Outlandish Africa: Socotra, Egypt, Sudan, Bir Tawil & South Sudan Mega Combo
This tour is one for the very few! A challenge of stamina with amazing rewards as it will take you through the most unique sceneries and cultures of Africa. From the famed land of Socotra, going through the chalk and quartz formations of Egypt, the incredible necropolis of Sudan, the unclaimed land of Bir Tawil and the incredible tribes of South Sudan.
We will officially be taking advantage of the new flights going from Cairo into Socotra, stopping by Seiyun in Yemen.
Located between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula where the Arabian Sea meets the Indian Ocean, Socotra is an ecological wonder. Alien landforms sit above beautiful beaches, and the archipelago is home to a diverse and often unique flora and fauna. Whether it’s coming to a new and inaccessible country, or exploring an ecological paradise, Socotra is a place for everyone.
The tour will take us all around the island to take as many of the sights as possible as we will stay there for a week before we head back to Cairo and spend a week seeing its unseen corners as well as the White Desert.
We’ll be exploring the City of the Dead – an impressive neighbourhood composed of old buildings which have been now occupied by the poorer classes of the country. A frenetic hustle and bustle amongst ruins. Then we will head out to the Garbage City – a slum neighborhood of the capital literally overrun by trash, an easily overlooked side of our urban, globalised planet. A trip to Egypt has to take in some pyramids of course so we will take you to the bent pyramid and the red pyramid as well as the pyramid of Djoser which are seen much less and will leave us much more space for exploration.
Then, it will be time to start our exploration of the Sudans exploring ruins of former glorious empires, including the Christian Kingdom of Makuria, the Necropolis of Napata and the pyramids of Meroe in Sudan and then with our own transportation and food, we will head north, towards the Sudan-Egypt border — crossing not via road but directly through the depths of the deserts, with only the tyre tracks of other vehicles to mark our path.
Our trip then takes us to Sudan starts with a full tour of the strange boom-town capital that is Juba. We will leave the city to then visit the Mundari, the Lotuko, the Dinka and the Boya people.Each of them with their culture and traditions like nothing else on this quickly globalising and standardising world.
The flight between each countries is not included in the price of the tour in order to allow maximum flexibility. If you would like us to book it for you, mention it while booking to know our prices!
Due to the infrastructural limitations of South Sudan, we can only have 12 people on that part of the trip. The good news is that if you book this combo, you have the ultimate priority!
Please note that bookings for this tour will close 90 days before the tour in order for us to have time to get the necessary permits in Sudan and South Sudan.
50% of the tour fee should be paid up to 90 days before the tour and the remainder paid no less than 30 days before the tour
Such a trailblazing tour in first, a far-way land where no one lives and then the world’s youngest country where tourism is basically inexistent comes with its lot of unexpected changes and cannot realistically be done with the highest standards of comforts. This is a trip for the most hardened travellers. A great degree of open-mindedness and flexibility is required to partake in this trip, which is why we offer it first to you, our most valued pioneers!
Around 7:00 pm we will meet somewhere central and there will be a place to leave your bag before we head out for dinner and getting to know each other.
Around 10:00pm we will head to the airport to catch our Yemenia Airways flight to Socotra.
Wednesday 16th October – Habido/Ayhaft Canyon National Park/Delisha Beach
We will catch our 2:00am flight from Cairo, stopping for a quick layover in Seiyun, mainland Yemen and heading to the island!
Arrival in Habido, Socotra at 8:45am . Upon arrival we’ll be greeted by our local Socotri guide who will accompany us for the trip.
Short drive to Ayhaft Canyon National Park.
Time to wash off the tiredness from that redeye flight by swimming at Delisha Beach. It is a beautiful white beach next to the sea and a lagoon.
Enjoy the magnificent sunset over the sea from the sand dunes, where you’ll see different ships passing by.
Dinner at the Delish Tourist Complex.
Overnight in our centrally located hotel in Hadibo.
Thursday 17th October – Homhil National Park/Arher
After breakfast we’ll head for Homhil National Park. Homhil National Park is famous for its Dragon’s blood trees, which cannot be found anywhere else. But that’s not all: many other impressive forms of flora like the bottle tree and the cucumber plant can be found here. After an hour’s walk we’ll reach an amazing crystal-clear pool with a view over the whole southern part of Socotra.
The most hardcore amongst us can descend from the mountain on foot. Others can walk back to the car and be driven down towards the beach.
Drive to Arher.
Arher is the meeting point of freshwater and saltwater, creating an impressive natural phenomenon. Over here you’ll find some giant sand dunes.
You will be free to walk around the area on your own. Those up to the challenge can climb the 300m-high sand dune found here.
Dinner and overnight in Arher.
