Thursday, 17 November 2016

Day 89: Abu Simbel to Wadi Halfa. A ferry ride and border crossings 60km

To help facilitate the ferry trip and the Egypt border crossing formalities we have arranged for Kamal to be our fixer.
We meet him and some locals at 6.30am at a local Abu Simbel Cafe. 

He has a hot line to the ferry and gets us moving to the ferry gate so that we are front of the queue.
There is a long line of freight trucks waiting.
The gate opens and he directs us to board to ferry.
So far, so good...

There are plenty of men interested in us and our bike during 45 minute ferry crossing on Lake Nasser.
We are all travellers on a road.
This ferry trip is short compared with the previous arrangement where overlanders went on a ferry from Aswan to Wadi Halfa. A sailing that took 17 hours.
We disembark.
A fairly dusty road at first and then a fine tarsealed road for 20km to the border post.
This is where Kamahl takes all the papers and directs us to sit in the shade under a colonnade.
The papers are all in Arabic so it helps to have a local person to guide us.
It takes him about an hour. As soon as the engine number is checked on Fatima Dick ceremoniously removed the registration plates and renamed her Orlanda.
We get our passports stamped - oh, the lovely thump of the passport officers stamp on a passport.
Good bye and thank you to Kamal.
If you ever need help with the Abu Simbel to Wadi Halfa border and border crossing Kamal is reliable
Contact for Kamal:, +201005322669

If only our entry for Orlanda  to Egypt had  been this easy.  Apparently it is easy for people with vehicles who cross from the south at this border. It takes about 2-3 hours for people entering Egypt at Wadi Halfa.
We have no idea why it took a week and $1350 to clear our motorcycle at Cairo airport. We were led to believe from the experiences of others that it is normal. Maybe a helper like Mo, Kamal or Mazar might have sped things up. 

Next thing getting in to Sudan.
Getting our passports processed was easy.
Then we looked around for the famous Mazar who has helped numerous folk through the formalities at the Sudan border.
He appears and was able to deal with the processing of our motorcycle in an hour. 
And, he offered us a bed at his home in Wadi Halfa.  What a generous and kind man.
He had more people to help...

We went ahead, found the green house and turned into the sandy street and found his house.
His wife and baby were soon joined by his mother and his sister and her three children who loved practicing their English and teaching me some Arabic.
They also fell in love with Orlanda.
Tea, snacks and then a meal and bed.

What a wonderful welcome to Sudan. 
Mazar is a licenced operator with customs and immigration training. He said he could have speeded up the Sudan visa process 
for us in Aswan. His contact details are  +249122380740
His brother Midhat  operates a tourist and guiding business based in Khartoum. They both have excellent English.

Kamal waits at the cafe. He has come from Aswan to help us and also others Ian convoy i cars being driven from Libya to Sudan. The cars are owned by Sudanese working in Libya.

Handily parked next to the ferry gate.
Kamahl giving us our ferry instructions.
All aboard!

On theoad through the desert to Wadi Halfa.

Ceremonial removal of the Egyptian plates. 
Egypt is the only country where we have had to obtain local registration plates and an Egyptian driving licence.
All is calm while we wait.
Freight trucks loaded with refrigerators, ceiling fans, stuff in cardboard boxes... clearly they are not expecting rain anytime soon.

Passport office. It doesn't take long before we hear the musical  'Thump'! 'thump'! 

Waiting at the Sudan border gates. Truck drivers.
It is prayer time so we settle down to wait for a while.

Bus loads of people cross into Sudan. The people bring their items for customs clearance. HD TV sets, ceiling fans, small fridges...

We first met this pair of cyclists in Aswan at the Sudan passport office. We pass them on the road to Wadi Halfa.
It will be a long hot ride through Sudan. 

Some hills dot the landscape. Excellent new road.

We find Mazar's house near the  green house on the road to Wadi Halfa. Golden sand all around.

A wonderful Nubian meal. Fluffy bread, slow cooked meat, a vegetable dish with beans, some small savoury sausages,  potato chips, a sweet made with coconut and vermicelli.

A bed for the night wth Mazar's family. We feel very welcome. It is a treat to stay here.

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