In Dunqula we had given up the idea of going to Karima. Mazar was right. There was no diesel in Wadi Halfa, none in Dunqula where we spent the night and none inbetween. Seeing Jebel Barkal and the Amun Temple, driving across the desert to Meroe via Atbara and then on to Khartoum would have been fantastic, had been the plan and was now quite impossible. Our diesel was barely enough for the direct route to Khartoum.
Our host in Dunqula that night, or better said the gentleman who felt himself responsible for us because we had parked in front of his house at nightfall and who had later that evening bought us a very refreshing drink that tasted similar to karkadeh, was equally pessimistic about finding any diesel before Khartoum.
As we reached Omdurman the next day the reserve tank and both jerry cans were empty. The Fuel tank was at an alarmingly low level and to make matters worse it was market day. We realised that we had arrived in Africa. The chaos was pure and had swallowed us within an instant. There was no turning back, no left or right. We crept forwards shoulder to fender and bumper to bumper with an anxious eye on the fuel guage.
At last we reached the end of the market and headed for the next best filling station. According to the dial on the dash we had allready run out of fuel and still had to find the German Guestehouse where we would be staying and which was near the airport, behind a sugar factory, somewhere in Al-Taif.
I woke three gents sleeping next to the pump as we pulled up and must have made such a desperate impression upon them that they agreed to sell a jerry cans worth (20 liters !!!) for 300 SDG !!! (the official price was 4,11 SDG). Nevermind,It was enough to find the German Guest House. Norbert the proprietor has a heart for overlanders and allowed us to sleep in the van out in the street and to use a bathroom, the pool and the wifi for 10 USD a night. The standard price for a single room in the area still was 80 USD although most of the NGOs that had paid such astronomical prices had long since gone.
The next day was spent at the Ethiopien Embassy where we paid 120 USD for both visas and looking for diesel. We were offered 40 liters for 100 USD by one of the locals working at the guestehouse and had to decline. We were’nt yet that desperate. There had been traffic jams a few days prior to our arrival caused by queues at filling stations and in consequence of which the tankers had been banned from the city centre and were now delivering only to the outskirts. We were advised to try our luck there.Because we were tourists we would’nt have any problems, people would be happy to let us go to the front of the queue. That was’nt the case at all, which is understandable, people had been sleeping overnight in their cars in those queues. Fortunatly after searching around and being turned away a couple of times we were lucky and could fill the tank and even the jerry cans at the normal preis At least we could now get to Meroe and back comfortably.
- Thankyou Norbert