Sudan... Ancient Nubia
January 28 to February 08, 2020
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.
This trip can be combined with Saudi Arabia ( February 08 to 22, 2020)
and also a possible optional pre-tour to South Sudan for 1 night
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: $995.00
Credit for not using our included airfare $900.00
Escorted by professional tour lecturer Michel Behar
Price based on a minimum of 6 participants and maximum of 12 participants
Your tour includes
Round trip airfare New York/Khartoum/New York including fuel surcharges, airport taxes & security charges.
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.
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.
Your tour does not include
Round trip airfare between your hometown and NYC
Any airfare fluctuations or newly imposed taxes.
Visa for Sudan (Currently $150.00 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)
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.
* 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 lecturer... Michel Behar boasts an impressive list of credentials and just reading through it makes you want to meet this person and share the road with him. A Dutch citizen, after his studies of Russian and Arabic in the Netherlands he took a course of advanced Arabic at the University of Khartoum in Sudan. Fluent in 12 languages including Farsi, English, Turkish, and Hebrew, he has an understanding of 7 others. He has been a tour manager since 1987 leading groups for US, Dutch, Swiss, German, and British companies. He has accompanied custom tours as a leader/photographer for many prestigious institutions such as the American Museum of Natural History, Harvard Museum of Natural History, the American Institute of Archaeology, and the universities of Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard, Northwestern, Princeton and Wellesley. He has traveled extensively throughout the world and visited all 21 Arab countries and for the last 20 years has turned his passion for photography into a second career. Touring has afforded him the opportunity to capture stirring images from out of the way places in Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia just to name a few. His work has been exhibited in museums in the Netherlands and New York. He currently lectures on current affairs related to the Near East and the ethnic groups inhabiting this region. During this same period he has dabbled in journalism writing for several European newspapers on topics as varied as technology and economics. He maintains a travel blog has done freelance work for travel guides and likes of course what else World Music.
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
Tuesday, Jan 28
NYC -Cairo - Khartoum
Depart the US arriving in Khartoum the next evening possibly late night next day.
Wednesday, Jan 29
Arrive in Khartoum
Arrive in Khartoum in the afternoon or late evening, where you will be met, assisted with visa process and transferred to Corinthia hotel. IF arrival time is before 2:00 PM, you will have the chance to watch the Nuba Wrestling.
Thursday, Jan 30
After breakfast, start Khartoum city tour crossing 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 and we visit the interesting Khalifa’s House which holds a small museum about the Mahdyia. We will also walk in Omdurman Market. In the afternoon, we visit the National 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. At sunset time, we move near the tomb of the sufi leader Ahmed al Nil to attend the involving Dervishes Ceremony. Return to your hotel for overnight. (B,L)
Friday, Jan 31
Khartoum – Old Dongola – Karima
This morning we start early to drive north cross the Western desert on a good tar road until we reach the Nile that we cross on Ed Debba. Continue on the road along the Nile to visit the site the site of Old Dongola, the old Christian capital of the Makuria Kingdom. After the visit, cross the Nubian Desert to reach the town of Karima late in the afternoon. Transfer to Karima Nubian Rest House for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Saturday, Feb 01
Karima – Dongola – Soleb Temple – Tombos
Today we drive west through the Nubian Desert. We reach the Nile and we cross the Nile on the Dongola Bridge, we continue north to the amazing 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 enjoy our lunch in a local Nubian house nearby. After the visit we drive off road to reach the Nile and cross it to the East coast, a short drive south will take us to 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. Afterwards transfer to Preset Camp for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Sunday, Feb 02
Tombos – Wadi Sebu – Kerma – Karima
We drive north on the eastern side and we visit 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 riverbank of the Nile it is possible to visit one of the richest sites of rock engraving of all Sudan with hundreds of images from prehistoric to Egyptian times. We drive back to the archaeological site of Kerma where we visit the ancient capital of the 1st Kingdom of Kush and the small Museum nearby. We continue driving to Karima, and transfer to Karima Nubian Rest House for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Monday, Feb 03
Karima - Jebel Barkal & El Kurru
Landmark in the Nubian Desert, Jebel Barkal “Jebel” Means Mountain in Arabic can be seen from a faraway 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 the Pharaohs of the New Reign and to their patron, 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. After lunch, 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. The sunset will be the perfect end of the perfect day. (B,L,D)
Tuesday, Feb 04
Karima – Nuri – Necropolis
After breakfast, visit the market of Karima, where we can have a real experience of the life of Sudanese people. We then board a small motorboat for a ride along the Nile to enjoy the beautiful sand stretches and cultivated islands along the river. A little further northward there used to be the beautiful granite rocky formations of the 4th Cataract, which prevented the Nile from flowing slowly and formed many rapids that obstructed the navigation. In April 2008 the Dam of Merowee has been completed and the flooding of the artificial lake started. Picnic in the area. After lunch, we visit the archaeological site of Nuri where we can see many pyramids among which there is also the one of the great Taharqa. Little walk among those ancient pyramids. (B,L,D)
Wednesday, Feb 05
Karima - Meroe
Today we cross the bridge over the Nile to enter the Bayuda desert, where we first visit on the way the Monastery of Ghazali. This 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. 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. We then cross the Nile again with the ponton, a local ferryboat. These ferries are a hive of colourful activities. We find ourselves sharing space with people, donkeys, camels and goats. Then all of a sudden we can glance at more than 40 pyramids, located on top of a hill, some of them perfectly preserved, which belong to the Royal Necropolis of Meroe. Afterwards transfer to Meroe camp for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Thursday, Feb 06
The Royal necropolis of Meroe is located at about 3 km from the Nile on The 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. Then we 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. Return to your camp for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Friday, Feb 07
Meroe – Khartoum
After breakfast, we begin the journey southward. The site of Mussawarat 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. We then go to Naga, which 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. In the evening, we reach Khartoum. Drop off at your hotel. At sunset, drive to Khartoum and attend a traditional Nuba Wrestling in the north part of Khartoum, then transfer to Corinthia Hotel for check in and overnight. (B,L)
Saturday, Feb 08
Transfer to the airport for your flight back home arriving the same day.
We (STS) reserve the right to change hotels, restaurants or the order of activities if/as needed