The Getaway
Visit Sudan, the Jewel of the Nile

Sudan is not the most frequent tourist destination, but it's rewarding nonetheless. From the numerous national parks to the islands and cities along the Nile, Sudan is bursting with life. The beautiful cities Khartoum and Omdurman rest where the Blue Nile and the White Nile merge into the world's greatest river. The cities of Sudan represent an ancient national history and culture that birthed an Egyptian pharaoh at one point and defeated British invaders at another. You should book a flight to Sudan and visit a civilization that's even older than the Roman Empire.


01 Visit Khartoum and Omdurman

Exterior view to Great Masjid, Khartoum, Soudan HomoCosmicos / Getty Images

The leading cities of Sudan manifest the various factors that make the country such an excellent travel destination. Khartoum itself is among the largest metropolitan areas in Africa or the Arab world and it's something of a melting pot. Architectural influences in Sudan include the ancient ruins and monoliths of the Romans and Egyptians. Additionally, modern influences blend British and modernist styles with classic Arabian-style design. There are even touches of Greek-style architecture, as Sudan is home to a tiny yet influential Greek diaspora. However, there's much more to these cities than just the architecture.  


02 Stroll Down Nile Street

Khartoum, Sudan: skyline of the Sudanese capital - downtown area, waterfront along the Blue Nile river mtcurado / Getty Images

The long, scenic Nile Street in Khartoum offers one of the loveliest walks you could ever take. The aptly named road runs alongside the Nile River and is typically subject to clean air and good weather. The whole length of the road is positively lined with cafes, restaurants, street food stands and little shops. It's perfectly suited to shopping for souvenirs or taking an evening stroll.  


03 Visit the Holy Shrine of the Mahdi, a Sudanese Hero

Holy shrine of Muhammad Ahmad, known as the Mahdi, at sunset in Omdurman, Khartoum, Sudan JordiStock / Getty Images

When most of Africa fell to European colonialism, Sudan was one of the few nations to defeat a colonizing army. The Mahdi, Muhammad Ahmad is a celebrated military, political, and religious leader in the history of Sudan, and his shrine is suitably grand. The golden walls and silver spires strive towards the sky, and the shrine makes for a remarkable sight. Visiting and learning about locations such as the Shrine of the Mahdi can give you a deeper insight into Sudan's culture.  


04 Hunt for Unique Wares You Won't Find Elsewhere

Spice marked in Sudan Africa

From the little, family-owned shops to the Afra Mall, there's plenty of shopping to do in Sudan. While traveling through the main cities of Sudan, you can find an endless number of small shops plying authentic wares from pottery to clothes. The markets of Sudan are an excellent way to find a gift for a friend or to add some flair to your personal wardrobe.  


05 Learn All About Sudan at the National Museum

The beauty of Roman kiosk : Ancient city Naga’a or Naqa in Sudan redonion1515 / Getty Images

The Sudan National Museum offers a glimpse into the rich history of Sudan and includes artifacts that predate the Roman Republic. While Egypt's ancient civilization is world-famous, it's not widely appreciated just how much they intertwined with the ancient Sudanese. The museum enjoys a clever layout, as the ground floor deals with the rise and fall of the ancient Sudanese kingdoms. As you ascend the floors of the museum, you progress further through Sudanese history.  


06 Head to Beautiful Tuti Island

Tuti Bridge and Tuti Island, where the White Nile and Blue Nile merge to form the main Nile mtcurado / Getty Images

Tuti Island is one of the most interesting destinations in Sudan. One of the first things to hunt for is an old fort that barely creeps up above the undergrowth near the confluence of the lesser Nile rivers. After that, you can head through and watch the local brickmakers and potters at work throughout the river. The island is a twisting, winding maze of unpaved roads; no two trips will be the same.  


07 Visit the Egyptian Temple of Soleb

Ruines of Amun temple in Soleb at Sudan HomoCosmicos / Getty Images

The Temple at Soleb is an essential destination for anyone with a love of archaeology or Egyptology. Compared to more heavily visited temples throughout Egypt, you'll enjoy relative peace and quiet here as you reflect and connect with the distant past. It's so out of the way that you'll need to find a local to take you across the Nile. However, the beautifully preserved, isolated ruins are enough of a reward for the effort it requires.  


08 Take In the Sight of the Incredible Nubian Pyramids at Meroe

Meroe pyramids - South cemetery, ruins of King Arqamani tomb in the center - Nubian tombs in the Sahara desert - UNESCO World Heritage Site, Begarawiyah, Sudan mtcurado / Getty Images

Another beautiful presentation of Sudan's Nubian roots is the pyramids of Meroe. They're not far away from Khartoum, and the location is suitable for camping. Once you arrive, you're treated to relaxed, easy access to over 200 pyramids! They've stood the test of time well, and damage caused by 19th-century grave robbers has typically been repaired. Of all the pyramid sites around the world, Meroe is among the largest and most impressive.  


09 Visit the Intricate Ruins of the Old Dongola Tombs

Muslim cemetery in the desert, in Old Dongola, Sudan christophe_cerisier / Getty Images

The ruins of Old Dongola are a picture of Sudan's tumultuous history in a microcosm. One of the main attractions of the area is a Christian cathedral that's over 1,300 years old. Up the nearby hill, you can look even further back into history at an ancient fort. In slightly more recent history, you can find a historic Islamic cemetery. There are so many unique eras represented in one small space, and who knows what new secrets that archaeologists will unearth in Old Dongola?  


10 Visit the Beautiful Sanganeb National Park

Coral reef view from top of Sanganeb lighthouse. Sudan bearacreative / Getty Images

Sanganeb National Park near the coast offers access to the kind of pristine, thriving wilderness by the day. The coral reefs here are among the most healthy and thriving around the world. If you love to swim or dive, you'll have no trouble getting lost in the serenity of Dongonab Bay.  


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