Close your eyes for a moment. You’re driving along a newly paved tarmac road, eyes peeled for a “road” into the desert. There is literally nothing in sight save for some overhead powerlines. Your map indicates you make a right past the powerlines, but alas it isn’t to scale so you’re not really sure. You see some tire tracks into the desert and after discussion decide to follow. After a few hundred meters its clear you’re following some sort of path and you continue per your directions for nearly 20 kilometers. Besides a few desert shrubs there’s nothing. Eventually, just as you think you’re about to be lost in the desert, for the only road- the one you just turned off of- doesn’t show on your GPS, you see a sign. Naqa to the right, Musawarat to the left. You go right and after 10 more kilometers you see a concrete building like a mirage in the sand. As you pull up your car stalls, the guard comes out to greet you. You make small talk, pay your fee and decide that perhaps the car problem is that its too hot. The temperature is well over 100 F. As you approach the ruins you hear the tinkling of bells. Goats and a few sheperds crowd around a watering hole, pulling out precious buckets of liquid.
Few walls remain, but those that do are intricately carved with religious figures and stories. Ancient lion sculptures line a forgotten path to the main temple and despite the beating sun and scortching temperatures you are drawn to just “be” at the site.
This photo is from the ruins at Naqa, Sudan. In the middle of the desert, Naqa was certainly one of the most atmospheric places we’ve ever traveled to. Actually all of Sudan was incredible, check out our posts from Sudan.
To see more of our favorite photos from around the world check out our travel photo page. Let us know your favorites and we’ll include them in our photo of the day series.
IF YOU GO: Be sure to read our African visa guide before attempting to get a Sudanese visa, it can be a difficult process but there are some valuable tips we’ve shared to make things run smoother. Sudan is an incredible country, but due to ongoing political problems we were only able to travel in the North. You should absolutely check the latest travel warnings before embarking on a trip to Sudan and even better, try to contact people in the country for the best information. If you’re looking to explore the desert somewhere a bit easier logistically, you might want to look into holidays to Dubai.