A fast and interesting day in the desert!

Beyond the Saddle ....Cairo to Cape Town
Howard Fairbank
Tue 30 Jan 2007 20:56
Position 18:18.895N 30:40.219E In a widen open desert space again....108 km south of Dongola!

Hope you have received and enjoyed Beyond the Saddle No 5!!

Distance today: 108km

Back to fast exhilirating cycling again....tarred road for the first 60km, flat, wind behing...just ideal conditions. I went out fast on my own to lunch, arriving with my legs screaming for a rest! All good fun and a few competitive interactions along the way.....the scenery was a bit monotonous with 'just' flat desert sand for as far as one could see, and little traffic along the way. A got my first puncture today.....another milestone!

After lunch things became interesting.....as I saw oasis farming for the first time on the trip...isloated green fertile patches miles from the Nile, supporting a family of 5-10. Stopped at one and had lunch with the family.

On an off road excursion I saw a huge pack of over a hundred camels being sheperded into the desert by two camel mounted beduoins, dressed for desert sandstorm conditions, and weilding huge whips to control the herd.

With the strong northerly wind there were often sandstorm conditions, with visibility dropping to a few hunderd metres.

In the clearer patches huge mirages were visible....first time I'd seen this on the trip so far.

Then the camel carnage......must have passed 50 dead camels along the way...succomed by the heat and left to rot in the desert sand...scatterd all over the place as I rode by.

Another 110 km tomorrow, as we speed towards Khartoum...expected arrival 3 February.

Till tomorrow take care