TRAVEL: BEAM ME DOWN, SCOTTY

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The Independent Travel
This week's random co-ordinates chosen by the computer are:

8 42' N 33 52' E

FIRST REACTION

I can tell it's Africa but that doesn't really narrow things down very much.

COUNTRY & REGION

This is the Sobat region of southeastern Sudan, in between the Blue and White Niles. You are hard up by the border with Ethiopia.

NATURE OF THE TERRAIN

It is a relatively flat region, irrigated by streams from the Ethiopian highlands. You see short grass, marshes and scattered trees.

ALTITUDE

Around 300 metres.

NEAREST SETTLEMENT

You have come down about 20 miles to the west of the small town of Kigille. Life in this half of the country is not much fun at the moment, with Muslim government forces and local Christian groups locked in fierce conflict.

POSSIBLE HAZARDS

Famine and war, just for starters. Intense heat, mosquitoes and a complete lack modern transport or medical facilities may pose a threat.

USEFUL LANGUAGES

Arabic will be useful for encounters with the military though Sudanese Nilotic languages are what you are likely to need in the villages.

TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER

The military-backed President Omar el-Bashir

LIKELY WEATHER CONDITIONS

Get ready for torrential downpours with lots of thunder and lightning.

REASONS FOR HANGING AROUND

In normal circumstances, this would be a fascinating area. You could travel with the cattle-owning peoples as they drive their beast to pasture, or sail along the Sobat River which runs a short way to the south.

GETTING THE HELL OUT OF THERE

There is an airport at Malakal, about 150 miles away to the west, with flights on Sudan Insha'allah Airlines to Khartoum. To reach Malakal, your best bet is to walk south to the Sobat River, which is still at a relatively low ebb, and build a raft or pirogue to take you up river.

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