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Beneath the Sands of Sudan

Group Tour

8 Days From £2,975

Overview

This exciting trip offers an amazing insight into the rarely visited and often misunderstood country of Sudan. Located in the magnificent desert scenery lie some of the most important and visually stunning monuments from the ancient world - including more ancient pyramids than can be found in the whole of Egypt.

This is the ancient land of Kush, the old kingdom of the Meroitic kings, lost in the heart of the Sahara for centuries to the south of the great cataracts. Here we find the lands ...

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

7 x Breakfasts
8 x Lunches
7 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour we will be in 4WD vehicles outside of Khartoum, and a coaster bus whilst in Khartoum.  

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Eco Act for all bookings

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip.

On this particular trip the accommodation will vary from hotels to wild campsites. We will stay in smart boutique properties at Karima and Meroe, and spend a number of nights wild camping under desert skies. Please note that when camping you will be expected to put up and take down your tent, though help will always be available if needed.

Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Low / Moderate

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-5hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

MODERATE/HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-6 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

VERY HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 4-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Beneath the Sands of Sudan
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN KHARTOUM

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN KHARTOUM

The tour begins this afternoon in Khartoum, Sudan’s fascinating capital. On arrival we’ll check into our hotel before heading out for a boat cruise on the mighty river Nile. From here we’ll attend a traditional Nuba wrestling event, a popular activity for Sudanese men and quite a spectacle as they kick up the dust in an attempt to come out on top! Tonight we’ll enjoy our first group dinner and take the chance to talk about the exciting trip ahead.

The Grand Holiday Villa Hotel or similar
Lunch, Dinner

DAY 2: KHARTOUM - MUSSAWARAT - NAQA

DAY 2: KHARTOUM - MUSSAWARAT - NAQA

Today we begin the journey northward and make for Al Sabalouga (Sabaloka Gorge), a pretty spot by the sixth cataract of the river Nile where we’ll take a short boat ride towards the rapids. After a bit of time to stretch our legs and look around, we’ll continue north along the Nile and turn off the highway for the ‘Great Enclosure’ at Mussawarat, whose numerous depictions of elephants imply that these great animals once played an important role in this region. Beyond the big wadi there is another temple - restored by a German archaeological mission - dedicated to the god Apedemak. We’ll then drive to Naqa where we’ll find a beautiful spot to wild camp and spend our first night in tents under the desert sky.

Wild Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: NAQA - SHENDI - MEROE

DAY 3: NAQA - SHENDI - MEROE

This morning we’ll visit the archaeological site of Naqa, one of two centres that developed during the Meroitic period. Set in typical Saharan surroundings of rock and sand, we’ll find a temple dedicated to Apedemak (1st century AD), a wonderful building with bas-relief decorations. A few metres away there is a small and odd construction with arches and columns, named ‘kiosk’, in which we can see Egyptian, Roman and Greek styles together, as well as another temple dedicated to Amon with many statues of rams, and beautiful gates decorated with bas-reliefs. From here we’ll continue to the royal necropolis of Meroe. Here we’ll see the pyramids of the ancient city for the first time, visible amongst the dunes in the distance. Remote and mysterious, Meroe was the cultural core of a Kushite civilisation that flourished for a thousand years until it suddenly vanished. Today this remarkable site is littered with pyramids and funerary temples, some of them very well preserved, their walls decorated with bas-reliefs showing the life of the kings and the gods. Tonight we will stay in a comfortable fixed camp offering amazing views of the pyramids. Please note that the ‘Royal Baths’ at Meroe may be closed to the public when we visit due to planned restoration work.

Meroe Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: MEROE - ATBARA - ATRUN CRATER

DAY 4: MEROE - ATBARA - ATRUN CRATER

Today we continue our journey along the Nile as we follow the river downstream and make for the town of Atbara, located on the confluence between the Nile and the Atbara river. Here we will cross the Nile and visit the Railway Museum to learn something of Sudan’s history during colonial times. We’ll then drive away from the river and start our crossing of the Bayuda desert, making for the Atrun Crater, a very special place where nomads gather salt. We spend the night nearby at our desert wild camp.

Wild Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: ATRUN CRATER – BAYUDA DESERT - NURI - KARIMA

DAY 5: ATRUN CRATER – BAYUDA DESERT - NURI - KARIMA

Today we continue our crossing of the Bayuda Desert, an area bound by the loop that the Nile forms between the 4th and 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. We’re likely to meet isolated groups of Bisharin nomads here, who live in family groups in small huts made of intertwined branches. These huts are located close to water wells for their herds of camels and donkeys. Meeting the river Nile again we’ll visit the Pyramids of Nuri before continuing to the small town of Karima, set before the imposing base of Jebel Barkal, Nubia’s holy mountain of legend.

Maraweeland Resort or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: KARIMA - OLD DONGOLA

DAY 6: KARIMA - OLD DONGOLA

After breakfast we’ll visit Jebel Barkal, a red sandstone monolith that acts like a beacon amongst the vast open landscapes of the Nubian Desert. The mountain lay at the centre of Nubian religious worship for centuries, and the large temple that adorns its foot is filled with dedications to the Pharaohs and their gods, and now listed as a World Heritage Site. We’ll also visit nearby El Kurru, where one of the necropolises of the ancient capital of Napata lies. We’ll visit the excavated tombs here, lying under collapsed pyramids, before crossing the desert once more and heading for Old Dongola.

