly maligned.

We started our journey from Egypt to Sudan by boarding an overnight ferry across Lake Nasser. Fully loaded with our bikes at 11am on a ferry that departed at 6pm seemed like a breeze. At about 5pm the fun really started, when all of the locals boarded with endless boxes of tvs, blenders, food, sim cards, furniture and other miscellaneous goods. The entire scene of our group with our bikes mixing among the confused sudanese was hilarious chaos. We had a choice between a potentially cockroach and bed-bug ridden cabin, or fighting to carve out an area of the open top deck for sleeping. I chose the top deck, if only for the fresh air and more humorous, bug-free interactions. Steph, Rick, Paddy, Dave and I had quite a wild night riding it out in the open. We placed ourselves smack in the middle of the chaos, and vigorously guarded our thermarests from encroachment by the tide of locals around us. True to our typical time schedule, we fell asleep at 7pm to the sound of a raging sudanese drum band to our right, the call to prayer to our south, guys sleeping on our bags and offering us pita to our north, and a steady stream of traffic to our left. Despite getting called downstairs by passport control not once but twice overnight, we found harmony in the chaos under the stars, and agreed it was one of our best sleeps of the trip so far.

Today was our first real riding day in the Sudan (150k rolling hills) and it was pure bliss. There is a beautiful new paved road from Wadi Halfa (ferry port) to Dongola (our next rest day). We saw maybe five cars during six hours of riding. I rode with some of my favorite conversationalists (Reuban, Dana, Cat and Steph) and we had a blast. Its honestly the first long ride I didn’t hurt the whole way on (can I finally be achieving some semlance of fitness?) and the scenery was breathtaking. We rode straight through the most beautiful desert I have ever seen- it was arid, mountainous, desolate and practically a moonscape at points. Water has become our most precious resource (after ibuprofen). The people here are so welcoming, friendly and curious (a nice change from the egyptian hustlers that followed us everywhere). We enjoyed a leisurely dinner, colorful sunset and beautiful campsite tonight- all riders seemed uplifted by this beautiful and serene environment and people. I can’t wait to travel another 150k deeper into the Sudan tomorrow.


3 Responses to “I heart Sudan”

  1. Er, Glad each day that your body is feeling better. Enjoy the sites – be safe. We miss you but are so enjoying your blog. Love you MOM

  2. Erin,Thanks for the wonderful updates. I am throughly enjoying all your updates and sharing your experiences. Sounds like you are having a great time. I will keep in touch. Be safe, enjoy and have fun!!!

  3. Sleeping on top deck of a boat is a wonderful feeling, but then again I have only done that after a long sail day on Lake George and after a great glass of wine. I do not think that compares to your experience! Be safe. Love Debbie Meier

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