Sudan Desert Explorer

13 days
from
£3,129
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Traveller ratings
5 / 5 from 4 reviews >
Trip code: 
AYA
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Culture & Discovery Holidays
Min age:
18
Group size:
4–15

Ancient temple and pyramids, beautiful desert landscapes and warm welcoming people

There is a place where the desert stretches out beyond the horizon, where the Blue and White Nile join before meandering over cataracts, where there are more pyramids than in Egypt and where hospitality is simply a way of life. That place is Sudan. We head out in 4WD vehicles, camping wild under the stars. We explore the changing faces of the Sudanese desert, visit Nubian villages and discover temples left behind by the Black Pharaohs.

Highlights

  • Travel off the beaten path in the Western and Nubian Deserts
  • Wild camping under the Sahara night sky
  • More Pyramids than Egypt
  • The remnants of the ancient Black Pharaohs civilisation
  • Warm hospitality of Nubians and other Sudanese

Key information

12 days land only/ 13 flight inclusive
Travel by 4WD vehicles
3 nights hotels and permanent camp and 8 nights wild camping

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 11 lunches and 10 dinners included
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Photography permit
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Video permit (needs to be per-arranged)
Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Fly to Khartoum.

    Arrive at the hotel any time, those on the group flight will arrive in Khartoum late in the evening. No activities planned today.
    Holiday Villa Hotel

  • Day 2

    Khartoum city tour; on to the Western Desert.

    After travelling hundreds of miles from Ethiopia and Rwanda respectively the Blue and White Nile meet in Khartoum. The capital of Sudan is surprising, bustling and with many modern buildings and quite pleasant. Not what most people would expect.

    This morning we have a short tour of Khartoum taking in the Archaeological Museum (now home to two temples rescued from the creation of Lake Nasser by UNESCO) and we will pass the Presidential Palace. We cross the confluence of the Blue and White Nile before reaching the old capital, Omdurman and Mahadi’s tomb outside the Khalifa’s House Museum.

    Late morning we leave the city and start our adventure into the Western Desert. Crossing flat desert, vistas span 360’ and we get our first taste of one of the many faces of the Sudanese desert. Late in the afternoon we will find a nice, quiet place for our first night camping wild under the phenomenal African sky. Approx. 225km tarmac
    Wild Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Wadi el Milk

    Continuing into the Western Desert we cross the Wadi el Milk. This plain is scattered with acacia trees and Bisharin settlements around the few water wells. In the middle of the desert we reach fortress Gala Abu Hamed, dating back to Napatean times (700-400 B.C.) of the Kingdom of Kush. The ruins, discovered by a German archaeological expedition in the 1980s, are made up of large boundary walls partially covered in sand. The fort was probably used as a prison to keep slaves coming from Central Africa. The most mysterious part of the site, however, is the complete lack of water anywhere nearby. We spend another night in the desert. Approx. 196km desert
    Wild Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    To Jebel Peak

    Our main destination today is an isolated mountain in the middle of a dune desert which the drivers have christened Jebel Peak (due to the remoteness of this location, and the crumbling sandstone structure of this small mountain, it is not possible to climb to the top). In the afternoon we will drive past huge dunes that you can climb to the top of for great views. Todays drive is one of the most adventurous as we head deeper into the sandy desert and there is a definite possibility that some of the cars may get bogged down in sand. Should this happen our vehicles are fully equipped with sand-ladders, tow-ropes and shovels but we may need to help the drivers by pushing the cars. This is all part of the excitement of being on an expedition-style off road trip. Approx. 260km desert
    Wild Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Drive out of the desert and on to Dongala

    Today we cross small oases rich in palm trees before reaching the town of Dongola on the banks of the Nile. We stop here and resupply for the next few days before heading north along the new road heading towards the Egyptian border (we usually arrive in Dongala on a Friday, prayer day, so there is little chance to see much of this particular town). Tonight we will camp amidst huge round boulders. Approx. 105km desert/tarmac
    Wild Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Temple of Soleb, Third Cataract and the Nubian villages.

