The reasons why we had to stay in Aswan 2 weeks were:
1)getting us on the ferry to Sudan and
2) getting Rusty on the barge, which also goes to Sudan
It sounds simple, but it’s not really. The border between Egypt and Sudan is long, but all land border crossing are closed.There is a talk of a land border opening up, but that’s been a rumour for years. Who knows maybe that happy day will come, so far the only way to get to Sudan from Egypt or vice versa is a passenger ferry and separate barge for vehicles, which runs across the world’s largest man – made Lake Nasser . Passenger ferry leaves once a week (Monday) and separate barge, which transport cars and other goods, leaves when it is fully packed and barge company’s costs are covered. It is very important to arrive to Aswan at least 4 days before ferry leaves and do all paperwork!
When we arrived to Aswan/ Adam Home it was already late afternoon. Next day, Charlie was feeling better, so we decided to go the town and start organising ferry to Sudan. Before we left, Mohamed had shown us their Guest Book – but it wasn’t just a guest book with comments regarding the place. That thing was seriously very useful as other overlanders, who stayed at Adam Home wrote about their experiences connected with leaving Egypt (Plenty of advices where to go, what to do firstly, how to behave and lots of useful GPS coordinates). The guest book is worth to have a look!
The first thing you need to do/you need to have before you start doing all paperwork in Egypt to get on the ferry to Sudan is SUNDANESE VISA. Unfortunately, our visas to Sudan, which Charlie organised in Berlin expired and we needed to apply for another ones. Surprisingly, it was very easy to get them. Aswan seems to be the best place to apply for Sundanese visas. We paid 50 USD/person (in Berlin 80 Euros/person) and we could pick them up within two hour the same day.
Next, we went to Nile Navigation Office (Ticket Office) to talk with the Manager Mr Saleh and buy tickets for a ferry and barge. Unfortunately, there was no Mr Saleh around, so we left. When we were about to drive back to Adam Home, some guy came to us and asked whether we were interested in getting on the next ferry to Sudan. He also asked if we wanted to join his customers in solving all paperwork. We couldn’t believe how lucky we were – firstly there was a chance to leave Egypt that soon, secondly there were other overlanders, other people who wanted to cross Africa by their car (Due to unstable situation in the Middle East and that time lack of ferry between Turkey and Egypt we lost our hope to meet other overlanders). That was the moment of joy. In Aswan, we met first overlanders and their unusual mode of transport. Let me present : Dirk&Trudy, their crew and amazing car – 1915 Model T-Ford from the Netherlands. They are travelling around the World in order to raise money to support the worldwide work of SOS Children’s villages International. The black continent was just one part of their around the World expedition.
If your are interested in Model T World Tour have a look here:
We agreed to join them and even used their fixer as the perspective of going to Sudan that soon was very tempting. Their fixer took us to the TRAFFIC COURT. In traffic court you need to get a slip of paper that says you haven’t committed any driving offences whilst driving in Egypt (Remember our car crush with UFO, while we were leaving Cairo? Finally, we never reported this car incident to anyone officially and that was a good decision as otherwise, who knows how many problems we would get at Traffic Court). The fixer was helping us to get those slips, but to be honest (when you are leaving Egypt) you are able to do all paperworks without any helpers. Even though we started going forward with paperwork, we still were not very convinced that we would leave Egypt with the crew form the Netherlands as we still didn’t have ferry tickets. The fixer (I think his name was Mohamed) said that he spoke with Mr Saleh and all we needed to do was just go to his office next day and pay for tickets. After traffic court we were told that rest of the paperwork would be solved next day and today we should pack and enjoy Aswan. With smiles on our faces we came back to Adam Home and we started packing. In the evening we met with Dirk, Trudy and rest of the crew as they had invited us for a delicious dinner.
Next day, we said good bye to our Nubian friends and very happy went to Mr Saleh Office to buy tickets…Well, we knew that perspective of leaving Egypt was to beautiful to be real. At the Nile Navigation Office we were told that we were actually not going to Sudan on the next ferry as there was not enough space for our Rusty on the barge. Mr Saleh told us that they forgot about the car, which was already in the harbour. That vehicle couldn’t go on the previous barge as it was suspected of smuggling drugs and police needed to check it. The car was clean and it had precedence to go first. We were also told that we might go on the ferry next week or in two weeks…. or we could pay around 2000 USD and hire private barge to transport our van. We didn’t have a choice and we needed to wait till the barge would be fully packed to cross the Lake. It was seriously depressive as there was no other overlanders and local people generally don’t transport their cars. We could wait ages…With that perspective, but also with little hope we were waiting for miracle!!
During the next week we were calling Mr Saleh, waiting for his phone call, visiting him in his office and asking whether there was a chance for a barge next Monday. The whole situation was horrible, we were trying to be patient, but we were getting more and more frustrated. Most of the time we were spending at Adam Home (as we naturally came back there), but time to time we were going out and we were exploring Aswan and surroundings…We needed to do something otherwise we would go crazy.