Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Regional Forums > Sahara Travel Forum

Sahara Travel Forum Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 9 Feb 2008
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Posts: 71
Across Egypt and Sudan in a Tatra in 1947

A fascinating adventure: in 1947 two Czech guys in a passenger Tatra crossed Africa, from Morocco along the north coast to Egypt, then down the eastern side of the continent to South Africa. They became famous, at least in Czechoslovakia and in the Eastern Block countries - my parents told me those guys were big-time celebrities in the Soviet Union in their time. Their names are Jiří Hanzelka and Miroslav Zikmund. Anyone ever heard about them?

Among other things they were the first people to successfully and independently drive from Aswan to Wadi Halfa (talking their way through the red tape) and then along the rail track across to Abu Hamed in Sudan after the WWII.

They wrote a marvellous book, which was translated into many languages including Russian and English, published in the 50s. The English translation is titled "Africa. The Dream And The Reality". I have both translations - great reading. Here's a couple of quotes to give you an idea:

A scene in Aswan. The lads are trying to convince the captain of the border troops to let them through to Wadi Halfa:
"And now just show me what your car can do in the desert," said the captain and gave the driver of his jeep orders to go ahead. "Drive after me." The results of this test were such that a telegram went off to Cairo in the afternoon recommending the Ministry of War to allow us to travel through the "Great North Desert" in view of exceptional qualities and technical fitness of our car. "There's only one thing I don't understand," said the captain shaking his head. "How can your car run without water?"

Also in Aswan, the night before departure:
Late in the evening we left the Officers' Casino and went for a last stroll through the Aswan suk, which was just waking up to night life. The patched and torn baldequins across the narrow space took on fantastic shapes in the flickering light of oil lamps. Among the crowd stepping round the piles of varied goods were effendi in white suits of European cut, Arabs in gallabiahs, Egyptian police and soldiers, tattered and half-naked nomads from the desert and a few curious tourists in shorts. The smell of roast mutton liver mingled with the smoke of charcoal and the pungent smell of the incense which curly-headed lads were burning in one booth after another for a small tip. The bubbling undercurrent of Arabic, Greek and English was broken every now and again by the braying of asses, and above it all wailed the grating gramophone records of Arab music from the cafes.
We automatically turned our steps towards the mudiriah, where our Tatra was waiting in the courtyard. In the afternoon we had given her a last check-up, cleaned the oil filter, put in fresh oil, filled up the vaseline in the grease guns, adjusted two valves and cleaned the ribs of the cylinders and the air cleaner to free them from the dust of mud roads of Lower Egypt. The engine was running like a wrist-watch.
"There's certainly enough petrol," we assured each other, calculating. "We've got 12 gallons in the tank, four two and a half gallon cans and four four-gallon sealed tins, that makes 46 gallons altogether. That would normally be enough for 1700 kilometres."
"She'll probably need more in the sand, maybe three or even four and a half gallons a hundred kilometres. But it's got to last us, even if there isn't a drop of petrol to be had in Wadi Halfa..."
The reflection of the waxing moon rippled in the waves of the Nile below the Aswan dam, and its pale light was returned by the banks of soft sand on the other side.
Beyond the dunes the desert was waiting, silent, mysterious, and unknown...
http://famous-walker.livejournal.com - in Russian but with lots of photos

Last edited by famous_walker; 9 Feb 2008 at 17:56.
Reply With Quote
Old 9 Feb 2008
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Budapest
Posts: 40
almost cancelled czechs

somewhere in egypt or sudan there was an attempt on their lives.
rumour has it that they worked for the czech secret service.

Nevertheless theirs is a story of legends. It's fascinating:

Here are some pics from the zikmund and hanzelka museum:
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Anyone crossing Sudan, Egypt to Ethiopia in August Landygirl Sahara Travel Forum 6 18 Nov 2010 15:52
Sudan to Egypt (Wadi Halfa to Aswan) pierresas Sahara Travel Forum 1 23 Sep 2003 04:13
Carnet from Sudan to Egypt sfbowen Sahara Travel Forum 2 20 May 2003 21:57
Jordan / Egypt to Sudan / Ethiopia / Kenya Pete Sinclair Sahara Travel Forum 3 4 Feb 2002 18:44
Jordan Egypt Sudan Nancy and A Sahara Travel Forum 2 24 Jan 2002 22:56


NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 14:34.