Sudan - Kingdom of the Black Pharaohs

Sudan - Kingdom of the Black Pharaohs

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 8 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers


Day 1 - Khartoum

Arrive in Khartoum on an early morning flight (usually between 0200 and 0300) and transfer to the hotel. A room at the hotel is booked for you so you are able to check-in and go straight to your room. Breakfast at the hotel and later in the morning we start the Khartoum city tour. We first visit the Archaeological Museum which contains two beautiful temples rescued by UNESCO and moved from the Lake Nasser area, when it was flooded by the water. We then cross the confluence between the Blue and the White Nile and reach Omdurman, the old capital of Sudan, where we see the Mahdi’s Tomb from outside and visit the Souk. At sunset we travel to the tomb of the sufi leader Ahmed al Nil to witness a Whirling Dervishes Ceremony (only on Fridays). Overnight Acropole Hotel or similar (BL) 

Day 2  - Naqa and Musawwarat Temples – Meroe

This morning we begin the journey northward through the desert past huge granite boulders which formed the 6th Cataract. We continue then to the impressive archaeological sites of Naqa and Musawwarat. After exploring these sites we journey to Meroe and our tented camp overlooking the Royal Necropolis of Meroe where we spend the night. (BLD)

Day 3 - Meroe

The Royal Necropolis of Meroe stands on a hill, with more than 40 pyramids, some of them in perfectly preserved condition. We spend today visiting the Necropolis and the Royal City of Meroe, giving us a fascinating insight into a culture and civilisation long since passed. The Royal Necropolis of Meroe is located about 3 kms from the Nile on some hills covered with yellow sand dunes. We also visit the Tarabil School near the pyramids and the local village of Kabushia. This afternoon we move along the Nile to visit the ruins of the Royal City.  Overnight at the tented camp. (BLD)

Day 4 – Meroe – Bayuda Desert - Karima

Cross the Nile by local ferry, giving us a great opportunity to meet local people and to experience some of their kindness and hospitality. After the river crossing we enter the Bayuda desert, an area bounded by the loop formed by the Nile between the 4th and the 6th Cataracts. We may be lucky to meet some Bisharin nomads who live in familiar groups in small huts made of intertwined branches close to rare water wells. We continue following the Wadi Abu Dom and eventually to our accommodation for this evening. Overnight Nubian Rest House. (BLD)

Day 5  - Karima, Jebel Barkal and the Necropolis of El Kurru

Visit the ancient monuments around Jebel Barkal, including its pyramids and temples, before heading towards the royal cemetery at El Kurru. We then head into the desert to an area that contains numerous fossils, before heading back to Karima. There will also be an opportunity for you to walk to the top of Jebel Barkal for outstanding views over to the Nile and beyond. Overnight at the rest house. (BLD)

Day 6 - Old Dongola – Nubian Villages

Today is a long day but full of interesting encounters and visits. We follow the Nile until we reach the ancient Christian site of Old Dongola. Here we can see a Coptic Christian temple with marble columns as well as several churches on the banks of the Nile. We will also pass by a village belonging to the Nubian people, where we hope to stop and meet the inhabitants and see their colourful painted houses and have tea with a family. Return to Karima for the night. Overnight at the rest house. (BLD)

Day 7 – Nile Cruise - Necropolis of Nuri

After breakfast we visit the market in Karima to experience the sights and sounds of local Sudanese life. We then board a boat for a pleasant cruise along the Nile to enjoy the beautiful sand stretches and cultivated islands. Later we visit the archaeological site of Nuri to witness many more pyramids including the one of the great Taharqa. We will walk in this area before returning to Karima. Overnight at the Nubian rest house (BLD)

Day 8 – Karima – Khartoum

We head back south today towards Khartoum, reaching Omdurman in the late afternoon where we can visit the interesting souk again for some last minute shopping. If time allows we may also have the chance to see some traditional Nuba wrestling. A room will be available at a hotel until 11pm for those on late night flights. Transfer to the airport (BL)

Optional Extension

Day 8 – Karima- Temple of Soleb – Island of Sai

Today you drive west through the Nubian Desert. On reaching the Nile you cross the Bridge to Dongola city, and continue north on the western side of the Nile on the new asphalt road which has some granite formations along the way. You reach the Temple of Soleb where you will have your picnic lunch in the house of the Guardian of the temple. After lunch drive a further half an hour north to cross the Nile on a fishing boat to reach the Island of Sai, an important archaeological area with ancient remains from the Kerma civilization, Egyptian and Christian cultures. During the crossing to the island you may see Nile crocodiles on the shore of the river. After the visit return to the mainland and drive back to a Nubia local house where we spend the next 2 nights with simple basic rooms and shared facilities, but clean with western toilets and shower. Single rooms cannot be guaranteed at the Nubia House. (BLD)

Day 9 - Ferry crossing - 3rd Cataract - Sebu- Tombos

This morning you visit the Temple of Soleb, the most beautiful Egyptian temple in Sudan, testimony to the New Kingdom in Nubia, with many walls rich in hieroglyphic inscriptions, bas-relief figures and many columns. Then drive south leaving the main road to reach the Nile and following it through villages before arriving at the ferry. Here you cross the River to arrive on the Eastern bank just north of the rapids of the Third Cataract which used to be a major obstacle that the ancient Egyptians had to face when trying to sail the Nile River. You can walk up the hill to the ancient Ottoman Fort with beautiful views of the cataract. In Sebu, right on the river bank of the Nile it is possible to visit one of the richest sites of rock engraving in Sudan, with hundreds of images from prehistoric to Egyptian times. Continue driving through the Nubian villages and among the huge rocks of the Third Cataract to the village of Tombos. Here there were ancient granite quarries with the remains of a statue of the King Taharqa, simply left in the desert about 2800 years ago and some interesting Egyptian stele engraved on the rocks. Overnight Nubian private house (BLD)  

Day 10 – Tombos – Kerma - Karima

A short drive this morning takes you to Kerma to visit the majestic “Defuffa” the monument that characterizes Kerma civilization. Of great interest is the Museum created by the Swiss archaeological mission after the recovery of seven statues of the Black Pharaohs in 2003. There is time to visit the Eastern Defuffa located in the middle of the Necropolis, crossing fields to reach it. In the afternoon return to Karima and the comfort of the Nubian Guest House (BLD)

Day 11 – Khartoum

Return to Khartoum, stopping for lunch in a simple chai house. This afternoon we reach Omdurman and we can visit the souk again if you wish for some last minute shopping. Transfer to the hotel where day use rooms are available for a shower, then transfer to the airport for your onward flight which in Sudan will often be late evening or in the early hours of the next morning depending on the airline. (BL)

Other tours in Sudan

Sudan Nile Valley and Western Desert »

Sudan - The Nubian Desert and the Red Sea »