22nd April 2012
21.04.2012 - 22.04.2012
Mazir was a man we’d never met. His job title was fixer and he lived in Wadi Halfa a town at the southern end of Lake Nasser in Northern most Sudan not far from the border with Egypt. He would have to be a nice guy because we knew we’d be leaving on a ferry three days before Redvers. Mazir would be given our car keys and in it our lives; he’d better be a bloody nice man. We called him, arranged tickets for the ferry for ourselves and a spot on ‘the barge’ for Redvers and revelled in our luxury for five more minutes before it was time to go.
Our dinner invites beckoned and we’d set aside an afternoon of visiting hosts for coffees but alas our phone calls made no gains, with our moral high ground intact but our afternoons coffee prospects diminished we stopped by Ozone for one last lunch before attempting to procure some more Sudanese Pounds from our friendly dealer. He had no money, we had enough to survive on for the next week and so we turned tail and set sail for our first culture stop; the temples of the Lion and Amun at Naqa.
We turned off the tar road and for thirty kilometres we raced across the desert. The road was inconsistent in both surface and existence but eventually with the unwavering support of the sat nav we pulled up outside the Lion Temple. Amidst the desert we had found ancient temples dating back to the third century BC. They had been built by the Nubians during the Meroitic Period in the 1st Century AD and subsequently excavated by Europeans in the twentieth century. They were stunning. The carving and inscriptions that adorned their walls were as clearly visible to us as they had been when they were first carved, the Gods with their Rams and Lions heads and even a snake emerging from a lotus with the head of a lion, adorned the walls. We were awestruck. The second temple had two lines each of six huge stone rams sat on plinths leading up to it. In the warm glow of the late sun the temples appeared magical.
We left at dusk, aiming to drive to our next destination, the Pyramids at Meroe to camp and observe the pyramids at daybreak. Our journey led us back to the tar and north for another eighty kilometres. We once more pulled off the main road and following a set of co-ordinates we’d received earlier in our trip we drove over dunes and deep sand to find a little spot in the desert and beneath the stars where we could change the shocks by torchlight and call it a day. Our camp was more than a bush garage, it was heaven. Beneath a canopy of diamonds set in deep, deep blue silk we sat. The dunes surrounded us, the heavens looked down upon us and somewhere nearby the pyramids watched over us.