Sudan - The Nubian Desert and the Red Sea

Sudan - The Nubian Desert and the Red Sea

Style: PioneerGroundbreaking tours to unique destinations
Duration: 14 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers


Day 1, 23rd March 2019: Khartoum – Meroe

Arrive in Khartoum on an early morning flight (usually between 02:00 and 03:00) and transfer to the hotel Grand Holiday Villa or similar. A room at the hotel is booked for you so you are able to check-in and go straight to your room for rest. Breakfast at the hotel and later in the morning we 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. Later we depart Khartoum and head north for about 200km to the Royal Necropolis of Meroe. Overnight Meroe Permanent Tented Camp (BLD)

Days 2 and 3, 24th and 25th March: Meroe – Bayuda Desert – Abu Hamed

The Royal Necropolis of Meroe stands on a hill, with more than 40 pyramids, some of them in perfectly preserved condition. We spend the early part of the day visiting the Necropolis, 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 will enjoy sunrise at the spectacular pyramids and explore this incredible archaeological wonder. Later we cross the Nile and enter the Bayuda Desert. We visit the Atrun Crater where it is common to see nomads gathering salt. We will explore this desert environment and then continue to El Mogrut Island where we cross the Nile by ferry to Abu Hamed. From here we enter the Nubian Desert. Overnight wild camping (BLD)

Days 4 and 5, 26th and 27th March: Nubia Mountains – Bir Nurayet

We continue our journey towards the Red Sea hills which run parallel to the Red Sea. Amongst the wadis and desert areas we may come across some people seeking gold. We should also have an opportunity to meet the nomadic Beja people of the Bisharin and Hadendowa tribes. Overnights wild camping (BLD)

Day 6, 28th March: Bir Nurayet Petroglyphs  

Visit Jebel Magardi, an unusual shaped mountain near Bir Nurayet. Here only recently, a Polish archaeological mission has discovered a large number of rock carvings proving that this area was inhabited thousands of years ago. We can also find in the area many pre-Islamic tombs of the Kerma period. Overnight wild camping (BLD)

Day 7, 29th March: Nubian Desert – Red Sea

We cross the valleys of the Red Sea hills surrounded by peaks of up to 2000m. We finally reach the Red Sea near the small village of Mohammed Qol which takes the name from an Arabian fisherman who moved here to start trading in the region. Here we will board the M/Y Elegante schooner, our home for a spectacular journey on a little visited part of the Red Sea. Overnight on-board (BLD)

Day 8, 30th March: Mohammed Qol - Mesherifa Island – Mayetib Island

We begin the cruise this morning with a visit to Mesherifa Island and this will be our first opportunity to swim in the crystal-clear waters. At Manta Point we may be able to see large groups of rays. We then reach Mayetib Island, also called the island of snakes, where an endemic species of not poisonous snake lives. We have here the possibility to do some snorkelling along the reef and have a rest on a gorgeous empty sandy beach. Overnight on-board (BLD)

Day 9, 31st March: Inkeifal Khor

We spend today exploring natural fjords as well as lagoons with pristine sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. We also have the possibility to walk on land, taking breathtaking views over the desert and the sea. Overnight on-board (BLD)

Day 10, 1st April: Taila Islands

Today we reach the Taila Islands located ou of Shambaya. The three small islands have white-pinkish sandy beaches. The first two islands are connected by a sandy isthmus at low tide, while the third island is situated further east. Acacia trees are found on this island where ospreys nest. On the island we may also find coquina clams which our cook can then make into a delicious dish back on-board. Overnight on-board (BLD)

Day 11, 2nd April: Gurna Reef

Spend the morning in the Taila Islands. After lunch we reach Gurna Reef, a wonderful reef that reaches the surface of the water in corals and fish where we can enjoy some snorkelling. Overnight on-board (BLD)

Day 12, 3rd April: Sha’ab Rumi – Sanganeb Lighthouse

The reef in Sha’ab Rumi is considered to be one of the best in the world. A lagoon behind the reef contains the remnants of Jacques Cousteau’s Conshelf 2, where the famous oceanographer created an environment in which men could live and work at the bottom of the sea. We will enjoy some snorkelling and then reach the beautiful Sanganeb lighthouse, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we will enjoy breathtaking views from the top. Overnight on-board (BLD)  

Day 13, 4th April: Umbria shipwreck – Port Sudan – Suakin

En route to Port Sudan we will stop at Wingate Reef where the Italian ship ‘Umbria’ sank here in 1940 and lies on its side at a depth of around 30 metres. The shallowest point can be explored by snorkelers. This afternoon we arrive at Port Sudan and drive to the ancient port of Suakin known in its glorious past as the Red Sea Pearl. It is now a crumbling ghost town although there are plans for restoration. Later we return to Port Sudan and our final night on-board (BLD)

Day 14, 5th April: Port Sudan – Khartoum – Departure from Sudan 

This morning we say goodbye to our boat and the crew. We take a tour of Port Sudan, the second largest city in the country and the most important port. The city has some colonial style architecture and a busy souk. This afternoon we fly back to Khartoum and on arrival you will have the use of a hotel room as flights out of the country tend to be late at night. Depending on the arrival time in Khartoum we might also enjoy the traditional ceremony of the Dervishes which takes place only on Fridays. (BL)

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