Expedition to the ancient Sudan and the Horn of Africa: Martian landscapes of Djibouti, whale sharks, camels and amazing Mogadisho

SOMALIA + SOMALILAND + DJIBOUTI + SUDAN

January 4 to 15, 2022
Tour Somalia, Somaliland, Djibouti and Sudan

tour to Somalia expedition Somaliland Mogadisho Djibouti travel East Africa African Horn whale sharks tour Assale lake Hargesa extreme expedition Sudan Sahara Meroe pyramids

Find yourself on another planet – discover amazing ancient Sudanese pyramids and the Horn of Africa with its Martian landscapes of Danakil desert and the lowest point in Africa, the country of camels and the coast of whale sharks, the lost caves of Laas Geel and god-forsaken Mogadishu.

Traveling in Somalia and Somaliland is accompanied by paramilitary police guards.

Find yourself on another planet – discover the Horn of Africa with its Martian landscapes of Danakil desert and the lowest point in Africa, the country of camels and the coast of whale sharks, the lost caves of Laas Geel, amazing ancient Sudanese pyramids and god-forsaken Mogadishu.
Traveling in Somalia and Somaliland is accompanied by paramilitary police guards.

SCHEDULE AND COST:

Dates: January 4 to 15, 2022

Duration: 12 days / 11 nights

Number of participants: 6 – 10

Cost per person:
- USD 4 390 subject to 10 participants,
- USD 4 490 subject to 9 participants,
- USD 4 590 subject to 8 participants,
- USD 4 890 subject to 6 – 7 participants

10% early booking discount (in case you book before September 4, 2021)

Everything is included except for:
- international flight to Mogadisho and back from Khartoum,
- flight from Djibouti to Khartoum,
- flight from Mogadisho to Hargesa,
- flight from Hargesa to Djibouti,
- international medical insurance,
- Djibouti e-visa (25 USD, price can be changed), to be arranged on your own at https://www.evisa.gouv.dj/ in advance,
- Somalia visa (60 USD, price can be changed), we arrange and obtain upon arrival (or on your own in Somalia embassy in advance),
- Somaliland visa (60 USD, price can be changed), we arrange and obtain upon arrival (or on your own in Somaliland embassy in advance),
- Sudan visa (160 USD, incl. 100 USD visa fee and 60 USD for visa entry permit. Price can be changed), we arrange and obtain upon arrival (or on your own in Sudan embassy in advance).

Estimated cost of flight Moscow – Mogadishu: USD 600 – 800. (Usually bought on your own, we consult you).
Estimated cost of flight Djibouti – Khartoum: USD 500 – 700. (Usually bought on your own, we consult you).
Estimated cost of flight Khartoum – Moscow: USD 400 – 600. (Usually bought on your own, we consult you).
Estimated cost of flight Mogadisho – Hargesa: USD 170 – 220 (We can assist in buying the ticket, and you reimburse).
Estimated cost of flight Hargesa – Djibouti: USD 170 – 200 (We can assist in buying the ticket, and you reimburse).

Single supplement in Djibouti and Sudan: USD 550 (single supplement in Somalia and Somaliland is provided by default)




TRAVEL PROGRAM: TOUR TO SOMALIA, SOMALILAND, DJIBOUTI, SUDAN

Day 1. January 4, 2022. ARRIVAL AND ACQUAINTANCE WITH MOGADISHU (SOMALIA)

Arrive in Mogadishu, meet our guide and transfer to the hotel for rest and lunch break. Today we start getting acquaintance with amazing Mogadishu city, ruined but charming. We visit the sea shore nearby the Fish market to see the local life and fishermen of all ages with the beautiful ocean waves. We take a walk to Arba Rancoon Mosque, Berta Salaanta, the unknown Soldiers monument and the Parliament area. If the actual security situation allows us, we also take the drive (escorted with the armed security) to the Cathedral and out of Mogadishu to see the dunes along the beach on the Indian Ocean. Dinner at the roof floor of our hotel with very fresh sea food.

* Recommended flight:
- from Moscow to Istanbul TK-416, departure from Moscow at 20:50 on January 3, and TK-686 from Istanbul with Turkish Airlines, arrival in Mogadishu at 9:05 am on January 4 or
- flight ET-376 from Addis Ababa with Ethiopian Airlines, arrival in Mogadishu at 11:10 am on January 4,
- or any other flight with arrival in Mogadishu before 11 am on January 4.

