Blog Archives

Desert camping in an ancient kingdom

Every now and then you have an unforgettable experience that helps remind you why you made the decisions you did.
I had one of those moments recently while camping in the desert just next door to Sudan’s ancient pyramids.
Six of us set off walking about 11pm from Bagrawiyah villagewhere we stayed with Rami’s family during the Muslim holiday Eid.

At the time, it seemed both reckless and exciting to be walking through the quiet village streets into the darkness beyond.

Guiding our way is intrepid fellow volunteer Robert, who is an experienced traveller and has already camped at the Meroëpyramids on previous trips to Sudan.

We navigate by the moonlight and the shadowy outline of the pyramids in front, walking parallel to the road so as not to be seen by passing cars.

Behind us the green minaret of the Bagrawiyah mosque becomes smaller and smaller.

The Meroë pyramids were constructed about 800 years after their Egyptian counterparts.

 
Good morning!!

The area is the final resting place of more than 40 kings and queens from the Merotic Kingdom, also known as the Kingdom of Kush.

There were once more than 200 pyramids scattered across the desert sands at Meroë, but today that number stands at about 20.

While some remain well-preserved, others are crumbling or slowly being reclaimed by the desert sands.

One of the first stories locals will tell you is that of Italian explorer Giuseppe Ferlini, who infamously smashed the tops off 40 pyramids in 1834 in search of treasure.

While Ferlini hit the jackpot inside the first pyramid he plundered, the 39 he subsequently destroyed yielded nothing.

 
Desert campsite

Once back in Europe, he struggled to find a buyer for his treasure trove, as no-one believed that such exquisite jewels could come from black Africa, with collectors assuming Ferlini was an imposter trying to pass off fakes.

Since then, the pyramids have been virtually plundered of all their wealth and many historical treasures and artifacts relating to the period are now housed in British and German museums.

Still, there is something sacred about Meroë, and not simply for the fact it is an ancient burial ground, but also because it remains virtually undiscovered by modern tourism.

Technically tourists are not allowed to camp at the pyramids; however guards tend to tolerate the practice if done discreetly.

After an hour-and-a-half walking we arrive at the edge of the dunes and climb to the top to scope out a good spot to pitch our tents.

 
Our desert sunrise

The wind has picked up and setting up our tents in near darkness proves challenging, particularly when we discover mid-way through that the pegs are missing.

 
An ancient kingdom

Imagine how ridiculous we felt in the  morning when we discover the bag of pegs in the sand nearby.

In the end we anchor them down with our backpacks and set off for a moonlight stroll amongst the pyramids.

The silence of the desert and the ghostly shadows   of the ancient pyramids and the surrounding dunes  makes for an eerie experience.

We talk in hushed tones and keep in the shadows, which to me is more out of reverence for the ancient crumbling kingdom we are walking amongst, than staying out of the way of any patrolling guards that may be in the area.

It’s just after six when we wake in the morning. As we step out of our tents the sun is just rising and a pale pink sky highlights the desert horizon.

I have to say, it’s a pretty special moment…

We climb to a nearby vantage point and watch as the light changes, illuminating the sands in various golden shades.

 
Young souvenir sellers

As we return to our camp to pack our tents away, a solitary man on a donkey waves at us across the desert and promptly sets up a small makeshift stall with small trinkets and pyramid replicas carved from the region’s distinctive sandstone.

This sets off a retail chain reaction and we are soon totally surrounded by a group of small children waving various replica pyramids at more and more reduced prices.

Something in their eyes and the desperation in their pleas makes me wish that I could do more for them than simply buy a dusty souvenir.

We set off on a hike later and quite by accident stumble across a series of mountains, housing a network of small caves. The rolling orange dunes give way to a rocky barren moonscape and the view from the top provides an impressive scale for the endless expanse of desert stretching out across the horizon.

It’s true that the Meroë pyramids may lack the grandness and scale of their Egyptian counterparts, but here you can have them almost to yourself – and that’s pretty hard to beat.

 
The intrepids 🙂

 

Advertisements

Industry of Tourism ” Sudan”

Sudan was gifted by all types of tourism factors such as long beaches, beautiful landscapes, good nature and archeological sites in different parts of the country.
Tourism has become an important industry nowadays and it contributes and brings a huge amount of money to increase the public revenue of countries. The problem that faces tourism in Sudan is the absence of a set plan, tourists’ needs in, how to attract them and types of laws that should be made?
Tourism will bring hard currency and open Sudan to the world.
The plan must address foreigners; this mean that we need to deal with different cultures, traditions and habits.
Archeologists have to convey ancient areas and to inform tourists about Sudan, its history, food and all interesting aspects related to tourism.
The Minister of Investment in Sudan has prepared an investment plan which targeted all states and each of them submitted a proposal about the type of tourism it will present. On behalf of the country, the ministry of investment will present to the market of tourism laws to regulate tourism investment.
The country needs to facilitate the mission of investors and encourage them through flexible legislations.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It is not difficult to create a good atmosphere and offer tourism services based on international criteria. However, this dream has been translated into action by Al-Saraf Tourism Complex, a national company managed to penetrate the world of tourism through a Sudanese restaurant called Al-Housh. This complex was designed to receive ambassadors, international organizations and all foreigners from different parts of the world. The restaurant has an international staff, which is well trained to serve people of multi-cultures.

