NUBIA – A journey along the Nile

A unique journey that makes you discover the history: from the first invasion of the Egyptian Pharaohs who subdued the Sudanese Nubia, to the area of Jebel Barkal, the capital city of the Kingdom of the Black Pharaohs, when the Nubian Kings conquered the whole pharaonic Egypt. Then we will travel south to Meroe, where a great indigenous culture which rivalled even with the Romans developed and where there are dozens of pyramids laid down in the desert.

15 days
Oct-Apr
all accommodated

Services included:

  • meeting at airport and private transfer to hotel
  • 1 O/N at Isis Corniche Hotel Aswan 4**** in BB
  • 1 O/N at Nubian House in Abu Simbel in BB
  • full board on the boat including water, coffee and tea
  • individual lake permission for the protected areas and for visiting the fortress of Qasr Ibrim, normally not accessible for tourists
  • fixer in Sudan for border crossing
  • 2 O/N at Acropole Hotel (3***) or similar in Khartoum in BB (possible upgrade at 4 or 5***** hotel in Khartoum upon request)
  • all the camping equipment for the overnights in camp (igloo tent,    rubber foam mattress) and a cook in charge of the meals
  • 3 O/N in a special preset camp in Sudan in Tombos with shared facilities
  • 1 O/N in full board at the Nubian Rest House in Karima
  • 2 O/N at the Meroe Camp in FB
  • in Sudan transport with Toyota Land Cruisers (4 pax per car)  or Toyota Hilux double cabin (3 pax per car guaranteed) including one extra day for our vehicles to to reach Wadi Halfa from Khartoum
  • TL English speaking
  • Sudanese staff
  • mineral water when on tour
  • meals as per itinerary
  • exit fees in Egypt to be paid cash locally
  • entry fees in Sudan to be paid cash locally
Day 1 / Aswan - arrival

Meet and greet at the airport and transfer to Isis Corniche Hotel 4****. Overnight stay.

Meal plan
  • NO meals included
Accommodation
Isis Corniche Hotel 4**** in Aswan
Day 2 / Aswan – Garf Hussein (Lake Nasser) – Soqqar - Madiq (beginning of the cruise)

After breakfast we reach the fisherman harbour near Garf Hussein on Lake Nasser after a one hour drive. Here we shall embark and start the cruise on Lake Nasser. We can spot the unfinished holiday palace of Anwar el Saddat. Unfortunately he was assassinated before ever living in his palace on the shores of Lake Nasser. The famous Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy designed and built the beautiful palace, which has many Nubian features. We then reach Abu Derua, a cone like hill in the middle of the lake. At Soqqar beach (sugar beach) we enjoy a swimming in the lake. Lunch in Soqqar and then we continue cruising to Madiq and some fishing from the shore.

This evening we will take a sunset walk on the Madiq area, keeping an eye out for basking Nile crocodiles and enjoying spectacular sceneries of the lake and its surrounding desert. Dinner and overnight on the boat. (B.L.D.)

Meal plan
  • Picnic lunch
  • Dinner on the boat
Accommodation
Overnight on the boat
Day 3 / Navigation on lake Nasser: Madiq – Wadi es Seboua

Early morning we will discover some nearby ancient Egyptian engravings. This unofficial site is one of our well kept secrets. We had confirmation form a famous archaeologist, that the date for these engravings are definitely late Predynastic (Nagada II, c. 3500 BCE to about 3100 BCE) to the New Kingdom. The motifs are purely ancient Egyptian. The presence of the Horus emblem (the bird) in particular marks a very early date, as does the low central cabin without a sail.

Then we start cruising south through the strait of Abu Steit and having breakfast on the boat while sailing. Then we go for a wonderful morning walk and bird watching. Then we continue cruising south to the temples of Wadi es Sebua, Dakka and Maharraqa. Saved from the rising flood waters of Lake Nasser, the temples sit along the western banks of the lake and include the stunning Temple of Ramses II, dramatically lying half buried among the desert sands and approached along a spectacular avenue of sphinxes which gave the name to Wadi es Sebua, valley of the lions. Re-boarding the boat, we enjoy lunch with views from the upper deck on the temples. We then take a pleasant walk through the great dunes of Wadi El Temsah (crocodile bay). One of the unique places on Lake Nasser where dunes plunge into the lake waters. Dinner and overnight on the boat. (B.L.D.)

