|Days 1 - 4|
KHARTOUMUpon arrival in Khartoum you are met and transferred to your hotel. While without frills or ostentation, this is an outstanding example of the traditional African hotel right out of the 1940's. Tour the capital city of Khartoum and its museums, such as the Sudan National Museum, which is regarded as Sudan's main custodian of the country's historical heritage. It is where all of the collected ancient cultural material of Sudan is documented, kept and displayed.Explore Omdurman, the city opposite Khartoum on the west bank of the White Nile. Visit the Khalifa's House Museum, which was the "palace" of the Mahdi's successor, the Khalifa Abdullahi, who ruled the Sudan from 1885 to 1898. It was the Khalifa who wrote a letter to Queen Victoria inviting her to "forsake evil" and become a Muslim. The house provides a fascinating glimpse of the period of the Mahdi's and Khalifa's wars against Egypt and England, and here are kept such colonial relics as the first motor car brought to the Sudan by a British Governor General of the Sudan in 1902. You continue on to one of the refugee camps on the outskirts of Omdurman. These camps house over 2 million people. You will visit some of the projects that the people have developed for themselves which include a clinic and handicrafts shops.
MEROEAfter an early breakfast, you are driven northeast about 140 miles on paved roads to the ancient royal pyramids of Meroe at Bagarwiya.
BEGRAWIYA / NAGA / MUSAWWARAT ES-SUFRA / MEROThis morning tour the pyramids of the northern and southern groups and their decorated chapels, in which the rulers - kings and queens of Kush - are carved in relief, together with members of their court, in all their finery and superabundant flesh. (Meroitic royalty, especially the queens and court ladies, saw fat as a prized mark of beauty, and the artists flattered them by giving them more than they may actually have had!).
BEGRAWIYA / NAGA / MUSAWWARAT ES-SUFRA / MEROAfter an early breakfast, drive southeast about 70 miles to Naga, an important Meroitic townsite that flourished from about 200 BC to 200 AD. The site is located at the base of a small hill about twenty miles east of the Nile in almost complete desert. It is best known for its magnificent temples which are clustered around a well where the nomads gather to draw water for their herds. The sight of hundreds of animals and people in traditional garb gathered at the ancient well, with the temples in the background and no tourists in sight is like a scene out of ancient times.
BAYUDA DESERT / TENTED CAMPFrom Meroe proceed north to cross the Nile at the junction of the Atbara River and the Nile. Continue on (in comfortable Toyota Land Cruisers) across the vast Bayuda Desert, off road the entire way. Speed through this sprawling moonscape which is interspersed with ranges of black, barren hills, huge boulders, scattered acacia trees and thorny bushes. Try to imagine the ancient caravans that once bore the rulers of Meroe on their journeys northward from the capital Meroe to the site of the greatest religious sanctuary of the kingdom at the mountain known as Jebel Barkal (which is also our destination). During the drive which takes most of the day, you will encounter small groups of nomads riding their camels and donkeys, or watering their animals at their wells. Each tribe has its own stories and its own wells and lands, and if there is time to question them (through interpreters), you can discover some surprising local customs, beliefs, and stories. For example, they will tell you how to identify (by brand or unique ear cuts) how to distinguish the animals of their tribe from those of another. While on your desert tour, you also should see some splendid mirages and "dust-devils".
JEBEL BARKELAfter breakfast this morning, proceed to Karima, the modern town that occupies the site of ancient Napata, the major religious center of the kingdom of Kush. It is here that you will spend four nights beside the ancient "holy mountain", Jebel Barkal. Accommodation here is a very comfortable and charming Italian rest house built in traditional Nubian architectural style.
KHARTOUMReturn to Khartoum by charter plane. Afternoon at leisure.
KHARTOUMToday you visit Ahfad University in Omdurman, a private university for women, several of whom are on scholarship from the refugee camp. You also visit the old Omdurman market - a bustling souk where we can find anything from dervish costumes to python skins! After dinner on the Nile transfer to the airport.
DEPARTDepart on your international flight home.
NOTE:This is just one example of many custom itineraries we can do for you in this diverse country. For additional itinerary options, please contact us