Sudan – pryamids, desert & not many visitors

Monday, 5 December 2016

I’ve been rather slow in posting on my travels this year, I’ll try and catch up before the end of 2016, starting with a recent week in Sudan. I started and finished in Khartoum, the capital city, and travelled around North Sudan in between.

IMG_2085 - Acropole Hotel, Khartoum - 540▲ Getting a visa can be the biggest problem for travel in Sudan, I got mine through the Acropole Hotel which seems to be a popular stop for journalists and archaeologists.

IMG_1423. - Khartoum from Omdurman side of Nile - 540▲ Here I am on day 1 in Khartoum with the Nile River behind me just below where the Blue Nile merges with the White Nile.

IMG_1493 - pot throwing, Khartoum - 540▲ I went all around the city on that first day, including to a place where they make these beautiful water pots.

IMG_1460 - camel market, Khartoum -540▲ And out to the camel market:

IMG_1679 - on the road, north of Shendi 540▲ Then with a driver I set off north, passing the odd heavily laden vehicle:

IMG_1575 - Natakamani & Amanitore, Temple of Apedemak, Naqa - 540▲ Until we got to Naqa and the Temple of Apedemak, the Egyptian lion-headed God. The king and queen who built the temple are shown on the front of it, subduing their enamies. The king is holding up his beaten enemies by their hair while a lion eats another between his feet:

IMG_1548 - Amun, Horus and offering from Natakamani to Apedemak, Temple of Apedemak, Naqa - 540▲ There were beautifully carved bas-reliefs all around the temple. From the left Amun the ram-headed God, Horus the falcon-headed God and Apedemak the lion-headed God and the king making offerings to them.

IMG_1584 - Temple of Amun, Naqa - 540▲ Close by was an Amun Temple to the ram-headed God, with rams lining the entranceway to the temple:

IMG_1644 - king,  Apedemak Temple at Musawarat - 540▲ We continued on to Musawarat with another Apedemak Temple with more wonderful bas reliefs. it’s about 35km off the road to Naqa, 15km to Musawarat and then 20km back to the road, so a reasonable excursion. And it definitely needs 4WD, there are some very deep sandy patches to churn through, which my driver Michel managed with alacrity. If you didn’t have a local driver and didn’t know which of the numerous turns to take a GPS location would be useful as well.

IMG_1808 - Meroe Camp, Meroe Pyramids at Begrawiya -540▲ We continued north to Meroe where I stayed in the Meroe Camp:

IMG_1813 - sunset at Meroe Pyramids at Begrawiya - 540▲  overlooking the Meroe Pyramids, here they are at sunset.

IMG_1732 - Northern Meroe Pyramids - 540▲ Egypt has a few big pyramids, Sudan has lots and lots of smaller ones. Many of the pyramids at Meroe are square topped because of Giuseppe Ferlini, an Italian treasure hunter who came by in 1834 and lopped the tops off looking for treasure. Naughty man. Wikipedia describes him as a vandal.

IMG_1814 - Sudan Archaeology, Meroe Pyramids at Begrawiya - 540▲  If shiny new 4WDs are a sign of how much money is going in to Sudan archaeology then there is lots of cash being spent.

IMG_1894 - tomb painting, El Kurru - 540▲  From Meroe we carried on to Karima and El Kuru with a crumbling pyramid and a number of tombs, most of them broken and open. Two of them still have well preserved tomb paintings although we could only find the man-with-the-key for one of them.

IMG_1959 - Nuri Pyramids - 540IMG_1963 - Nuri Pyramids - 270▲ At nearby Nuri there was another big group of pyramids, kind of lost in the desert.

◄  My favourite Nuri pyramid.

IMG_1989 - sunset, Jebel Barkal - 540IMG_2001 - sunset, Jebel Barkal -270▲ Jebel means ‘mountain’ in Arabic and the Jebel Barkal is an outcrop near where I was staying in Karima. We got back just in time for me to climb it for the sunset and look out over another group of pyramids.

◄  Before a really beautiful sunset.

IMG_2017 - Jebel Barkal from Nubian Rest House - 540▲  Next morning I could look back to the Jebel Barkal from the Nubian Rest House, which was rather beautiful too.

IMG_2027 - restaurant, Nubian Rest House - 540▲  The hotel’s restaurant.

IMG_2060 - trucks with soldiers on top - 540▲  Finally we drove back to Khartoum, at one point several buses came by each with a rooftop load of soldiers.