This weeked we drove into the desert in search of Sabaloka Gorge. This beautiful natural wonder in the Nile River is found at the sixth cataract. Of the six cataracts on the Nile which flows from Sudan to Egypt (yes, the Nile flows upwards from South to North), only one is in Egypt; the other five are in the Sudan. We knew that the birdlife would be prolific and read about boat trips on the river so we decided to visit the gorge on Saturday. However, while entering the coordinates for the gorge into the GPS, Grant warned me that we may not be able to get close to the river after all the rains.
74km/46 miles from Khartoum, we turned right into the desert in search of the Sabaloka Gorge
Following the instructions on the GPS, we headed towards the Nile river. We rode through one village after the next in the eight kilometers since turning off from the highway. Some of these villages are visible from the road and, to me, it felt weird to be driving through them. Because of the winter rains during the month of July and August we were unable to get near the river. We will return during the drier months.
Doubling back after not reaching Sabaloka Gorge, Grant turned off the GPS and we headed north into the desert in search of a place to enjoy breakfast.
Grant sees to breakfast while I snap away. As I said before, someone has to keep a record of our travels (lol!)
I don't think I'd like to camp under this precariously balanced rock
The grasses are beautiful at this time of the year and I had fun photographing them
A shady spot to park under the inevitable paperbark thorn tree. We had lunch here.
Wildflowers in the desert. These small flowering shrubs are so prolific after the rains that the veld looks like a yellow carpet
The young shepherd on his donkey. He told me his name was Abisfar and his donkey is called Hamar. Grant gave him a packet of pita breads, a chocolate bar and a bottle of water
After lunch we were off scouting for a campsite which we will use when we overnight in the desert next week
We've found the perfect overnight camping spot. However, with the whole of the desert at our disposal, we are spoilt for choice and could camp anywhere!
The proposed campsite is at the top of a large sand dune with a rocky mountain rising up behind it
Even though we spotted a flock of Bee-eaters (not sure which ones), an Eurasian Hoopoe and another Crested Lark, they would not sit still for long, so I couldn't get any photos. There were also lots of swallows which are impossible to photograph. They were hawking the insects which had been disturbed by the goats in the field
I followed the goats on foot to get a close-up photo of the Nubian variety for Sunny over at Barnayards and Barnacles. But these animals are not at as forthcoming as their American relations and kept running off in the opposite direction while making a snorting sound. I managed to click as this one turned its head away
The one single bird we managed to capture, was this Namaqua Dove. (Sorry about the quality of the photo; it was taken throught the windscreen as the dove acted skittish if I opened the door) Namaqualand is an arid desert-like area stretchin up the West Coast of Southern Africa - and is world-renowned for it's beautiful wildflowers in spring - so it fascinated me to see a "local" dove here in the Sudan. These doves are found everywhere in Africa, except Namibia and the Ivory Coast of West Africa. There are also no Namaqua doves in extreme upper regions of Northern Africa
I just L O V E Africa and her wide open spaces. I never get enough of her so take as many photos as possible so that I can pore over them back in our flat in Khartoum!
I thought the rock in the front looked like a man walking his dog (sort of like Pluto on hind legs, if you use your imagination) following behind. Grant didn't think the first rock looked like anything other than a rock but thought the seccond rock looked like a hamster. I mean where would you get a hamster in the desert? Mmm.
We came across many herds of camels and once again, I got out of the vehicle to get better shots of these sleek beauties
And played around with the camera settings again
Two camels browsing in a paperbark thorn (Acacia sieberiana var woodii)
These youngsters are imitating their elders, only they had to nibble on a low thorn bush!
Homeward bound. The highway between Khartoum (to the left) and Port Sudan on the Red Sea, beckons. Boo-hoo. I love being in the desert and would love to spend even more hours there. But there is always a next time. Watch this space!
For more posts on other people's worlds, click here . Thanks to Klaus Sandy Wren Fishing Guy Sylvia for this amazing meme.
The Arabic for Sabaloka Gorge is Sabalouga al-Khānq (Sabalouga a-ghung - gh as CH in the German Nacht)