Those who stand behind the idea managed to create an attractive, breath taking Nile beach in Omdurman.
The Sudanese government appreciated the idea and promised to encourage national investors and to host guests to establish businesses in Sudan.

Golden Links: Tourism Prospects in Sudan

The Northern State (2): Places to visit
Meroe City:
In the efforts towards boosting tourism in the Northern state, we have seen last time that the Dams unit in the city of Meroe set up a beautiful tourist resort hotel or what is known as Meroe tourist village. But the city of Meroe itself is a significant tourist attraction. The city which is situated on the eastern side of the River Nile contains about two hundred pyramids, dotting the city and showing it as one of the oldest civilization sites in African Continent and the Middle East.
Dongola City:
Dongola is a popular tourist spot in northern Sudan due to its strategic location beside the River Nile. The place was a site for multi past Nubian cultures. Most interesting it was the place where the “Baqt Treaty” between Muslims and Nubians. That treaty allowed the place to become the first city in Sudan to have a Mosque, the remnants of which now are a tourist attraction.
Wadi Halfa City:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


The city is a place that had seen the convergence of different Sudanese and Egyptian civilizations, and where today a lot of archaeological activities are trying to preserve the Sudanese-Egyptian antiquities around. Now it is one of the most attractive spots to tourists because of the “Nubian Lake”, which gives the tourists the opportunity to fish, swim, or go sightseeing in serenity and calm.
The place also is an attraction for local tourism, because many of its past inhabitants love to visit the place, especially “The Halfawiyeen Tribe” who were forced to migrate to the city of New Halfa in Eastern Sudan during the reign of Aboud military government in the fifties and sixties of last century. Aboud government forced them to abandon the town and their homes to give way for the Sudanese-Egyptian treaty the allowed Egypt to construct one of its most famous Economic enterprises “Lake Nassir”

By A.S. Alkoronki

Golden Links: Tourism Prospects in Sudan,The Northern State

The Northern State

The Northern State of Sudan was the cradle of many Nubian Kingdoms and civilizations. It has a wealth of historical monuments including Pyramids, graveyards and relics of old communities that attract tourists.
Towards boosting tourism in the state the Dams unit in the city of Meroe set up a tourist resort hotel or what is known as Meroe tourist village on 23 acres, in an area as wide as that of the former Meroe administrative center, which includes irrigated orchards and the home of the famous Jackson Pasha the General Governor of the administrative unit. The ownership of the village has turned to the “Mada” governmental company that runs the village now.
The village is located in a strategic place in the city of Meroe on the western bank of the Nile, 400 km north of Omdurman, along the “Sheriyan Shamal” road.
The Village, where the Merowe Dam is located 40 kilometers south of it, lies among the biggest tourist attractions of the Northern State, like: Gebel Barkal, the pyramids of Nuri and the historical Koru Graveyard.
The tourist village consists of hotel units in the form of two storey Villas, 4 small size Villas, each containing 6 rooms and there are 6 big Villas each one with 10 rooms, including 8 rooms as en suite wings.
The tourist village is also equipped with meeting rooms which can accommodate up to 200 people, and supplemented with two small halls.
The village contains a historical museum that displays the civilization of the old Kingdoms of Kush and Napta, a restaurant equipped with 3 Dining rooms in addition to a health club that contains an under construction gym, a swimming pool, steam baths, a sauna and a mosque beneath which is located a supermarket.
There are a number of projects under construction containing a range of sports fields, one floor villas facing the Nile River, and children playgrounds including a variety of Games, and a zoo. But what is most important of all is a project for the rehabilitation and restoration of historic buildings, offices and houses that were constructed during the British and Egyptian rule of Sudan.

By A. S. Alkoronki – GMS

Forgotten History: The Mystery of the African Pharaohs

“There is a magic beauty about these sites that is heightened by the privilege of being able to admire them alone, with the pyramids, the dunes and the sun,” says Guillemette Andreu, head of antiquities at Paris’s Louvre museum.

Our Kingdom of the Black Pharaohs tour offers you the chance to visit the amazing sites of northern Sudan in comfort, staying in comfortable hotels and tented camps, and so is ideal for those who would prefer not to camp. On this short trip we visit some the key sites of the incredible ancient civilisations of Sudan, spending time at the ancient monuments and pyramids around Jebel Barkal, visiting the stunning Royal Necropolis at Meroe and the impressive sites of Naqa and Musawwarat. We cross foreboding desert landscapes, and hope to meet families of local nomads en route, as well as stopping at Nubian villages to meet friendly inhabitants. This is an ideal trip for those wishing to visit some of Sudan’s key highlights in a short space of time.

 Pyramids of the Giza are not the only pyramids built alongside the Nile. Pyramids of Meroe are witnessing about long-lost civilization once present here.

Hidden Treasures, Sudan

English: Nubian Desert in Sudan.

English: Nubian Desert in Sudan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Sudan tour allows you to follow in the footsteps of ancient civilisations. This  adventure through Sudan takes you to see some incredible ancient sites, starting with an in depth visit of the capital city of Khartoum seeing museums, tombs and markets.

 

Then cross the Nubian Desert in search of the lost pyramids and temples of the Nile Valley; en route visit various historical temples Archaeological Sites. The Meroe Pyramids are the most concentrated pyramid complex in the Nile valley.

 

True dessert with stunning views of the pyramids. then head to Karima for more pyramids and Temples and a Cruise the great NIle river enjoy upscale hospitality and watch a Thousandth  years of history unfold before you on an unforgettable and .

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.