Wild Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: OLD DONGOLA - KHARTOUM

DAY 7: OLD DONGOLA - KHARTOUM

This morning we’ll explore the archaeological site of Old Dongola where we’ll find ruins of Christian Coptic churches. We’ll then journey through the Western desert, stopping for lunch en route at Wadi Muqaddam with its many acacia trees. From here we’ll continue to Omdurman for the rest of the afternoon, where we will get to see the impressive whirling dervishes ceremony. Performed in front of the Hamed an-Nil tomb this frenzied sufi tradition is sure to leave a lasting impression you! Tonight we will head out for dinner before returning to our hotel.

The Grand Holiday Villa Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: TOUR ENDS IN KHARTOUM

DAY 8: TOUR ENDS IN KHARTOUM

After breakfast we’ll cross the confluence between the Blue and White Nile to reach Omdurman, the old capital of Sudan. Here we’ll look at the outside of Mahdi’s tomb and then visit Khalifa’s House, containing a small museum. We’ll also visit Omdurman market before having an early lunch. In the afternoon we’ll visit the impressive Archaeological Museum, containing many beautiful objects including two full temples rescued by UNESCO from the Lake Nasser area when it was flooded after construction of the Aswan dam. We’ll then return to our hotel for the chance to freshen up. Those on the suggested group flights will be transferred to Khartoum airport in time for their return flight.

Breakfast, Lunch

ACCOMMODATION USED ON THIS TOUR

Superior

Superior

Accommodation displayed here should be taken as a guide only. *Please refer to the Detailed Itinerary of your individual departure for more information.

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that Wild Frontiers has been committed to since our birth. It is our strong belief that these words should not be simply ‘tagged on’ to itineraries and websites but should be at the very core of each trip, and our adventures are therefore designed with the local people, culture and eco-system in mind. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our clients, but that it also benefits the peoples whose lands we are privileged to visit. For more information, please see our responsible travel page.

Friends of Sudan

On this tour we will visit the Friends of Sudan, an organisation that helps local communities develop and engage in projects that are in line with the local and religious traditions of Sudanese people.  The aim is to provide the tools necessary for the local population to support themselves.  Wild Frontiers and our partners in Sudan actively support this initiative and you will have the opportunity to see how local people are benefitting from tourism.  You will pay a visit to the Tarabil school funded by the Friends of Sudan, the school provides education to the children in three villages near the Meroe archaeological  site.

*School visit may not be possible if the date falls during school holidays

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
ET 701 London Heathrow (LHR) 20:15 Addis Ababa Airport (ADD) 06:35
ET 344 Addis Ababa Airport (ADD) 09:35 Khartoum Airport (KRT) 10:25
ET 347 Khartoum Airport (KRT) 17:45 Addis Ababa Airport (ADD) 20:35
ET 700 Addis Ababa Airport (ADD) 01:20 London Heathrow (LHR) 06:35

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

For this tour, UK passport holders currently require a visa for Sudan.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

NB. It should also be noted that anyone with a passport showing evidence of having visited Israel (including having entered or left Jordan/Egypt from posts which are known to border Israel) are likely to be denied a visa for Sudan.

Moreover as of January 2016 US policy (subject to change) has stated that anyone wishing to travel to or via the USA is required to apply for a US visa (rather than an ESTA) if they have travelled to Sudan since March 2011. The process is fairly straightforward and you can read more about it here – www.wildfrontierstravel.com/us-visa  - but this is just something you will need to aware of if you have future plans to travel to or via the US.

In April 2019, The British FCO noted that visitors to Sudan on a single-entry visa were sometimes being asked to purchase an exit visa to leave the country. If you are asked for an exit visa they can be processed at the airport. If requested, you should be ready to show your letter on invitation (which we will send to you before you apply for your actual visa) and pay an exit visa fee of 50 US Dollars.

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries.

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

Hot days (around 30-35C) and cool nights (around 10-15C) can be expected as is typical of desert regions. Rain is unlikely but not unheard of. Please note the temperature can drop in the desert at night so you should pack some warm clothes for the early mornings and late evenings.

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

Please be advised that on this trip vegetarians can be catered for but the selection and variety may be limited.

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, though please note that desert travel can be tiring at times and you should come prepared for some unexpected challenges.

Please note there are a number of nights spent wilderness camping on this tour.

It is worth pointing out that Sudan is a ‘dry’ country and it is forbidden to take alcohol in to the country.

Please note that sometimes we operate this itinerary in reverse, but when we are forced to do this there is no change to any of the sites visited or itinerary inclusions.

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour including all camping nights, when you would get your own tent.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. If you choose to purchase the Wild Frontiers bespoke policy through Travel & General (currently available to UK residents only) then please note for this trip the minimum required level of cover will be the Standard policy. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A £200 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 6122 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.

INSPIRATION

WF SIGNATURE VIDEO

In this short film Wild Frontiers founder and MD explains the ethos behind the award-winning travel company.

REVIEWS OF THIS TRIP