    Today we reach the Temple of Soleb. Possibly the most beautiful ancient Egyptian temple in all of Sudan, the Temple of Soleb was built bay Amenhotep III as a symbol of Egyptian presence in Kush. The temple has numerous walls and columns rich in hieroglyphic inscriptions and bas-relief.

    Continuing on our journey, we reach the Third Cataract. The six cataracts of the Nile are a series of shallow rapids with boulders and stones between Aswan and Khartoum which impeded the ancient Egyptians as they travelled up the Nile. Here we visit a nearby Ottoman fort. Next we visit Sebu, on the bank of the Nile. This is one of the richest rock-engraving sites in Sudan with petroglyphs dating between prehistoric and Egyptian times.

    We have now entered the central part of the Nubian region. People here speak a different language to the Arabs to the south and Islam a little less strict. We reach the village of Tombos with its ancient granite quarries and the 3000 year old statue of King Taharqa simply left in the desert.

    We leave the Nile Valley and camp on the edge of the Nubian desert. Approx. 184km tarmac & 30km desert
    Wild Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Nubian Desert and Station no. 6

    Heading east we cross a flat landscape with isolated hill. Here we get a true sense of the solitude of the desert. Suddenly, out of nowhere, two parallel tracks appear. The Sudan railway was built in the late 19th century by the British army as it campaigned to reconquer Khartoum and is synonymous with British colonial rule.

    We stop at Station no. 6 which has retained the typical atmosphere of the old British style railway stations. More recently a gold rush has been taking place in desert and the few places with water, including Station no. 6, have become places where gold-diggers come to rest and resupply. We may even be able to buy a gold nugget.

    We leave Station no. 6 behind and find a nice place to camp. Approx. 45km tarmac & 280km desert
    Wild Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Nubian Desert, Station no. 6, El Kab village and Lake Merowe.

    Continuing on our journey we reach the small village of El Kab situated in a picturesque spot where the sand dunes stretch down to the Nile. Further up the river is the newly formed Lake Merowe. In 2008 the new Dam of Merowe was completed on the Fourth Cataract, flooding the surrounding area and forming the new, artificial lake. In the process numerous farmers lost their land and livelihood, some left but some have remained and now live off of fishing. We may spot some of these fishermen on the lake and visit a small school built for the children of the people who refused to the leave. Approx. 175km desert
    Wild Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Visit Karima, Jebel Barkal and El Kurru.

    Crossing the open desert we will see a large sandstone butte, Jebel Barkal, standing alone long before we reach it. The ancient Egyptians perceived this spot as the birthplace and southern residence of the god Amon and built a large temple at the foot of the mountain. For more than 1,000 years this temple was the religious heart of Nubia and over the centuries held influence over the kingdom of Kush and at times all of Egypt.

    Beside the ruins of the temple, large granite rams stand guard along what was most likely an avenue leading the 1.5kms to the Nile. In the mountain wall, itself, is a large room decorated with bas-relief, all of these archaeological sites around Jebel Barkal have been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    We then visit El Kurru, one of the necropolises of the ancient capital Napata. We enter two tombs which have been excavated from the rock under the pyramids. The tombs are decorated with images of Pharaoh, the gods and multicolour hieroglyphs. Nearby is the site of an ancient forest with hundreds of trunks of petrified wood.

    Tonight we swap wild camping for the Nubian Rest House in Karima. Approx. 97km desert
    Nubian Rest House

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Across the Bayuda Desert to Meroe.

    Crossing the Nile we visit the Pyramids of Nuri, another necropolis of the Napatean Kingdom. From here we head into the Bayuda desert, an area bounded by a loop in the Nile between the 4th and 6th cataracts. Sharp black basalt mountains, mostly volcanic and conical in shape alternate with pebble stretches and dry wadis (dry riverbeds and valleys) with very little vegetation. We stop and visit one of the isolated Bisharin nomad families who inhabit this desert with their caravans and herds of camels and cattle. Reaching the small town of Atbara, located at the confluence of the Nile and Atbara Rivers, we visit an interesting Railway Museum.

    Having crossed the Nile again we continue driving along level ground amidst mall camel thorn acacia trees that spread out towards the horizon until, appearing on top of a hill, we see glance at more than forty pyramids belonging to Royal Necropolis of Meroe.

