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Sudan & Eritrea

November 03 to 17, 2017

Sudan has more than 500 ethnic groups, each with its own dialect, traditions, and dance making it the most diverse nation on the continent. The Nile flowing north from Khartoum towards Egypt is the link that runs through Sudan, influencing the lives of its people. Along the banks of the river and in the valley of the Sahara Desert are many interesting archaeological sites from the Egyptian and Meroitic civilizations that have seldom been seen by the public, including more pyramids than in Egypt! Come and explore magnificent monuments, tombs and temples set in a landscape of impressive natural wonders of as you travel through the desert and along the Nile of Sudan’s mysterious north, an ancient land once known as Nubia. Kushite monuments display a rich combination of Pharaonic, Greco-Roman and indigenous African traditions, and two are UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Meroe and Jebel Barkal. Tall pyramids, gigantic mud-brick buildings, rock-cut painted tombs, and ornately carved temples – all are present for us to discover

 Eritrea is a state on the southern shores of the Red Sea whose history dates back to the Stone Age. Following a succession of wars with Ethiopia that spanned a thirty-year period, Eritreans under a United Nations’ supervised referendum voted for independence in 1991 and gained international recognition in 1993. Asmara, the capital, proudly displays a shining collection of Art Deco and other architectural wonders. Massawa, a port city on the Red Sea, was heavily influenced by the Turks and Europeans. This coastal city is the starting point for visits to the Dahlak Islands, one of the most unspoiled and least known reefs in the Red Sea. Eritrea's nine colorful ethnic groups are diverse and individual, and are a major highlight.

Per person sharing in double occupancy (Air and land): $7,995.00

(Air included is based on Egypt air departure from JFK - subject to availability)

Single Supplement: $900.00   

Credit for not using our included airfare $850.00

(excludes all flights from USA and between Khartoum and Asmara)

Led by Prof. Richard Lobban (Nubian Archaeology Expert)

Price based on a group size minimum of 4 and maximum of 12 participants

This tour can extend to join Horn of Africa trip ending Nov 26, 2017

Your tour does not include

  • Round trip airfare between your hometown and NYC
  • Fuel surcharges, airport taxes & security charges (approximately $400.00), Khartoum airport departure Tax ($17.00 currently)
  • Visa for Sudan (Currently $150.00 and subject to change) payable cash upon arrival. Eritrean visa (approx. $160.00) to be acquired in the consulate in DC.
  • Trip surcharge to operate below required minimum participants.
  • Dayrooms or extra hotel overnights or transfers in Khartoum if necessary
  • Expenses of a personal nature such as: beverages with meals, telephone, email, laundry bills, etc.
  • Any additional nights due to airline schedule changes or arrivals on different airlines from the one we use.
  • Travel protection Insurance. (highly recommended)

Your tour includes

  • Round trip airfare New York/ Khartoum -Asmara/New York and Khartoum/Cairo/ Asmara on Egyptair.
  • Airport transfers (if arriving/departing on scheduled flights) by private motor coach.
  • Accommodation as described and mentioned with private bathroom facilities.
  • English-speaking native guides all the way through.
  • All meals as specified in the itinerary and bottled water.
  • All activities described in the tour and entrance fees to all sites mentioned and still-camera fees to all sites.
  • Archeological sites entry fees.
  • Gratuities to guides, drivers, porters and restaurant & hotel staff.

View Tour Itinerary

Friday, Nov 03
USA to Cairo to Khartoum

Depart the USA, connecting in Cairo and arriving in Khartoum the next day.

Saturday, Nov 04
Arrive in Khartoum

Arrive late night in Khartoum, meet and transfer to the hotel for overnight.

Sunday, Nov 05

After breakfast, start you tour of Khartoum. We follow the Blue Nile near the Presidential Palace where in 1885 General Gordon was beheaded by the Mahdist troops. We then get near the Catholic Cathedral and Marina Yacht Club. We visit the Archaeological Museum that, besides many beautiful objects, contains two full temples rescued by the UNESCO and moved from the Lake Nasser area, when it was flooded by the water. Lunch in a local restaurant. 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. Then we will have a walk in the interesting Omdurman souk. Dinner in a local restaurant return to your hotel for overnight. (B,L,D)

Monday, Nov 06
Khartoum - Karima

After breakfast begin the journey northward through the Western desert. Travel in a flat desert where the view can span 360° around and reach Wadi Muqaddam with its many acacia trees. Stop at the "chai houses", literally tea houses, simply a sort of Spartan "motorway restaurants", in the desert where local truck drivers usually stop for a quick meal and some rest. In the afternoon reach the Nile in the small town of Karima where, on the other side of the river, there is our Nubian Rest House just at the foot of Jebel Barkal. Dinner and overnight at the Rest House. (B,L,D)

