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Sudan... Ancient Nubia

February 06 to 19, 2019

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.

Per person sharing in double occupancy (Air and land): $6,995.00

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

Single Supplement: $995.00   

Credit for not using our included airfare $750.00

Led by Dr. Richard Lobban

Professor of Anthropology & African Studies and Executive Director of the Sudan Studies Association(SSA)

Price based on a minimum of 5 participants and maximum of 12 participants


* Tour will operate at same rate for 2-4 participants joining other travelers from around the world led by a local guide/archaeologist and NOT by prof. Lobban if the number drops below 5.

* Please be noted that this tour is operated and sold in conjunction with our local partner, and so you may be travelling with people of different nationalities.

*Also tipping budget will not be included for less than 5 people.

* Guides speak only English and Italian, no other languages

Your tour does not include

  • Round trip airfare between your hometown and NYC

  • Fuel surcharges, airport taxes & security charges (approximately $485.00).

  • Visa for Sudan (Currently $285.00 and subject to change) payable cash upon arrival. Your passport must not include any Israeli stamps.

  • Video camera permits $20.00 per site.

  • 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/New York.

  • Airport transfers (if arriving/departing on scheduled flights) by private motor coach.

  • Transport with 4x4 vehicles outside Khartoum & Minibus in Khartoum.

  • Deluxe hotel in Khartoum, very nice rest house in Karima, permanent comfortable tented camp in Meroe and for extension a simple Nubian home in Soleb area for 2 nights.

  • English-speaking native guide 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.

  • National Museum and Archeological sites entry fees.

  • Visa approval authorization permit.

  • Gratuities to guides, drivers, porters and & hotel staff.

Trip Grade: III Challenging – Parts of the trip are physically challenging, involve hiking on rough terrain or in sand or at high altitudes. There may be very long drives on rough roads; weather conditions with high heat or humidity, presence of insects. You may have simple picnic lunches, primitive bathroom facilities along the road and remoteness from modern towns or cities.

Lodging Level:

* Simple– One or more properties on the trip are very basic, rustic, and primitive, with shared bathroom facilities (1 or 2 stars)

*** Superior: Lodges and hotels with additional amenities, refined service and comfort level acceptable to western standards. (3/ 4 stars).

About your LecturerDr. Richard A Lobban Jr.…Dr. Lobban was Chair and Professor of Anthropology and African Studies at Rhode Island College where taught for thirty-six years.  He has also taught at the University of Khartoum, American University in Cairo and conducted research in Tunis, Egypt and Sudan.  He is the Executive Director of the Sudan Studies Association. He has published scores of articles, reviews, book chapters and encyclopedia entries, and a number of books on the Middle East including reference books on Sudan, on Middle Eastern Women. Among other things he specializes on urban and complex societies as well as gender, ethnicity, race and class, especially in the Middle East. His most recent books are The Historical Dictionaries of Ancient and Medieval Nubia and of Sudan as well as a translation from French of the 19th century account by Pierre Tremaux who traveled in the region. He travels to Egypt and Sudan often over the last four decades including Nubia, the Nuba Mountains, the South and the East. At present he is co-director of archaeological excavation in northern Sudan and he teaches African studies at the Naval War College, when not leading tours to Egypt.  He is a founder, first President and Executive Director of the Sudan Studies Association.

Fine Print: Some of the sites visited are remote and tourist accommodations do not exist in the area. In order to visit them, a simple but comfortable camp is utilized (Meroe). For the extension, 2 nights are spent in a simple/primitive Nubian house with shared facilities and sleeping bags on simple bench beds. Sometimes on the tour, you may encounter insects as well as mosquitos are also in season especially near the Nile valley hence you need to take your precautions. During the best time visiting Sudan (Nov-Feb) temperature will be around upper 80’s in the sun.Visa process is currently simple & straight forward as it will be obtainable and paid for upon arrival in Khartoum (subject to change). Rates are based on today’s (Jan. 2018) exchange rate (Vs. Euro) and if it fluctuates, you will be billed for the difference.

View Tour Itinerary

Wednesday, Feb 06
NYC to Cairo to Khartoum

Depart the US arriving in Khartoum the next evening possibly late night next day.

Thursday, Feb 07
Arrive in Khartoum

Arrive in Khartoum in the afternoon or late evening, where you will be met, assisted with visa process and transferred to your hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

Friday, Feb 08
Khartoum - Karima

After breakfast drive to Karima, upon arrival transfer to your Nubian rest house for check in, dinner and overnight. Enjoy the rest of the day free at leisure. (B,L,D)

Saturday, Feb 09
Karima - Solib - Island of Sai

Today drive west through the Nubian Desert. We reach the Nile and cross the Bridge to New Dongola city, and continue north on the asphalt road viewing many of the nice granite formations. We reach the Temple of Soleb. Here we have our picnic lunch in the house of the guardian of the temple. After lunch we drive and cross the Nile on a fisherman’s boat to reach the Island of Sai an important archaeological area where we can find ancient remains from Kerma civilization, Egyptian and Christian culture. During the navigation to the island we may hope to see Nile crocodiles on the shore of the river. After the visit we return to main land and drive back to the house where we will spend the night. (B,L,D)