Friday 18th October – Arher/Hoq’s Cave/Raw Ersil /Dihamri Marine Protected Area
After waking up next to the beach people can choose between 2 morning activities:
A steep hike to Hoq’s Cave (4 hours). This is one of the most important spots on the island. OR:
Be driven to Raw Erisel, the meeting point of the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean and walk from there back to the camp.
Once everybody has returned from their chosen activity, we’ll drive to Dihamri Marine Protected Area. While the beach may not be so spectacular here, in the sea you’ll find a great diversity of flora and fauna.
Here, diving and snorkelling are available (rental available, extra cost) or you can also decide to join the local fishermen for sea expedition!
We’ll bring back freshly caught fish from the sea for dinner in Dihamri. .
Overnight in Hadibo.
Saturday 19th October – Dixsam
We’ll drive to the Dixsam Plateau. This is the most famous spot for the Dragon’s Blood trees, where you can also spot many rare birds.
Along the way we’ll stop for photos at Shehahon’s viewpoint
We will have lunch in the village of Dixsam. Here we’ll meet the head of the village who will happily tell more about his functions here and the situation of the people living on Socotra Island.
Stop at Wadi Derhur where we can take a walk. This used to be a famous camping spot, but sadly, after a major storm everything was damaged.
Hike through the beginning of Fermahin – a forest of Dragon’s Blood trees.
Tonight we’ll mingle with the people of a typical Socotri village!
Dinner and overnight at a homestay in Dixsam.
Sunday 20th October –Zahek & Hayf/Dagub/Amak
Today, we`ll head out for walk through the village accompanied by our new local friends, including a visit to the local garden, where they try to plant new Dragon’s Blood trees.
Drive towards the Southern coast at Nogud.
Stop at the big sand dunes of Sahek and Hayf at Amak Beach, where you can swim in the sea.
Cave of Dagub.
Lunch at the cave or at Amak Beach, depending on the sun.
Dinner and overnight in Dixsam, surrounded by Dragon’s Blood trees.
Monday 21st October – Qalansiya/Shuaab
Early morning drive to Qalansiya, the second biggest city on the island.
We’ll take an half an hour long boat trip to Shuaab, passing by huge rock formations and flocks of birds. If we are lucky we might spot a few dolphins!
Relax at the most beautiful beach of Socotra and meet the local goat herder, guarding his flock against the lupine hordes. Lunch on the beach.
Upon returning to Qalansiya we’ll drive to Detwah Lagoon.
Here we’ll make our camp and you can walk around the big lagoon and see the amazing landscape.
Overnight camping at Detwah Eco-campsite.
Tuesday 22nd October – Hadibo
Return to Hadibo.
We’ll spend the day on a city tour of Hadibo and learn more about life in Yemen.
Our first stop will be the women market (including its spice market) where you will get to see the kind of goods people barter on the islands.
We will then head to the fish market. Here the fishermen bring a cornucopia of sea creatures and try to sell them to make ends meet. This place can get very lively and we might catch some auctions!
We’ll then head to the khat market; it is here that the stimulating narcotic — all the rage in Eastern Africa — is sold.
We will stop by the streets of the manufacturers of doors; these artists make ornate doors like those that can be found around many middle-eastern countries. They really make an art of it as each door is unique and is supposed to represent the family that lives inside the house it protects.
We finish our day trip popping by a local school where we meet students, as well as the teachers, and interact with them. An impromptu English lesson, maybe?
Tonight is our last night in the faraway paradise, so we will celebrate the great times we had!
Overnight in our hotel in Hadibo
Wednesday 23rd October – Habido/Cairo (Egypt)
We wake up early to catch our 9:45 flight back to Cairo.
We shall arrive, provided there are no delays, around 14:45 in CairoIf you arrive early and have some fight in you, you are free to visit Cairo, we’ll definitely head out for some optional exploring! If you want to visit Giza or the National Museum, now’s the time!
For the rest, we won’t blame you if you take a day at our centrally located hotel to rest.
We will head out for dinner and drinks as you get to know the newest additions to the team!
Overnight in Cairo
Thursday 24 October – Cairo Suburbs
After a hearty breakfast, we leave our hotel to spend our day going around the exciting suburbs of Cairo.
Our first stop in Egypt is the City of the Dead, an ancient necropolis made up of an Arabic cemetery where the less-fortunate of Egypt have settled. Tens of thousands of people live here within mausoleums and tombs. It creates a mixture of bustling living amongst monuments to death. We’ll walk through the neighborhood as our guide introduce us to the settlers and tell us more about the history of the place.
Then, we head to our next neighborhood of Cairo, this time the Garbage City, or Manshiyat Nasser. Where in the City of the Dead people had to live amongst tombstones, inefficient rubbish collection in Manshiyat Nasser forces people to live amongst waste, creating a kind of post-apocalyptic atmosphere and is truly an eye-opener into a different side of our planet
We make a lunch stop for a traditional Egyptian meal.
