Nile Valley and Western Desert

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Nov 19 - Dec 4, 2021, 18 Feb 2022, 18 Nov 2022, 23 Dec 2022, 17 Feb 2023

This is a 16 days expedition that crosses the Western Desert to reach the Nile again near the beautiful temple of Soleb and following its course all the way back to Khartoum. Along the banks of this mighty river lie many beautiful and unknown archaeological sites like: Kerma (the capital of the Kingdom of Kush), Jebel Barkal, the painted tombs in El Kurru, the pyramids of Nuri and Meroe, the magnificent temples of Mussawarat and Naga. The tour unfolds through different environments: deserts, volcanoes, secret valleys, oasis, pristine villages and the Nile valley. The encounters with local people will be frequent and amazing due to their kindness and hospitality. Overnights in wild camps, private nubian house and hotels.

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Multiple Dates To Choose From!

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Please Contact For Pricing

Accommodation

 

  • Acropole Hotel
  • Grand Holiday Villa Hotel
  • Corinthia Hotel
  • I.T.C. – Wild Camps
  • Nubian House in Soleb
  • Nubian House in Tombos
  • Merowee Land Resort
  • I.T.C. – Karima Nubian Rest House
  • I.T.C. – Meroe Camp
 
Regions To Discover →

Khartoum

Khartoum capital area includes 3 major areas: Khartoum, where most of the hotels, the airport and all the city offices are; Omdurman, the old capital, where there is the largest market of the country; Khartoum North, the industrial area. Khartoum is a very safe city. The traffic can be chaotic.

 

Western Desert

Western Desert is the largest desert in Sudan. It has many interesting features, unknown archaeological ruins, nomads settlements, ancient river beds and some area of sand Dunes.

 

Kerma

Kerma was the capital of the first Kingdom of Kush. In this region, the first Sudanese Kingdom “Kush” started off, it was contemporary and independent from the Great Egyptian civilization. During the New Kingdom of Egypt this area became part of the Egyptian Empire, excavations are still going on to find more relevant elements on the history of this region. In the area there are various archaeological sites & nice Nubian villages.

 

Soleb Area

In this area we can see a number of archaeological sites related to the New Kindgom of Egypt. The temple of Soleb is the best preserved Egyptian Temple we can still find in Sudanese Nubia.

 

River Nile State

In the River Nile State there are many archaeological sites mainly dated back to the Meroitic Kingdom. Pyramids, temples, nice desert areas and Nile cateracts are the main features of this area.

 

Napata

Napata is the ancient name of the actual Karima. Napata was the capital of the Kingdom of Egypt during the XXV Dynasty, the dynasty of the Black Pharaohs.

Around 780 b.C. King Alara unified upper Nubia. The worship of the God Amon was resurrected, centred in Napata at Jebel Barkal, provoking a renaissance of Egyptian culture in Kush.
The main centre of the Kushite Kingdom was in Napata and the big Temple of Amon at the base of the holy mountains Jebel Barkal was the centre of the worshipping of the god.

The Napatean archaeological sites are listed as World Heritage by UNESCO.

 

Bayuda Desert

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.

View Detailed Itinerary →

Day 1 Khartoum airport

Private transfer airport – hotel: Meet and greet at the airport and transfer to your hotel.

Overnight at the Acropole Hotel 3***

Alternative: Grand Holiday Villa Hotel 4**** instead of Acropole Hotel

Alternative: Corinthia Hotel 5***** instead of Acropole Hotel

Included: transfer arrivalbedroom and breakfast

 

Day 2 Khartoum – Western Desert

Half day city tour in the morning:

Breakfast at the hotel and then we start the 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 visit the Mahdi’s Tomb from outside and the interesting Khalifa’s House which holds a small museum about the Mahdyia. We then visit National Museum (at the present the inner part is closed for refurbishment, it is allowed to visit the temples in the garden) 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.

Late in the morning we begin the journey northward through the Western Desert. We travel for about 200 km on asphalt road in a flat desert where the view can span 360° around. We will stop at Tam Tam a “chai house”, literally tea house, a sort of very Spartan “motorway restaurant” in the desert where local truck drivers usually stop for a quick meal and some rest. Late in the afternoon we leave the road and we find a nice place to camp under the incredible African night sky.

