SUDAN

Welcome to Sudan

Map-Sudan

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When we talk about Sudan we are currently referring to the Republic of Sudan or northern Sudan; the country where both the White Nile and Blue Nile join in Khartoum and continue to wind their way north into Egypt. The river has brought life and colour to this beautiful country and its people.

A new road heading north, links Khartoum with Wadi Halfa on one of the world’s largest inland water systems (Lake Nasser) and if you take some time to wander off this road towards the Nile River, the more adventurous tourist can find many riches. There are more pyramids in Sudan than in Egypt and evidence of a very organised African culture, later being influenced by Egyptian Pharaonic culture and later still, merging into the religious heart of Egypt in Thebes (now Luxor).

The Nubian people that live along the Nile in the north are known for their strong community and love of life. The remoteness of this region allows you to feel like an early adventurer and privileged guest of this little known part of the world.

The map highlights the most popular destinations in Sudan. Why not take some time before connecting with us, and scroll down to read about each location and find some helpful information…

Understand and Experience:

* your Sudanese guide explaining the African kingdom of Cush beneath the 3,500 year old Defuffa ‘house’.

* Sufi Islam by visiting the Hamed al Nil Tomb in Khartoum on Friday evening and then questioning your guide over a fish meal overlooking the Nile River.

* camping behind the Meroe pyramids, hear the history in the evening as the sun sets and then watch the sunrise over them the next morning and think about ancient life and death near the Nile River.

Khartoum – the city at the confluence of the White and Blue Niles

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Sudan’s capital is ideally located at the junction of the Blue and White Niles. We suggest you start with the National Museum of Sudan, it is very well laid out, has some reconstructed temples and a large variety of artifacts from early African kingdoms to later Christian Kingdoms found near Old Dongola.

Omdurman suburb in the north west corner of the city has a busy market not at all geared towards tourists and so well worth visiting. Nearby, the Mahdi’s tomb and Khalifa’s House museum will give you an interesting insight into Sudanese history and culture.

Khartoum is where most visitors begin and end their tours because of the international airport. Your local guide will help you find your way around and introduce you to his country’s rich history and varied cultures.

Understand and Experience:

* Sufi Islam, still practised by many Sudanese. Find out what is the difference between the Sunni, Shia and Sufi expressions of Islamic faith.

* the confluence of the White and Blue Niles. Consider that some of the water has travelled thousands of kilometers either from Lake Victoria in central Africa or from Lake Tana in Ethiopia. You can best see the rivers as you drive along the Blue Nile river front and then cross the bridge that connects the city center with the older city of Omdurman.

* local hospitality by visiting a home for a meal or a drink

Meroe – the home of great Sudanese leaders

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This is Sudanʼs most famous archeological site and is well preserved. The Royal City of the last of the Kushite kingdoms is worth a vist, but do wander nearby through the cluster of pyramids on a nearby hill and learn about this ancient culture. It is a unique experience to camp behind this site and enjoy the views from the dunes at sunset and sunrise.

Naga and Musawwarat are back towards Khartoum but should not be missed as both sites are well preserved. Imagine that 200 years ago, Turkish records show that lions and gazelle were found in this area. These temples and palace sites were located for important trade up and down the river and also as far as Ethiopia and Eritrea, as they are named today.

Understand and Experience:

* viewing the pyramid site with very few other visitors, and camping behind the dunes nearby adds to the remoteness of the site and let it speak to you of past influence and greatness.

* the need for water in this dry land. Clusters of people often gather to collect water from the 90m deep well near Naqa.

Karima – most southern Pharaonic religious site

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This is a great place to base yourself to explore several key sites. There are the remains of Ghazali monastery alongside a dry river bed and the pyramids of Nuri both on the eastern side of Nile. Back on the western side of the Nile, don’t miss the well preserved tomb shafts at El Kurru.

