Tour around Africa: Stage 43 - El Fashir (HSFS) to Gereida (HSNY)
MS Flight Simulator VFR Flight Plan
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In this VFR - GPS Flight Plan we take off from the airport of El Fashir (HSFS) [Sudan], overfly Deriba Caldera, the highest mountain in Sudan, and then fly to the southeast up to Gereida, where we will land in its airport (HSNY) [Sudan]

Find below a short extract and screenshots of the main points of the route. In this journey around Africa I have used the Cessna 172S (Skyhawk)

Take off from runway 23 of the airport of El Fashir, right before turning to the northwest.

El Fasher Airport (IATA: ELF, ICAO: HSFS), also known as Al Fashir Airport, is an airport serving El Fasher (Al Fashir), the capital city of the North Darfur state in Sudan.

United Nations peacekeeping force UNAMID uses a special terminal at El Fasher Airport for transportation.

The airport resides at an elevation of 2,393 feet (729 m) above mean sea level. It has 2 runways: 05/23 with an asphalt surface measuring 2,970 by 45 metres (9,744 ft × 148 ft) and 18/36 with a gravel surface measuring 1,527 by 45 metres (5,010 ft × 148 ft).  (*1)

Overflying Kutum.

Kutum is a town in the Sudanese state of North Darfur. It lies 120 kilometers (75 mi) northwest of the state capital, Al-Fashir. The town is located along a wadi and therefore also known as Wadi Kutum. It lies north along the Marrah Mountains; the Kutum volcanic field is better known as the Tagabo Hills. As of 2006, it had a population of 45,000, predominantly of the Fur, Tunjur and Berti ethnicities. Kutum lies on one of the traditional north-south migration routes used by Darfuri pastoralists.

 The town hosts a local market which operates on Mondays and Thursdays. Other facilities in the town includes a hospital with basic medical and surgical services and a small botanical gardens alongside the Wadi and the market. Within the town two primary health care clinics also operate. It also hosts a number of mosques, with the mosque at the market having a notable minaret.

Commercial services includes bakeries, groceries, public phone outlets, as well as mechanical services. As of November 2006 no formal banking services were available in the town.

Electricity is available a few hours most days from a communal generator. For most of the population, water is fetched from wells around the town. (*1)

Getting to the Marrah Mountains, with about 1500 m high mountains in this photo.

The Marrah Mountains or Marra Mountains (Fur, Fugo Marra; Arabic: جبل مرة‎, Jebel Marra (Sudanese Arabic – “woman mountains” due to the outline of a reclining woman when viewed from the south-east, also known in English as Gimbala) are a range of volcanic peaks in a massif that rises up to 3,042 metres (9,980 ft). They are the highest mountains in Sudan.

The mountains are located in the center of the Darfur region of Sudan on the border of the states of South Darfur and Central Darfur, with a smaller part of the range in the state of North Darfur. The highest point is Deriba Caldera. The upper reaches of the massif is a small area of temperate climate with high rainfall and permanent springs of water amidst the dry savanna and scrub of the Sahel below.

Apart from the Aïr Mountains in Niger which are on the border of the Sahara proper, the Marrah Mountains are the only major mountain range in the otherwise flat Sahel, rising up to 2,600 metres (8,500 ft) above the plain, but are relatively unknown owing to lack of development and political conflict in the region.

The last eruption occurred around 1500 BC. The centre of activity was Deriba Caldera, and involved caldera collapse following the eruption of pumice and pyroclastic flows which travelled over 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the volcano. (*1)

As we fly towards Deriba Caldera the mountains get higher, about 2400 m high in this photo.


First view of the main point of our stage, Deriba Caldera.


Getting closer to Deriba Caldera.

 Deriba is a Pleistocene or Holocene caldera in Darfur, Sudan. Part of the volcanoes of the Marra Mountains, it lies on the Darfur dome and like the Tagabo Hills and Meidob Hills volcanism may be the product of a mantle plume. After the separation of South Sudan, the highest point of Sudan is on the margin of the caldera.

The caldera lies atop a shield volcano or ash cone in the southern Marra Mountains, which developed first as a pile of basaltic lava flows and later as layers of volcanic ash and tuff, including the eruptions that formed the caldera. A large eruption occurred about 3,520 ± 100 years before present, and hot springs and fumaroles are active to the present day.

Deriba contains two lakes, one in the northeastern side of the main caldera and the other in a cone in the southwestern sector of the Deriba caldera. The fresher southwestern lake is smaller but considerably deeper than the saltier northeastern lake; in the late Pleistocene the caldera was filled with a larger lake. (*1)

Overflying Deriba Caldera.

Deriba contains two lakes, which are known as the "Deriba lakes". A 11.5-metre (38 ft) deep lake occupies the northeastern area of the caldera, and being located in the lowest part of the caldera floor it is the sink of Deriba. In 1918 it had dimensions of 1,230 by 1,780 metres (1,350 yd × 1,950 yd), but by 1964 the size of the lake had increased. The lake is surrounded by a gradually sloping muddy beach with the exception of the northern shore. This lake is also known as the "female" lake, with green salty water. The salt consists of chloride, potassium and sodium salts.

