Driving north towards Khartoum we had three days to get there, as by law we had to register our passports at the immigration office. They were happy to do that at the border, but with a “little commission” of course. We have got the time, so we didn’t mind to find our way through the bureaucratic paper work process in the capitol. In the large building nobody really spoke English and the people that did, just kept sending us to another place. At some point we just went to random offices to see what would happen. At some point we even got a post stamp stuck to our registration forms as if it was the most normal thing to do. It was all so random and a big joke, but after 3 hours we were outside, 100 dollars less and a registration stamp added in our passport. Goodbye Khartoum.
Now it was time to see some heritage of the country. Following the Nile river we arrived at the ancient royal cemetery of Begrawiya. Our first pyramids. They may not be the largest but it being the desert, it amazes you how it was built in this heat. It was almost impossible to even walk there. Sitting in the shade just makes you sweat heavily. We were drinking averagely 5 litres of water every day each. The heat makes eating very difficult as well, as you never feel hungry. Our stomachs were constantly filled with fluids. Travelling here is tough and certainly not for the weak hearted.
As we were not so impressed by the size we decided to visit the Nuri pyramids a bit further north. They were supposed to be some of the largest of Sudan. Arriving there we were caught up in a sand storm. Reducing the visibility to 20 metres at some times, we never saw any signs or gates. We followed our GPS all the way up and almost drove against the ancient tombs. Just a little later when the visibility was better we made some pictures and when we wanted to leave we were discovered by the local guards. They probably followed our tracks through the dunes because the sight was absolutely deserted. No one was around. The guards made us pay some preservation fee or a little donation to their pockets as we call it. The dust in the air started to be really annoying, so we tried finding some sort of accommodation in the near villages. We drove all around, asked plenty of people, but our showers were not going to be any time soon. Better luck in the next city, Dongola.
The highway towards Dongala was one of the best roads we travelled on. We were just cruising 100 kmh until at some point the road just ended. It literally stopped existing, without a warning. Flying into the sand I hit the brakes just to catch up to the bumpy track it had become. What a surprise. We only had 100 kms more to go to Dongola and driving back was no option as we wouldn’t have enough fuel. So we decided to give it a go and head out through the desert again. The track split up in so many places that we just navigated on the compass. It turned out to be one of the best tracks we have seen in a long time. Near to the Nile river there were little oases everywhere. Palm trees and little farms all along. It was beautiful. Luckily the track didn’t stop anywhere and it leaded us right to Dongola, a little desert town in the middle of nowhere. After trying all our resources of hotels and campings in the town, we gave up. We couldn’t find any place to stay and we really needed some showers now. Eventually driving out of town we stopped at a police check point to ask whether they knew any place. Lucky us, they knew English and sorted us out with an air-conditioned hotel room in the middle of town! For a good price too! We actually ended up staying for two nights, as we were a bit sick in our stomachs and we needed a good rest. After this we were able to head out to cross the tough border and catch our ferry towards Egypt.