Steep, rock strewn hills surround us and ecru colored sand is everywhere; sand licks towards the crests of the sinister looking mounds. It is as if we are visiting a distant moon or roving across some unknown planet. We see only as far as the hills allow us and follow the craggy, tortuous road to Dongola.
Shaken to the bone, we cycle along the heavily rutted road leaving Wadi Halfa. The deep sand and gravel strewn route was an immediate sign that we are no longer in Egypt. Patches of sand inhaled tires, slinging some riders to the ground or leaving others fishtailing to safety. Unavoidable ruts, caused by infrequent flooding, punished riders without front suspension. We spent the better part of the day keeping a keen eye ten meters ahead and choosing the most solid patches of road.
Africa has shown its face. Some riders are overjoyed in leaving the tarmac while others are realizing just how difficult it will be to cycle across the Dark Continent.