Sudan All in One 11 Days

Day 1: Arrival in Khartoum expected in the early morning. Meet and greet with the guide and transfer to the hotel, dinner NOT included and overnight stay.

Day 2: Today we visit Khartoum starting with a drive past the Presidential Palace where in 1885 General Gordon was beheaded by the Mahdi’s troops. We visit the Archaeological Museum that, besides many beautiful objects, contains two temples rescued by UNESCO and moved from the Lake Nasser area, when it was flooded by the water (the visit to the Museum can be moved to the last day according to opening time). We then cross the confluence between the Blue and the White Nile and we reach Omdurman, the old capital of Sudan, where we see the Mahdi’s tomb from outside and the Khalifa’s house Museum (closed on Mondays). Lunch in a local restaurant on the Nile – We then go to the biggest market in Sudan, the Omdurman Souk, In the late afternoon return to the hotel – dinner not included and overnight – (B.L.)

Day 3: Khartoum – Western desert – Old Dongola  (400 km 6 hrs)

Breakfast at the hotel and then short tour of Khartoum to see the confluence between the Blue and White Nile. Late in the morning we begin the journey northward through the Western Desert. We travel for about 200 km on asphalt road in a flat desert where the view can span 360° around. We keep traveling until we reach the archaeological site of Old Dongola. Here there are the rest of a Christian Coptic temple with marble columns as well as several suggestive ruins of churches situated on the banks of the Nile. Dinner and overnight in wild camp. (B.L.D.)

Day 4: Old Dongola – Nubian villages – Kerma – Tombos (170 km 5 hrs); after breakfast we move to the central part of the Nubian region and visit some Nubian Villages. Here the population lives in small villages amongst yellow sand dunes and palm trees they speak a different language from the Arabs and also the Islamic religion is not as “strict” as in other regions. The women don’t cover their faces and readily speak to foreigners. Some houses in these villages are painted and decorated with colourful patterns and flowers. Enthusiastic hospitality abounds, people will often invite foreigners to visit their home and share a meal or a cup of spiced tea. Picnic in the area. We then drive to Kerma we visit the majestic “Defuffa” and the rest of this ancient civilization together with the little museum founded by Charles Bonnet where we can see the seven beautiful statues of the kings discovered by the Swiss archaeological mission less than ten years ago. Late in the afternoon we reach Tombos where we will overnight in a private Nubian house. (B.L.D.)

Day 5 : Tombos – Wadi Sebu – 3rd Chataract – Soleb (160 km 4 hrs.):After breakfast we visit the site in Tombos where we visit the remains of ancient  granite quarries and we can see a statue of the King Taharqa, simply left there in the desert 3000 years ago. On the Nile banks we can see some Egyptian stelae and inscriptions. This was the southern border of the ancient Egyptian kingdom for centuries. Then we move to wadi Sebu, right on the river bank of the Nile it is possible to visit one of the richest sites of rock engraving of all Sudan with hundreds of images from prehistoric to Egyptian times. We then reach the granite boulders of the Third Cataract which used to be the third huge obstacle that the ancients Egyptians had to face when trying to sail on the Nile River. After a picnic we reach the Nile and we cross it with the ponton, the local ferry boat.  These ferries are a hive of colourful activities. We find ourselves sharing space with people, donkeys, camels and goats. Late in the afternoon we reach Soleb– we visit the Temple of Soleb, the most beautiful Egyptian temple of all Sudan,  testimony of the New Kingdom in Nubia, with many walls rich in hieroglyphic inscriptions, bas-relief figures and many columns. The first settlement was an Egyptian colonization dated back 1500 B.C. Dinner and overnight in a private Nubian house. (B.L.D.)

