With 4x4 jeep across the burning deserts to the coast and coral reefs of the Sudan
> Journeying on the northern loop across The Sudan <
Our love affair with North Africa was kicked off by tours to Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco where we’d venture south across barren landscapes and exotic oasis villages on the fringes of the Sahara. Sitting back in Denmark on a cold and dark winter’s evening and reflecting upon these early tours to North Africa, we came to conclude that we were drawn south to the Sahara by an almost magnetic force that seemed to deliver – time after time – experiences of strong nomadic people, extreme hospitality and surreal landscapes. Through experiencing how people live and survive here, obviously and inevitably, we would want to go further south into the Saharan countries such as Algeria, Mali, Mauritania, Chad, Niger and the Sudan.
Very few travelers make it to the Sudan. One of the explanations of the lack of travelers it that to the wider world the Sudan is often seen as a place of untold horror. A burning and featureless desert where war, genocide and misery are the norm. And although some aspects of this image are grounded in truth, for the most part the popular impression couldn’t be more off the mark. Rather, the Sudan comes as a fantastic and positive surprise.
We spent several evenings studying the Sudan, different provinces and possible routes, and found out that although various ongoing conflicts mean that part of this vast nation remains off limits, there is several safe places. So, an itinerary was designed where we could do a loop of the northern parts from Khartoum via Shendi and Atbara to Suakin, Port Sudan and the Red Sea isles, onward across the desert to Karima and Dongala and further north along the Nile, and back to Khartoum, including several break-outs off the main loop along the way to visit remote villages, temples, and islands on the Nile.
The journey was mind-blowing! There's just no denying that among the Sudan's sweeping hills of sand, lie treasures the rest of the world are only just beginning to discover…. treasures such as golden pyramids of ancient Nubia, apricot-colored dunes pierced by the life-giving Nile, temple frescoes painted back in a time when this part of the Sahara was still green savanna, people that are some of the friendliest and most hospitable you can ever hope to meet, and gardens of coral where we would encounter a million blood-red fish swarm among a school of hammer-heads.