Meal plan
  • Lunch on the boat
  • Dinner on the boat
Accommodation
Overnight on the boat
Day 4 / Navigation on lake Nasser: Wadi El Arab – Nubian fjords” in Korosqo East - Korosqo West – El Marsan el Ramla

After a light breakfast in the shadow of a vast golden dune we reach Wadi el Arab by foot. This is where a massive dune plunges into the blue waters of Lake Nasser. You will be able to enjoy a wonderful morning bath. We then head to the dramatic canyons of Korosqo, also called de “Nubian fjords”, on the east side of the lake which is only 2-3 km wide at this place. This stretch of the lake provides an ideal spot to look out for birds and other animals living on the shores of Lake Nasser, as we turn north and meander through the narrow confines of the gorge. We then cruise on, heading next towards the wonderful sandy beaches of El Marsan el ramla. This place is a great opportunity for swimming in stunning clear waters of the Nile or to try out some fishing from the shore. We will end the day with a wonderful sun set walk with great view on the vast lake and desert. Overnight in a creek not far from Amada temples. (B.L.D.)

Meal plan
  • Lunch on board
  • Dinner on board
Accommodation
Overnight on the boat
Day 5 / Navigation on lake Nasser: Amada temples - Qasr Ibrim – Toshka Island

Morning walk through the desert to reach the temple site of Amada. Dating back to the XVIIth dynasty, these are the oldest monuments to survive the creation of the lake. Relocated by a team of French engineers, the complex includes some of the best preserved inscriptions left in ancient Egypt and this morning we will pay a visit to the temples of Amada and Derrand the tomb of Pennout.

Breakfast on board while sailing after the visit towards Qasr Ibrim (qasr = fortress) the only monument to have remained in its original location when the lake was flooded. We have the privilege of visiting these ruins by foot, which are normally not accessible to the public. For one month a year, archaeologists come on a mission to this mysterious place. We will take lunch with view on the remaining of the old Cathedral. In the afternoon we will start sailing towards Toshka Island that we reach in the evening around sun set. Maybe another chance to see a crocodile on the sandy shores of this huge island in the middle of the lake. Dinner and night on board. (B.L.D.)

Meal plan
  • Lunch on board
  • Dinner on board
Accommodation
Overnight on board
Day 6 / End of the cruise: Toshka Island crossing – Abu Simbel

After a large breakfast, we start crossing Toshka Island by foot, enjoying the desert scenery and wonderful morning breeze. The skies above echoes with the sounds of dozens black hawks. The boat will catch us on the other side of the island where we will enjoy a last opportunity to swim in the lake and prepare our luggage for Abu Simbel. After one and a half hour sailing and lunch, we reach the harbor of Abu Simbel where we disembark the boat. Here we head for the famous rock-cut temples of Abu Simbel. A UNESCO World heritage site, these spectacular ruins were constructed by Ramses II. Without doubt one of the most  powerful of the New Kingdom Pharaohs, which includes the 4 iconic 20 meter high statues of the great pharaoh himself. After the visit, check-in a small but charming eco-lodge on the shores of Lake Nasser. Dinner NOT included and overnight stay. (B.L.)

Meal plan
  • Lunch on board
  • Dinner NOT included
Accommodation
Overnight on board
Day 7 / Abu Simbel – Qostol – Ashkait (Sudan) - Wadi Halfa - Tombos

We take the first bus in the morning coming from Aswan and going to Wadi Halfa that will take the ferry across Lake Nasser to reach the border point of Qostol. After passing the Egyptian border and once we have cleared the formalities to enter Sudan, we shall meet our Sudanese staff and vehicles which will accompany us for the rest of the journey.

