We catch up with Marta from the Operations Team who has been travelling around Sudan. We're lucky Marta came home after an incredible week of scaling sand dunes, Meroe in starlight, aubergine dishes and even a marriage proposal.
The beauty and starkness of Sudanese desert landscape, in particular the charming sand dunes when lit up by the first light of the rising sun at dawn. We spent a night camping at the foot of the dunes, from the top of which was a vast 360° view with the cemetery of the ancient site of Old Dongola in the distance.
By far my favourite Sudanese dishes were aubergines in their many different variations: from grilled ones with tahini and yogurt dressing, stewed with different local spices and vegetables, to eggplant dip with peanut butter.
Visiting local market in a small village just a few kilometres from the Pyramids of Meroe. The moment we got out of the cars we were warmly greeted by locals with their “welcome to Sudan” and smile. I had a great sense of authentic experience wandering through alleys of this colourful market, chatting with locals and sipping tea. I have to say that my local interactions were surprisingly successful, I was even offered marriage by a Sudanese man.
My only regret is to have more time in Sudan, to learn more about their culture, great ethnical diversity and be able to experience a proper Sudanese wedding celebration which can go for even seven days!
Tips for travellers?
Make sure you try local shai from one of the tea ladies you can find on almost every corner. It’s the best spot for watching people and the everyday life on the Sudanese streets. Just remember to ask for “bidun sukar” tea, otherwise you will end up having one third of the glass topped with sugar.
Knowing a few basic words in Arabic like Salam Alaykum and Shukran met with a very positive reaction from locals and I could really feel they appreciated my effort. It helped so much with breaking the ice and helped to make a connection with them.
A great idea is to bring small Polaroid camera to be able to take photos of kids and give it to them as a souvenir. They all loved it!
Sitting on of the sand dunes at the royal necropolis of Meroe, starring at the beautiful starry night in an absolute silence which was interrupted only by the sound of my friend’s camera shutter taking long exposures of the night sky.