The mysterious kingdoms of the Nile.
In the words of French writer, Olivier Rolin, "More truly and mysteriously than Egypt, Sudan is the realm of this fabled river". The magnetic beauty of North Sudan bears a resemblance to what Egypt was a century ago, before industrialisation and tourism took over. A country whose people are exceptionally open and warm. There are few roads leading northwards from Khartoum following the path of the Nile, and conditions are tough. The region is extraordinarily rich in archaeological heritage: on 11 January 2003 seven monumental statues of kings of the 25th dynasty were discovered in Kerma by members of the Swiss mission led by Charles Bonnet. But the 20 years of conflict between Muslims in the north and Christians in the south, and the current massacre in the Darfur region, have sadly done nothing to develop the country's heritage. The building of a dam on the 4th cataract is now threatening to destroy some exceptional and still little-known sites.