Today two events happened at once! First of all, I finished my long trans-African Odyssey. I started it some 8 years ago when I took my way from Nairobi to Cape Town having covered the distance from the very equator to the Cape Agulhas. So I was hopelessly taken ill with Africanophilia… Secondly, we have finally made what we have been talking about for long: from Limassol we got to Mombasa by a common Cypriot old Toyota HiLux. This way my taming Africa finished. And for the other crew members Africa turned another side… Well, actually not from the point of the remote remembrances from the childhood, and not from the point of the news on endless ethnic conflicts and civil wars from the words of Al Jazeera correspondents and even not from the point of the scared travelers stories. Africa appeared to us absolutely different, in the brightest colors of astonishing and unique charm, with the unreal beautiful nature, fantastically vivid culture and plenty of the unknown traditions.
Exactly 1 month ago, on 11 February we took off to Cairo t follow the rout: Port Said- Hurghada – Luxor - Aswan - Nubian Desert - Khartoum – Galabat – Addis Ababa – Nairobi – Mombasa.
We had a lot of tasks. From preparing to the large-scale trans-African project to purchasing the Masai amulet. But already during these two weeks we defined the exact goal of the expedition – to sweep the Nubian dust from our shoes on the coast of the Indian Ocean. And today this happened! Finally we could say to ourselves – WE DID IT!! We have just came to Mombasa having covered during the last two days some 1500 kilometers of the roads with roads. Our crew members though are dead on their feet but I can hardly restrain their impulse to dive into the ocean before they checked in to the hotel. And while our impressions are vivid and emotional I ask guys to keep in mind this state and to share their feelings of this real adventure.
Dmitry Shevchenko (actor)
Africa is different from what I imagined. Many stereotypes were broken at once: there is a lot of green here, it is not hot, even cool in the night and absolutely stunning people. We live in a small illusive world limited by covers of the glossy magazines and we call this civilization. But here we touched the real life, the life of the people who never rush anywhere and are always in time. Anther things strikes most of all: how much different Africa is! People change as the nature around changes. On the borders of different countries you can see the nations looking very alike but they are absolutely different in their mentality, character, traditions and culture. The sample of what I saw was Sudaneses. This is an amicable, hospitable and proud nation. And in general here you will feel the unreal harmonious combination of peoples’ appearance and nature they live in. Any shot of the unprofessional photographer here turns to be the master-piece created by nature.
Artem Butovsky (businessman)
Certainly, now we understand that in addition to the Egyptian bureaucracy we also faced great technical troubles. For the first time we experienced the conditions of driving under the escort in Egypt, the technique of driving in the desert and other quite exotic difficulties. But despite this all our main goal has been achieved, we crossed the equator and got to the destination point.
The most talented constructors of Toyota having created such a car earned a lot of thanks and admiration. Toyota Hilux of year 91 suffering the strongest overloads at the different phases 6000 km long many times confirmed its logo: Drive Your Dream! For me it was the first experience of driving and operation of the technical equipment in Africa but I am already planning my participation in the next trans-African Project. And in general I dream of crossing the continent by bicycle! And now I se it is real!! Africa teaches the traveler to think and to choose the strategy. Here everything changes very quickly. For example, A year ago any movements throughout Sudan were limited in connection with the situation in Darfur. And today the most part of the country is free for foreigners’ trips. In addition the registration in each state was cancelled. At the very beginning of our trip we kept up with the ethnic conflict in Kenya, even worked out the alternative rout to go out to the sea (to forward the car by ship to Cyprus) - Djibouti. But now it is difficult to believe the January disturbances. As to me – here it is the most comfortable for the Europeans condition.
Nubian Desert stroked me most of all. It was impossibly hot in the afternoon, car was constantly sinking in the sand, so much fine that by the moment we crossed the desert it like a dust covered the car and all our things. The night in the desert is so quiet that it seems – give a whisper and a man 100 meters away from you will definitely hear you. When we sank in the Nubian sands for the fourth time we had a feeling for a second that we had to turn back but the professionalism of our crew members helped us to cope with the problem. Very unusual and sometimes mixed up Ethiopia. The country has it own system of chronology (now the celebrate the millennium, they enjoy the year 2000, month of May!!) and even their own time! It is shifted exactly 6 hours forward and this is in no way connected with the time zones. Just their morning is associated with the time when the hand of the watches is crossing digit 12. But most impressing is their word “yes”. You should see! This emotion like a slight fright, it is not even a word, this is just a sound on breathing in. Sounds so nice.
The spectrum of impressions cannot be described in words, this needs to be felt and seen.
Night. Moon. Low Tide. Silence broken only by the lapping of the warm waves of the Indian ocean.
Easy breath of the wind brings from somewhere the barely felt and unique aroma. This is the taste of Africa. You will never be fed up with it, you can just satisfy your thirst for knowledge for some time like a travel does it in the oasis which stands on his way of roaming. We are still in Mombasa but I already miss it, my first love – Africa.