Itinerary | Nile Expedition – Addis to Egypt
As we will be camping and travelling for an extended period of time, you must be prepared for an adventurous challenge. It can be hot and dusty, and will sometimes be out of contact from the rest of the world. This means no telephones, shops or any other mod cons. We need you to participate and work with all members of the expedition. For the Trans we use sturdy purpose-built vehicles for these rugged off-road conditions.
ETHIOPIA – Addis Ababa, Harar ancient walled city
DJIBOUTI – Red Sea, salt lakes, volcanoes
ETHIOPIA – Lalibela rock-hewn churches, Danakil Depression, Adwa mountains and Axum, Simien Mountains and the Gelada baboons
SUDAN – Khartoum and meeting of the Blue and White Niles, camel markets, Pyramids at Meroe, Nubian Desert, River Nile
EGYPT – Aswan, Luxor, Red Sea Coast, Pyramids & Sphinx day tour & guide, Alexandria on the Mediterranian
Week 1: Ethiopia
In Ethiopia we climb the mountains into the highlands
We follow the Rift Valley Lakes to the capital; Addis Ababa. In Ethiopia the roads we travel on are often in mountainous areas, travel is slow. Ethiopia has a lot more visual & indigenous history than any other sub Saharan country.
Into the Omo Valley
This region is home to some of the most colourful ethnic groups in Ethiopia. The friendly Hamar people are noted for their ornate, interesting hairstyles and the Mursi people are famous for the clay lip plates and earlobe decorations. An optional day tour will take you into the Omo National Park.
We spend a few days in the capital Addis Ababa
Here we have the chance to indulge in some authentic Ethiopian coffee or explore ‘El Mercato’ – one of East Africa’s largest open air markets. We also spend the next few days organizing our Sudanese and Egyptian visas.
Harar Ancient City
Harar is an ancient town surrounded by a centuries-old defensive wall is a city known for its mazelike alleys, colourful markets and Hyena Men who feed the hyenas every night just outside the city walls.
Week 2: Djibouti
The least known countries in Africa is Djibouti. This tiny country has many highlights. Few places have such a variety of landscapes – like salt lakes, volcanoes, sunken plains, limestone chimneys with steam coming from the top to mention a few. We will spend a week in the country exploring the countries highlights before returning to Ethiopia.
Week 3-4: Ethiopia
Lalibela town has an historic collection of massive rock cut monolithic rock-hewn churches. Then on to Mekele, capital city of the Tigray region.
The Danakil Depression is a vast plain, some 200 by 50 km and 400 feet below sea level. It’s about the hottest place on Earth and one of the lowest places and extremely dry, without rain for most of the year. The Awash River dries up in a chain of salt lakes, never reaching the sea.
Through the mountains to Adwa mountains and the holy city of Axum in the far north of Ethiopia. Known for its tall, carved obelisks dating from the 12th Century. These have been kept alive by generations of dedicated priests guarding their precious religious and artistic artefacts.
The UNESCO World Heritage listed Simien Mountains National Park has dramatic escarpments and freestanding pinnacles. Home to many indigenous animals; Gelada Monkeys, Walia ibex, Lammargeyer vultures, klipspringers and Ethiopian wolves. Hiking is a great way to enjoy the park.
Gondar was the capital of Ethiopia from 1632 until 1868. There are seven Emperor’s castles In Gondar. We spend a few days where we can organise overnight trips to the Simien Mountains National Park, home to the Gelada Baboon. Hikes are available in the area. You may also wish to arrange a trip to the holy city of Axum dating from the 12th Century have been kept alive by generations of dedicated priests who guard their precious religious icons. The border with Sudan is not far from Gondar and the first towns after the border are Gedaref & Wadi Medani.
Week 5: Sudan
Khartoum is our next stop and it has a fantastic setting on the confluence of the Blue and White Niles. Our stay here is on the banks of the Nile at the quirky but interesting Blue Nile Sailing Club. It houses one of General Kitcheners old Gunboats, a relic from the British military campaign against the Mahdi over a century ago. For such a large city, Khartoum feels quite laid back. Here you can visit the Hamed al Nil Tomb or take a trip to the daily camel market or viewing the confluence of the two Niles are also an interesting ways to pass the time.
