The Sudan is not only the meeting place of the Blue and White Niles, it is also the place where the Arab world meets Africa, with the variation of tribes, languages and cultures that this encounter has made possible. This is a 280km crossing of the Bayuda Desert in this fascinating country led by the renowned explorer and Sudan expert, Michael Asher.
The Sudan is one of the most fascinating countries in the world, embracing a diversity of African landscapes, from absolute desert to lush savannah, from the arid uplands of the Red Sea Hills to the cataracts of the Nile Valley, from the green mountains of Darfur, to the fastness of the Nuba Mountains. Nomads still wander the great desert plains and arid savannahs with herds of camels and flocks of sheep, their way of life almost untouched by industrial civilization.
Mission: The expedition aims to cross the Bayuda desert in Sudan on an unsupported Camel trek, a distance of 280 kilometres.
On this two week expedition we cross the Bayuda Desert between Metemma and Korti, travelling just as the Sudanese nomads have done for centuries, we follow in reverse the route used by the British Camel Corps during the Gordon Relief Expedition in 1885. We carry our entire world on camelback, with no prearranged camps, and no support. It is a unique opportunity to cross a spectacular desert as nomads would in a region that is steeped in history, enriched by culture and is now mired by controversial politics today.
A massive meander in the river Nile contains this unheard of section of the Sahara. The Bayuda desert varies in texture from acacia forest, through verdant dry washes, rolling grassy savannahs, and mystical ochre-coloured sand-sheets scattered with rocky outcrops, chocolate-coloured ridges, dark volcanic mountains. With hot days and cool nights, under a brilliant canopy of stars, it is a region where tourists are virtually unknown, and where camel riding is still a way of life among local people.
Moving at the steady pace of 4 to 5 km (2-3 miles) an hour, we pass through a region that seems to exist in a dimension separate from our modern world. We cover an average of 30 km (18 miles) a day, by foot and camel, experiencing a sense of remoteness now found only rarely – a sense of peace and harmony that comes of a closer connection with the Earth. Once the expedition has finished we will drive back to Khartoum, but not before stopping off at two fascinating places on the way, the Pyramids at Old Meroe and the temple complex at Musawwarat as-Sufra.
The Sudanese are among the most hospitable and friendliest people in Africa: they welcome visitors with open arms. This expedition will explore not only a spectacular desert landscape, but also a culture too often overshadowed by the politics of its government and see the real Sudan.
Sudan has a long and varied history. The Kingdom of Kush was an ancient Nubian dynasty that reigned after the collapse of the Egyptian empire. During classical antiquity the Nubian capital was at Meroe, where the ancestors of modern day Sudanese built the impressive yet little known pyramids. Smaller, but no less awe-inspiring, than their Egyptian counterparts we camp in the shadows of these grand tombs- a thousand miles from the nearest tourists in Cairo. We also follow in the wake of more recent history and pick up the trail left by General Gordon on his ill fated relief of Khartoum where remnants of battles immortalised by Sir Henry Newbolt are still present.
Our guide is the famous desert Explorer Michael Asher. He is a former SAS man and the author of over twenty books including Khartoum: The Ultimate Imperial Adventure. Michael has travelled more than 30,000 miles by camel, and has won the Ness Award of the Royal Geographical Society, and the Mungo Park Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society for desert exploration. Resident in Kenya for more than two decades, he lived in the Sudan for ten years, including 3 years with a nature-based nomad tribe, the Kababish, as one of them. A fluent speaker of both Arabic and Swahili, he and his wife Mariantonietta Peru made the first recorded crossing the Sahara desert from west to east by camel – a journey of 4500 miles.
Accommodation when in Khartoum will be in a comfortable hotel. Whilst on the trek we will be camping and two man tents will be provided. Many people prefer simply sleeping under the stars!
All meals are included. In Khartoum we will eat well in restaurants. In the desert we will have a cook who will provide excellent local meals.
On the expedition will involve bumpy rides in minibuses, trekking and camel riding! You will be able to ride as much or as little as you like, but bear in mind that camel riding is not a passive activity like sitting in a car: it requires energy and fitness.
SUITABLE TEAM MEMBERS
Should be over 21, fit and healthy and capable of travelling in a remote region for 10 days without external support trekking at 3-5km/hr for 8 hours per day or more.
What is included?
• Full services of a Secret Compass expedition leader with local guides and drivers.
• All meals
• All transport as outlined in the itinerary.
• All specialist and safety equipment
• All accommodation (Including tents)
• All local permits
What is not included
• Local airport taxes and international visas
• Tips to local guides
• Beverages & any costs of a personal nature.
• International Flights
• Personal equipment. (Upon booking you will receive a comprehensive kit list).