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An extension tour to northern Sudan is the perfect way to enhance a trip to Ethiopia. The cultures and the history have an important overlap and an understanding of the history of this remarkable country compliments any trip to other parts of the horn of Africa.
We either have shot four-day tours or in the case of this 7-day tour, Mussawarat is included.
Nuri Necropolis, the Royal Necropolis, Naga and the Bayuda Desert are all included in this tour.
Khartoum is situated at the confluence of the Blue Nile that originates in Ethiopia and the White Nile which runs north from Lake Victoria, through South Sudan. The capital area includes 3 major areas: Khartoum, where most of the hotels are situated, the airport and all the city offices are; Omdurman, the old capital, where there is the largest market in the country. Khartoum is a very safe city since the strict muslim religion lays down the moral code. The traffic can be chaotic at times but this adds to the atmosphere for the visiting adventurer.
In the River Nile State there are many archaeological sites mainly dating back to the Meroitic Kingdom. There are ancient pyramids, temples and untouched desert areas.
Nile cataracts are the main features of this area where the Nile remains in its original state, unharnessed by man for agriculture or electric power.
Meroe is surely the highlight of the trip. Nubian pyramids are pyramids that were built by the rulers of the ancient Kushite kingdoms. The area of the Nile valley known ss Nubia, which lies within the north of present day Sudan was home to three Kushite kingdoms during antiquity. The first had its capital at kerma (2500–1500 BC). The second was centered on Napata (1000–300 BC). Finally, the last kingdom was centered on Meroë (300 BC–AD 300). They are built of granite and sandstone. The pyramids were partially demolished by the italian treasure hunter Guiuseppi Felini in the 1830s.
Deeply influenced by the Egyptians, Nubian kings built their own pyramids a thousand years after Egyptian burial methods had changed] In Nubia, pyramids were built for the first time at El Kurru in 751 BC. The Nubian style pyramids emulated a form of Egyptian private elite family pyramid that was common during the New Kingdom. There are twice as many nubian pyramids still standing today than there are Egyptian ones. The Nubian pyramids are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Night at the hotel … Lodge The beautiful Meroe Camp, overlooking the renown pyramids of Meroe, features 22 twin bedded tents. Rooms are 16sqm and each one of them features a shady veranda with 2 chairs for reading or simply relaxing overlooking the pyramids. Every tent has its own private restroom and shower which is located in a separate hut at the back of the tent. The restaurant has a terrace on the top where guests can enjoy the sunset over the pyramids. 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 a torch or headlamps. Meroe Camp is open from October till the end of April. With this permanent facility, this dry region of extraordinary archaeological interest and beautiful landscapes become accessible even to those reluctant to sacrifice their comfort.
Detailed Itinerary for Khartoum – Meroe
DAY 01: Addis Ababa – Khartoum
Morning take your breakfast and transfer to the airport. You will be met Khartoum airport by our representative and transferred to your hotel.
Stay over at Acropole hotel, Khartoum (www.petitfute.co.uk)
Room Type: Double/Twin Room Hotel Board Type: B&B
DAY 02: Khartoum
In the morning you will have free time to walk Khartoum city center. Our representative will guide you if you wish.
In the afternoon (normally 14.00 hrs) 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.
We then cross 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 and Khalifa’s House from outside.
Time permitting we will also walk in Omdurman Market. At sunset time we move near the tomb of the sufi leader Ahmed al Nil to attend the involving Dervishes Ceremony (only on Fridays).
DAY 02: Khartoum-Naga-Mussawarat-Meroe
Pick up from your hotel in Khartoum and then we begin our journey northward to visit two wonderful archaeological sites. Naga and Mussawarat.
The site of Naga is located about 30 km to the east of the Nile and it is one of the two centers 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 meters 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. We then go to Mussawarat, not far away from Naga. This settlement is located in a beautiful valley crowned by hills.
Here the ruins of a very big temple are visible. It once played an exceptionally 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 AD. The large number of elephants represented on these walls reminds the visitor of the importance that elephants played in the construction of the site. Beyond the big wadi there is another temple – restored by a German archaeological mission – dedicated to the god Apedemak.
Late afternoon arrival at Meroe. (Distance: 260 km) On the way we can stop to see how the Sundanese rural people live.
Day 04: 6th Cateract- Khartoum- Khartoum airport
After breakfast we visit the Royal Necropolis of Meroe which is located about 3 km 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. We then begin the journey southwards. After the visit we drive south and we take a detour to visit the 6th cataract – Sabaloka Gorge where we take a short cruise to see the rapids. In the afternoon, return towards Khartoum.
Drop off at your hotel. Picnic lunch included. Transfer to the airport by private vehicle.
(Distance: 220 km)
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