Posts Tagged ‘The Sudan’

Photographing the Sudan

Our Sudanese photography permit

Here’s a photo of the wording on the photography permits we had to obtain in the Sudan. They don’t mind if you take pictures of the sand, but pretty much everything else is off limits. Oh, and you’d better only photograph sand that makes the country look good. Or else.

Crossing the Desert

Camping in the desert

After a couple of relaxed days in Khartoum (and one ridiculous Nile River cruise) we headed out of the city and into the desert. Our destination was Wadi Halfa on Lake Nasser, where we’d be catching a ferry to Egypt. Between us lay over 900 km of Sahara and Nubian desert, 300 km of which has no roads at all. We were in for four days of sweat, dust, dehydration and heat exhaustion, of beautiful nights under the stars and scorching afternoons under the sun.

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Old ship at the Blue Nile Sailing Club

We drove the 11.5 hours to Khartoum in one day, mostly to make up for lost time spent waiting at the border. We were camping at the Blue Nile Sailing Club, which was much less posh than it sounds. We spent a couple of days there, mostly trying to adjust to the heat. Since leaving the mountains of Ethiopia, we’d dropped from 11,500 feet to barely over 1,500 feet, and it was hot. Afternoon temperatures were regularly above 40¬∞C. It was hard to believe that less than a week earlier we’d been huddled together in sleeping bags and long underwear to try and stay warm. Water was the drink of choice, followed closely by Coca-Cola. It’s actually ridiculous how much Coke we’ve found ourselves drinking, but it’s just so refreshing in such scorching heat. It’s also an easy way to get some sugar into our systems, which can be a good thing.

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Crossing through the Sudan is a leg of our journey that we have anxiously and apprehensively anticipated since booking our African overland trip; our path was to take us through the north-east corner of the country, and it is a stretch that has ever been on our minds. Anyone that has ever watched international news or read anything about the Sudan’s recent history will know that “the Sudan” and “danger” are nearly synonymous terms in many parts of the world. The Canadian Travel Advisory webpage says “Avoid all travel” to the Sudan, and advice from friends and parents is the same. Nevertheless, our truck was bound north through Khartoum and into Nubian Desert on our way to Egypt, a route which is happily distant from the much more volatile and dangerous regions of Darfur and the south. We were headed into the Sudan, and we where about to learn a few things about a country we seemingly weren’t supposed to visit.

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