    Tonight we stay at the Meroe Permanent Tented Camp near the pyramids. Approx. 401km tarmac
    Meroe Camp

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Visit the Royal Necropolis of Meroe, Mussawarat El Sufra and on to Naga.

    Our first stop this morning is at Sudan’s greatest archaeological site, the Royal Necropolis of Meroe. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located some 3kms from the Nile on top of a hill covered in sand dunes where the pyramids of Meroe stand out against the clear sky. Each one has its own funerary chapel with bas-relief decorating the wall showing the King’s life and offers to the gods.

    This afternoon we reach Mussawarat El Sufra, a settlement located in a beautiful valley and the site of the ruins of a large temple. Dating back to the 1st Century AD, the main feature of this temple is the Great Enclosure where large numbers of elephants can be seen represented on the walls, giving an indication that the animal must have had an important role in this area. Nearby, beyond a large wadi, is another temple, restored by a German archaeological mission, which was once dedicated to the god Apedemak.

    Leaving Mussawarat we head to a beautiful site of Naga for our final night wild camping. Approx. 85km tarmac & 45km desert
    Wild Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    Explore the ruins of Naga, browse Omdurman Souk and attend a Dervish Ceremony; depart Khartoum.

    Naga was an important city and one of the main centres of the Kingdom of Meroe. We visit a temple dedicated to Apedemak and is a wonderful building with bas-relief decorations depicting the god with a lion’s head, Pharaoh, noblemen and various ritualistic images. Nearby is ‘Kiosk’, an odd construction of arches and columns which combines Egyptian, Roman and Greek styles. We then visit another temple, this one dedicated to Amon with numerous statues of rams and gates decorated in bas-relief.

    Reaching Omdurman, a city which merges into Khartoum, we visit its Souq, the largest in the country and a lively, bustling place. We also have the opportunity of attending a Dervish Ceremony, which takes place every Friday.

    We finaly get back to Khartoum and have access to day-use rooms. Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport late in the evening for the return flight to London. Land only serves end upon arrival in Khartoum. Approx. 65km desert & 160km tarmac

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 13

    Explore the ruins of Naga, browse Omdurman Souk and attend a Dervish Ceremony; end Khartoum.

    Naga was an important city and one of the main centres of the Kingdom of Meroe. We visit a temple dedicated to Apedemak and is a wonderful building with bas-relief decorations depicting the god with a lion’s head, Pharaoh, noblemen and various ritualistic images. Nearby is ‘Kiosk’, an odd construction of arches and columns which combines Egyptian, Roman and Greek styles. We then visit another temple, this one dedicated to Amon with numerous statues of rams and gates decorated in bas-relief.

    Reaching Omdurman, a city which merges into Khartoum, we visit its Souq, the largest in the country and a lively, bustling place. We also have the opportunity of attending a Dervish Ceremony, which takes place every Friday.

    We finaly get back to Khartoum and have access to day-use rooms. Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport late in the evening for the return flight to London. Land only serves end upon arrival in Khartoum. Approx. 65km desert & 160km tarmac

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 14

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Sudan

All nationalities require a visa for Sudan. Passports must be valid at least 6 months, have two consecutive free pages and have no Israeli stamp (visa will be automatically refused if there’s evidence of travel to Israel in the passport).

UK/EU/S.Africa: Visas can be obtained through their local Sudan embassy and require a letter of invitation and (since August 2017) an authorisation number which we will obtain (we will need passport details), two passport photos and two consecutive free pages in the passport. The cost of obtaining the authorisation number is GBP70. The cost of the visa in the UK is £55 or on arrival is US$100, we need to know where you will get your visa when applying for the authorisation number.

Australian/NZ/Canadian: Need to arrange for Visa on Arrival which we can arrange through our local partners.

  • You will need to provide us a scanned copy of your passport
  • The total cost is US$285. This is US$135 service charge which you will pay directly to the tour leader on arrival and US$100 for the visa itself which you will pay directly to the immigration official upon arrival at Khartoum Airport.

US: The visa can be arranged either via the Embassy in Washington or Visa on Arrival.