The hospitality in Sudan can be surprising and very genuine. For such a country with so many recent problems the Sudanese are often too willing to invite you for a meal or a cup of ‘Sudanese whisky’ – better known as tea.
The pyramids are to the north of the capital Khartoum. Our drive across the Nubian Desert will see us either hugging the banks of Nile as it snakes its way north or possibly experiencing the vast open desert plains which is dissected by the main train line from Khartoum – making this our only real point of reference. Whether passing through sleepy Nubian villages, resting in tea rooms, pottering around the local souqs or experiencing total isolation in the middle of the desert – a unique experience awaits you along this not so travelled route to Wadi Halfa.
Week 6-7: Egypt – Abu Simbel
We enter Egypt and board the ferry to Abu Simbel – one of the ultimate destinations on our expedition. We arrive into the small village of Abu Simbel. The massive stone monuments built by the greatest of all pharaohs, Ramses ll, after spending the night we will travel in convoy to the city of Aswan.
You will notice one of the many cultural changes on this trip. The Nubian people lead a more relaxed and less hectic pace of life than their Egyptian countrymen, while more urban than their Sudanese counterparts.
Take an evening boat cruise to a Nubian village and a walk through the colourful souk, is a great way to spend your days here. Above Aswan between the Aswan Dam and the High Dam is a lake with an island and the The Ancient Egyptians built a beautiful and magnificent Temple on this island for the Goddess Isis. It was submerged after the first Aswan Dam was built in 1906. To save the temple they had to wait until 1971, and the completion of the High Dam, which stabilised the level of the water.
You can also take a 2 day felucca boat cruise to Edfu and Kom Ombo to Luxor.
Temple, Colossi of Memnon, Valley of the Kings, Tutankhamen’s Tomb
Luxor, we visit Karnack Temple the Colossi of Memnon and the Valley of the Kings with Tutankhamen’s Tomb. We do a big day trip to the monuments on friendly happy donkeys. They tend to walk off home alone after we arrive at the Valley of the Kings leaving us free to do the rest of the day in a bus.
Visit the Valley of Kings and Queens. Here, the remarkably well preserved tombs of the ancient rulers -namely Ramses ll and Tutankhamun, with coloured paintings and hieroglyphics – fresh even after 3000 years. Karnak and Luxor Temples are both in easy walking distance from our camp – as is the local souq where you can pick up the last of your souvenirs.
The Red Sea Coast
The following day we drive out towards the Red Sea Coast. You will have time relax on the beach for a couple of days or try your hand at various watersports such as snorkelling, windsurfing or scuba diving in the cool clear blue waters.
Cairo, Pyramids & Sphinx, Mohamed Ali Mosque, Old Cairo
Cairo is only a day drive away. Visiting the great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx with an Egyptologist guide, Egyptian Museum, the best mosque in the Middle East, a fortress citadel and Old Cairo
Alexandria on the Nile Delta & the Mediterranean Sea
We cross the desert to Alexandria on the Delta of the Nile and the Mediterranean Sea, originally a Greek city founded by Alexander of Macedon. Not over visited by tourists, it has some great sites to visit; including its city beaches. Other must sees are; the rebuilt library of Alexandria, Fort Qaitbey, a Mamluk fortress on the harbour, Montaza Palace gardens and many museums.
Just one hundred kilometers west of the Alex is the railway halt of El Alamein. In the WW2 this was the site of two decisive battles between Commonwealth and Axis forces. It is considered to be the turning point of WW2.
We return to Cairo, the end of our trip.
For an updated dossier and information on visas, vaccinations, spending money, optional excursions and other useful information please contact us.
Of all the trips we run this is the most likely to have a change of route due to local conditions and visa requirements.
Africa is an unpredictable continent. We do not have a fixed itinerary so please treat the information given as a guideline only. Although our information is written in good faith at the time of printing, our route may vary at any time due to weather, politics or road conditions.