Sudan – The Land of Kush with Egyptologist Chris Naunton

SUDAN-The Land of Kush

DEPARTING 7th November 2019

Egyptologist Chris Naunton accompanies this trip leading to all the major archaeological sites in the Northern part of Sudan.

This arid and wild region of extraordinary archaeological interest with its beautiful landscapes is now accessible to all. 

Chris is an expert in the kings who ruled Egypt during the Twentyfifth Dynasty but who were themselves from the land of Kush in modern Sudan. Their capital city, Napata, main cult temple and royal cemeteries all lay in Sudan, and they continued to rule as Egyptianised kings even after they had been ousted from Egypt itself. We will explore that legacy during this tour.

We visit ruined temples, ancient monuments, museums, explore the River Nile and look at local culture along the way.

The Jebel Barkal archaeological site on the UNESCO World Heritage list in its stunning location will amaze you, and the magnificent Royal Necropolis at Meroë, with its desert landscape setting of forty pyramids, is a visit of a lifetime. Escorted throughout by Chris and a top local guide, we travel in air-conditioned land cruisers, enabling us to comfortably cover the long journeys across the fringes of the Sahara Desert.

Day 1 - Thursday 7th November 2019

Depart London Heathrow on 7th November arrive at Khartoum airport in the early hours of the 8th. We fly Turkish Airlines with a stop in Istanbul. On arrival we transfer to our hotel The Holiday Villa and check in for two nights.

Day 2 - 8th November - Khartoum Museum bd

Breakfast at the hotel and the morning is at leisure. This afternoon we visit the Archaeological Museum to view two beautiful temples rescued by UNESCO and moved from the Lake Nasser area when it was flooded. Before sunset we take a boat ride to see the confluence of the Blue and White Nile. Dinner in a local restaurant before we return to The Holiday Villa.

Day 3 - 9th November - Khartoum, Old Dongola, Karima bld

After breakfast we begin the journey northward through the Western desert to Wadi Muqaddam with its many acacia trees. We will stop at the “chai houses”, literally tea houses, a type of spartan motorway services in the desert. We visit the archaeological site of Old Dongola with the ruins of the Christian capital Makuria. In the late afternoon we reach the small town of Karima and check in to the Nubian Rest House at the foot of Jebel Barkal for three nights.


Karima is a small town located on the right Bank of the Nile, close to the famous archaeological site at the foot of Jebel Barkal, south of the 4th Cataract. The Nubian Rest House is a charming small hotel built in the typical Nubian style just at the foot of Jebel Barkal, the holy mountain of the Egyptian and Nubian Pharaohs. It is set in a large private enclosure, with a nice garden. Each of the air conditioned rooms has its own private bathroom and a pleasant veranda. A reception, a restaurant and a living room complete the wonderful setting. All the buildings are made with local bricks covered by hand-spread clay plaster as traditionally used in the Nubian area.

Day 4 - 10th November - Karima, Jebel Barkal, El Kurru and Nuri bld

Jebel Barkal was the southern limit of the empire of Egypt under Pharaoh Thuthmose III and here we find the temple dedicated to Amun. We also see several sculptured granite rams that bordered a causeway leading to the Nile. The Jebel Barkal archaeological sites are on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. We continue southwards to the village of El Kurru, where we see the necropolis of the ancient capital, Napata. Here we can visit a tomb excavated in the rock under pyramids, and decorated with images of the Pharaoh, the gods and hieroglyphic inscriptions. Not far from here there is an interesting site of petrified wood, an ancient forest with hundreds of huge tree trunks. In the afternoon we visit the Necropolis of Nuri before returning to Karima and our Rest-House.

Day 5 - 11th November - Karima, Old Dongola, Nubian Villages bld

Today we drive north west across the Nubian Desert to reach the village of Tombos. Here we visit a stelae on the shore of the Nile, where we can also see a small cataract, the granite quarries and the remains of a statue of the King Taharqa left in the desert sands. We then head south until we reach the ancient town of Kerma where we visit the monumental “Defuffa” a unique structure in Nubian architecture, and a newly opened museum. In the late afternoon we return to Karima.

Day 6 - 12th November - Karima, Bayuda Desert, Meroe bld

Today we cross the Nile to enter the Bayuda Desert and the Wadi Abu Dom. This desert is an area bounded by the loop that the Nile forms between the 4th and the 6th Cataract, and is characterised by sharp black basalt mountains, most of them volcanic and typically cone-shaped. They alternate with level stretches of pebble and large valleys crossed by dry wadis, where a little vegetation can be seen. It is likely we may meet isolated groups of Bisharin nomads, who live in small huts close to the rare water wells. After a picnic in the desert, we continue across the desert to reach the Nile River. Here we cross the Nile on the Pontoon, a local ferry. Once on the other side of the River we follow the main road south, and then we will see more than 40 pyramids belonging to the Royal Necropolis of Meroe. We arrive at the permanent tented camp of Meroe for two nights. Accommodation is in comfortable and fully furnished tents with beautiful views of the pyramids. Dinner and overnight.


Meroe tented Camp is located in Bagarwyia, (about 230 km. north of Khartoum) overlooking the iconic pyramids of Meroe. Each tent has its own private bathroom hut with shower and toilet. The camp is located 2 km from the Royal Necropolis. Each tent is equipped with a veranda with two comfortable chairs enabling you to relax in front of the astonishing view of more than forty pyramids. The tents have electricity produced by a generator working until 11:00 pm. A restaurant building is available for meals.

Day 7 - 13th November - Meroe bld

The Royal necropolis of Meroe is located at about 3 km from the Nile on hills covered by yellow sand dunes. Several pyramids stand out with their sharp shapes silhouetted against the clear blue sky. Each one has its own funerary chapel with the walls decorated with bas-reliefs that show the King’s life and offerings to the gods. We lunch at the Camp. In the afternoon we move along the Nile to visit the ruins of the royal city, much of which is still to be excavated. Dinner and overnight stay at camp.

Day 8 - 14th November - Naga & Mussawarat Temples bl

After breakfast we drive south to visit two archaeological sites. The site of Naga 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. Nearby we find a temple dedicated to Amun with many statues of rams and beautifully decorated gates. We then go to Mussawarat and the ruins of a temple with a Great Enclosure and boundary walls with many representations of elephants. Close by we view another temple dedicated to the god Apedemak. Late afternoon we reach our hotel, The Holiday Villa in Khartoum and overnight.

Day 9 - 15th November - Khartoum city tour b

After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel we cross the confluence between the Blue and the White Nile near the Presidential Palace, where in 1885 General Gordon was beheaded by the Mahdi’s troops. We continue to Omdurman, the old capital of Sudan, where we see the Mahdi’s Tomb from outside and the Khalifas’ House Museum. In the afternoon we visit the colourful souk of Omdurman. We return to the hotel for our day use rooms, available until we leave for the airport late evening.

Day 9 - 10 - Saturday 16th November 2019

We transfer to the airport for our international flight on Turkish Airlines via Istanbul, departing 01.05 on 16th November. Arrival in London Heathrow mid-morning.


Travel through the desert will be in comfortable Toyota Land Cruisers. Please note there will be some long hours travelling through the desert to get to some of these remote and rarely visited sites. Also Please Note: Alcohol is not available in Sudan and it is NOT PERMITTED to bring in any wines or spirits

B = Breakfast BL = Breakfast and Lunch BD = Breakfast and Dinner BLD = Breakfast Lunch and Dinner

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