Addis Ababa with Wim

We’ve been staying with Wim and the team at Holland House for the last 5ish days, it’s been great here with loads of travellers passing though and plentiful supplies of cold beer and reeeally good cooking!!

http://www.wimshollandhouseaddis.nl/home/3

We have indulged in many cafe visits ( chocolate croissants to die for at La Parisienne) and gorgeous fresh Ethiopian coffee is absolutely everywhere in Addis.

We collect our Kenyan visas tomorrow morning and finally make tracks for the border near Lake Turkana, after some complicated spreadsheet calculations and some persuasion for myself we are taking the safer but longer / more remote route to Nairobi (thanks Richard!). The scenery should be divine so once in Nairobi we will be able to put up some new photos.

Jo and Rich

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Just for Brent…

Keeping up with requests from our readers 😉 …

With patchy electricity in Lalibela, here is a pic of our view from the aptly named Mountain View Hotel… A treat for our birthday tonight!

The local beer is icy cold and very refreshing after a 7 hour drive from Gonder. Richard drove. I snoozed.

Will update everyone again once we have time for photos etc

Jo and Rich

Post Sudan and the beginning of Ethiopia

We have some patchy Internet now which is the first we have had in over a week in Ethiopia, it was 46 degrees at the Metema border crossing and we have since been camping at Tim & Kim’s Village in Gorgora, Lake Tana. Tim and Kim are a Dutch couple that run a foundation and a non-profit campsite for overlanders and travellers alike in order to support the local community. It was a gorgeous location on the lake and we really enjoyed Kim’s amazing food and Tim’s cold beer for three days! If you would like to support an African initiative then these guys are very worthy, hard working individuals who are here entirely of their own desire and commitment… http://www.timkimvillage.com/

We have also just had two nights in the Simien Mountains testing our bodies with the altitude and trying some of our Kilimanjaro gear before the time comes. We ate our dinner with the Gelada Baboons and had some interesting hand signals going on with our obligatory scout (sent into the mountains with all tourists)… A little whippet of a man with a huge gun but very sweet and he took good care of us the whole time.

Also, now that we are out of Sudan we can fill in a few of the gaps for those that are keeping watch:

After reaching Istanbul, we decided against travel through Syria. We spent two days on the internet and phones trying to find a company that would ship the car and/or us to Egypt or lastly Israel. A shipping agent called Rosenfeld, based in Haifa, finally had an option for us and we had four days to get to Lavrio at the bottom of Greece to board the ship. Three nights in a drivers cabin and some very interesting people later we arrived in Haifa (only to spend 11 hours trying to get out of the port!)

We spent the first night at Lake Tiberius and then headed all the way south to Eilat via a few sights, Jerusalem and Bethlehem. It was hard going as we had no working navigation or maps but I never thought I’d visit Israel so a bit of a bonus. It’s a beautiful country and the people there are really friendly, maybe somewhere to visit with an organised tour group.

We crossed the border into Aqaba, Jordan using our NZ passports and managed to avoid all stamps until one official accidentally stamped Richards passport with a vehicle related stamp so all shipping documents, ANY potentially dangerous paperwork and NZ passports got FedEx’d back to London once we had some free time in Assuit, Egypt.

Before entering Sudan we removed a few things from the website in order to cover our tracks through Israel but these are now back up and running.

More pics and things to come as well x

Tracking page is back on…

Sorry for causing any confusion guys but we removed the tracking page due to our unplanned detour through Israel in February.

We couldn’t say anything to anyone (except the closest of family etc) before we entered and exited Sudan who would have not let us in for having travelled in Israel.

There are a few more details of Israel in our other post but unfortunately not many pics as it was very rushed and we couldn’t risk having too much info from Israel on us!

We think there may be an issue with SMS in Ethiopia and so our tracker is still in Sudan. We’ll try to get this sorted ASAP because we’ve done some pretty cool stuff in Ethiopia already!

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Sudanese heat!

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We are in Khartoum today, it is baking hot as you can see from the pic I took in the car yesterday.

We bumped into another over landing Kiwi yesterday who gave us tons of great advice so thanks to Darren in his Defender! Darren has been travelling for two and a half years now so he is a pro… and very committed!

We also met a French couple in Wadi Halfa who have travelled in their Defender for 18 months now… Canada, US, South America and then Jo’burg to France. They were also lovely to chat to and had some great recommendations for the countries we are yet to visit. Did I mention they also had FIVE CHILDREN. Five! So all 7 have lived in their Defender for 18 months, how inspirational is that!

