Preview: Sudan and Africa
Khartoum is our next stop and it has a fantastic setting on the confluence of the Blue and White Niles. Our stay here is on the banks of the Nile at the quirky but interesting Blue Nile Sailing Club. It houses one of General Kitcheners old Gunboats, a relic from the British military campaign against the Mahdi over a century ago. For such a large city, Khartoum feels quite laid back. Here I’ll have the opportunity to visit the Hamed al Nil Tomb or take a trip to the daily camel market, or simply set back, relax, and enjoy the views of the confluence of the two Niles.
The ancient Pyramids at Meroe lie to the north of the capital Khartoum. Our drive across the Nubian Desert will see us either hugging the banks of Nile as it snakes its way north or possibly experiencing the vast open desert plains which is dissected by the main train line from Khartoum — making this our only real point of reference. Whether passing through sleepy Nubian villages ,resting in tea rooms, pottering around the local souqs or experiencing total isolation in the middle of the desert — a unique experience awaits me along this not-so- travelled route to Wadi Halfa.
Upon reaching Lake Nasser and the port of Wadi Halfa in Northern Sudan, we board the ferry to Egypt —the ultimate destination on the expedition. The ferry takes about a day and a night and is a supremely relaxing way to travel, and a great opportunity to mix and chat to local Egyptian and Sudanese people alike. We’ll rejoin the expedition vehicle (which travelled on a separate barge) and make our way to Aswan.
We’ll be based here for a couple of days — enough time for me to join a 2 or 3 day felucca boat cruise to Edfu and Kom Ombo. The opportunity to visit Abu Simbel — the massive stone monuments built by the greatest of all pharaohs, Ramses ll, should be a highlight of the trip, before continuing to Luxor.
I’ll have plenty to do in Luxor , including visiting both the Valley of Kings and Valley of Queens. Here, the remarkably well preserved tombs of the ancient rulers - Ramses ll and Tutankhamun -have coloured paintings and hieroglyphics that still seem fresh even after 3000 years. Karnak and Luxor Temples are also both in easy walking distance from the campsite.
From here, the drive takes us towards the Red Sea Coast. I’ll have some time to relax on the beach for a couple of days or tryvarious watersports such as snorkelling, windsurfing, or scuba diving in the cool clear blue waters.
The final destination, Cairo is only a few hours away. Visiting the great Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza sounds like a proper way to end this amazing expedition.