Pyramids of Meroe
Pyramids of Meroe
NEW for 2019

Sudan: Kushite Kings of the Nile


15 days From $8,995

November 30 2019

Northern Sudan is an original, mysterious and unique destination, where African and Arabic cultures meet. Its history is connected to the Ancient Egyptians; the Nile River crosses the Sahara Desert and along its valley lie archaeological sites of the Egyptian and Meroitic civilizations, most of them recognized by UNESCO. After the separation from the South, Northern Sudan is still a very large and diverse country. The astonishing landscape of the three deserts, associated to the beauty of the Nile Cataracts, the hidden Nubian villages and the welcoming people make it an unforgettable place to visit.

This exciting tour focuses on the successive cultural horizons of ancient Nubia and the Sudan, revealed by visits to such storied sites as Kerma, home to a powerful Bronze Age kingdom, whose merchants traded with the Minoans; the Kushite holy mountain at Jebel Barkal and the Nubian royal city of Meroe abounding in pyramids more plentiful than those in Egypt; and the sites of Sesibi, Soleb and Tombos, erected during the time of Egypt’s Akhenaten and Tutankhamun. We will gain an appreciation of Nubian art by visits to several museums, including the National Museum in Khartoum. The Sudan is rugged, and hence unspoiled so that our tented camp permits us to empathize with intrepid 18th-century explorers who appreciated the natural splendor of Nubia.

This tour is perfect for our relatively more adventurous clients. The tourist infrastructure in Sudan is nowhere near as developed as its neighbor, Egypt, but gives the opportunity to see equally impressive archaeological wonders without the crowds. We are also happy to note that our partner on the ground has over 15 years’ experience operating in the region and is committed to protecting the environment, resources and the people of Sudan.

Please be aware that during our program we will travel between destinations over roads that are often unpaved and bumpy, with sparse restrooms that when available will require squatting. We will also be staying in a number of desert camps, that are basic in nature but are comfortable and located in beautiful surroundings. This is the only way to visit these amazing archaeological sites and we hope that the passion for visiting these places will far outweigh your need for creature comforts.

What's included?

  •  Expert Scholar & Tour Manager
  •  Accommodation
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary
  •  Entries & Tips
  •  Local Transport

Led by...

Dr Jacke Phillips

Dr Jacke Phillips

Dr. Jacke Phillips is a specialist in the archaeology of Ethiopia, from prehistory to the medieval period.

Book Now $8,995
Includes deposit: $1,250 Single supplement: $1,750

Tour highlights:

  • Journey to Khartoum, the modern capital of Sudan, to visit the Archaeological Museum, the Mahdi’s Tomb and the largest souk in Sudan in the old capital city of Omdurman
  • Explore the area of Jebel Barkal, the capital city of the Kingdom of the Black Pharaohs, when the Nubian Kings conquered the whole of pharaonic Egypt
  • Discover the UNESCO listed site of Meroe, where a great indigenous culture, which rivaled even with the Romans, developed and where dozens of pyramids remain scattered in the desert at the Royal Necropolis
  • Drive through the Bayuda Desert, with its volcanic cones and nomadic settlements, to admire the intriguing archaeological sites of Soleb, Tombos, and Kerma

Tour details

Dates November 30 2019 - December 14 2019
Duration 15 days
Cost $8,995
Single supplement: $1,750
Deposit: $1,250 , balance due by September 7 2019
Activity Level Challenging
Tour code A19SUD

Book Now or call 866-740-5130 if you have any questions

November 30 2019: Itinerary

We arrive in the Sudan’s capital city of Khartoum where we transfer to our hotel situated at the meeting point of the Blue and White Nile and set among exquisite landscaped gardens. The remainder of the day is ours to relax in our home for the next two nights.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Corinthia Hotel, Khartoum

Today will be a full day at leisure, so why not enjoy the facilities of our 5* hotel or explore the local surroundings in Khartoum by walking along Nile Street. Later, we reconvene as a group to enjoy a welcoming dinner with a beautiful view over Khartoum and the Nile.

All meals included

Hotel: Corinthia Hotel, Khartoum

This morning we journey northward passing the last stretches of Khartoum and entering into the Butana Region, a desert area characterized by granite rocky hills. We reach the Royal Necropolis of Meroe in the afternoon. Here, over 40 pyramids can be seen and each one has its own funerary chapel with the walls fully decorated with bas-reliefs that portray the King’s life and offerings to the gods.

All meals included

Hotel: Meroe Camp

Our morning is dedicated to The Royal Necropolis of Meroe, with its clusters of pyramids. We view the burial site during the day and again at sunset. After, we visit the Tarabil school (if open), which we support as part of our responsible tourism policy and then we take a coffee break at the village of Kabushia. In the afternoon, we visit the ruins of the Kushite royal city of Meroe. The royal palace, baths and Temple of Amun stood at its center and was once surrounded by residential areas housing as many as 25,000 people. We end the day with a beautiful sunset view of the Meroe pyramids.

