Day 097 Ethiopia : Doka - Gorgora

Day 097 Sudan

Trip Distance 315 km (196 m) Total Distance 12801 km (7956 m)
Road Condition 65% tar 35% dirt, corrugation, mud  
Time to travel 3hrs 5hrs  
Stopover
Gorgora, Lake Tana
Tim & Kim Village N12.22909 E37.29885 EB50 - lake, fantastic views and wonderful hosts!
Highly recommended.

 

We had a surreal start to our day.  We were invited to breakfast with the cops and had coffee and doughnuts.  They were the most delicious doughnuts, freshly collected from the local village and rolled in sugar and cinnamon and the coffee was freshly prepared.  But cops, coffee, doughnuts..... they need to watch some English movies for a change!

But we were on our way once more at 7am and reached the border crossing an hour later at 8am.  It was the easiest crossing ever and may have had some to do (on the Ethiopian side, of course) with the fact that it was Sunday and a holiday there.   Once we were through the real slog began.  The first 150kms or so is mostly tar and if not, the surfaces are in the process of being tarred, so we made good time.  Although at one stage we were delayed by 45 minutes when we reached a bit of the road that was in the process of being tarred and had to wait whilst they finished it and it was watered to cool down... Only in Africa, hey?  But we spent some great time there chatting to locals and listening to music to while away the time. 

When eventually the tar gave way it did so in spectacular style to mud (it being the rainy season now), corrugations and dirt.  And people.  And cattle.  And goats.  And more people.  It's not surprising really that the roads are used by the locals and their livestock as it is the easiest route to take to get to the next village or grazing grounds.  But what we saw nothing of was litter - a complete contrast to Sudan and with the rains having started, Ethiopia is looking beautiful.

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As we were driving towards Gorgora and on the final stretch to reach Tim & Kim Village next to Lake Tana, a storm was building on the horizon.  Suddenly two water spouts appeared in the clouds.  It didn't look as if they ever touched down but it was dramatic to watch as thunder rumbled and lightning flashed around us.  It is so good to be cool again and to see and hear the rain falling around us - I guess we may feel differently is a while, but for now we were enjoying it.

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By the way, for those of you who want to come, and really we would highly recommend it, there are 2 routes to Gorgora and the village.  If you follow Tracks4Africa, it takes you along nearly 70kms of dirt road at the turnoff just before Aykel without going into Azezo.  Going to Azezo and then taking the road the the village is only 45kms of dirt although the whole route is about 30kms longer - it's mainly on tar though.  We chose the latter and whether it was this decision or not (or the fact that we had camped close to the border or that we didn't stop for lunch and pressed on instead), according to Tim and Kim now hold the record for the earliest arrival from Sudan at 3:30pm.

So with tummies grumbling and having been shaken, rattled and rolled along the final stretch of road, we reached Tim and Kim Village.  And what an entrance.  The view from the campsite is spectacular and once we had been fed and watered by our wonderful hosts, Tim took us for a tour around their village.  Although the campsite isn't quite finished yet and the loos a good slog up the hill and down the hill and around a corner away from the vehicle camp spot, it is so worth it.  The loo is on a septic tank and, god, it was good to sit on a clean toilet seat again!  The showers are currently makeshift using solar bags so in cloudy weather it's cold water only.  But the shower block is almost complete and will be a godsend once it's done.  And on top of it all, Tim and Kim are the most fabulous hosts - friendly, warm, inviting and great fun to be with.