Sunday, Feb 10
Soleb - Sebu - Tombos

This morning we visit the Temple of Soleb, the most beautiful Egyptian temple of all Sudan, testimony of the New Kingdom in Nubia, with many walls rich in hieroglyphic inscriptions, bas-relief figures and many columns. We then drive south leaving the main road to reach the Nile and following it among some villages before arriving to the ferry. Here we cross the River to arrive to the Eastern bank just north of the rapids of the Third Cataract which used to be the third huge obstacle that the ancients Egyptians had to face when trying to sail on the Nile River. We walk up the hill to the ancient Ottoman Fort where we can have beautiful views of the cataract. In Sebu, right on the river bank of the Nile visit one of the richest sites of rock engravings with hundreds of images from prehistoric to Egyptian times. We continue driving through the Nubian villages and among the huge rocks of the Third Cataract to the village of Tombos. Here there were the ancient granite quarries with the remains of a statue of the King Taharqa, simply left there in the desert about 2800 years ago and some interesting Egyptian stele engraved on the rocks. We spend the night in a local private Nubian house, with simple/basic rooms and sharing facilities, but clean and with a couple of western toilets and shower. Dinner and overnight stay. (B,L,D)

Monday, Feb 11
Tombos - Kerma - Karima

A short drive takes us to Kerma where we visit the majestic “Defuffa” the monument that characterizes Kerma civilization. Visit the small but interesting Museum created by the Swiss archaeological mission after the recovery of seven statues of the Black Pharaohs in 2003. We have time to visit also the Eastern Defuffa located in the middle of the Necropolis, lying amidst agricultural fields. In the afternoon we return to Karima. (B,L,D)

Tuesday, Feb 12
Jebel Barkal & El Kurru

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. Lunch in the Nubian Rest House then we move southwards to the village of El Kurru where there is one of the necropolises of the ancient capital, Napata. Here we can visit one tomb, which is excavated in the rock under pyramids - partially collapsed - and it 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 late afternoon, return to Karima, for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Wednesday, Feb 13
Karima - Nuri

After breakfast, visit the market of Karima after which board a small motorboat for a cruise along the Nile to enjoy the beautiful sand stretches and cultivated islands along the river. In April 2008 the Dam of Meroe has been completed and the flooding of the artificial lake started. Picnic in the area then we visit the archaeological site of Nuri where we can see many pyramids among which is that of The Great Taharqa. Return to the Nubian Rest House for dinner and overnight stay. (B,L,D)

Thursday, Feb 14
Karima to Old Dongola

Today is a long day on the road but full of interesting encounters and visits. Follow the Nile until we reach the archaeological site of Old Dongola. Here there are the rest of a Christian Coptic temple with marble columns as well as several suggestive ruins of churches situated on the banks of the Nile. This area is the central part of the Nubian region. Here the population lives in small villages amongst yellow sand dunes and palm trees they speak a different language from the Arabs and also the Islamic religion is not as "strict" as in other regions. The women don't cover their faces and readily speak to foreigners. Some houses in the Nubian Villages are painted with pattern of flowers. We eat our picnic in one Nubian house, and tea will be prepared by the Nubian family. In the evening return to the Nubian Rest House in Karima for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Friday, Feb 15
Karima - Meroe

After breakfast we cross the Nile with the pontoon, the local ferry boat, to enter the Bayuda Desert. These ferries are a hive of colourful activities. We find ourselves sharing space with people, donkeys, camels and goats. The Bayuda Desert is an area bounded by the loop formed by the Nile between the 4th and the 6th Cataract and characterised by sharp black basalt mountains, most of them volcanic and typically cone-shaped. Meet some of the isolated groups of Bisharin nomads, who live in small huts made of intertwined branches close to the rare water wells, with their caravans and herds of camels and donkeys. After crossing the Nile. Afterwards reach Meroe Camp. Dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Saturday, Feb 16

Morning dedicated to the visit of the pyramids. The Royal Necropolis of Meroe is located at about 3 km from the Nile on some hills covered by yellow sand dunes. Each pyramid 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 Meroe Camp. In the afternoon we move along the Nile to visit the ruins of the Royal city. Dinner and overnight stay at the permanent Meroe Camp. (B,L,D)

Sunday, Feb 17
Meroe - Khartoum

After breakfast, drive to Khartoum, visiting en route the site of Naga is one of the two centres that developed during the Meroitic period. We visit 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, where you visit the ruins of the huge 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 wadi there is another temple - dedicated to the god Apedemak. Picnic in the area and then return to the main road from where you can glance at more than 40 pyramids, located on top of a hill, some perfectly preserved, which belong to the Royal Necropolis of Meroe. We reach Omdurman at sunset time to assist at the involving Dervishes Ceremony, transfer to your hotel in Khartoum for check in and overnight. (B,L)

Monday, Feb 18

After breakfast, start your tour of Khartoum. We first visit the Archaeological Museum that, besides many beautiful objects, 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 near the Presidential Palace where in 1885 General Gordon was beheaded by the Mahdi’s troops and we reach Omdurman, the old capital of Sudan, where we see the Mahdi’s Tomb from outside. Lunch included in a local restaurant on theNile. In the afternoon we visit the interesting Khalifa’s House which holds a small museum about the Mahdyia. We then visit the colourful souk of Omdurman. At sunset we attend a traditional Nuba Wrestling in the north part of Khartoum. Back to hotel for your overnight. (B,L)

Tuesday, Feb 19

Transfer to airport for your very early flight to Cairo, connecting to US or Eritrea. (B)

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