Dongola: day 16

The might Nile at Dongola
The mighty Nile at Dongola

Campers and caravaners know that school grounds might not offer five star luxury but after desert camps they have welcome ablution and shower facilities…and if you’re short of exercise, a playground.

Dongola camp site; back-up truck in back ground
Dongola camp site; back-up truck in background

Temperatures have been rising as they ride south, days have been around 150 kms long and Andy’s voice sounds a little tired. Dongola reminds him of the small towns in South Africa…so as Sunday 25th is a rest day the four musketeers looked for something a little more up market.

Dongola hotel
Dongola hotel

Andy decided not to join a trip on the Nile on sunday afternoon…did some exploring by tuk tuk instead.

Tuk tuk ride,1

You may not have heard much about Dongola but it has history…

It’s the capital of northern Sudan and historically was a center for Nubian civilization.  In commemoration of Kitchener’s travels there in the 1890’s there is a Dongola Road in Tottenham North London which runs next to Kitchener Road.

Lord Wolseley’s Nile Expedition of 1884–1885 to relieve Gordon at Khartoum passed through Dongola. Regiments were challenged to a 370 mile race up the river by boat, with a prize of 100 pounds. For the record, the Royal Irish beat the Black Watch in a close finish…

So Andy, if you felt that the 150kms on your bike on the day you got to Dongola was hard, think about 370 miles up-river in a canoe in 1884…no back up truck, no energy bars, no sun screen, no wifi … and OMG!… no padded shorts!

The competition gave rise in England to Dongola racing which is still a popular event in regattas especially on the Thames. Competitors use wide punts and a team of usually six people with single-bladed paddles. Today it looks like this…

250px-Dongola_racing_at_Wargrave_&_Shiplake_Regatta

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