All meals included

Hotel: Meroe Camp

This morning we visit the settlement of Musawwarat es-Sufra, located in a valley crowned by hills. This 1st century BC temple complex is characterized by its Great Enclosure, extensive system of hafirs, or reservoirs, and the dominance of elephant imagery. Beyond the wadi, we discover the Meroitic temples of Naqa, one of the best-preserved Nubian sites in Sudan. Here, we visit the Temple of Apedemak, a Nubian lion-deity, who appears in five different forms. Dated to the 1st century AD, its decoration also exhibits classical influences, which are more pronounced in the architectural design and decoration of the “Roman kiosk”. This small and odd construction, a few meters away, displays a mixture of Egyptian, Roman and Greek styles. We end the day at another temple dedicated to Amun.

All meals included

Hotel: Meroe Camp

After breakfast, we depart Meroe and follow the Nile north to the last tributary, the Atbara River, which flows from the highlands of Ethiopia. Here, we ferry across the Nile and enter the Bayuda Desert, bordered by the Nile as it forms a broad loop between the 4th and 6th Cataracts and characterized by black volcanic basalt mountains. We reach the dusty town of Karima in the afternoon and settle into the Nubian Rest House, a comfortable hotel built in Nubian style.

All meals included

Hotel: Nubian Rest House

Leaving Karima, we travel to the medieval city of Old Dongola, which prospered from the 6th to the 14th centuries as the capital of the Christian kingdom of Makuria. We visit the Throne Hall, the Church of the Granite Columns and, if possible, the excavations of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity. Here the population lives in small villages among sand dunes and palm trees, they speak a different language than Arabic, and the Islamic religion is not as “strict” as in other regions. We then head to the 3rd Cataract, where we have set up our camp amidst the sand dunes.

All meals included

Hotel: Tombos Pre-set Camp

Today we visit Tombos, a New Kingdom Egyptian cemetery, where inscriptions left by Thutmose I to commemorate his conquest of nearby Kerma can be seen. We continue to one of the richest sites of rock art in Sudan, wadi Sebu, with prehistoric petroglyphs carved into the living rock. After, we reach the granite boulders of the 3rd Cataract, which used to be the third obstacle that the ancient Egyptians had to face when trying to sail on the Nile. Following lunch, we cross the Nile in a pontoon (local ferry boat) and find ourselves sharing space with people, donkeys, camels and goats. Later, we explore the remains of the Temple of Soleb, built by Amenhotep III and dedicated to Amun and Nebmaatre. Soleb sits on the banks of the Nile and has a processional way leading up from the river. On the way back to the Nile we find ourselves in the New Kingdom Egyptian town of Sesibi, founded in the 18th Dynasty.

All meals included

Hotel: Tombos Pre-set Camp

Th is morning we head north towards the 3rd cataract and Abri, driving on the eastern side of the Nile. Upon arrival, we cross the Nile by ferry to reach Sai Island, where ancient remains dating from the Paleolithic age through the Kerma and Egyptian civilizations and up to the early Christian and Islamic periods can be found. Our return crossing will be on a fisherman boat, during which we may see Nile crocodiles on the shore of the river. Before returning to our camp, we visit the pyramidal qubba (tomb) of scholar Sheikh Idris.

All meals included

Hotel: Tombos Pre-set Camp

After visiting the ancient quarries of Tombos, a short drive takes us to Kerma where we visit the majestic defuffa, the monument that characterizes Kerma civilization. The Western Deffufa is the largest and possibly the oldest structure of its type in sub-Saharan Africa, while the Eastern Defuffa is smaller and is associated with funerary ceremonies. Next, we visit the nearby Kerma Museum and view the main highlight, seven deliberately broken black granite statues portraying the “Black Pharaohs” of Nubia.

All meals included

Hotel: Merowe Land Resort

Today we visit the Jebel Barkal (holy mountain), at the foot of which stands a temple dedicated to the Pharaohs of the New Reign and their patron, Amun. Later, we cross the Nile and visit Nuri, the site of numerous royal tombs that date to the early 7th century BC.

All meals included

Hotel: Merowe Land Resort

Th is morning we visit the Karima market and remains of the ancient town of Napata, the fi rst capital of the Kushite empire from 800-300 BC. Later, we drive to the village of El Kurru to see one of the necropolises of the ancient kingdom of Napata. Not far from here is an ancient forest of petrified wood, filled with massive trunks lying in the sand and we end our day at the burial ground of Zuma.

All meals included

Hotel: Merowe Land Resort

A full day’s drive through the Western Desert brings us back to Khartoum. We make several stops along the way to visit with the Bisharin nomads and take a tea break in one of their simple “chai houses”. Later, we reach Omdurman, lying along the western banks of the Nile, where we can stop to visit the largest souq (market) in Sudan. In the evening, we reach Khartoum.