  • If you wish to organise the visa via the Embassy you will still need a letter of invitation and authorisation from the Sudan Ministry of Foreign Affairs which we can organise via our local partners the cost for obtaining the authorisation is US$135 (which you will pay directly to your tour leader upon arrival) plus the cost of the visa (check with the embassy for this cost), we will require a scanned copy of your passport.
  • If you would like a Visa on Arrival organised, we will require a scanned copy of your passport and the total cost is US$285 ($135 of fees and charges to arrange the visa which you will pay to your tour leader upon arrival and US$150 for the visa which you will pay to the immigration official upon arrival at the airport in Khartoum).

Visa regulations can change and it is worth double checking this information with your local Sudanese embassy. Do not try to bring any alcohol in Sudan as they can have severe penalties.

Vaccinations

Sudan

There are no specific health risks. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Malaria is present in all areas of the Sudan, though the chances of becoming infected in the desert are small.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 11 lunches and 10 dinners included

Sudan is a 'dry country' in other words Alcohol is forbidden and you should not try to import any as there can be serious penalties for doing so. Meals include both international and local dishes. The most common local dishes are ‘full’, a type of broad bean soup, ‘fasolija’ bean soup, lamb and chai tea. Dinners are cooked meals including meat or fish, vegetables, pasta, rice or soup, fruit and desert and tea or coffee. Lunches are picnic style and normally include things like tomato, rice or pasta salad, cheese, ham, tuna and fresh fruit. Drinks are normally water, tea and coffee as well as Karkade, a type of hibiscus juice, for breakfast and as an aperitif before dinner. It is possible to buy soft drinks along the way and even non-alcoholic beer on occasion.

Weather

Northern Sudan enjoys a desert climate with temperatures changing vastly between day and night. Autumn (October/November) and spring (March/April) enjoy temperatures between 30’C and 38’C during the day and between 12’C and 18’C at night. Winter (December – February) is cooler with temperatures between 25’C and 30’C in the daytime and between 5’C and 10’C at night. There is normally no rain or cloud-cover during this period.

Is this trip for you?

This is an expeditionary style trip spending a lot of time travelling off road in the wilderness and camping wild. There are times when the 4WDs can get bogged down in sand and need to be pulled out (we travel in convoy and carry all necessary equipment) and toilets and showers are not readily available (other than on nights 1, 9 and 10) (though there is a water basin available to wash). Drives can be slow and bumpy but the experience of exploring the desert is exhilarating. You will need an open mind and some flexibility as a journey through desert cannot be planned exactly and some small changes to the itinerary may be required whilst on tour. Please see accommodation and transport sections for more information about both the camping and the 4WDs. Sudan is a place where violent crimes are rare and contrary to popular conception, the Sudanese are among the most hospitable and friendliest people in Africa who welcome and enjoy visitors. Their country is one of the world's poorest and our trips generate much-needed income to the region. Hygiene standards are generally basic and insect nuisances, snakes, spiders and scorpions are a limited danger. Also whilst the desert climate is generally dry and our trips operate in the ‘cooler’ months, temperatures can reach the high 30’s or even 40’C. The areas of Sudan visited on this trip are very safe and have been for a number of years. There are still troubles in other parts of the country such as Darfur (which is over 800kms from Khartoum), as well as in neighbouring South Sudan (which is a different country) but we do not travel anywhere near any of these problem areas. More information can be found on https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sudan.

Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Wild Camping, Hotel and Permanent Tented Camp

Wild camping is a fantastic experience as we experience the emptiness and silence of the Sahara. It does, however, take a bit of preparation. We camp in 2-person igloo tents (2m x2m) on 5cm thick foam mattresses. There are folding chairs and table for breakfast and dinner, whilst lunches are taken on carpets spread on the ground, Bedouin style. There are no toilets or showers but there are hand-basins available to wash. Whilst our crew will be setting up camp and preparing meals, you will be expected to help erect your tent. We supply all camping equipment apart from a sleeping bag and pillow which you will have to bring with you.
Our first night, in Khartoum, is at the colonial-era Holiday Villa Hotel in Khartoum staying in en-suite rooms (we also have access to day use rooms on the final day before the flight home). On day 9 we spend the night in the Nubian Rest-House, a charming hotel at the foot of the Jebel Barkal with air-conditioned rooms and en suite bathrooms. On day 10 we stay in the Meroe Tented Camp overlooking the pyramids of Meroe, we sleep in permanent tents each with their own private bathroom.

Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

African sunset

From the volcanic slopes of Kilimanjaro to the highland plateaux of the Simien Mountains, Exodus has cultivated an ar

  • Reviewed March 2016
    Paul Grime

    AYA Sudan Desert Explorer

    This is a fantastic trip and a great adventure. I loved every moment of it, and would definitely recommend this trip to anyone interested in an exciting and different destination. Being able to visit magnificent ancient temples, pyramids and tombs, with not a single other tourist there other than our group (and not a single souvenir seller or drink stall, or even a fence!) is remarkable. Sudan has to one of tourism's best kept secrets - try to visit now whilst it remains so.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    One would think travelling through desert for days on end would be boring, but nothing could be further from the truth - the landscape is always changing from open flat nothingness to large sand dunes to moonscrapes with enormous balancing boulders, to areas where petrified wood and sea shells show evidence of the forest and lakes that the desert once was millions of years ago. Add the incredible night skies and the appearance from nowhere of a nomad woman or man who will proudly show you their desert home, and you have an experience that is anything but boring.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Abdul, our leader, was fantastic - always happy, informative, and willing to discuss honestly all issues regarding Sudan, both ancient and modern. The drivers were all great, and Barkir, our cook, was incredible - the quality and amount of food he produced over a gas ring was remarkable. I had hoped to lose some weight, thinking that the food we would have would be ptetty basic - boy, was I wrong! His aubergine salad was to die for.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As mentioned by others, a couple of packs of wet wipes will come in very handy, although bowls of water are available for a sponge down. Bring a comfy pillow, and depending on whether you have extra days in Khartoum before or after the trip, I would not change more than USD 100, as there really is hardly anything to spend money on, and you can't change back Sudanese Pounds to any other currency at the airport when you leave, so you will have to spend any excess you have.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think many people are put off traveling to Sudan as they think it is unsafe - the areas this trip travels to are far from the troubles in Darfur, and at no stage did I feel unsafe anywhere. In fact everywhere we went we were warmly welcomed by the local people, and there was no "baksheesh" requests or hostility at all - in fact the complete opposite. Anyone interested in history and adventure travel needs to get themselves to Sudan soon!x
  • Reviewed February 2016
    Sarah Thorneycroft

    AYA Sudan Desert Explorer

    Really enjoyed the whole trip. Our guide, drivers and cook together with my fellow travellers made it an unforgettable experience. I haven't spent much time in the desert before but I can honestly say I am now a convert - being so remote with no signs of anyone else around us was amazing. I was a bit concerned about the amount of wild camping involved - and not being able to wash my hair for over a week - but not an issues thank to wet wipes and a hat!!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Driving through the many different faces of the Western, Nubian and Bayuda deserts - from golden sand to landscapes full of boulders. The absolute peace and quiet at night - brilliant stars and no sign of anyone else for miles around.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Abdul was a really good guide. He was very knowledgeable and passionate about the Egyptian pyramids but also gave us a well rounded picture of life in Sudan. He worked incredibly hard along with the drivers and cook to ensure that we had an amazing time in Sudan.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Wet wipes come in very handy although there is water available too!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't be put off going to Sudan. It might not be a popular destination at the moment, and some still worry that it isn't safe. I can honestly say that I felt safe at all times and when we had the opportunity to meet locals we were made to feel welcome.
  • Reviewed December 2015
    Michelle Gillett

