Travel to Karima – Gateway to Ancient Nubia

This northern Sudanese market town is of interest because of the many ancient sites nearby. It also has an excellent place to stay – the Nubian Rest house – just a short walk away from the main attraction of Jebel Barkal and the Temple of Amun. Just west of the temple is the Royal Necropolis of the ancient city of Napata, the Nubian capital (from 800 to 400 AD). Here magnificent pyramids stand in a similar style to those at Meroe. A popular day trip from here is to drive out east of town to the Nile’s fourth cataracts.

Amun’s ancient “Pure Mountain”, the Olympus of the Nubians, was the religious Nubian heart for more than 1000 years. In the time of the Cush, two places along the Nile competed on being the capital – Meroe in the south and Napata in the north.

Just 2 km to the south of Karima in Northern Sudan is Jebel Barkal, a sacred hill for the Egyptians of XVIII Dynasty. A distinct landmark in the Nubian desert, the 100m high mountain can be seen from several kilometres away. At the foot of this wonderful isolated red sandstone mountain, considered holy since ancient times, there is a large temple dedicated to the Pharaohs of the New Reign and to their patron, Amun. Here, the Temple of Amun is second only in length to Karnak Temple in Luxor, Egypt.

A popular activity here is to walk and scramble to the top of Jebel Barkal for magnificent views over the Nile Valley, Karima town, Nubian desert and possibly (if you time it right) – sunset. Many locals from nearby Karima make the walk which takes anything between 15 to 30 minutes depending on fitness levels – local boys acting as guides will show you the way. Located on the banks of the Nile, the fields and irrigation channels provide a pleasant and shady place to explore on foot. The fourth cataracts are around 2 hours drive east of Karima.

Karima can be explored on foot. Those with private 4WD transport can head out further afield to discover some of the more remote ancient sites.

  • Explore the Temple of Amun and pyramid complex of the Royal Necropolis
  • Climb Jebel Barkal for magnificent views of the Nile Valley
  • Drive out east to visit the village and islands of the Nile’s fourth cataracts


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