Kingdom of the Black Pharaohs

Sudan – Kingdom of the Black Pharaohs Tour – a 10 day Small Group Tour.

Uncover Sudan’s ancient history on a surprising group journey that takes you to remote pyramids, ancient temples and royal monuments. Staying in delightful accommodation close to the main sites, we visit the monuments around Jebel Barkal, the Royal Necropolis at Meroe as well as many other temples, all the time surrounded by the stunning scenery of the desert.

Our Kingdom of the Black Pharaohs tour offers you the chance to visit the amazing sites of northern Sudan in comfort, staying in comfortable hotels, a rest house and a permanent tented camp, and so is ideal for those who would prefer not to wild camp.

On this short trip we visit some the key sites of the incredible ancient civilisations of Sudan, spending time at the ancient monuments and pyramids around Jebel Barkal, visiting the stunning Royal Necropolis at Meroe and the impressive sites of Naqa and Musawwarat.

We cross foreboding desert landscapes, and hope to meet families of local nomads en route, as well as stopping at Nubian villages to meet friendly inhabitants. There is also the option to extend the tour by 3 days to the Third Cataract area and the Temple of Soleb and spend two overnights in simple but typical private Nubian houses.

This is an ideal trip for those wishing to visit some of Sudan’s key archaeological highlights in a short space of time.

Tour ratings.

  • Fitness
  • Off the beaten track 
  • Culture
  • History
  • Wildlife

Tour pace


Tour style


Relaxed Pace

Relaxed tours are easy paced with plenty of leisure time built in. The tour will in all probability still be off the beaten track, with the occasional early start and there may still be occasional long drives. In general on a relaxed pace tour you can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.

Moderate Pace

Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a tour experience that combines activities and experiences with some time to relax. Typically you will be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries. In general on a moderate paced tour there may be some long journeys involved but the tour is not an expedition or a road trip. On a moderate paced tour it will be necessary to have some early starts.

Busy Pace

A busy paced tour means that you can expect to be doing, seeing or experiencing something new almost every day, and moving on from place to place to pack in as much as possible. There may be early starts, long journeys and tiring days along the way, but you’ll return home feeling you’ve really experienced as much as you possibly could.

Pioneer Class Tours

On our Pioneer tours, you will be amongst an elite group of intrepid travellers and some of the first to explore a country that few have been privileged enough to discover. Of course, exploring such areas of the world will come with its challenges; it may mean several nights camping, long journeys by 4WD and the need to maintain a degree of flexibility for when carefully laid plans change. These are challenging tours in countries and areas that may have poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illiteracy. This can translate in to low standards in hotels, bad roads and poor driving standards among other issues. We try and smooth out as much of these issues as we can but you should be prepared to experience the bad with the good.

Traveller Class Tours

Our Traveller itineraries are at the core of our programme. These journeys are designed for travellers who still want to discover a land away from the tourist crowds but expect minimum standards. Accommodation will be primarily hotel based, although you could still find yourself camping, or the guest of a local family. Depending on the destination and itinerary, you’ll likely be travelling in a private vehicle, with occasional use of public transport. This is adventure travel with some of the rough edges smoothed out.


Arrive in Khartoum and transfer to the hotel. No guided services or meals today. Overnight at the Hotel Acropole or similar. No meals are included today.

**Depending on the time of your flight arrival you may arrive very early on the morning of Day 2 and the room will be available for you at the hotel**

This morning we drove north through the desert to Karima and the comfort of the Nubian Guest House.

Journey across the Western Desert around and cross Wadi Muqaddam with its many acacia trees.