Accommodation: safe hotel in Mogadisho
Meals: lunch, dinner



Day 2. January 5, 2022. MOGADISHU

Morning after breakfast, escorted with the armed security we visit the atmospheric fish market where fishermen bring and sell huge sword fish, sharks and other marine giants. Take a walk to the port, to the old lighthouse to observe the local life of fishermen and their amazing catch.
Visit the local school and get acquaintance with the Somalia teachers and students. Drive to Hamarweyn Market and Hamarweyn area – the old part of the city with picturesque buildings in the style of Arab and Moorish architecture and carved stone walls and cool patios. Here we can see all the Mogadishu city from one of the roofs. We visit kat market, the harbor, the beaches, including Gezira beach or Liido beach where we can swim, and Banadir the crumbling Italian colonial waterfront, from where we can take iconic pictures of Mogadishu. Lunch break at the Liido beach with the beautiful view, or in the hotel.
Dinner at the roof of our hotel with very fresh sea food.

Accommodation: safe hotel in Mogadishu
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 3. January 6, 2022. MOGADISHU – HARGEISA (SOMALILAND)

Morning after lazy breakfast, transfer to the airport for your direct flight to Hargeisa at 12:00 with Daalo Airlines or at 14:45 with Air Djibouti (the schedule may change!).
Afternoon arrival in Hargeisa – the capital of the unrecognized state, once being the part of Somalia and still legally considered the part of it. However, Somaliland, English speaking part of Somalia, has its own visas which we obtain upon arrival in the airport.
Lunch and sightseeing in Hargeisa in the afternoon: the smashing money market with pounds of the cash to be sold, as well as the main market known as Suuqa wayn. Walk around the streets of Hargesa.
Dinner in traditional restaurant with camel meat and overnight in Ambassador Hotel Hargeisa.

Accommodation: Ambassador Hotel Hargeisa
Meals: breakfast, dinner


Day 4. January 7, 2022. HARGEISA – LAAS GEEL – CAMEL FARM – HARGEISA

Early in the morning we take the COVID test with picking-up result in morning next day (we will use this COVID test certificate for crossing to Djibouti next day).
Later on drive straight (50 km) to Laas Geel for visiting amazing rock painting caves. This UNESCO World's Heritage site is dated to (unbelievable!) 9000 – 3000 years BC! Of course it is considered the most significant monument of Neolithic era in all Africa. Las Geel, consisted of 20 caves, one of which is 10 meters length, is very impressive, colors of petroglyphs are very vivid.
Driving to the west, where on the greener areas we meet the traditional Somalia camel herders. Here on the local farm we can see camels, sheep, hear about nomadic practices, milk a camel and taste fresh camel milk. Supper around the fire.
Driving back to Hargeisa. Dinner and overnight in Ambassador Hotel Hargeisa.

Accommodation: Ambassador Hotel Hargeisa
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 5. January 8, 2022. HARGEISA – DJIBOUTI CITY (DJIBOUTI)

After breakfast, we visit a local school to talk to the kids. Then bustling livestock market of Hargeisa. Somaliland, together with Somalia, house almost half (!) of world's 14 million population of camels.
Lunch and transfer to the airport for the direct flight to Djibouti city at 17:05 with Air Djibouti (the schedule may change!).
Around 17:50 arrival in Djibouti city – the capital of Djibouti, former French part of Somalia Peninsula. COVID test upon arrival in the airport (despite the fact that we arrive from Somaliland with the negative result certificate from Somaliland, one more test upon arrival in the airport of Djibouti city is compulsory).
Meet the guide and check-in at the hotel. Visit historical city center in the evening. Dinner and overnight at Atlantic Hotel 4* in Downtown Djibouti.

Accommodation: Atlantic Hotel 4* or similar hotel in Djibouti city
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner



Day 6. January 9, 2022. WHALE SHARK TRIP

Morning after breakfast, picked up at 7:45 from hotel and then drive to Arta Plage. We drive through a scenic wadi to use local boats and boat drivers at Arta Plage. We search for whale sharks, and hopefully swim and snorkel with whale sharks. The chances to find whale sharks in warm waters of Indian ocean in January are really high however not 100% guaranteed and very much dependant on the weather.
After looking for whale sharks we will stop at an isolated beach to snorkel on pristine coral reefs and have lunch on the beach. Lunch break.
Scuba diving can be planned as an option at extra cost.
Drive back to Djibouti city in the afternoon, dinner and overnight in the hotel.

