We decided to drive from Meroe to Abu Hamed and drive the 369km through the desert to Wadi Halfa and return later via the tar road that follows the Nile. For some or other reason we never realized that this is only a route showed on a map……without a road. It is the real deep desert with sand valleys. Serious 4×4 area, very remote……! The GPS, as said, does not work in Sudan, so when it took us out of Abu Hamed and the road ended, we turned around and scolded the GPS of letting us down (Arno swore at it) and look for someone who could give us directions. Our Arabic is not so good and the Sudanese people as friendly as they are, can’t speak English, so it went with a lot of hand signs and name throwing. The gentlemen told us that we must follow the railway line. Stay with the railway line. At the end of the line will be Wadi Halfa…369km away. There will be 10 stations. Wadi Halfa is on the other side of station 1. Start at station 10……next to the railway line. We were shooked (shocked)! We can turn around to Atbara 244km back to take the tar road or we can do this utterly crazy off the beaten track endurance 4×4 drive through the deep desert. (The children would not approve) The friendly men eventually jumped into their Toyota to show us the way. As it was becoming late, we decided to drive on to find a place to camp and make our final decision which route we will take, the next morning. We had another fantastic wild camp under the stars.
Sunset in the desert
Sleeping under the stars night 2
The next morning Arno said that he wants to do this challenging drive through the desert. We have enough petrol, water and food. I was a bit worried but if the driver is fine then I’m fine. So we had 320km of deep sand waiting for us. We started driving and I must admit, I was watching the kilometers and boy, was it becoming less ever so slowly. Station 10 were already behind us. Station 9 came and we drove past. I started to relax taking photos of the stations counting them as we drove past. At some of them there were even a few living souls. Station 6 were actually a mini village and we really started to relax. Up to then 1 or 2 vehicles came past (very ensuring) but then the tracks became less and less. the sun climbed higher and our eyes couldn’t focus. It is totally weird but the colour of the desert confuse your eyes and it became more and more difficult to see the tracks. We had to deflate the tyres even more to 1.2 front and 1.5 at the back. And it was HOT! We drank liters of water. It took some serious 4×4 driving to get through the sea of deep sand before station 4 but we made it. It was then that I started thinking that just maybe we must turn around because there was still another 100km of this type of driving in front of us. I was totally freaked out! Arno stayed calm although he admitted that this is becoming a bit frightening. At station 4 there were 2 old men. The one took me on a hike to show me where we must drive (next to the railway line) but I was busy telling him in pure Afrikaans that I want to go back to Abu Hamed but he just shook his head and showed forward to Wadi Halfa you white livered Infidel woman! Arno came around the building with the bakkie and the old man insisted with both hands forward. He tapped the bakkie and said in Arabic that the Hilux can do it! Between station 4 and 3 it was really like the Dakar race. The sand became deeper but we never got stuck. From station 2 to Wadi Halfa the tracks were so deep that the bakkie’s bottom scraped on the middle. After 6 hours of serious desert driving we triumphantly left the railway line and arrived alive and well although utterly tired and hot in Wadi Halfa. We looked for Mazar where we wanted to overnight and sort out what’s happening with the ferry because we heard the border were closed and that riots broke out in Aswan as well. We had to wait a long time for Mazar in front of his house so we relaxed in the shade of his wall. We know it was a crazy thing we did and everyone that heard we came through the desert asked Arno how many times we got stuck between station 3 and 4 because it is a “sand valley”. Well, maybe someone else with his vehicle….but not Arno with his Hilux.
More than a bit worried
Because of deep sand driving ON the railway line
Finally….! Station 1.
One very tired brave white Infidel man
and a very brave Hilux making us very proud!!!