Cape to Cairo Stage 5: The Sahara Desert and the Pyramids

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Stage 5 from Cape Town to Cairo: From Karthoum to Cairo

The last stage of the Trans-African route starts from Karthoum in Sudan and ends in the Egyptian capital the final destination of our exciting journey: Cairo.

It is a path rich in history, the fascinating desert will give us ancestral stories and archaeological remains of legendary civilizations while the ancient Egyptian temples and pyramids will leave us speechless.

We will cross two states Sudan, a very hospitable country rich in history, a still not very touristy destination that offers that atmosphere of adventure and discovery, where it is possible to admire the archaeological sites in complete solitude, and then Egypt, the land of the pharaohs and pyramids that has always fascinated travelers with its millenary history and its colossal monuments, emblem of a powerful and evolved empire of the past.

The highlights of the trip from Karthoum to Cairo

On this leg of our trip from Cape Town to Cairo we will have the opportunity to explore and discover the following epic destinations:

Traveling from Karthoum to Cairo: the legendary city of Karthoum

Karthoum, the capital of Sudan, is the city that rises near the confluence of the Blue Nile and the White Nile and symbolizes that melting pot of cultures typical of a place that in the past was an outpost in the Sahara desert and a caravanserai for merchant caravans.

The Sudanese capital preserves the traces of the millenary Arab culture, African traditions and the influences of a colonial past, this offers the visitor the opportunity to take a journey through time.

In Karthoum we will visit the great camel market, we will be able to attend the noisy and lively bargaining to secure the best cattle; camel merchants come here from all over Sudan, still today camels represent an important means of transport and a fundamental source of nourishment for both milk and meat.

You will have the opportunity to visit one of the large and traditional Souqs of Karthoum to admire local crafts, get lost among the numerous stalls selling all kinds of products, intoxicating with the scent of spices.

We will take a walk along Nile Street where there are charming colonial buildings to reach the point where the confluence of the White Nile and the Blue Nile is; here we can relax in one of the many bars, tasting a coffee that is served in the typical Arab coffee pot.

The city of Karthoum is the home base for exploring the country and its archaeological and natural treasures.

Traveling from Karthoum to Cairo: the Royal Necropolis of Meroe

200 kilometers from Khartoum, immersed in the Sudanese desert, is the archaeological site of the pyramids of Meroe, built over 2,500 years ago as tombs of the dynasty of Nubian pharaohs.

The Sudanese pyramids, unlike the Egyptian ones, have a smaller base and steeper walls, they also have a sort of temple placed in front of the entrance.

The pyramids of Meroe do not have a burial chamber inside, the chamber is located under the pyramids themselves.

Traveling from Karthoum to Cairo: the Sahara desert

The Sahara Desert in Sudanese territory is an arid and wild region of extraordinary archaeological interest and with wonderful landscapes.

The desert is a magical place that fascinates, crossing it always leaves a strong emotion, we will go to Jebel Barkal, the ancient mountain that dominates this section of the desert and which was considered sacred in ancient times.

Here is the temple of the god Amon erected by the pharaohs of the New Kingdom to honor their protector.

In addition to the necropolis and ancient settlements, the area around the city of Karima is home to a spectacular petrified forest with millenary fossil trunks.

We will have the opportunity to stay overnight in the desert under the stars and immersed in the deafening silence of the desert.

Traveling from Karthoum to Cairo: Lake Nasser and Abu Simbel

A pleasant crossing on Lake Nasser, on the scheduled ferry, will lead us to one of the most spectacular, and well-preserved, archaeological sites not only in Egypt but in the entire African continent: Abu Simbel

The temples of this fantastic site declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO are a masterpiece of engineering and sculpture; they were commissioned by the great and powerful pharaoh Ramses II who reigned over Egypt for over 60 years.

The Great Temple of Abu Simbel celebrates the greatness of Ramses II and the glorious victories he won in battle by defeating the enemies of the Egyptian kingdom; among these, one of the most important is the Battle of Kadesh and one of the most famous is located inside the temple

bas-relief depicting the pharaoh Ramses II on his war chariot defeating the Hittites in Kadesh.

Next to the Great Temple of Abu Simbel is the temple dedicated to Ramses II’s favorite wife: Nefertari.

Traveling from Karthoum to Cairo: sailing the Nile by felucca from Aswan to Luxor

We will spend two pleasant and relaxing days gliding silently on the placid waters of the most iconic river in the world: the Nile.

We will admire the slow life of the farmers who cultivate the green banks of the river torn from the desert thanks to the constant presence of the river’s waters.

Along the way you can also admire and visit temples such as Edfu and Kom Ombo.

Traveling from Karthoum to Cairo: Luxor and the Necropolis of Thebes

The archaeological area located near Luxor which includes the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens, the temples of Luxor and Karnak and other impressive temple ruins has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its important historical evidence .

In Luxor we will admire the two Great Temples of Luxor and Karnak on the west bank of the Nile, temples of great historical importance and masterpieces of engineering and figurative art.

On the east bank of the Nile we will visit the splendid and richly decorated tombs of the pharaohs and the imposing temple of Hatshepsut the first woman who became pharaoh.

Traveling from Karthoum to Cairo: Hurghada and the Red Sea

After a short crossing of the Sahara desert from Luxor we will reach Hurghada on the Red Sea coast, a famous and very popular location for the numerous water activities that can be practiced.

In Hurghada we will be able to snorkel or dive to admire the lush seabed, one of the most beautiful in the world, or simply relax and take a bath in the clear and mild waters of the Red Sea.

Traveling from Karthoum to Cairo: the Sphinx, the Pyramids and the city of Cairo

Leaving Hurghada we will tackle the Sahara desert again heading north to reach Cairo, the capital of Egypt and the final stop of our journey.

Here we will visit the Giza plateau where the three most famous Egyptian pyramids are located, Cheops, Khafre and Mycerinus and the mysterious Sphinx.

We will also visit the city with its important mosques, the citadel, the great souk and the Egyptian museum which houses incredible and spectacular treasures such as the funerary mask of Tutankhamun and the mummies of various pharaohs found in the tombs of the Valley of the Kings.

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