Before we started looking for a campsite in Khatoum we decided to have a car service – for the first time after nearly 10.000 km. After some searching around we found a good place to do so. The garage was recommended to us as, so we were told, the main mechanic/owner specialised in Old Mercedes Benz cars (and so he did!). We didn’t quite believe this as, while looking for oil,filters and a reasonable garage in Khartoum, we learned a few things about East Africa. This really is TOYOTA-land – You will get anything for any Toyota ever made… but not much else. Synthethic or Semi-Synthetic oil (5W30/40, 10w40) is literally unheard of and virtually impossible to get, while mineral is the oil of choice (15w40/50, 20w40/50). Anyway, finally we did manage to find our 10w40 + filters and after an hour’s work, Rusty got „refreshed” – we changed the oil + oil, diesel and air filters.
MERCEDES SERVICE – Khartoum Bahari
NASRADIN mobile phone: 0912885024
We were camping at Sudan National Camping Resort, which was very cheap and actually we found some shade under the tree. We paid 30 SP (5,5 USD)for two people and car/night. We discovered as well that Sudanese people are not only very hospitable and nice, but also very honest. Charlie accidentally paid too much for a campsite and when the owner noticed that, he came back and gave us back what we over paid. A really pleasant surprise after Egypt.
We also were positively shocked about Khartoum. We expected something more like Cairo – very polluted, busy city, but it wasn’t. The city is much smaller, less populated and cleaner. Driving around is more pleasant. People rather are careful on the roads. We noticed more international drivers as well.
The capital of Northern Sudan is built where two Niles meet (You can actually see the water colour difference from the White Nile Bridge – you are not allowed to take photo there as it is deemed an object of military strategic importance.) Khartoum is also a very modern city – plenty of new, high- rise buildings and paved roads. We also were feeling very safe there, which I guess was very significant.
We couldn’t find big supermarkets, like Tesco or Carrefour, but there is plenty of stores, where you can find various ranges of products (food, cosmetics, cloths, plates, pots, cutleries, bowls, glasses and many many more) [Around 90% of those good were made in China.] In one of those shops we bought a seriously great frying pan for only 4 USD! In Khartoum we also discovered two thing we want to tell about: one is Debonair Pizza – the leading pizza restaurant in Africa established in South Africa (we paid 6 USD for two, crispy, huge pizzas) and second: amazing, freshly squeezed lemon-mint juice for little money in the famous restaurant on the main street (Don’t remember the name though).
Time we spent in Khartoum was very peaceful. Ramadan had finished and everybody was happy and celebrating for 4 days. We were recovering and also doing washing and cleaning the car. We also had company of Terri and Johny, so it was nice to spend some time with others. Charlie decided to find a good hair dresser. We found a nice place to do his hair and Charlie got a Royal hair cut! The guy was amazing, he tried his best and he did a great job! Moreover (as a curiosity) he actually was Eritrean not Sudanese.
When we arrived to Sudan it was August and it was supposed to be the most rainy month of the entire rainy season. When we crossed the border it was even hotter than in Egypt and there was not even a tiniest chance of a drop of rain to fall from the sky! We thought that rainy season is just a fairy tale, remembering that we were in one of the most arid countries on earth, but one night at the camp site we were woken up by a weird noise…. a really loud tapping sound! something was hitting our Rusty – it was RAIN, which we hadn’t seen since we left Poland. Because it was raining, the temperature also went down and everybody felt relieved from the heat. The rain was so heavy that, when we opened sliding door in the morning we noticed that we were in a small lake. Few hours of rain and the campsite got literally drowned in 1000 of litres of waters and the previously rock hard ground suddenly got very soggy! I didn’t want to wait until it all would dry up and I asked Charlie to move our Rusty on some dry piece of land. Charlie very reluctantly agreed and that was mistake as we got stuck! Yes! We got stuck on a camping ground! It took us few hours to get our Van unstuck from the middle of the newly formed lake, and without Terri’s and Johnny’s help it would probably take few hours more! Anyway, we experienced dry and rainy season in one country not even in one week😀