All meals included

Hotel: Corinthia Hotel, Khartoum

Our final full day begins with a beautiful boat ride on the Nile where we see the confluence between the two Niles. We find ourselves back in Omdurman, the old capital of Sudan, where we see the Mahdi’s Tomb, an important pilgrimage site for all Sudanese, and we visit the interesting Khalifa’s House, which holds a small museum about the Mahdi. In the afternoon we visit the National Museum of Sudan, which houses an exceptional collection of Sudan’s ancient and medieval artifacts. Highlights of this collection include the royal statues found at Jebel Barkal dating from around 690 BC, King Anlamani’s sarcophagus, amazing frescoes from Christian Nubia and three 18th Dynasty Egyptian temples rescued from Lake Nasser. By sunset we arrive at the tomb of the 19th-century Sufi leader, Sheikh Hamed al-Nil. Every Friday before sunset dervishes gather here to dance and chant in ritual dhikr, a colorful and fascinating experience. This evening we gather together for our farewell dinner.

All meals included

Hotel: Corinthia Hotel, Khartoum

Transfer to the airport for our flights home or onward travels.

Meals include: Breakfast

November 30 2019: Additional Info

November 30 2019: Accommodation

An elegant architectural masterpiece of steel and glass set among exquisite landscaped gardens, Corinthia Hotel Khartoum redefines luxury. Situated at the confluence of the Blue and White Nile Rivers and in the center of the city’s commercial district, Corinthia Khartoum is your gateway to Central Africa. Boasting the city’s highest eatery, our 18th floor Rickshaw Restaurant, and benefiting from unparalleled comfort, unrivaled service and state-of-the-art technology, Corinthia Khartoum is the ultimate destination for the business and leisure traveler.  

The rooms, spread over 18 floors, are spacious, modern and benefit from breath taking views overlooking the Nile or the City. A fine selection of restaurants and bars are available where guests can soak up in the panoramic views in comfort and ease. Start the day with a revitalizing coffee in our skyline Café Khartoum, or refresh with a cool drink seated beside the fountains and pools in the lush hotel gardens. Dine in Le Grill, our authentic steakhouse, where keenly sourced prime beef is the hallmark of this lively and entertaining restaurant or travel to the Orient courtesy of our Rickshaw Restaurant for authentic dishes from the Far East.

For a more casual setting, choose from a selection of freshly made delicacies in the Nile River Café, the perfect setting for a relaxed meeting or sociable gathering.Whether you need to wind down after a business meeting or a day of sightseeing, the beautiful Sabratha Spa and Fitness Center is the perfect place to immerse yourself in quiet relaxation. Our traditional Turkish hammam or Jacuzzi will quickly ease the cares of the day while guests looking for a change of pace can make use of our squash and tennis courts, together with a fully-equipped gymnasium and fitness center. A leisurely dip in our crystal-clear, indoor swimming pool will be sure to invigorate you and to complete your Spa experience, one of our pampering treatments is guaranteed to revitalize.  

The Meroe Camp, overlooking the renown pyramids of Meroe, features 22 twin bedded tents. Room size is 4 x 4 m and just outside there is shady veranda with 2 chairs for reading or simply relaxing overlooking the open desert before the pyramids. Every tent has its own private restroom and shower which is located in a separate hut at the back of the tent. There is an indoor restaurant with a large paved area around to be able to eat outside in the pleasant spring evenings. A veranda on the top of the restaurant will allow guest to enjoy the sunset over the pyramids or to simply relax talking with the other guests of the camp before or after dinner. The camp has a power generator that is working everyday from sunset until 10.30 – 11 pm. After that we ensure peace and quietness to the guests. Therefore we recommend each guest to bring along an electric torch or headlamps. 

Our Nubian Rest House, located at the foot of Jebel Barkal, is a charming boutique hotel with 22 A/C twin rooms, all with private facilities and a pleasant veranda where to sit in the cool starry nights. The rest house is tastefully decorated, starting from the original Nubian door where the guests enter the property, to the open air lobby, to the living room where to rest or read a book. Care for details is our passion, and it is easy to understand this when you see the Rest House. The hotel is opened all year round.

The pre-set camps are prepared prior to the group arrival. Big igloo tents (2, 40 x 2,40 x 1,80) with camp beds, foam mattresses, sheets and wool covers are set up. One small table and two folding chairs are in every tent. For the meals a big restaurant tent with table and chairs is available. Two showers and two toilets (one for men and one for women) complete the structure. The camp will be located among the beautiful rock formations in the area of Tombos.

Merowe Land Resort is a 3* located in the town of Merowe on the East bank of the Nile opposite Karima. It is a nice and clean 86 on suite rooms hotel on the Nile River bank, with garden and swimming pool. There is a 15 min drive to reach the Jebel Barkal archaeological site temples/pyramids area.

November 30 2019: Enquiries

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