    Sudan Desert Explorer AYA

    A true desert expedition!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The ancient sites were impressive, especially the pyramids at Meroe and the carvings on the temple dedicated to Apedemak, but I think, for me, the experience of travelling through the remote desert was a privilege and something I’ll remember for a long time. The variation in the landscape was a surprise - it was different every day. The camping experience was the best we’ve had - no doubt helped by the hot, dry weather which made it easy. The night skies were amazing with so many more stars visible than at home. The Dervish ceremony in Khartoum was fascinating. The drums and chanting were mesmerising; we were made to feel very welcome and could have spent longer here.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Abdel was an excellent guide - he was always calm and gave us a lot of information at all the sites we visited. He was also happy to discuss the politics of Sudan and we had some interesting discussions about the country and its people. The cook and drivers were also excellent; the cook did an amazing job with the food considering the limited resources and being in the middle of nowhere and the skill of the drivers meant we felt safe at all times.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We travelled in November/December and it was still very hot so plenty of sunscreen, a hat and scarf are a good idea. Also, long sleeves to cover up if, like me, you’re prone to burning. Lightweight walking trousers are a good choice as they will stand up to the rigours of desert life and all the sand. A 2-season sleeping bag is probably all that is necessary as it didn’t get that cold at night. Plenty of wet wipes, toilet roll and hand sanitiser are essential. A small bowl of water is available in the morning and evening for washing. Don’t change too much money as you won’t need it. We changed $50 between two of us and struggled to get rid of it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Some of the drives are long and bumpy but this trip is all about the journey, so if that’s something that would be of concern, then this trip may not be the one for you. Snack bars would be a good idea if you get hungry between meals, although the food is plentiful. Probably the best advice is to forget about time and enjoy the journey, secure in the knowledge that you will always be well fed, there will be plenty of ‘comfort breaks’ and you will always arrive at the next camping destination before dark. This was an unforgettable trip and I would strongly recommend it.
  • Reviewed December 2015
    Peter Gillett

    Sudan Desert Explorer (AYA)

    Travelled in Nov/Dec 2015. This feels much more an expedition that a standard holiday. Taking 4x4s off road and into wild remote spectacular desert landscapes. An unforgettable experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many moments! There is a lot of driving into remote parts of the desert so it is more about the journey than the destinations, which generally are beautiful wild camps in safe dune areas. The ever changing subtlety of the landscapes is mesmerising, the emptiness and silence of the Sahara and the immense dark night skies are incredible, and in a place where people are scarce, the chance meetings with nomadic desert people are a delight. The pyramids at Meroe and other ancient sites are amazing, and can be explored in a relaxed atmosphere as tourists are rare in Sudan. The Sufi Dervish ceremony was an inspirational insight into the culture in Khartoum. Could have spent much longer in the crowd of very friendly people and hypnotic rhythms of chanting and drumming.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Abdel Munim was calm, understated, and always courteous. He quietly arranged all aspects of the trip behind the scenes ensuring the drivers were on track and driving safely, stopping when needed for breaks and food/water. He was knowledgeable about the history of the region and passionate about his country’s people, politics and changing future. He’s a lovely person with an intelligent sense of humour. This was the first time Exodus have run the trip so there were a few minor issues with timings and information but that was to be expected and certainly no show stopper. Better to forget about time and go with the flow. The cook was excellent too providing a huge variety with limited resources. The drivers were all skilled at off road work and digging the vehicles out of sand, always polite and safe. A brilliant team of people.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Even in December it was very hot. The locals said it was cooling down but to us that is hard to appreciate, so take lightweight clothing, sun care, hats, head scarves etc. to keep covered. The notes advise that it can be cold in the evenings at camps but that wasn’t the case here, in fact it was suitably warm to remain outside but not too hot to sleep! The only water to wash with is in short supply (maybe two small bowls per day from wells) so wet wipes are useful over the camping days. The advice for spending money is to take dollars and change into local currency (which can’t be changed back!) so be careful not to change too much, if any, as there are very few opportunities to spend it. Some craft sellers at the Meroe tented camp and camel rides if that’s your thing. In fact my only chance was at the final hotel evening meal which cost about £12!! And the hotel accepts dollars anyway, so I didn’t actually need to exchange anything. A car charger/adapter for camera batteries would be useful as there are few chances to recharge on the whole trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be prepared for some bumpy rides in the cars. This can be exhilarating but maybe not for people with back problems! We felt safe at all times in this unusual destination. If you want to feel like a true pioneer, away from it all, in a spectacular country do this trip now, who knows what political upheaval will change things in the future as in so many other places.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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