We will make a short stop at a chai house, a very spartan motorway services in the desert where local truck drivers usually stop for a quick meal and some rest. We then reach Merowee and once on the other side of the river Nile we arrive in the small town of Karima, located right at the foot of Jebel Barkal holy mountain. Overnight at the Nubian Rest House. (BLD)

A landmark in the Nubian Desert, Jebel Barkal (‘Jebel’ means mountain in Arabic) can be seen for many kilometres. Considered holy for centuries, at the foot of the isolated red sandstone mountain is a large temple dedicated to the Pharaohs of the New Reign and their patron Amun. Beside the temple ruins lie several sculpted granite rams that once lined an avenue leading to a pier on the Nile. Nearby, we visit the Royal Necropolis of the ancient city of Napata, the Nubian capital from 800 to 400BC, before the Meroitic period. The necropolis has a large number of pyramids in three different locations, a few hundred metres north of Jebel Barkal, at El Kurru, and south from the mountain at Nuri on the opposite bank of the Nile. At the village of El Kurru we explore a tomb excavated in the rock under the pyramids. It’s partially collapsed but ornately decorated with images of the Pharaoh, the gods and multicoloured hieroglyphic inscriptions. Overnight Nubian Rest House. (BLD)

After breakfast we visit the market in Karima and experience the sights and sounds of Sudanese life. Next, we board a boat for a pleasant cruise along the Nile, enjoying views over the sandy shores and across cultivated islands. Later we visit the archaeological site of Nuri to see many more pyramids, including that of Taharqa, Pharaoh of the 25th dynasty for 26 years until 664BC. We explore the area on foot before returning to Karima. Overnight at the Nubian Rest House (BLD)

This morning we follow the Nile until we reach the ancient Christian site of Old Dongola. Here we see the marble columns of an impressive Coptic Christian church, as well as other church ruins on the banks of the Nile. We pass several Nubian villages along the way and hope to stop and meet the inhabitants and see their colourful painted houses. Return to Karima for the night. Overnight at the Nubian Rest House. (BLD)

Today we cross the Nile by ferry, 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 a loop of the Nile between the 4th and the 6th Cataracts. Here, we may be lucky enough to meet nomads who inhabit small huts made of intertwined branches sited close to local wells. Afterwards we continue to the first part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Island of Meroe, where our accommodation overlooks the Royal Necropolis. Overnight at tented camp. (BLD)

The Royal Necropolis of Meroe stands among yellow, sandy hills some three kilometres from the Nile. The site is shared by more than 40 pyramids, some in a remarkable state of preservation. The day is spent visiting the Necropolis and later the Royal City of Meroe, providing a a fascinating insight into a culture and civilisation long since passed. Overnight at tented camp. (BLD)

After breakfast we leave camp, initially following a tarmac road before joining a desert track for thirty kilometres that passes through a landscape of camel thorn acacia trees. We visit two other important archaeological areas making up the Island of Meroe UNESCO site, the Kushite centre of Naqa, one of Sudan’s largest ruined cities, and the extensive temple complex of Musawwarat es-Sufra. After a picnic lunch we return to the main road through an area of desert covered by huge granite boulders, remnants of rocky formations from the 6th Cataract. Back on the tarmac, we return to Khartoum, arriving before sunset in Omdurman in time for the mesmeric Dervish grave dancing ceremony. Later, we travel the short distance to Khartoum itself. Overnight Acropole Hotel or similar. (BL)

After breakfast at the hotel we have time to explore the city and visit the Archaeological Museum, notable for two temples rescued by UNESCO from the rising waters of Lake Nasser after the construction of the Aswan Dam. We cross the confluence of the Blue and White Niles to reach Omdurman, former capital of Sudan. Here we see the Mahdi’s Tomb, and later explore the souk (if open). At around sunset we return to Khartoum to observe traditional Nuba wrestling. Overnight Acropole Hotel or similar. (BL) 

**Depending on the time of your departure flight, you may wish to depart today (Day 9) in the late evening or very early on the next morning**

Transfer to the airport for your departure flight. Check-out of your room is at 12:00 today. (B)

Contact us for details of our pre/post tour extension to Soleb. Depending on departure dates this will take place either before or after the main tour.

