Sudan is often viewed as a place of conflict but the country also boasts unique attractions, from the confluence of the Blue and White Nile rivers, to ancient temples and pyramids.
Now, Sudan wants to exploit the huge tourist potential.
Dr. Babiker Mohammed is the country’s Ministry of tourism and says: “We have a strategic plan for 5 years in which we try to develop all our tourist destinations to a high standard with really good facilities.”
The region boasts a rich history of civilizations and remains; including three times the number of pyramids in Egypt.
But Dr Mohammed admits Sudan has suffered from a negative image.
“We are working very hard to promote Sudan at the international fairs,” he says.
“But we realised that many people know Sudan as a place of conflict, especially with the Darfur issue. But if we look carefully at Sudan, it is more than one million square miles and the tourist destinations are thousands of kilometres away from the place of conflict.”
Among other attractions, Sudan is the site of Meroë, the ancient capital of the Kushite Kingdom where there are hundreds of Nubian pyramids.
An increasing number of visitors are appreciating the region’s potential and treasures.
Charlotte Nugent is a teacher at Khartoum American School and explains what the region means to her.
“I think it’s nice to come visit these more remote, I guess, tourists locations, it’s obviously a different experience from being in the Western world where you’d have crowds of tourists.”
The first of the huge pyramids in Meroë was built by King Arkamani 1 over 2,200 years ago.
At its peak, the rulers of Meroë controlled the Nile Valley north to south, over a distance of more than 1,000km
Excavations have revealed evidence of important, high-ranking Kushite burials, from the Napatan Period between 800 and 280 BCE.
In June 2011, the Archeological Sites of Meroë were listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites