Third Nile Waterfall, petroglyphs and magical sunset


They say that Nubia means gold, the one that the Egyptians went down to look for in full swing of their civilization and the same one that gilded the sands of the desert in these parts of Sudan in which a magical sunset like the one lived in Messaida can appear where you least expect it. We leave our base in Soleb to start the march between paths of dust and sand, cross across the Nile by ferry and discover theThird Waterfallor a unique set in Sabu-Jaddi of millenary inscriptions engraved in rock like who writes the story in his logbook.

Since we left the asphalt we have not heard anything about something similar to civilization, just passing through forgotten villages of houses made of baked adobe brick and lined with straw, yes, with beautiful decorated doors and a jar of water to offer traveler.

Sesibi, the last Egyptian legacy before crossing the Nile

I do not know if we will miss our traditional Nubian house in Soleb but the truth is that old Hamid has treated us luxury all these days and the accommodation has been much more than cozy.

There are many things that I do not usually have in this type of newspaper but if I have dropped it during all these days ... What a good atmosphere this group breathes! Even on the days of longer journeys as it can be today, the atmosphere is wonderful. This is also influenced by Sharaf, the cook, and especially Hawary and Hani, who along with Ameer are much more than just chauffeurs. Mohamed has also taken the point and is much more permissive than in the first days of the market. Total, what will happen? What do we get to dance in the middle of the most absolute NOTHING?

The river route takes us to Tombus today although there are many interesting stops along the way as we "traced" the Nile course

Located a few kilometers from the Soleb temple, and next toKosheti and Sadinga we saw yesterday, there is another minor temple of Dynasty 18 called Sesibi, built by Akhenaten in the 14th century B.C. (Soleb's was a legacy of Amenhotep III)

Before entering the enclosure, some children call our attention and again show how badly these people are going through. Mohamed is unable to interpret them again, his dialect is unintelligible to him.

Returning to Sesibi, the temple was completely destroyed after Akhenaten's death and not only that, he was considered a heretic so few pieces are preserved. A major, the site has not run the fate of Soleb with the Italian expedition that rebuilt it and has had little help to just lift 3 columns and he has no signs of receiving much more in the future

Around it is believed that there are an ancient city with a square floor barely excavated although what catches our attention is still the local population that comes close to our presence.

Have I already told you how beautiful I think Nubians? Possibly the most beautiful women I have seen in my travels around the world.

Ferry transfer and Third Waterfall

For the first time in several days, we have found a newly prepared track for transit. We had not felt the speed sensation that take advantage of our 4x4 vehicles to cut times, which is appreciated even for just a few minutes.

Our exploration on this side of the Nile ends here. If we want to continue our route going up the river, we have to cross to the other side. "And what are you telling me?" you will ask yourself. Something that may seem as obvious as crossing a bridge anywhere in the world is not so easy in Sudan. In fact, they already lived this Noe and David a few years ago, when the ferry we are going to use now was not operational due to failure of a technician and, without prior notice, they had to go back 200 km to the nearest bridge to be able to perform the "jump".

Luckily, after having a tea / coffee while we wait for the ferry to return from the other side of the Nile, this time there are no problems and we walk in what It is still an old barge (No wonder it broke down again) where there are no more than 5 vehicles.

For a moment, it seems that he will not be able to overcome the powerful waters of the river at this point but little by little he will be able to move forward and in no more than 20 minutes we are on the other side. A nice walk, no doubt.

From here there are hardly any kilometers until the base of a hill of what was a 13th century Christian fortification although today you have to put a lot of imagination. On one side there are some very interesting petroglyphs but the terrain has collapsed and Mohamed does not see very secure access so we settle for a distant photo

From the top of the fortification the panoramic view of the Third Nile Waterfall is spectacular. Also from here it is a good place to understand that what is called cataract really is what we understand as waterfalls or rapids. The concept is more related to the impossibility of going up with the boats than because of the fact that there are great differences to save

The floor is full of ceramic pieces that could be in any museum if not because they are destroyed as it happened yesterday in the Sai Island. Be that as it may, between some things and others He has given us time to eat and Sharaf and Mohamed propose us to use the tables of a small "road bar" later where we can also buy some cocacola! (135 SDG) and taste again the extraordinary stuffed eggplants of our chef. I would give my life for a beer with this heat but ...

Already with coffee, one looks around the life of the Sudanese and the place where we are, needing a good bias cure to understand it. In the background, some women and children see themselves in black and white TV that loses the signal every little while. At another table, some big guys who seem to be truckers laugh and eat some dishes brought from a kitchen whose oil is scary to watch. In the background, a room that seems to be resting, exposes a kind of bed bases on four irons where someone rests listening to music with his mobile. And while we, as "good" tourists, taking pictures of the new Sudanese banknotes we get for our collection (because we don't even know where to spend them).

Fear is reflecting on all this, on the politics of the country ... and more on the terrible situation that Sudan is living and we barely notice.

Sabu-Jaddi, a unique set of petroglyphs in Sudan

While these days we have enjoyed Egyptian archaeological sites in the Christian Medieval Nubia, until now we had not found the famous prehistoric evidence of Sudan. It is said that the first Paleolithic men (those Afarensis Australopithecus of 3,500,000 years ago) are originally from Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan although it was not until Homo Erectus, its use of fire and its more elaborate tools (about 1,000,000 years ) or Homo Sapiens (200,000 years ago) when art and performances would appear to leave us with evidence. The Mesolithic (10,500 until 5,000) with the organization, agriculture and nomadic world takes us to the stage of the great Civilizations considered Kerma that we will see tomorrow. What if we tell you that in Sudan we can see rock engravings in the Wadi Farja, near Sabu, in what is considered a unique set with more than 1600 drawings in rock called Sabu-Jaddi?

We are downstream from the Third Waterfall, which is important because until recently there were many demonstrations and protests over the plans for the construction of the Kajbar power station that now seem discarded and that true treasures would have been carried forward, between the villages of Sabu and Jaddi. All this wadi, now dry water cannon, was a vergel thousands of years ago.

This makes it appear to us a unique collection of rock engravings representing flocks, lions, boats, giraffes, with an incredible level of detail and that makes no sense to our current scenario.

The desertification of this whole area (let's not forget that we are in Eastern Sahara) made these petroglyphs made over 5,000 years ago represent a reality that existed at that time but today is considered extinct with that wide range of wild and domestic animals , combined with representations of ships of the Nile.

The canyon is spectacular and we could spend hours observing the level of detail of each "painting".

THE ENIGMAS OF NUBIA (VOL6): The strange diamond meteorite that fell in Sudan

It was on October 6, 2008 when the skies of the Nubian desert efferved bringing a small asteroid from beyond. The University of Khartoum, led by the SETI Institute with P. Jenniskens in the lead, organized a search that December, managing to recover samples weighing almost 4 kilos throughout the month.

And what was so special? Known asAlmata Sitta was a ureilite-type meteorite with anomalous characteristics among which are diamond inlays and that justifies the hypothesis of the existence of protoplanets which ended up colliding and forming rocky planets (like Earth) in a primitive solar system about 10 million years ago. Specifically, this extraterrestrial rock would come from a protoplanet with a size larger than Mercury. There is nothing ...

The sun is beginning to fall and it is time to return to our "friends" the paths of sand and dust that continue to accompany us on the other side of the river.

What we did not know yet is that the moment that was about to arrive, would manage to stop time in the most remote place of the trip

Magic sunset in Messaida, moments that stop time

In a moment of the road we turn left leaving the company of the Nile and we enter about 8 kilometers in a different scenario. Dust and sand make way for a Martian site of volcanic rocks with a large dose of erosion that form a kind of small hills squared on the ground. The cars stop and Mohamed tells us to get on.

Almost invaluable (so much that I am not able to warn him until I almost bump into him), he finds a small medieval church called Messaida (or also Masida) built on top of the rocks that has completely collapsed. However, an imposing Rock engraving of an African male figure dressed in a patterned skirt, rich jewelry and weapons suggests that this sacred place has been appropriated from a previous one because it is believed that it may be dated from the Napatea, Meroitic or post-Meroitic era. Too much uncertainty, right?

Around are more representations such as a bull, a lioness and other worse preserved. However, the sunset is coming and this lunar landscape suggests looking the other way.

It's time to send Perejildo, our Mavic Pro, to give us a perspective of this place from the air.

Who would have told me before I left that that moment that I look for in the trips that stops time I would find it in a place so remote and forgotten? It is this sunset and not another, climbed on a dune near an old abandoned and collapsed Christian church, which I will remember as that moment when the sun gave us a unique setting in an unbeatable company (well, Paula, Oli and Nico would have been very good here too)

As almost every day, the rest of the road has been with the lights of the cars on and looking for our final destination, in this case the town of Tombus. There awaits us a new local nubia house that is in great condition also and has electricity and cleaning.

We took the opportunity to remove a few kilos of sand, a good cold shower and load all the video and photo equipment, while Sharaf prepared another dinner treat.

However, as I always say, not everything is beautiful in Sudan and you have to tell it. The perspective of a traveler is very partial and at night we have been talking with Mohamed about the reality the country is experiencing in other matters, especially a sensitive issue such as ablation. More than 200 million women worldwide still suffer it's horrible and brutal Genital mutilation for purely religious reasons and Sudan, although some communities have abandoned this practice, still lead because if it is not done they run the risk of being socially repudiated. Moreover, Mohamed tells us that it may even happen that you are against doing it to your daughter and leaving home and on your return it was a neighbor who has done that cruelty without your permission. Also that families continue to arrange marriages and when that happens, the woman cannot leave home in 2 months. Anyway, better stay with that wonderful magical sunset and that route through Sesibi, the Third Nile Waterfall or unique set of Sabu-Jaddi petroglyphs, because otherwise ... Tomorrow more Expedition Pobes! Do you feel like it?

Isaac (along with the Pobes Expedition), from Tombus (Sudan)

EXPENSES OF THE DAY: 135 SDG (approx. 2.50 EUR)