Picnic lunch included

Night in wild camp in the desert

Included: excursionlunchwater

 

Day 3 Wadi El Milk- Gala Abu Hamed

We drive westward in the desert and we reach Wadi El Milk, where we find many acacia trees and sometimes Bisharin nomads settlements around the few water wells. Then driving north we cross a wide area of small sand dunes where it is easy to get stuck in the sand. The help of passengers to pull out the cars from the sand is well accepted. We reach a mysterious fortress in the middle of the desert: Gala Abu Hamed has been discovered by a German archaeological expedition less then 10 years ago and it is dated to the Napatean time (700-400 B.C.). The ruins of the fortress are mainly huge boundary walls of about 100 m, now partially covered by sand. The place was probably used has a trade post for the caravans coming from Central Africa to the Nile. It remains a mystery how the place could have been inhabited since there is no water at all.

Picnic lunch included

Dinner and overnight in wild camp in the desert

Included: excursionlunchdinner (no drinks)bedroom and breakfastwater

 

Day 4 Gala Abu Hamed- El Bab Oasis

Driving northwest deep into the Western Desert we reach a curious mountain in the middle of the desert called by our drivers Jebel Peak. Here we can see some interesting prehistoric rock engravings. From here, we reach a small beautiful oasis rich in palm trees among the dunes.

Picnic lunch included

Dinner and overnight in wild camp in the desert

Included: lunch, dinner (no drinks)bedroom and breakfastwater

 

Day 5 El Bab Oasis- Dongola- Soleb Temple

Today we continue east and we reach the town of Dongola, on the Nile, the most important settlement of North Sudan. We stock up for the following days. Lunch in a small local restaurant. In the afternoon, we reach the Soleb Temple, the best preserved Egyptian temple in all Sudan built by Amenhotep III.

Picnic lunch included

Night at a simple and private Nubian house in Soleb with dinner and breakfast

Included: excursionlunchcontinental breakfastdinnerwater

 

Day 6 Soleb Temple- Jebel Dosha- Seddeinga temple- Sai Island- Amara West

We reach Jebel Dosha where on a rock just on the Nile we can see an Egyptian stelae of Thutmosis III. We continue North visiting the ruins of Amara West. After this we reach the archaeological site of Seddeinga and then cross the border by ferry boat to reach the Island of Sai (please note that according to weather conditions the boat between Seddeinga and Sai Island might not be working. It might be necessary to cross the Nile further south).

Picnic lunch included

Dinner and overnight in wild camp in the desert

Included: excursionlunchdinner (no drinks)bedroom and breakfastwater

 

Day 7 Amara West- Dal Cataract- Soleb Temple

We drive close to the Nile in an area where the sand reach the shore of the river. For this reason there are no fields and of course no villages. After some kilometers we can see the rocks on the Nile that create the rapids of the Dal Cataract. In this very nice area there are some Nubian villages and the people are not used to see foreigners.

Picnic lunch included

Night at a simple and private Nubian house in Soleb with dinner and breakfast

Included: excursionlunchcontinental breakfastdinnerwater

 

Day 8 Soleb Temple- Sesibi temple- Third cateract- Wadi Sebu- Tombos

After breakfast we will 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. Not far we’ll see a nice stele on the rock just on the shore of the Nile. We then reach the Ruins of Sesibi. We then cross the Nile by ferry and we reach the granite boulders 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. In Sebu, right on the river bank 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.

Picnic lunch included

Dinner and overnight in wild camp in the desert

Alternative: Nubian house in Tombos in half board instead of Dinner and overnight in Wild camps -OR Free upgrade to our Preset camp in Tombos

Included: lunchdinner (no drinks)bedroom and breakfastcontinental breakfastdinnerwater

 

Day 9 Tombos- Kerma- Nubian Village

This morning we then reach the village of Tombos where there are the remains of ancient granite quarries and where we can see a statue of the King Taharqa, simply left there in the desert 3000 years ago. On the Nile banks we can see some Egyptian stelae and inscriptions. This was the southern border of the ancient Egyptian kingdom for centuries.

We then drive to Kerma and the mysterious defuffa. Here we visit also the small, but interesting Museum. we spend some time at the market. We drive south across the Nubian Desert to visit some villages.

Picnic lunch included

Dinner and overnight in wild camp in the desert

Included: excursionlunchdinner (no drinks)bedroom and breakfastwater

 

Day 10 Nubian Village- Old Dongola- Necropolis of El Kurru

Breakfast at the camp then we continue our journey across villages. Visit the ruins of the Christian capital of the Makuria Kingdom: Old Dongola. then after the visit we cross the Nubian desert on the old track Time permitting we will visit the Necropolis of El Kurru and the tomb of the Pharahos Tawentamani of the 25th Dynasty. IF there is no time today we shall visit it the following morning.

