We all congratulated Ian on the start of his eighth decade. He said he was looking forward to it! So after card opening and breakfast we were off to Karima, without in fact visiting Dongola itself. This was opportune because, the road to Karima, some 175 miles, was reportedly all new tarmac. Not true! There was a section of 25 or so miles in the middle which was busily under construction, with huge earthmoving lorries and detours off the road which were just full of dust, dust and more dust. On arrival at Karima we went immediately to the pyramid site, with Jebel Barkal behind, which was lovely - totally deserted with no tourist infrastructure - where we were free to roam at will.
We then entered town, refueled and shopped before setting off to cross the Nile to find a campsite. We had expectations (from our map) of a lovely Nile bridge but, oh no! We found ourselves at a ferry - of very primitive nature! It was a large pontoon, capable of carrying up to 4 vehicles which had to be reversed on so that they could advance off at the other bank. Only two of our cars
could be loaded on the first ferry so we had to await the arrival of the third the other side before we could set off again - the whole exercise a very lengthy delay. The crossing was nevertheless very entertaining. Once across the daily hunt for a campsite started and we were fortunate to find a spot with a couple of mango trees close by the river bank which was ideal for our needs. A couple of local gentlemen arrived and were fascinated by our camping set up, particularly the roof tents. The younger man, at least 6 ft 6” tall, was charming and despite a common language we managed to communicate with him, as well as his older colleague who was adamant in his warnings of snakes and scorpions - neither threat materialised in the event.
A good birthday for Ian.
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