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.
Ancient in this case means millions of years. The Petrified Forest outside the village of El Kurru is that old. A lot younger are the pyramids and tombs from the Kushite Period and the remains of Palace of Amun at the foot Jebel Barkal.
On our way to the village of El Kurru our taxi driver pulled up to a few men chatting next to the road. Eventually one of them climbed into our taxi, leaving Kelly and me confused. Having experienced many such moments when traveling I stayed calm and as it turned out the taxi driver had stopped to ask Mohnad, a local who spoke some English, whether he would serve as a guide for the two lady tourists. Eagerly Mohnad joined us on this little excursion and we learned so much we would have missed otherwise. Continue Reading →
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 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.
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, Ross 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.
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.
Once a week sellers, buyers and of course lots of camels gather at the Camel market of Muehjle. One of the places I was very eager to see in Sudan, but to go there after only a few hours of sleep was not really appealing. Kelly and I were dead tired, our flight had arrived at 2am and we had planned to spend the day leisurely in Khartoum. Besides US 60 for a car plus driver seemed a lot. Well, we were so glad we did it, it was such a great experience. The camels are bread in Darfur and are walked all the way up to Khartoum where they are sold and put on trucks to be finally sold and slaughtered in Egypt. In former days the camels walked all the way to their deaths, which took them 24 days.
George, the owner of Hotel Acropolis, got us tickets to the party at the Germany Embassy for US60. It will always be remembered as the best New Year’s Party. The “Who is Who” of Khartoum was present, diplomats, businesspeople from all corners of the world as well as lots of Sudanese.
How we got the idea to visit the SOS children’s village? The mother of a student of mine told me about it. A quick mail to the German organization and we were all set. Kelly and I were received by the director of the village, Mr Abdel Kareem, a very charismatic, kind man and Lena the assistant of the national director.
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.