In Karima is a museum and the remains of several temples beneath the 80 meter high Gebel Barkal. You can look over the head of the cobra pinnacle, which would have been covered with gold plating, towards the Nile and date palm plantations and imagine how this unusual mountain would have drawn many people to its temples.

Understand and Experience:

* sunset on Gebel Barkal

* walk around the neighbourhood near Gebel Barkal in the morning and notice the large variety of ornately designed and painted doors, then go underground at El Kurru and look up at the colourful night sky.

Defuffa – one of Africa’s ancient kingdoms

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Step back in time as you explore this amazing site. A 3,500 year old mud-brick building nearly 20 meters tall is the prominent feature. Climb to the roof and look out over the structured town it influenced. This was the administrative and cultural center for the earliest Kush period and is truly African in many unique ways, especially the statues unearthed nearby and displayed in the excellent museum adjacent to the site. Do take your time in each section of the museum to discover the development of this seldom mentioned African kingdom.

Just a little further north is the Third Cataract and a charming place to stay the night in a local Nubian home. Cross the river by row boat or local ‘ferry’ and walk around the island looking at old and new structures. Don’t forget to take a break in the shade of a local shop to drink your cold water or soda and talk to local people with your guide.

Understand and Experience:

* a village becoming a town, then a town becoming the center of a kingdom. What characterises a kingdom?

* Nubian culture, from the Third Cataract northwards. Ahmed, an excellent Nubian cultural guide, will introduce you to his Nubian friends who live between Kerma (main town near Defuffa) and north, along the Nile to Wadi Halfa, and then into Aswan in Egypt (his home town).

Wawa – charming village of the north

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From Aswan in Egypt to the Third Cataract in Sudan, most of the villages and towns house Nubian families. Nubian families in Sudan often have connections with Nubian families in Egypt. So, heading north of the Third Cataract in Sudan, you enter into pristine Nile scenery with small Nubian villages alongside the Nile. With names like Delgo, Gebel Sisa, and Wawa, you know this is a unique place.

You have to cross the river using local boats, so take your time to explore some ancient Egyptian temples on the western bank, especially Sudanʼs best preserved Temple Soleb. Also, try and find out about a lady archeologist from the 1960ʻs and her Series 2 Land Rover.

Understand and Experience:

* Nubian culture and hospitality. Stay in a Nubian home, let them tell you their stories about crocodiles and try not to miss out on a sunset near or on the river.

* the pace of life along the river; the towns become villages and there is less land to cultivate, and all trees, especially date palms, are precious.

Sai Island – the river’s second largest island

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This is the second largest island in the whole Nile River system. You can get here by car-ferry or local boats and explore several ancient sites: from 7,000 year old pre-historical remains to pillars of an ancient church and even the ruins of a Turkish fort built from the stone remains of Egyptian temples erected 3,000 years earlier. These all indicate the strategic importance of this frontier island.

Understand and Experience:

* river life, by getting on the river early morning or late evening. Follow the river around the island looking for crocodiles which sometimes bask on the warm sand, as local people fish for the day’s supply.

* local village culture by staying in their homes, eating their food and listening to stories told by your host. After all is said and done, take your bed out into the courtyard of the house and fall asleep as you look out on the stars.

Wadi Halfa – border town for Sudan and Egypt

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Wadi Halfa is the most northerly of Sudanese towns and an important border town with daily connections north to and from Egypt.

Although there is not too much to see, there are some very hospitable local people who will feed, house and assist you as you either exit Sudan on the transport north to Egypt or enter Sudan and prepare to head south on your adventure along the Sudanese Nile to Khartoum.

Understand and Experience:

* the bus and pontoon transport between Sudan (Wadi Halfa) and Egypt (Aswan). The journey usually takes a whole day, each way, but choose to enjoy the journey, including the crossing of Lake Nasser and the border posts. You will travel with many who find livelihoods by trading between Sudan and Egypt, try and get to know a few and listen to their stories.