Road to Bahir Dar



// Nikon D7200 | 8,99182 : 38,74846 | alt. 2293m

As suggested by our friends, we left Harar after lunch and took the road back to Addis. On the way, road blocks were getting bigger and bigger, but we always managed to swiftly cross them, dodging all the bigs rocks and boulders blocking the way. Mr Fox is soo dirty it almost look like a local vehicle, and usually the angry people at the checkpoints only notice we were foreigners once we are on the spot.
Along the way, many kids on the side road, with stones in their hand, ready to fire at you. This is not due to the ongoing riots, kids are always throwing rocks at foreign cars….. If they wanna hit the front part, I’ll push the vehicle on the side on the road, full speed, to discourage them, and when the stones comes from the back, a well timed push on the steering wheel is enough to avoid an impact. This makes this part challenging, maybe we should have done this part by night…..
It more or less went well until we lost too much speed between trucks at a road block in a village. This time, we are too slow, and the crowd jumps in front of the van with sticks to block the van. The circle is getting bigger, and they wanna drive us to the center of the village. NO WAY.
The mob is now getting super upset as I don’t move, the tension is building up very quickly, and this is were I have to make choice between going to the village, see what may happen ? Or simply go full on over these people and run away….. This got so intense, until someone speaking english yelled over the crowd, and asked us to take people with us….
We honestly don’t understand what’s going on….. but if this is our ticket to go, we’ll take it.
We took passengers, they opened the way for us and we went out full speed.
Many more road blocks on the way, with angry people controlling them, and we have to stop every time, but seeing the locals in the van, they open the way for us…

We kept driving, and this time we saw many military truck coming from the opposite direction, full of soldiers and ammo box…. yeah that’s not looking really good.
A few hours later, we made it back to Addis, in our hotel. To our surprise, internet is nearly gone, the government controls all communication and most websites have been locked out. We will get news from locals in the next few days, the army went to the village where we got stopped, and they opened fire on the crowd….

Meanwhile, back in the capital, we need to sort out our visa….
We went to the Sudanese embassy to get our transit visa. It’s a very hard, expensive and long process to get a normal visa, and it already cost $168usd to get a 2 weeks transit visa. But at least it should be done in one day….. hold on.
This embassy is a complete mess, more than anything you could imagine in Africa. This place looks more like an airport terminal full of refugees. No organization, no one to manage this place, no information, just a total mess. And well, when you see the situation in the country…. it’s easy to understand why… For most people here, Ethiopia is a jail with no way out.
We managed to squeeze ourselves between people and talk to someone…it’s friday, and they just don’t want to work more today, so we have to come back on monday (they are also open on saturday, but obviously, they are too lazy for that.)
We have all our friends at the hotel (Steph, Mike and Sue, Chris and Erin) to discuss visa plans and route planning. We all run into the same problem, and have the same route/schedule. Sounds like we could organize a nice christmas all together 🙂

Next monday, we went back to the embassy 20min before they open…. and there was already a giant queue like the big opening of a theme park during summer holidays…..
We managed to get someone, give our passport, copy of it, 2 passport pictures, and a letter of invitation in Sudan (provided by the german guesthouse in Kharthoum). The guy filled up the immigration form for us, this used to be in Arabic only, but they now have a translation in english. It’s still a problem because we don’t have a visa for Egypt, and we’ll try our luck at the border, at least with this formal invitation, we can enter Sudan….. I have to wait 2 more hours, to finally get clearance…. $68usd to pay ($100usd to pay on top at the border), and we have to come back tomorrow to pick up our passports.
Next day we went back at the embassy at 2pm, as instructed, and to our surprise, the place was completely empty ! We got our passports and visas in 2 min, and that was it ! Finally ! We could leave Addis for good, and visit Ethiopia.

Next destination : the blue Nile falls !

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