Accommodation: Atlantic Hotel 4* or similar hotel in Djibouti city
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner



Day 7. January 10, 2022. SOUTH CIRCUIT AND LAKE ABBEH

In the early morning we take the COVID test (in the hospital) with picking-up result 2 days later (we will use this COVID test certificate for crossing to Sudan on Day 9).
Drive to the South. The South Circuit of the Republic of Djibouti goes through the Grand & Petit Bara, which is the most desert area of the country. Then visit shortly Afar and Somali people village of Dikhil. Drive to Afar village of As Ela and have a traditional lunch in the local house. Afterwards drive to Lake Abbeh.
Lake Abbeh is the largest one in the chain of six salt reservoirs located on the border of Djibouti and Ethiopia. This amazing lake is located in a basin called the Afar Point. A unique place where the giant Arabian, Somali and Nubian plates slowly move away from each other, which creates a fantastic landscape. Boiling water of thermal springs with a high content of calcium carbonate for centuries created peculiar limestone pipe columns (called here "chimneys" or "fumaroles"). Some of these columns, surrounded by swirling steam, reach a height of 50 meters, reinforcing the mystery of the landscape. Interestingly, the name Abbe means "rotten", since the smell of hydrogen sulfide emanates from the lake. On the shore of Lake Abbe, parts of the film "Planet of the Apes" was shot.
Explore the area until the sunset. After dinner, real nomad folkloric dance can be arranged. Overnight at Lake Abbeh tourist camp with all amenities and the beautiful view on the lake Abbeh chimneys.

Accommodation: Lake Abbeh tourist camp
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner



Day 8. January 11, 2022. LAKE ABBEH AND LAKE ASSAL

Wake-up call for the sunrise is early in the morning. We drive to the chimney's area for sunrise and visit hot springs.
After visiting and exploring Lake Abbeh, back to tourist camp for breakfast and visit Afar traditional village nearby. En route we stop in Kouta Bouya to visit the village, after lunch at La Palmeraie, we drive to another lake – Lake Assal to visit the lowest point in Africa. En route, you stop for visiting scenic views of Canyon and faults – part of the Danakil depression. The Lake Assal or Bahr al Assal in Arabic, the sea of honey (153 m below sea level) is located 107 km west of Djibouti city. After visiting Lake Assal and surroundings, drive to Djibouti city for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Atlantic Hotel 4* or similar hotel in Djibouti city
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 9. January 12, 2022. DJIBOUTI CITY AND RETURN FLIGHT KHARTOUM (SUDAN)

After breakfast, transfer to the airport. At 11:00 am flight with Ethiopian Airlines to Khartoum, Sudan, with the layover in Addis Ababa.
In the afternoon (16:55) arrival in Khartoum.
Evening in the center of Khartoum, traditional dinner.
Transfer to the hotel Grand Holiday Villa Khartoum and overnight in Khartoum.

* Recommended flight:
- flight ET-363 to Khartoum via Addis Ababa with Ethiopian Airlines, departure from Djibouti at 11:00 am on January 12 and arrival in Khartoum at 16:55 on January 12 or
- any other flight with departure from Djibouti any time on January 12 and arrival in Khartoum any time on January 12.

Accommodation: Grand Holiday Villa Khartoum
Meals: breakfast, dinner


Day 10. January 13, 2022. NAGAA & MASSAWARAT TEMPLES – MEROE PYRAMIDS

Morning after breakfast, drive to Nagaa and Masawarat to visit the archeological sites and temples. Nagaa & Masawarat es-Sufra are located between Meroe and Khartoum in the semi-arid Butana, it is about 120 km from Khartoum. You visit the temple dedicated to the god Apedemak that was built around 230 BC by King Arnekhameni. It was a cult center or place of pilgrimage. The royal city of Nagaa has more ruins, including the remains of a Temple of Amun, the king of Gods. Here we have opportunity to meet local ethnics groups.
Lunch break and visit the famous market of Shendi. Drive to the Pyramids of Meroe . Meroe Pyramids at sunset. Dinner and overnight in Italian camp lodge.

