Christian Bodgren who is currently crossing the Sahara arrived from Egypt in Libya only to find that his dream to cross Libya on camel is in reality something different.
Ripley Davenport who is planning a Mongolia crossing is testing his expedition trailer; hauling 230 kg.
No camels across border
Christian and his camels arrived in the Egyptian border town of Soloum under police escort. Then the military ordered him not to camp in the town, but 4 km from the Libyan border.
The road to the border was on a very steep mountain, which was crowded with heavy loaded trucks and not easy to walk with camels, said Christian.
At the border Christian had his paperwork ready and believed that the Egyptians should not have a problem with letting him through.
Wrong, said a disappointed Christian, his camels were not allowed to cross the Egyptian border. He needed a special permit, which had to be issued in Cairo.
I could not believe it, was my expedition finish here? I had walked about 1500 km in Egypt to get here.
Im not giving up
Christian refused to stop his journey at the Egyptian border. He persisted and made lots of plans.
One was to call his friend Mr. Mohsen from the Egyptian tourist authority who then sent him several faxes. His Libyan contact also arrived and talked to the border authorities.
Eventually, after days, Christian was allowed through the gates into Libya with his four camels, [Libya] the country I have been dreaming to cross by camel for so long, he added.
Landmines and traffic
In this northern part of Libya Christian had to walk next to the road with his camels because the desert has too many landmines. Walking next to the road with all the vehicles made the walk on the road also risky, he said.
Christian had no choice as to load the camels on a truck to avoid landmines and traffic.
More bad news, Christian added, he cant use his planned route. Most of the borders he planned to cross are closed because of security problems.
Things like that is part of a long expedition. You have to following the regulations in different countries, which change. Then its good to have a backup route to take, he advised.
A new southern route
Very disappointed and not prepared to cross Libya in a vehicle, he has decided to travel his south route from another country.
Christian said that Libya is one of the safest countries in the region. Can't remember the last time I traveled in a country where people were more friendly. They came to meet me and my camels with food and water along the road and didn't ask for anything in return.
He said when traveling by camel you experience smells, sounds and being part of nature. And you slowly get into a pulse which moves in the same rhythm like the nature.
He is now looking for a good place for his camels to live.
Ripley Davenports Mongolia trailer
For the last two weeks Ripley is practicing with his special designed expedition trailer he will attach to his body while crossing Mongolia. All his provisions and gear will be pulled in this trailer.
His training terrain at the moment is the snow-covered ground in Denmark, a frozen, deeply, ploughed field, he says. The weight of his trailer: 230 kg.
Ripley will experience extreme weather in Mongolia, from sand storms to snow storms.
Christian Bodegren, born in 1973 in Sweden, plans to cross the largest desert in the world, the Sahara in Africa. His route plan will take him from the Red Sea in the east to Mauritania's coast at the Atlantic Ocean. He set off from the Red Sea in Egypt on 21 October 2009. According to Christian he will cover a distance of over 7000 km. Christian travels with camels and local guides.
British citizen and Danish resident Ripley Davenport plans to walk 1700 miles / 2750 kms across the Eastern Mongolian Steppe, Gobi Desert and the Altai Mountain Range, while hauling provisions and equipment weighing in excess of 200kg in a wheeled trailer, specifically designed for the journey, in 90 days or less.
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