Please bear in mind that crossing the border might takes long hours.

Arrival at the border town of Wadi Halfa where Lake Nasser takes the name of Lake Nuba. We continue until the preset camp located in a beautiful spot among the granite boulders of Tombos. Dinner and overnight stay. (B.L.D.)

Meal plan
  • Picnic lunch
  • Dinner at Preset Camp
Accommodation
Preset Camp
Day 8 / Tombos – Island of Sai - Temple of Soleb - Tombos

After breakfast we reach the Island of Sai taking a short cruise on the Nile to see the Nile crocodiles and to reach the ruins of an Egyptian temple and an old Ottoman fortress on the island. We shall then continue southward until the small village of Wawa. Here we will take a small motor boat to reach the temple of Soleb, the most beautiful Egyptian Temple in Sudan. Return to Tombos. Dinner and overnight at the preset camp. (B.L.D.)

Meal plan
  • Picnic lunch
  • Dinner at Preset Camp
Accommodation
Preset Camp
Highlights
Day 9 / Tombos – Sebu – 3rd Cataract - Kerma – Tombos

After breakfast we reach the Third Cataract which used to be the third huge obstacle that the ancients Egyptians had to face when trying to sail on the Nile River.  We walk up the hill to the ancient Ottoman Fort where we can have beautiful views of the cataract. In Sebu, right on the river bank of the Nile it is possible to visit one of the richest sites of rock engraving of all Sudan with hundreds of images from prehistoric to Egyptian times. In the afternoon we arrive in Kerma where we visit the majestic “Defuffa” the monument that characterizes Kerma civilization. Very interesting is the Museum created by the Swiss archaeological mission after the recovery of seven statues of the Black Pharaohs in 2003. We then reach the ancient granite quarries of Tombos where we will see a statue of Taharqa simply left there in the sand. Return to the preset camp for dinner and overnight stay. (B.L.D.)

Meal plan
  • Picnic lunch
  • Dinner at Preset Camp
Accommodation
Preset Camp
Day 10 / Tombos - Nubian Desert – Old Dongola – El Kurru - Karima

We continue our journey along the Nile. This area is the central part of the Nubian region. Here the population lives in small villages amongst yellow sand dunes and palm trees they speak a different language from the Arabs and also the Islamic religion is not as “strict” as in other regions. The women don’t cover their faces and readily speak to foreigners. Some houses in the Nubian Villages are painted and decorated with colourful patterns and flowers. Enthusiastic hospitality abounds, people will often invite foreigners to visit their home and share a meal or a cup of spiced tea. Picnic in the area.

We will then reach the archaeological site of Old Dongola. Here there are the rest of a Christian Coptic temple with marble columns as well as several suggestive ruins of churches situated on the banks of the Nile. In the village of El Kurru there is one of the necropolises of the ancient capital, Napata.  Here we can visit one tomb, which is excavated in the rock under pyramids – partially collapsed – and are totally decorated with images of the Pharaoh, of the gods and multicolour hieroglyphic inscriptions. Not far from here there is an interesting site of petrified wood, an ancient forest with hundreds of huge trunks. We shall then reach the village of Karima at the feet of Jebel Barkal. Dinner and overnight in the charming Nubian Rest House at the feet of Jebel Barkal. (B.L.D.)

Meal plan
  • Picnic lunch
  • Dinner at the Nubian Rest House
Accommodation
Karima Nubian Rest House
Day 11 / Karima - Jebel Barkal – Nuri – Meroe