Day 6: Soleb – Dongola – El Kurru – Jebel Barkal – Karima (400 km 5 hrs);after breakfast We drive a little bit north to see the nice stelae in Jebel Dosha. Then we start travelling southwards until we reach Dongola, where we cross the Nile with the bridge and then we go back to the asphalt road to reach Karima, in the afternoon. Once here we will visit the site of El Kurru where there is one of the necropolises of the ancient capital Napata.  Here we can see one 1 tomb excavated in the rock under the pyramids – partially collapsed. It is totally decorated with amazing images of the Pharaoh, of the gods and multicolor hieroglyphic inscriptions. Not far from here there is an interesting site of petrified wood, an ancient forest with hundreds of huge trunks. We then come back to the landmark of the Nubian Desert: Jebel Barkal (“Jebel” means mountain in Arabic), which can be seen from a few dozen kilometres whilst still in the open desert. At the foot of this wonderful and isolated red sandstone mountain, considered holy since the ancient times, there is a big temple, dedicated to the Pharaohs of the New Reign and to their patron, Amon.  Amon‘s ancient “Pure Mountain”, the Olympus of the Nubians, was the religious Nubian heart for more than 1000 years.  Besides the ruins of the big temple there are still several sculptured granite rams that were supposed to border a long avenue that probably led to the pier on the Nile.  In the mountain wall there is a big room decorated with bas-relief.  The Jebel Barkal archaeological sites are on the World Heritage list. The Royal necropolis of the ancient city of Napata, the Nubian capital (from 800 to 400 B.C.) before the Meroitic period, had a large number of pyramids, located in three different places: few hundred metres north of Jebel Barkal; a dozen kilometres southwards from the holy mountain, in El Kurru; in Nuri, which is located on the other bank of the Nile.  Dinner and overnight at our Nubian Rest House of Karima  

Day 7: Karima –  Nuri – Bayuda Desert – Atrun Crater   (150 km 5 hrs):After breakfast we start our journey crossing  the Nile and visiting the Nuri Pyramids – we then enter the Bayuda Desert, an area bounded by the loop formed by the Nile between the 4th and the 6th Cataract and characterized by sharp black basalt mountains, most of them volcanic and typically cone-shaped. They alternate with level pebble stretches and large valleys crossed by dry wadis, where little vegetation can be seen. It is very likely to meet isolated groups of Bisharin nomads, who live in familiar groups in small huts made of intertwined branches close to the rare water wells, with their caravans and herds of camels and cattle. Just in the center of the Bayuda Desert we reach Atrun Crater, where nomads gather salt from the edge of a green colored pool. They will then sell it to markets of the towns outside the desert. Dinner and overnight in wild camp. (B.L.D.)

Day 8: Bayuda Desert – Meroe – (230 km 5 hr): Today we reach the town of Atbara, located on the confluence between the Nile and the Atbara River. Here we cross the Nile for the last time. We start driving south on a level ground area where there are many small camel thorn acacia trees as far as we can see. And then, all of a sudden, we can glance at more than 40 pyramids, located on top of a hill, some of them perfectly preserved that belong to the Royal Necropolis of Meroe. Dinner and overnight in overnight in Meroe Camp. (B.L.D.)

Day 9: Meroe – Necropolis and royal city: The Royal necropolis of Meroe is located at about 3 km away from the Nile on some hills covered by yellow sand dunes. Several pyramids stand out with their sharp shapes against the clear sky. Each one has its own funerary chapel with the walls fully decorated with bas-reliefs that show the King’s life and offers to the gods.  After the visit we go to the Market of Kabushia then on to the Tarabil School.  Lunch at the Meroe camp. Later on we move along the Nile to visit the ruins of the royal city. The excavations confirm that the town of Meroe used to cover a large area and the royal city was located in a central position, surrounded by suburbs and a boundary wall. Most of the area where the city is located, formed by many small hills covered by red clay fragments, has still to be excavated by the archaeologists.  (B.L.D)

Day 10: Mussawarat – Naga – Khartoum   (280 km 5 hrs – but full day with visit  – leave the camp at 08.00 and arrive at the hotel by 18.00) After breakfast at the camp we drive south, In the late morning we reach Mussawarat El Sufra. This settlement is located in a beautiful valley crowned by hills.  Here the ruins of a very big temple are visible; it once played an exceptional important role. Its main characteristic, the “Great Enclosure” is made by many constructions and boundary walls which surround a temple built in the 1st century A.D. The large number of elephants represented on these walls makes you think that this animal used to have an important role in this area.  Beyond the big wadi there is another temple – restored by a German archaeological mission – dedicated to the god Apedemak. We then move to the beautiful site of Naga, which is located about 30 km to the east of the Nile and it is one of the two centres that developed during the Meroitic period.  In Naga, in a typical Saharan environment with rocks and sand, we find a temple dedicated to Apedemak (1st century A.D.): a wonderful building with bas-relief decorations depicting the god with a lion’s head, the Pharaoh, noblemen and several ritual images. A few metres away there is a small and odd construction with arches and columns, named “kiosk”, in which we can notice Egyptian, Roman and Greek styles, all at the same time. Not far away we reach another temple dedicated to Amon with many statues of rams and beautiful gates decorated with bas-reliefs. We arrive in Khartoum and our hotel in the late afternoon – Time to shower and rest in the hotel – until transfer time. Dinner not included. (B.L.)

Day 11: Khartoum – departure late in the evening transfer to the airport

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