In the morning we visited the Meroe Pyramids which are situated south of Atbara. Although this site is considered the most important and well-known site all over Sudan we were the only visitors during our entire two hour stay there. This underlines again that tourism in Sudan is still in its infancy. However, while all Sudanese sites we visited so far had no touristy appearance at all there were 5-10 guys at the Meroe pyramids trying to sell some hand-made souvenirs and an additional 5-10 guys offering camels rides around the pyramid area. Despite this touristy infrastructure I preferred using my feet to walk around. The pyramids were quite impressive since there were a whole lot of them. Compared to the pyramids we saw in Egypt they are significantly smaller which is considered to be Nubian style.
At lunch time we stopped in Shendi. We were requested to strictly take no photos in this town for a reason which is still unclear to me. In general it’s not allowed to take any photos in Sudan without a photo permit which can only be obtained in the capital Khartoum. Since we didn’t enter the country in Khartoum but Wadi Halfa we had no possibility to obtain such a permit and therefore we just take photos without an official approval.
When we registered with the police in Shendi, a process we need to do in every major city, we were also requested not to bush camp on the way to Khartoum as originally planned but drive all the way to Khartoum and spend the night there. We were also requested to first register in Khartoum before we go and see the temples at Naqa which basically lay on the way from Shendi to Khartoum. However, we managed to negotiate that we can see the temples before the registration and therefore avoid going several hours back and forward.
The Naqa temples are basically two temples, one devoted to Amun and the other one to Apedemak. While the Amun temple reminded me of the temples I saw in Luxor (Egypt), the Apedemak temple featured a Roman Kiosk which I haven’t seen in Sudan so far.
Since we were not allowed to bush camp in the area we had to drive all the way to Khartoum. Usually we do not drive after sunset but this time we needed to. We arrived around 9pm and since we had no budget planned for this night and there is no budget accommodation in Khartoum we stayed at the city’s camping ground which was not nice at all. Actually the camping ground reminded me more of a car park since we had to put up our tents between cars and only 10 metres away from a major road. For these special occasions I always carry earplugs with me which let me forget all the noise around me and give me a wonderful sleep. Before going to bed we had some leftover chicken soup from the night before which got burned during the heating process and therefore had a very special taste.
Despite my earplugs I didn’t sleep through. Michelle, the girl I’m sharing a tent with, woke me up in the middle of the night since some kids were unzipping our tent and trying to steal some stuff out of it. The second time I woke up was because Michelle got up at 5am to call her mother for her birthday.