Landmark in the Nubian Desert, Jebel Barkal (“Jebel” means mountain in Arabic) can be seen from a few dozen kilometres whilst still in the open desert. At the foot of this wonderful and isolated red sandstone mountain, considered holy since the ancient times, there is a big temple, dedicated to the Pharaohs of the New Reign and to their patron, Amon.  Amon’s ancient “Pure Mountain”, the Olympus of the Nubians, was the religious Nubian heart for more than 1000 years.  Besides the ruins of the big temple there are still several sculptured granite rams that were supposed to border a long avenue that probably led to the pier on the Nile.  In the mountain wall there is a big room decorated with bas-relief.  The Jebel Barkal archaeological sites are on the World Heritage list. The Royal necropolis of the ancient city of Napata, the Nubian capital (from 800 to 400 B.C.) before the Meroitic period, had a large number of pyramids, located in three different places: few hundred metres north of Jebel Barkal; a dozen kilometres southwards from the holy mountain, in El Kurru; in Nuri, which is located on the other bank of the Nile.  We cross the Nile to reach the pyramids of Nuri. Little walk among those ancient ruins and then we enter the Bayuda Desert, the area bounded by the loop formed by the Nile between the 4th and the 6th Cataract and characterized 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. It is very likely to meet isolated groups of Hassanya e Manasir nomads, who live in familiar groups in small huts made of intertwined branches close to the rare water wells, with their caravans and herds of camels and cattle. We cross the Nile for the last time in Atbara. On the other shore we drive on a level ground area and, all of a sudden, we can glance at more than 40 pyramids, located on top of a hill, some of them perfectly preserved that belong to the Royal Necropolis of Meroe. Arrival at the Meroe Camp with a beautiful view on the pyramids. Accommodation in comfortable and fully furnished tents, dinner and overnight stay. (B.L.D.)

Meal plan
  • Picnic lunch
  • Dinner at Meroe Camp
Accommodation
Meroe Camp
Day 12 / Meroe - the Necropolis and the Royal city of Meroe

Morning dedicated to the visit of the pyramids. The Royal Necropolis of Meroe is located at 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. Lunch at Meroe Camp. In the afternoon we move along the Nile to visit the ruins of the Royal city. The excavations confirm that the town of Meroe used to cover a large area and the Royal city was located in a central position, surrounded by suburbs and a boundary wall.  Most of the area where the city is located, formed by many small hills covered by red clay fragments, has still to be excavated by the archaeologists. Dinner and overnight stay at the permanent Meroe Camp. (B.L.D.)

Meal plan
  • Lunch at Meroe Camp
  • Dinner at Meroe Camp
Accommodation
Meroe Camp
Highlights
Day 13 / Meroe - Naga and Mussawarat temples – Khartoum

After breakfast in camp, we stop in the town of Shendi to visit the colourful and lively market. We continue our journey visiting the two archaeological sites.  The site of Mussawarat is located in a beautiful valley crowned by hills.  Here the ruins of a very big temple are visible; it once played an exceptional 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 A.D.  The large number of elephants represented on these walls makes you think that this animal used to have an important role in this area.  Beyond the big wadi there is another temple – restored by a German archaeological mission – dedicated to the god Apedemak. We then go to Naga which is located about 30 km to the east of the Nile and it is one of the two centres 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 metres 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. In the afternoon we reach Omdurman where we attend the involving ceremony of the Whirling Dervishes (only on Fridays). Check in at the hotel. Dinner NOT included and overnight stay (B.L.)

Meal plan
  • Picnic lunch
  • Dinner NOT included
Accommodation
Khartoum - hotel of your choice
Highlights
Day 14 / Khartoum - town tour

Breakfast at the hotel and then we visit the Archaeological 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 (closed on Mondays). We then visit the Mahdi’s tomb from the outside and, time permitting, the Khalifa’s house Museums (open until 13.30) in Omdurman. Lunch included in a local restaurant (Al Housh). Then we visit the largest souk in Sudan. at sunset time we reach Khartoum North to attend the traditional Nuba Wrestling (only on Fridays and Saturdays). Dinner NOT included and overnight. (B.L.)

Meal plan
  • Lunch in a local restaurant
  • Dinner NOT included
Accommodation
Khartoum - hotel of your choice
Highlights
Day 15 / Departure

Transfer to the airport and boarding your international flight

Departure date
Status
Language
25/02/2018
english
14/10/2018
english
confirmed
open
closed