We have spent the last 5 days travelling with two Italian bikers, Roberto and Andreas, really great guys full of the textbook Italian passion! They have headed for the border today so good luck to them both and maybe we will catch them again in Ethiopia.

Anyway, we are now a bit grounded in Khartoum as we have an empty fuel tank, no more cash and Visa cards do not work anywhere in the country. Brilliant! Hopefully HSBC and Western Union can help us out swiftly 😦

Jo and Rich x

Egypt diesel situation

For other overlanders that may be reading, diesel is somewhat of a concern in Egypt at the moment.

For instance we reached Baharia Oasis (300km’s into the desert) on Wednesday with a quarter tank to find out that all 3 stations were out of diesel. After approaching some locals a desert tour guide kindly took us for a drive into the back alleys to a man that was hoarding diesel in his garage and we filled the tank and jerrys for some peace of mind.

Down the road in Farafra Oasis though there was plenty of diesel but we also found that only one station in Sharm had diesel earlier in the week and we queued for some time to fill up. We queued again this morning in Al Kharga and met many friends handing over their mobile numbers! Diesel supply seems patchy but isn’t impossible to find, just be prepared to wait for the pump! And always ask locals if you are worried as they will find anything you need as quickly as possible.

Time for desert…

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We finally had to admit defeat and depart from Dahab after staying an extra 3 nights and really enjoying our first taste of summery downtime! Great place for a totally laid back summer holiday if anyone is interested… Much nicer than Sharm unless you are looking for an Egyptian Vegas.

We continued on to Ismailia on the Suez Canal for the night and then west into the desert for our first camping… Two whole nights without anything but ourselves and the truck, our preparation proved thorough and we wanted for nothing (other than a shower after 3 days!). Desert driving has been weird, wonderful and everything in between! We are now missing a coating of paint from our winch and absolutely everything is full of sand but it was worth it for the experience. You can’t go anywhere in Egypt without meeting the nicest people. Everywhere we stop people buy us tea, soft drinks and even lunch/dinner. Today we asked the tourist police where we could buy a good lunch from in Al Kharga and next thing a police car comes down the road with tea and a bag full of food!! Even one of the guys who helped us out of the sand bought us drinks when we bumped into him at the car wash two days later.

We are in Assuit tonight back on the Nile and hope to reach Aswan tomorrow… However, this is a long drive made longer by heavy donkey traffic and so we may be stopping in Luxor, let’s hope the donkeys, camels and tuktuks are on holiday tomorrow.

Baksheesh for the horse!

Hi again,

It’s been pretty Internet free for the last week, we have a really slow wifi connection for now so thought we should pop in to say hello.

We have done temples, tombs, pyramids, boating, ballooning and the odd bit of drinking over the last 8-ish days. It’s been ideal but we now have an even better driving route planned for our return to Egypt with the truck so have ants-in-our-pants until we get back to Amman in a couple of days.

Hopefully the Sudanese are good to us for a visa and it turns out that we now need another visa for South Sudan which was only created a few weeks ago! So far we have has nothing but the worst timing!

Pictures of all the usual Egyptian sights to come soon 😉

Jo and Rich x

Why did the kiwi cross the road?

 

 
So for most of you, this experience is old news but for us it has been an education! Today we “grew some” and decided to get this Cairo street crossing malarkey sorted. It’s all a bit terrifying but funny at the same time as the passing Egyptian drivers find it hilarious we are just standing there waiting for the traffic to miraculously clear. We started following locals as they cut a path through the moving cars, bikes, buses and horses/donkeys with carriages but we are getting there and attempted the above all by ourselves. Only came close to being run over twice! Not bad eh.

It’s been a while since we had an update, mostly because the last 5 days have been totally hectic and we have been covering routes that we will have to do again anyway so figured we may as well wait until we have the time to do things properly. There should be another one of RW’s little vids to come and pictures of Jordan and other things but best leave it until we have time to actually enjoy the surroundings instead of wondering where the speed cameras are as we race from stop to stop in order to meet deadlines.

We are missing the truck (already!)… Thought we would enjoy the time off from driving but after one day it’s all we can talk about! Poor truck. Hope the guard with the massive gun outside the carpark is doing a good job!

Anywho, time to meet our tour guide in the hotel (two days after we started the “tour”). Go figure.

X Jo and Rich