Accommodation: Italian camp lodge
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner


Day 11. January 14, 2022. MEROE AND NURI PYRAMIDS – KARIMA

Sunrise at Meroe Pyramids and after that drive to visit Nuri; visit the cemetery ‎containing the pyramids of the 26th dynasty, among them that of Pharaoh ‎Taharqa, and then continue to Karima to visit Jebel Barkal, 18 km. Ascent to Jebel Barkal and afterwards visit ‎the great temple of Amun of Napata dating back to the 12th century BC. The ‎temple was the most important religious centre of Kush.
Overnight in Karima at Merowe tourist village.

Accommodation: Merowe tourist village
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner


Day 12. January 15, 2022. KARIMA – KHARTOUM AND OMDURMAN – RETURN FLIGHT

In the morning visit El Kurru the ‎subterranean tomb of King Tanwetamani is decorated in the classical Pharaonic ‎style.
From Karima drive back to Khartoum. On the way we can meet some ethnics groups, local families.
In the afternoon, city tour of Khartoum and Omdurman including a visit to the national museum, ‎ the ethnographic museum, Khalifa's House (museum), Mehdi Tomp and the old‎ Suq (market) of Omdurman.
Nile boat trip on the confluence of the two Niles: Blue‎ Nile & White Nile.
(Visit the camel Market if there is a time & if the museums are closed).
Sunset at Corinthia hotel 16th floor roof view point. Dinner and airport transfer.
Flight back home.

* Recommended flight:
- TK-681 to Istanbul with Turkish Airlines, departure from Khartoum at 0:30 am on January 16 or
- flight G9-666 to Sharjah (UAE) with Air Arabia, departure from Khartoum at 0:50 am on January 16 or
- any other flight with departure from Khartoum city not earlier than 22:00 pm at January 15.

Accommodation: no
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Cost includes:

• Accommodation in mid-range hotels and tents in Somalia and Somaliland, based on single accommodation
• Accommodation in hotels and tourist camp in Djibouti and Sudan, based on twin/double accommodation
• 3 times a day meals
• mineral water during the entire trip
• Experienced English speaking guide & local guides
• Russian and English speaking team leader Mzungu
• all airport transfers
• all transport as per program: 4WD SUVs in good condition with AC and experienced drivers for land tours
• Boat in good condition for sea tours & Professional pilot
• all travel permits and local communities financial support
• Escort services (SPU Police escort for Somalia and Somaliland parts)
• Whale shark tour
• All entrance fees
• visa facilitation
• government tax



Cost excludes (to be additionally paid):

• International air tickets to Mogadishu and back from Khartoum
• flight from Djibouti to Khartoum one way
• flight from Mogadisho to Hargeisa one way
• flight from Hargeisa to Djibouti one way
• international medical insurance
• Djibouti visa
• Somalia visa
• Somaliland visa
• Sudan visa
• Video filming and photography fees
• Sodas & alcohol beverages
• Tips & personal purchases
• Single room supplement for Djibouti and Sudan



To take with:

- sets of clothes suitable for the weather conditions, including lightweight clothes (shorts, T-shorts), and one set of warm clothes (hoody or light jacket), long sleeve clothes
- sun hat/panama
- swimwear
- raincoat
- comfortable trekking footwear, light footwear (sneakers)
- sleeping bag for warm weather
- mosquito net
- personal hygiene items (towel, wet tissues, soap)
- individual medical kit (analgetic, antiseptic, antibiotic, antiviral, intestinal, multivitamins, rehydron, court plaster, your personal medications)
- anti malaria prevention pills (up to you to decide)
- sunblock set (cream, spray)
- repellents
- sunglasses
- big backpack for stuff
- small backpack for radial walks (25 – 30 L)
- head torch
- favorite meals (chocolate, nuts)
- photo and video camera, tripod
- power bank, batteries

KEY FEATURES:
TOUR TO NIGER
Somalia, Somaliland, Djibouti, Sudan

Best season: October – May


Amazing Mogadishu with its ruined blocks, oriental markets and incredible atmosphere

The lowest place in Africa - Afar Point and Danakil Desert

Martian landscapes of Lake Assal and Lake Abbeh, where "Planet of Apes" was shot

Camping with nomadic camel herders of Somali tribe

Laas Geel – the most significant African historical monument of Paleolithic age

Snorkeling with whale sharks – the largest fish on Earth

Meroe and Nuri pyramids of Sudan

Nagaa and Masawarat ancient temples and Karima archeological sites

Wonderful desert landscapes of the Horn of Africa and original cuisine

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