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SUDAN-Nubian Desert & Red Sea Cruise

  • Explore an undiscovered region, with temple ruins, pyramids, camel caravans, and desert tribal cultures
  • Visit Sudan’s pyramids and ancient city of Meroe
  • Connect with local people in desert markets and small, isolated villages
  • Seven Nights Cruise the Red Sea visiting pristine islands

Travel to Sudan on an adventurous journey visiting ancient historical sites, nomadic tribal cultures, the vast Sahara Desert, and cruise on the isolated Red Sea. We will visit significant archaeological sites such as the royal city of Meroe with its magnificent pyramids and the important Meroetic site Nagaa.

This is a one of a kind itinerary across desert landscapes, the unknown petroglyphs Bir Nurayet and the colorful Red Sea reef.

The Elegante boat is a 25 ft schooner built in 1995 and completely renovated in summer 2009. There are 7 double cabins with private bathrooms, shower and air conditioning. It is under Italian management.

Travel to Sudan
Nomad family

ITINERARY - SUDAN TOUR - Nubian Desert & the Red Sea

Print Sudan Tour Detailed Itinerary (PDF)

Day 1: Arrival in Khartoum
Transfer to hotel.

Day 2: Khartoum-Meroe
Tour Khartoum. Visit the Archaeological Museum and Omdurman, ancient capital of Sudan where we see Mahdi's tomb and explore the souk.

We then travel north along good roads to the desert and Meroe. The pyramids of the necropolis of Meroe become visible among yellow sand dunes. There are more than 40 pyramids along the Nile in Sudan. Arrive at the permanent tented camp of Meroe, your base for the next three nights.

Day 3-4: Meroe-Royal City
Tour the pyramids of Meroe; visit Naga, east of the Nile and
the ancient settlement of Musawwarat; Day 4: We cross the Nile to enter the Bayuda Desert and we visit the Atrun Crater where nomads gather salt. We explore the desert then we head towards El Mogrut Island where with we cross the Nile by ferry over to Abu Hamed. From here we enter the Nubian Desert. Overnights in wild camps..

Day 5-6: Nubia’s Mountains – Bir Nurayet
We drive towards the Red Sea Hills which run parallel to the Red Sea. Amongst wadis and desert areas we will meet some gold seekers. In recent years there is a gold rush happening in Sudan following the ancient gold reef. We will meet nomadic Beja people of the Bisharin and Hadendowa tribes.

Day 7: Bir Nurayet Petrogliphs
Jebel Magardi is an unusual shaped mountain near Bir (Well) Nurayet. Only a few years ago a Polish archaeological mission discovered a large number of rock carvings mainly representing cows which prove that thousands of years ago people inhabited this region. In the area there are also many pre-Islamic tombs of the Kerma time.

Day 8: Nubian Desert – Red Sea
We cross a few valleys amongst the Red Sea Hills. Some peaks are as high as 2.000 m. We finally reach the Red Sea near the small village of Mohamme Qol which takes the name from a Saudi Arabian fisherman who moved here to start trading in this region. When the British founded Port Sudan, in the 1900’s the old port in the North lost its importance. Here we board our Gullet - welcome drink and let the sea adventure begin.

Day 9:Cruise: Mohammed Qol – Mesherifa Island
The Red Sea warm waters and comparative isolation have resulted in a spectacular array of marine fauna. Soft and stony corals thrive to produce a wondrous reef, providing home to innumerable crustaceans, mollusks, echinoderms and fish. Along the Sudanese cost, water temperature average 27-28°C. This is hot enough to reduce the planktonic and algal blooms that are so common further north. As a result the sea is generally clear with visibility of up to 30 m depth. Mesharifa Island is only 4 miles out of the Red Sea cost and this will be our first opportunity to swim in the crystal clear waters. Here we find also the famous Manta Point where it is possible to see large groups of Manta Rays.

Day 10: Cruise: Inkeifal Khor
Where the mountain meet the red sea - “Khors” is the Arabic word that means “natural fiords” and there are a few of them in this area. This area is quite different that the other beaches and lagoons we have seen thus far. Inkeifal Khors are two lagoons with white beaches, crystal clear waters and there is the possibility to walk on land, enjoying nice views over the desert as well as the sea. In the shallow waters of the sea there are also mangroves trees.

Day 11:Cruise: Taila Islands
Cross the Nile to the Temple of Sesibi and then visit  TAfter cruising for 15 miles out of Shambaya we reach Taila Islands. These are 3 small islands with white-pinkish sandy beaches. The first two are connected by a sandy isthmus on low tide, while the third island is further east. It appears green with acacia trees where ospreys nest. On this island we may also find coquina clams which will be a great addition to our pasta dish prepared by the cook on board!

Day 12: Cruise: Gurna Reef
We spend the morning in the Tailia Islands. After lunch we reach Gurna Reef, a wonderful reef that reaches the surface of the water revealing corals and fish. Enjoy snorkeling in the area.

Day 13: Cruise: Sha’ab Rumi – Sanganeb Lighthouse
The reef here is considered one of the best in the world. A lagoon behind the reef contains the remnants of Jaques Cousteau’s Conshelf 2, where the famous oceanographer created an environment in which men could live and work on the bottom of the sea. Possibility of snorkeling. We then reach the beautiful Sanganeb lighthouse. From its top we can enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding area. Sanganeb reef has been declared World Unesco site in July 2016.

Day 14:Cruise: Umbria shipwreck – Port Sudan - Suakin
On the way to Port Sudan we stop at the Wingate Reef where the Italian ship “Umbria” sank in 1940 and lies on its side at a maximum depth of 36m. The shallowest point can be explored by the snorkelers.

In the afternoon we arrive in Port Sudan and with a minibus we drive to the ancient port of Suakin. In its glorious past it was known as “the Red Sea Pearl,” now it’s a ghost town recently being restored. The modern port of Suakin is now used for the Pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. In the late afternoon return to Port Sudan and our boat.

Day 15:Port Sudan – Khartoum - Depart
Today we say good bye to the boat and the crew. We visit Port Sudan which is the second largest city in the country and the most important port where all the goods arriving via sea are transiting. The ancient name of the city was Theon Soteiron during the Ptolemaic times. In 1906 Lord Cromer ordered the construction of a modern port to replace the old Suakin and so Port Sudan was born. The city has still some colonial buildings and a busy souk. In the afternoon we fly to Khartoum with a local airlines (Nova Air or similar – please be aware that all the domestic flying companies are black listed). According to arrival time in Khartoum we might also enjoy a short city tour. Late in the evening transfer to the airport.


Trip Details

15 day trip begins and ends in Khartoum
March 22-April 5, 2019
From $4700
4-star hotel in Khartoum
Exclusive Italian permanent tented camp in Meroe
Five nights in wild camp
Seven nights aboard M/Y Elegante
All meals outside Khartoum

Extend Your Trip

Post Tour Extension to Eritrea. Details on Request..


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