Picnic lunch included

Dinner and overnight in wild camp in the desert

Included:  excursionwaterlunchdinner (no drinks)bedroom and breakfast

 

Day 11 Necropolis of El Kurru- Jebel Barkal- Boat on the Nile- Karima

Today we will visit the landmark of the Nubian Desert: Jebel Barkal (“Jebel” means mountain in Arabic). 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 site is on the World Heritage list. We then board a small motorboat for a pleasant boat 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. We then 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.

Picnic lunch included

Overnight at Merowee Land Resort 3*** Dinner at the Nubian rest house in Karima

Alternative: Free upgrade – Karima Nubian Rest House instead of Merowee Land Resort

Included:  excursionlunchwaterdinnerbedroom and breakfast

 

Day 12 Nubian Rest House Karima- Nuri Necropolis- Jebel Atrun

After breakfast we start our journey crossing the Nile and visiting the Nuri Pyramids. We then enter the Bayuda Desert, an area bounded by the loop formed by the Nile between the 4th and the 6th Cataract and characterized 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 cattle. Just in the center of the Bayuda Desert we reach Atrun Crater, where nomads gather salt from the edge of a green colored pool. They will then sell it to markets of the towns outside the desert.

Picnic lunch included

Dinner and overnight in wild camp in the desert

Included:  excursionlunchdinner (no drinks)bedroom and breakfastwater

 

Day 13 Meroe

Today we finish crossing the Bayuda desert and we cross the Nile on a local ferry-boat where we can meet friendly local people. On the other shore of the Nile we drive on a level ground area and, all of a sudden, we 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.

Picnic lunch included

Dinner and overnight in wild camp in the desert

Alternative: Meroe Camp instead of Dinner and overnight in Wild camps

Included: excursionlunchwaterdinner (no drinks)bedroom and breakfastdinner

 

Day 14 Meroe- Mussawarat Es Sufra- Naga

The Royal necropolis of Meroe is located at about 3 km away 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. In the afternoon we reach Mussawarat El Sufra. This settlement is located in a 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. We then move to the beautiful site of Naga for our last camp.

Picnic lunch included

Dinner and overnight in wild camp in the desert

Included: excursionlunchdinner (no drinks)bedroom and breakfastwater

 

Day 15 Naga- Omdurman Souk- Khartoum

We begin the day exploring the ancient site of Naga, which 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. In the afternoon we reach and visit Omdurman souk. At sunset time we move near the tomb of the sufi leader Ahmed al Nil to attend the involving Whirling Dervishes Ceremony (only on Fridays).

Picnic lunch included

Overnight at the Acropole Hotel 3***

Alternative: Grand Holiday Villa Hotel 4**** instead of Acropole Hotel

Alternative: Corinthia Hotel 5***** instead of Acropole Hotel

Included:  excursionlunchwaterbedroom and breakfast

 

Day 16 Khartoum airport

Transfer to the airport by private vehicle

 

 

Cancellation Fees:

10% – Between confirmation and 21 days before departure

50% – Between 20 e 11 days before departure

100% – From 10 days before departure and  no-show

 

Pricing Includes:

  • Meeting at airport and private transfer to hotel
  • 1 O/N at the Acropole Hotel (3***) OR alternative Hotel in Khartoum in BB; 1 day use rooms available the last day till 23.00
  • 1 Overnight in Meroweeland Hotel near Karima, free upgrade to Nubian Rest house in Karima IF available, overnight in local Nubian House in Soleb, all the camping equipment for the overnights in camp (igloo tent, rubber foam mattress) and a cook in charge of the meals
  • Transport with Toyota Land Cruisers OR Toyota Hilux double cabin (3 pax per car guaranteed)
  • TL English speaking
  • Sudanese staff
  • Mineral water
  • Meals as per itinerary

 

Pricing Excludes:

  • Archaeological sites entrance fees and passport registration (quoted separately and to be paid cash in Sudan 300 Euro)
  • Meals and drinks in Khartoum
  • Soft drinks
  • Sleeping bag (we can rent it for 20 Euro)
  • Pillow and towel
  • Personal expense
  • Sudan entry visa and visa authorization
  • Tips

“(...) I am planning on coming back again with Cheryl to share with her the sights and sounds of Africa. As usual I arrived home appreciating what we have back home and have a better understanding of what we take for granted are luxuries in other countries.”

Kevin
Southern Africa Tour Oct 2017