Meet and greet at the airport and transfer to your hotel. Overnight at the Acropole Hotel or similar (B)

This morning we drove north through the desert to Karima and the comfort of the Nubian Guest House.  Journey across the Western Desert around and cross Wadi Muqaddam with its many acacia trees. We will make a short stop at a chai house, a very spartan motorway services in the desert where local truck drivers usually stop for a quick meal and some rest. We then reach Merowee and once on the other side of the river Nile we arrive in the small town of Karima, located right at the foot of Jebel Barkal holy mountain. Overnight at the Nubian Rest House (BLD)

Today we drive west through the Nubian Desert, crossing the Nile at the Dongola Bridge and continuing north to the remarkable Temple of Soleb. Probably the most beautiful Egyptian temple in all of Sudan, among carved colonnades the many walls are richly decorated by hieroglyphic inscriptions and bas-relief figures. Lunch is taken at a nearby Nubian house before we drive off-road to reach the Nile. A short drive south takes us to the ancient granite quarries of Tombos where the remains of a statue of King Taharqa still lie. Overnight at tented camp in Tombos. (BLD)

Today we drive north on the eastern side of the Nile and visit the 3rd Cataract, once a huge obstacle for ancient Egyptians attempting to navigate the Nile. We walk up the hill to the Ottoman Fort for views of the cataract. In Sebu, on the banks of the Nile, we visit one of the richest sites for petroglyphs in Sudan, where hundreds of images, from prehistoric to Egyptian times may be found. Later, we drive farther north, taking a ferry to reach the Island of Sai. This is an important archaeological area where we can find remains from the Kerma civilisation, together with evidence of Egyptian and Christian presence. Re-crossing the Nile, this time by fishing boat, we hope to see Nile crocodiles basking on the riverbanks. Overnight at tented camp in Tombos (BLD)

A short drive this morning takes us to Kerma to visit the majestic ‘Deffufa’ tomb structure, a monument that characterises Kerma civilisation. The site’s museum is surprisingly informative, created by the Swiss archaeological mission after the recovery of seven statues of the Black Pharaohs in 2003. In the early afternoon we return to Karima. Overnight at the Nubian Rest House. (BLD)

Day 6 is then Day 3 of the main tour when the extension is done pre-tour.

Note: The itinerary may change in order depending whether the extension is done pre or post tour. Please contact us for exact itinerary for your preferred departure.

Dates & Price.

Tour Notes

These departures are based on a mixed group, with travellers joining the tour from other companies and countries. The tour will include an English speaking guide, but may also be guided in one other language.

Please note all departures for this tour can be slightly different in terms of the order of the sightseeing. The following departure dates have a modified route starting in Karima rather than Meroe (i.e. operated in reverse):

26 Nov 2021; 30 Dec 2021; 06 Jan 2022; 18 Feb 2022; 04 Mar 2022; 25 Mar 2022.

Contact us for the exact itinerary or download the Meroe itinerary here.

Single Supplement from £375 to £525.

Return flights from London to Khartoum start at £455. Contact us for a quotation.

Transfers are included on the tour arrival and departure dates shown. Outside of these dates, airport transfers can be included from an extra £30 per person (based on 2 people travelling together) if you are booking pre and/or post tour accommodation at the hotel mentioned in our tour dossier.

Extra night accommodation pre and/or post tour in Khartoum costs from £50 per person per night sharing a twin/double room and £75 per person in a solo occupancy room.

Please note that the prices quoted above are for the category of accommodation and hotel used for this particular tour. Depending on the hotel eventually confirmed there may be some difference in the rate advertised by the hotel, and the prices available through Undiscovered Destinations. It should be noted we will not apply a surcharge should more expensive accommodation be used. At the same time in the event that a lower rate is available for the confirmed hotel we are unable to offer a refund.

Please contact us if you wish to book the Soleb Extension. This is subject to minimum of two people on the extension and may not be guaranteed even if the main tour is. Extension price from £995 per person. Single supplement from £99 (Nubian houses are shared facilities)

Mapped itinerary.

Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?

Download PDF.

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

Sudan - Kingdom of the Black Pharaohs Tour Map

For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
well-travelled team.

+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA

Tour inclusions.

  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • All accommodation
  • Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
  • Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
  • Visa support documents (letter of invitation)

Tour exclusions.

  • Compulsory Archaeological fees, permits, passport registrationcurrently USD 320 or EUR 280 – payable locally in cash
  • International flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa
  • Drinks
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tips (discretionary)
  • Video camera fees

Pharaohs bequeathed Sudan pyramids and archeological treasures that astonished me at every turn. All this is combined with the natural warmth of the local people, some charming lodging, and a helpful, expert guide. A winning trip.


Clay Adams, USA