Now i feel the REAL Sahara.....

Beyond the Saddle ....Cairo to Cape Town
Howard Fairbank
Wed 31 Jan 2007 17:53
Position17:44.651N 31:21.025E

In the Sahara, 30km south of a settlement of about 600 people called Ganeti, just off the Dongola / Khartoum road.

Cycled 109 km today. Very relaxed pace...I left at 7 30am, just before sunrise, and felt like having a slow and taking in the environment ride today...unlike the 65km time trial of yesterday.....this is the wonderful thing about not being part of the race...I just do what I feel like doing everyday.

The camel carnage of the previous day continued for the first 20kms and there were lots of huge hawks, feeding off the carcaases today...also saw a dead fox on the side of the there is some animal life out here!

The governement is rapidly tarring all the main roads, so today we were fortunate to be able to ride on the new road just before its about to be tarred, and no cars are allowed on it...relatively flat and downwind.....but being in relaxed mode I just cycled most of the way with my hands off the handlebars giiving me an elevated view of the passing scenery.

I'll cover this more in the next newsletter, but the whole environment has changed from Dongola.... houses and people...having left the Nubians, there is now a more third world oasis type culture around.

For the last 30 km of today's ride, the road changed to fully tarred, even yellow side lines and a white dotted line in the middle...normal I hear you say....well we haven't had that since Cairo! Anway this road also co-incided with a dramatic change in terrain, from the non-descript barren desert with occassional oasis and lots of dead camels, to what I envisage the Sahara to be like.....reddish brown sand, black rocks, and largish dunes, topped with a azure blue sky....and stretching for as far as the eye can see in all directions...ooh an endless and mostly dead straight tar road running through it.

Reminded me of my trip in Namibia (ye the dunes there are still tops!). Well with time on my hand for reaching the night stop, the wind behind me and this scenery to hypnotise me, I decided to just coast along and take it all in...somehow these desert openess and space touches me deeply, and I didn't want the cycle to end.....even had thoughts of telling the group I'd be sleeping 50km beyond the campsite...but then the realities dictated I stop and joing 'the group'!

We are camped at the base of some dunes 7 mountains, and I climbed to the top of the highest one for susnset and some great desert photo's.

Two more days of 130km ahead of me, apparently very similar so I am pretty excited about that..... Thereafter 50km to Khartoum....!! Apparently some surprises from someone close to me await me there...can't wait!

Life is pretty good at the moment!