In the afternoon we spend time visiting the lesser-known pyramids. We stop by the Bent Pyramid, which almost collapsed due to a mistake in its design.
Our second pyramid is the red pyramid, we can expect to be the only ones around there, in stark contrast to the most famous of the pyramids
We finish our pyramid party with the Pyramid of Djoser considered to be the world’s oldest intact pyramid
We head back into town to visit the citadel of Cairo which is also the location of the Egyptian military museum
After a busy day, we head back to our hotel surroundings for dinner and some rest before our desert expedition
Overnight in Cairo
Friday 25th October – White Desert
Today we head out to the White Desert, jumping into our 4X4s on the trip to the White Desert
Along the way, we’ll stop at the oasis of Bahariya to stretch our legs and take some photos
Lunch in a village nearby Bahariya
In the afternoon, we continue our trip to the White Desert by going through… the Black Desert. Egyptians are certainly good at naming things!
We stop by the Crystal Mountain, a shiny ridge dotted with quartz in the middle of the sand made by a one of a kind geological phenomenon
The White desert, located not too far from Cairo, is one of Egypt’s best secrets. The scenery here is like nowhere else with chalk white pillars coming out of the sand. We will reach the White Desert just in time for sunset!
In the evening, it will be time to pick our own Bedouin encampment where we will have dinner under the starry sky of Egypt followed by a Bedouin music party
Overnight in the Bedouin camp
Saturday 26th October – White Desert
Wake up in the desert for our breakfast in the sand
Spend most of the morning going through the impressive chalk formations of the White Desert with plenty of opportunities for walking and taking photos
Have lunch around the oasis of Bahariya to cut the journey in half
In the afternoon, we make our way back to Cairo
Say goodbye to Cairo with our dinner together as a proper sendoff night for those who will leave us tomorrow
Overnight in Cairo
Sunday 27th October – Cairo/Khartoum
Free morning to check out things you have missed in Cairo
We recommend booking Egyptair direct flight MS855 to Khartoum leaving at 4 PM. (Flight not included in the price of the tour)
Meet the newest additions to our group around dinner!
Overnight in Khartoum.
Monday 28th October – Khartoum/Omdurman
Up early for breakfast at hotel before we start the day with a city tour of the Sudanese capital city.
We’ll visit the national museum, which contains various objects dedicated to Nubian history. This Nubian area of the southern Nile was home of Africa’s earliest ancient civilization.
We’ll also take in the beautiful temples saved by UNESCO from lake Nassir and rebuilt entirely inside the museum.
Visit the Ethnographic museum. Sudan has 597 different ethnic groups that speak over 400 different languages and dialects, we’ll get a taste for the incredible diversity here.
Cross the White Nile for a trip to technically Sudan’s second largest city – Omdurman. We’ll have a short stop at the Mahdi tomb and tour around the Khalifa house museum. The house served as the HQ of the Mahdist state. This was a short-lived religious and political movement that ruled Sudan until the British reconquered in 1898.
Lunch stop in Omdurman.
Visit Omdurman’s beautifully colourful market before making our way back to Khartoum.
Dinner and overnight in Khartoum.
Tuesday 29th October – Khartoum/Old Dongola/Kerma
Very early morning breakfast before beginning our journey to Northern Sudan.
We travel 500km north of Khartoum. On the way we’ll stop at Old Dongola, the capital of the Christian kingdom of Makuria. Today it’s a deserted city with the population having moved downstream in the 19th century.
We move onto the cemetery of the Sofi holy men (lunch on the way).
Take the ferry across the Nile and drive for a further 40km arriving at Kerma, a 3800 B.C archeological site.
Overnight in a traditional Nubian house with a wonderful local feast.
Wednesday 30th October – Tombus/Soleb
Another early rise to visit the site of Tombus. Here there are many Egyptian inscriptions and a huge granite statue dedicated the famous black Pharaoh – Taharqa.
We continue 50km to the north where we stop to take in the amazing panoramic view of the rock art from the prehistoric period at Wadi Sebu.
Lunch stop at a local tea house.
Cross the Nile to its west bank and drive two hours up to Soleb; an ancient Nubian town home to a vast necropolis.
Dinner and overnight at a traditional Nubian house.
Thursday 31st October – Soleb/Karima
Today we head back south driving for 320km before reaching the city of Karima, the location of ancient Napata.
We visit the holy mountain of Jebel Barkal (Together with Napata, a UNESCO heritage site) and the numerous temples at the foot of Jebel Barkal.
Trick or treat! It couldn’t be a better time to visit Kurru, the royal necropolis of Napata. Here we go deep underneath the pyramid to see the amazing painted tomb of the black Pharaoh Tanutamani.
Dinner in a local restaurant.
Overnight at Merowe Tourist Village hotel.
Friday 1st November Nuri/Meroe
Early morning visit to the nearby Nuri pyramids. There are over 60 burial places here.
