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The Temple of Soleb

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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me

After again gassing up at a busy station in the big city of Dongola, I move North on the Western side of the mighty Nile River. I’ve been told this side of the river is much more isolated and beautiful, and I’m excited to see what I can find.

The relentless wind is stronger than ever before, and again makes being outside the Jeep extremely unpleasant. I spot tons of dunes and rocky outcrops I would love to explore, but my patience wears very thin very quickly.

Visible directly from the road I stop at the stunning Temple of Soleb, and wander the site all alone for an hour. Way back in West Africa I often felt like Indiana Jones in the thick jungles, and now like never before I feel like Indiana Jones wandering around this massive temple full of carvings and massive stone structures.

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The info board at the site

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The whole site sits walking distance from the river

The whole site is extremely impressive, and I can’t wrap my head around the fact there is not a single person here – no tourists, no locals, nobody. It’s like I have left the regular Earth behind and I’ve somehow moved to an Earth where there are breathtaking things to see, but no people to see them.
I’m struggling to wrap my head around Sudan. It is so incredibly beautiful, and the people are so incredibly friendly it’s difficult to understand.

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The people carvings are HUGE

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All the massive columns are covered in carvings

I’m already planning ahead for the notorious border crossing into Egypt, and while I want to continue North on the West side of the river, I must meet someone at the major crossing on the East side who will have important paperwork for me. I can’t cross into Egypt without it, so I have no choice.

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Repair work is visible in some places

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The parking lot was mostly empty

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The carvings of the prisoners are extremely detailed

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A broken column covered in carvings

I backtrack a hundred miles, and happily get amazing gas mileage while driving with the relentless wind. After cutting through the stunning desert where I think about wild camping, I pick my way through a tiny town on the edge of the nile and locate a small ferry making the crossing. I wait around with some locals who are impressed to see me here, and then for $1USD the Jeep and I make the five minute crossing of the very impressive Nile River, which is starting to look more like a lake at this point – it is so wide and massive.

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A man on the ferry was happy for me to take his photo

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The ferry across the Nile at Poka

Now on the Eastern Side of the mighty River, I continue North, towards the final border crossing and country of this entire expedition.

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At the Soleb Temple

Egypt is close now.

-Dan

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5 Responses

  1. Russell says:

    Hi Dan.
    I’m still following along with you, checking every day for new updates! I’m actually pretty disappointed that your adventure is drawing to a close. I’m guessing you must have mixed feelings, yearning for more and yet also looking forward to some normality! How do you feel knowing you’re almost there?

    I’m curious about the difficulty getting into Egypt. Is the paperwork something you had to plan well in advance or is it something you were able to plan along the way? Do you have a set time and date for this rendezvous or are you able to be flexible?

    All the best and thank you so much for sharing your adventure with us all.

    • Dan Grec says:

      Hey Russell,

      Certainly some mixed feelings from this side. I’m getting exhausted, and I feel ready to “complete” this dream. On the other hand I certainly don’t want to go back to sitting at a desk job, so I will delay that for another six months at least! New adventures on the way soon.

      For the first time ever I have had to plan carefully to get into Egypt, details are coming in the next post I’m typing up now!

      Cheers,
      -Dan

  2. Katie says:

    Hi Dan
    Sudan looks great. Who knew? I’m sad that your trip is coming to an end soon. It’s been fun travelling with you! (Hoping for an Asia adventure next). If you are driving past Montreal on your way back to whenever you’re going in Canada/US, I have a hot shower, real bed and a fun dog available to you, just send me an email.

    .

    • Dan Grec says:

      Hey Katie,

      There are new adventures on the way, and some long-term irons in the fire and ideas for sure. We’ll see what comes next 😉

      Thanks very much for the offer!

      -Dan

  3. Andre says:

    Looks like army have taken over government in Sudan….maybe old news for you, but take care……Africa remains a great place, but can be unproductive at times

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