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history & culture • 11 days, 10 nights

Pyramids and Petroglyphs of Sudan

Sudan
history & culture • 11 days, 10 nights

Pyramids and Petroglyphs of Sudan

Sudan
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  • Group Size 12 People Maximum
  • Activity Level
    Moderate
  • Travel Style
    Overland Adventure
from $5,680 USD per person
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Trip Overview
Overview

Join us as we make an epic overland journey to discover the ancient history and hidden gems of Sudan. Seldom visited and widely misunderstood, Sudan is home to some of the most spectacular historic artifacts and archaeological sites—whose numbers exceed those that can be found in all of Egypt. Following the Nile from Khartoum northward into the desert, we'll encounter the majestic pyramids at Meroe and Jebel Barkal. Together on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we'll unlock the secrets of the ancient Nubian Kingdom of Kush and the rule of the Black Pharaohs and Meroitic kings. And these will be just the beginning of our discoveries. This is a place that only reveals its stories and secrets to those willing to set out into its vast desert landscape.

Highlights
  • Crisscross the Nile to trace centuries-old ancient Egyptian and Nubian history
  • Meet Bisharin nomads and Nubian locals
  • Camp in the Sudanese desert
  • Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Meroe and Jebel Barkal
  • Travel by 4WD through incredible landscapes to see the remains of ancient civilisations at Naqa and Musawwarat
  • Three-day extension deeper into the remote Nubian desert

Itinerary

Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. We expect to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.
Sudan

Additional Info

Extension – Deeper into the Desert

The optional extension begins on Day 10 of the regular itinerary (the day before departure). See below for a description of the extension.

Day 10: Today, we’ll drive west into the remote Nubian Desert, crossing the Nile on the Dongola Bridge. Our first destination this morning is the magnificent ruins of the 14th-century BCE Egyptian Temple of Soleb, built by Amenhotep III, who was also responsible for the construction of Luxor in Egypt. We’ll wander through the site, admiring its hieroglyphic inscriptions, bas-relief figures, and column. From here, we’ll drive off-road back to the Nile, crossing over to eventually reach Tombos, known for its ancient granite quarries and the remains of a statue of King Taharqa. Here, situated among the boulders and sand, we’ll find our humble desert tented camp.

Day 11: This morning, we’ll set out for Wadi Sebu and its rich collection of petroglyphs. On Sebu’s canyon walls, we’ll find hundreds of ancient rock engravings depicting animals, hunting scenes, and boats. A little further on, we’ll arrive at the Third Cataract—the rapids here posed another obstacle to the ancient Egyptians’ efforts to navigate the Nile. The Nile then leads quickly to Kerma, once a flourishing community and capital of the ancient Nubian kingdom that controlled trade along the Nile. We’ll continue to follow the Nile south, reaching our wild desert tented camp. We’ll wander on foot through the nearby Nubian villages, their houses nestled between sand dunes and palm trees, before settling down for the night.

Day 12: Heading south towards Khartoum, we’ll make a stop at Old Dongola, an ancient Christian and later Islamic capital of the Nubian Kingdom, where we’ll wander through the ruins of Coptic Christian churches. From here, we’ll journey across the Western Desert before breaking for a picnic lunch. We’ll continue to Khartoum to check into the hotel and have the evening free. Most international flights depart late in the evening or after midnight; a private airport transfer will be arranged according to your flight schedule.

Day 13: Transfer to the airport by private vehicle in time for departing international flights.

Pricing

The listed price of the trip is per person based on double occupancy.

*The cost of the optional extension is an additional $1,260 per person based on double occupancy

Traveling Solo?

You’re in good company. Solo travelers typically make up about half of our small groups. With curiosity at the center of our experiences, there’s a natural camaraderie that develops over the course of a trip. We have two options for you: 

Shared Room: You’ll be matched with another solo traveler of the same gender. 

Private Room: Have your own room, subject to availability, for a supplemental cost of $975 (or $1,105 if taking the extension). After booking your trip, please request a private room when you fill out your traveler information form and we’ll add the option to your booking and final balance.

Accommodations

During this trip we’ll be staying at a variety of accommodations. The hotel in Khartoum is an international standard with Western-style private bathroom facilities. Outside Khartoum, however, the lodgings are basic. For our nights out in the desert, we’ll be in nice, pre-set tents (one might even call it “glamping”), but these camps do not have 24-hour electricity in the rooms, and each tent’s bathroom facility is a short walk behind the tent. The optional extension includes stays at non-permanent camps in the Nubian Desert. Accommodation at these desert camps is in dome tents with shared bucket shower tents and long-drop toilet tents.

Activity Level

Travelers should feel comfortable walking up to three hours each day, with lots of time spent outdoors, moving around, and on your feet. You should be comfortable walking on both flat and uneven ground, as well as stairs, sand, and rocky terrain. During the day’s activities and in transit, toilet facilities may be limited to “bush toilets” or basic squat toilets of inconsistent cleanliness standards.

Transportation

This is an overland journey that relies on long, rigorous drives in 4WD vehicles over rough, bumpy roads. On days when the distance to be covered is particularly long, we’ll make sure to stop regularly.

Arrival & Departure

Our trip begins with an included arrival transfer to our Khartoum hotel on Day 1, with most flights arriving late in the evening. You’ll meet up with your guide and group in the hotel lobby around 1 p.m. on Day 2, then head out for the boat ride on the Nile. Our trip concludes on the afternoon of Day 10—or Day 13 if joining for the extension—upon our return to Khartoum. Most international flights depart late in the evening or after midnight. If you'd like to extend your trip, we’d be happy to provide suggestions for other destinations.

Included
  • Accommodation throughout the trip at comfortable hotels and safari-style tented camps.
  • All meals described in the itinerary.
  • Transportation throughout the trip, including airport transfers.
  • Two experienced guides (one Sudanese, one European) accompanying you for the duration of the trip.
  • Tips for guides, drivers, porters and wait staff.
  • Admission to all proposed activities, locations, and events mentioned in the itinerary.
  • A great group of fellow Atlas Obscura travelers, excited to explore all that Sudan has to offer!
  • Global Rescue medical evacuation insurance.
  • Special access to unique places and extraordinary experiences.
Excluded
  • Transportation to and from Khartoum, Sudan.
  • Pre- and post-trip accommodations.
  • Travel insurance (recommended).
  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Atlas Obscura offerings, including 0% alcohol beer. (Note that alcohol is illegal in Sudan.)
  • Applying for a Sudan visa.
  • Customary gratuities for your two main guides.
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Trip FAQ

Your participation in this trip will provide significant financial contributions to the communities we visit, directly supporting small businesses, schools, villages, and local families. In addition, this trip's focus on important archaeological sites will help to preserve and maintain them for future generations. With the help of Friends Of Sudan/Amici del Sudan (an Italian NGO founded by our trip partners) your trip is supporting a school near the Meroe, called Tarabil, and digging a well to allow some nomadic tribes to bring their herds of animals back to their ancestral lands.

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Upcoming Departures

  • Mar 22–Apr 1, 2022
    from $5,860
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  • Nov 25–Dec 5, 2022
    from $5,680
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