The volcanic cone has a lake as well, which is 108 metres (354 ft) deep and smaller, with a roughly rectangular shape that extends in north-south direction. In comparison to the other lake 1.21 kilometres (0.75 mi) northwest, this "male" lake had dimensions of 820 by 1,420 metres (900 yd × 1,550 yd) in 1918. Steep slopes surround this lake, which is filled with fresher water. Reportedly, the local Fur people considered the lake haunted, but the lakes were also used as a source for salt.

Water levels in these lakes are fairly stable from season to season although evidence for substantial fluctuations have been found that correlate to the regional climate and to fluctuations in the water levels of Lake Chad. Together with several perennial streams they are thus perennial waterbodies. Around the Deriba caldera, drainage occurs either southward or westward, leading into the Bahr El-Arab of the White Nile and the Chari River of Lake Chad respectively. The lakes themselves have no surface outlets.

In the past, larger lakes existed inside the Deriba caldera. The first such lake stage has been dated to 23,000 or 19,000 years before present when water levels rose 25 metres (82 ft) above the present-day levels, the second 19,600 - 16,000 years before present when they were 8–5 metres (26–16 ft) higher than currently and the third 14,000 years before present, then 9 metres (30 ft) above present-day. Similar lake stages have been documented in Trou au Natron in Tibesti, where shifts of the position of the subtropical jet stream and the tropical depressions associated with the jet stream have been invoked as an explanation. These lake stages have left shorelines and limestone deposits in the caldera, and it is likely that the lakes sometimes overflowed through the eastern caldera rim gap. (*1)

Leaving Deriba Caldera

Volcanism in the Jebel Marra mountains appears to have begin 15 million years ago and continued in two stages, separated by an erosional period. Volcanism in the southwestern Marra mountains took place between 4.35 million years ago and 60,000 years ago, subdivided into an Old Series and a New Series which is younger than 2 million years ago. After an initial stage, during which olivine basalt and small amounts of pyroclastic material were erupted, trachyte were emplaced. The Deriba caldera probably formed either in the early Pleistocene, 60,000 or 3,520 ± 100 years before present (BP), but activity continued with the volcanic cone inside of the caldera and peripheral vents, possibly into historical time.

The 3,520 ± 100 BP eruption was a Plinian eruption that deposited pyroclastic material containing blocks of basement material. The ash fall from the eruption reaches thicknesses of 20 metres (66 ft) as far as 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) away from Deriba, while pyroclastic flows have been identified as far as 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the caldera. The eruption has an estimated volcanic explosivity index of 4 and may be associated with the volcanic cone inside the caldera.

The volcano was formerly considered to be extinct. Hot springs, whose temperature reaches 65–85 °C (149–185 °F) and which may be supplied by magmatic water, and fumaroles, both within the caldera around the volcanic cone and in the surrounding Marra Mountains, indicate that Jebel Marra and the Deriba caldera are a dormant volcano. Reportedly, the exhalations of the fumaroles can kill birds and insects, and some fumarolic vents may have formed between 1964 and 1966, implying that the fumarolic activity may reflect a recent change of volcanic activity. (*1)

Initiating the descend through a storm


Flying over Nyala

Nyala (Daju: "the place of chatting") is the capital of the state of South Darfur in the south-west of Sudan.

Nyala was the capital of the Daju Empire, which was established around Jebel Um-Kurdós. However, many sites of ancient antiquities, pottery, engraved pictures of battles, horses, animals and hunting are still awaiting further scientific archaeological work at Jebel Daju. The most important archaeological sites undiscovered yet are Nari, Kedingnyir, Dobo, Simiat Hills, Jebel Keima, Kalokitting, Jebel Wara, and Jebel Marra itself.

When the United Kingdom conquered the present-day Sudan, the British commander-in-chief met Sultan Adam Suleiman in 1932, seeking his advice for his knowledge of the best places in terms of availability of water sources and land topography in order to establish the British Administration Headquarters in Darfur. Sultan Adam Suleiman had chosen Nyala for that purpose.

During the ongoing Darfur conflict, thousands of internally displaced persons have gathered near the city in the hopes of protection. The refugee camp in the southern portion of Nyala is Kalma. Around 90,000 people reside in the camp. (*1)

Cinema street, Nyala
Taha hussain33 - CC BY-SA 4.0
Market street with post office in Nyala
Leovdvxxx - CC BY-SA 4.0

Approach to runway 17 of the airport of Gereida

Gereida, also spelled Gerida or Graida, is a large town located in south-western Sudan at an altitude of 1586 feet (484 meters) above sea level. It lies about 100 km south of Nyala, and has a population of over one hundred thousand people.

As of 2006, Gereida was the largest camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Darfur, with an estimated 120,000 people. Due to an escalation of violence against civilians in the area, rapid growth led to potentially enormous health risks, with tens of thousands of people living in extremely basic, overcrowded conditions.

In June 2007, Oxfam decided to permanently close down its humanitarian operation in Gereida, citing reluctance by authorities there to improve security and stop attacks on aid workers.

In November 2013, an inter-agency field mission to Gereida led by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) found that 1,976 families (9,880 people) had fled to the area since April 2013. This includes people displaced by fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF). (*1)

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(*1) Credits: The descriptive texts are mainly an excerpt of those provided by Wikipedia. Visit Wikipedia to read the full descriptions.

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