Tuesday, Nov 07

Landmark in the Nubian Desert, Jebel Barkal ("Jebel" means mountain in Arabic) 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 God 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. 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.), 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. Afterwards head southwards to the village of El Kurru where there is one of the necropolises of the ancient capital, Napata. Here you can visit one tomb, which is excavated in the rock under pyramids - partially collapsed - and is totally decorated with images of the Pharaoh, of the gods and multicolour hieroglyphic inscriptions. Not far from here there is an interesting site of petrified wood, an ancient forest with hundreds of huge trunks. In the afternoon return to Karima, accommodation at the Rest-House. (B,L,D)

Wednesday, Nov 08
Bayuda Desert - Meroe

After breakfast cross the Nile to enter the Bayuda Desert, where you follow the Wadi Abu Dom. This desert is an area bounded by the loop that the Nile forms between the 4th and the 6th Cataract and characterised 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 donkeys. After a picnic in the desert, we continue the desert crossing to reach the Nile River. Cross it on the Ponton, these local ferries are a hive of colourful activities. You find yourselves sharing space with people, donkeys, camels and goats. Once on the other side of the River follow the main road south, and then, all of a sudden, you 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. Arrival at the permanent tented camp of Meroe, with a beautiful view onto the pyramids. Accommodation in comfortable and fully furnished tents, dinner and overnight stay. (B,L,D)

Thursday, Nov 09

The Royal necropolis of Meroe is located at about 3 km 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. Lunch at the Camp. In the afternoon 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. Dinner and overnight stay at the permanent camp. (B,L,D)

Friday, Nov 10
Meroe - Khartoum

After breakfast in camp, drive south to visit 2 archaeological sites. The site of Naga 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 then go to Mussawarat, not far away from Naga. 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. In the late afternoon we reach Khartoum. Check in at the Hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D) We can attend the Dervish Ceremony.

Saturday, Nov 11
Khartoum - Cairo - Asmara

Transfer to airport for your very early flight to Cairo, connecting to Asmara, upon late night arrival, meet and transfer to your hotel for check in and overnight. (B)

Sunday, Nov 12
Asmara - Keren

Breakfast, then head out for a short orientation tour of Asmara, the city known as the Piccola Roma (little Rome). Admire its aesthetically inspiring collection of Art Deco architectural wonders and other styles portrayed in many of its buildings. After lunch depart to the town of Keren in the north, transfer to your hotel for check in, dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Monday, Nov 13
Keren - Massawa

This morning you enjoy visiting the open air market of Keren, which only takes place one a week, shop for baskets, and pottery. It is a photographer’s delight with all the colors and excitements. View the camel and livestock market as well then visit the Shrine in the Baobab tree where we have a picnic lunch before departing to the city of Massawa across some of the most picturesque roads and mountain paths of the country and through the town of Filfil-Salamona. Have dinner and overnight at your hotel in Massawa. (B,L,D)

Tuesday, Nov 14

Today you start by a visit to the ancient port of Adulis that had links to the Egyptian, Greek and Roman Empires. You will also visit the Gulf of Zula, the birthplace of the Great Rift Valley on the African continent. In the afternoon, head back to Massawa and balance of the evening at leisure. (B,L,D)

Wednesday, Nov 15
Massawa - Asmara

This morning enjoy a walking tour in the old city of Massawa. An amazing eerie city, destroyed completely by the Ethiopian army in 1990, the town has an amazing feeling walking around its crumbling old buildings, palaces, mosques, Ottoman mansions, Italian villas and market place. Walk along the famous port and after lunch visit the nomadic tribe of Al-Rashaydeh before heading on the mountain road towards Asmara, passing through many picturesque villages, railroad tracks, Italian bridges and stop to admire the baboons before arriving to Asmara for dinner (B,L,D)

Thursday, Nov 16

Spend the full day in Asmara exploring the local attractions. The Catholic Cathedral is a top rated attraction in the city. This cathedral of Asmara was built in the year 1922. The Lombard-Romanesque style of the building is simply amazing. It is a tall Gothic bell tower that is visited by many people from abroad. The Nda Mariam Coptic Cathedral and the Al Khulafa Al Rashiudin Mosque are also ideal places of visit, which is located on Peace Street. It was built in 1938. The blocks of dark stone arranged in various geometrical patterns in front of the mosque is simply beauty. The Synagogue of Asmara built in 1906 is another important place of the city. Other places of attractions are St. Michaels Orthodox Church and the old market. Gibi is one of the significant public buildings. Built in 1897 as the former palace of the government, it was the seat of the first Italian governor of Eritrea. Eritrea's White House which is the office of the President is also very beautiful. The Denden Club which stands next to the president’s office is a remarkable place. Then visit the Old Post Office, and the Italian Opera House and visit to the small but rich Museum of Antiquities of Asmara where a vast collection of the various finds and relics from the entire country are stored and studied (if opened by then as it is undergoing restoration works). (B,L,D)

Friday, Nov 17
Asmara - USA

Very early morning transfer to airport and flight to Cairo then to USA.

We (STS) reserve the right to change hotels, restaurants or the order of activities if/as needed