The minute we woke up in out desert tent next to the Pyramids of Meroe our heads were full of questions. How would we get away from here, in the middle of the desert? Beside we had very little local currency left. Stepping outside of our tent, the morning sun touched the pyramids in the distance and we knew all will be well.
Khartoum’s trendiest café, the SOS Children’s Village and urban farms on Tuti Island, we saw it all. Not enough oddities? What about the Greek Athletic Club, the Jewish Cemetery or sailing the Blue Nile under a star lit sky?
Young Nubian wrestlers from the south of Sudan with sculptured bodies like the Chippendales compete against each other every Friday night in northeastern Khartoum. A must see for Kelly and me.
Going from Atbara to Karima you need to cross the Bayuda Desert. For many hours we stared at the pancake-flat landscape flying by, once in a while low bushes, sometimes we could see mountains in the background. All of a sudden we spotted patches of green that soon turned in large palm groves. We were approaching Karima.
The pyramids – perched on a sandy ridge – are a truly breathtaking sight, especially at sun set when the dunes and the pyramids takes on a spectacular reddish glow. What makes them so very special is the unknown of the attraction.
Naqa and Mussawarrat are the two archaeological sights closest to Khartoum, but they only ones that require your own vehicle, ideally a four-wheel drive. We were so lucky, Dominique an widely travelled English guy we befriended in our hotel in Khartoum just took us along. Early in the morning we headed north towards Atbara, stopping in the outskirts of Khartoum to buy fresh bread, sip tea and watch the city come to life.
Small town Shendi seemed the perfect place for exploring the Pyramids of Meroe and the archeological site of Naqa and Mussawarrat. That was the plan, it did not materialize, but staying in Shendi was a unique experience and it turned into one of those unplanned adventures that will always be remembered. Set right on the Nile, it was almost heartbreaking to watch the enormous potential of Shendi not being used at a gateway to the Pyramids of Meroe and Naqa and Mussawarrat nearby. Day trips from Khartoum to these places are US 260, only to visit the sights at the height of the heat.
The owner of Hotel Acropole got us tickets to the New Year’s Eve Party at the Germany Embassy for US60. It will always be remembered as the best New Year’s Party ever. The “Who is Who” of Khartoum was present, diplomats, businesspeople from all corners of the world as well as lots of Sudanese.
Omdurman, in north-western Khartoum,is where we found most of the city’s sights: the Mahdi’s Tomb, the Khalida’s House, Sudan’s largest Souk and the ultimate highlight of any visit to Khartoum, the Dancing Dervishes. Every Friday they gather at the Tomb of Skeikh Hamed al Nil set in the middle of a Sufi cemetery.
Khartoum – the very name makes most people’s phantasies go wild, since so little is known about the capital of Sudan. Well, there is actually a lot to explore if you take your time and we certainly did. The confluence of the Blue and White Nile is probably the most famous sight in Khartoum. Unfortunately, most visitors simply drive across the bridge and look down, since the closest place to the watch the two rivers merge is officially closed, Mogran Family Park. There used to be a fairy-wheel that provided a superb view, but it has been dismantled years ago, like all the other rides. That would not keep Kelly and me from going there anyway, what we discovered was the most bizarre place.