We continue crossing though the Bayuda desert up to Meroe. We’ll pass through and stop at desert settlements before reaching the famous Meroe pyramids. A perfect setting to witness the sun go down.
TRIP HIGHLIGHT: Overnight camping in tents near the Pyramids!
Saturday 2nd November Meroe/Khartoum
Rise and shine for an early morning visit to the royal city of Meroe.
Set off on an off-road/on-road adventure to visit Mussawart. This is a complex of temples dedicated the local god Apedamak – the lion god. This was the biggest construction in the history of Nubia.
After a local lunch we continue up to Naqa 20km from Mussawart. This was once a vital trading post between the Mediterranean world and Africa. It houses a wonderful collection of buildings dated to the first century AD.
Visit the Roman kiosk, which represents the intersection of various cultures both European and African.
Visit the Among temple.
Group A hits the road for Khartoum 150km from Naqa.
Check into the hotel followed, by a local farewell dinner.
Group B spends the night in Meroe, prepping up for the adventure of a lifetime!
Sunday 3rd November/Khartoum
End of tour for Group A.
Group B leaves early for the long trip to Abu Hamad, the end of the road in Sudan!
The town of Abu Hamad is one of the last stops on the train, and name after a sheikh who was buried here. Our guide will introduce us to the legends about him.
We enjoy our last dinner in a human settlement, before we head to… nowhere!
Overnight in tents by Abu Hamad.
Monday 4th November – Bir Tawil
Today, our expert guides drive us across the desert, where there is no road but the traces of the previous travellers’ cars.
We are in the deepest depths of the desert and shall stop for many photo opportunities.
Lunch today is a picnic in the desert.
We reach Bir Tawil in the evening!
Enjoy our camp meal outside of any country!
It wouldn’t be a YPT trip without a party — the first party, probably ever, in that part of the world!
Overnight in tents, in Bir Tawil!
Tuesday 5th November – Bir Tawil
Today, our day will be dedicated to the in-depth exploration of Bir Tawil.
If you brought a flag, plant it in Bir Tawil and claim the land! It is your opportunity to change the world and start a country according to your values (YPT can’t guarantee your claim will be approved by any international organization but you’re welcome to have a go at it!).
Lunch by our camp.
Afternoon spent exploring Bir Tawil some more. Chances are we’ll be scoring many firsts in that part of the world.
Dinner and overnight by our camp (the first human settlement?) in Bir Tawil.
Wednesday 6th November – Abu Hamad
As always, all good things must come to an end and we start making our way down towards Khartoum but this time as proper trail blazers; fathers and mothers of a nation.
Lunch on the way.
Arrival in Abu Hamad by the beginning of the evening. We’re back in civilization! Kind of…
Overnight camping by Abu Hamad.
Thursday 7th November – Khartoum
After a good breakfast, we’re back on the road!
We arrive by Khartoum in the early evening.
We go for an evening stroll around Khartoum.
Dinner in Khartoum and our last night party, remembering the time when we were kings and queens of our own land!
Friday 8th November – Khartoum/Juba
This morning, we will catch our flights to South Sudan. We recommend taking the very early flight ET343 leaving at 3:30 followed by flight ET 352 arriving in Juba at 11:15 so you don’t have to miss much of the day. (Flight not included in the price of the tour)
*For safety reasons, we chose not to make the South Sudan part of this itinerary public. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for the detailed itinerary*
– Entry fees to protected areas
– Accommodation in Socotra: hotels & camping in protected areas
– Camping & cooking equipment
– Transportation to complete itinerary in Socotra
– Local tour guide and YPT tour guide
– All meals in Socotra
– Activities (unless specified otherwise)
-Accommodation based on twin-share basis in Cairo
-Camping equipment in the White Desert
-Transportation in an AC-van as per itinerary
-Local guide and YPT guide
-Breakfasts and lunches
-Meals and water in the White Desert
– Hotel accommodation in Khartoum at 3 stars bed & breakfast bases
– Accommodation outside Khartoum as per program and based on full-board.
– transport in AC 4WD cars 3 persons in a car
– Local english speaking guide and YPT guide
– Entrance fees
– Passport registration
– Photo permit and tour permit
– Mineral water
– Invitation letter for visa purpose
– Accommodation in twin share basis in Khartoum
– Camping equipment outside of Khartoum
– Breakfasts in Khartoum
– All meals outside of Khartoum
– Letter of Invitation and visa support for Sudan
– All transport by 4WD
– Entrance Fees
– English Speaking local guide and YPT Western Guide
– Photo permit and tour permit
– Roundtrip Flight between Cairo and Socotra (+- €1150 )
– Visa Fee (€100)
– Travel Insurance
– Single Supplement (3 nights €120)
– International flights to and from Cairo
-Tips for the local guide and drivers