Places We Go / Sudan

Old Dongola, Sudan

Our first night out of Khartoum was spent camping in Old Dongala.

Old Dongola is situated on the east bank of the Nile opposite the Wadi Al-Malik. Originally founded as a fortress, Old Dongola soon grew into a town. With the arrival of Christianity, it became the capital of the Kingdom of Makuria until the fourteenth century – one of the few states in the world to successfully resist Muslim conquests led by the Rashidun Caliphate.

The peak for Old Dongala was around the eighth and ninth centuries A.D. At that time Old Dongola had many churches, at least two palaces, and a huge monastery. Many homes were well-equipped with everything from bathrooms to wall paintings.

As is the nature of life though, the Kingdom of Makuria collapsed in the fourteenth century due to aggression from Egypt and internal discord.

****

To get to Old Dongola from Khartoum one must cross the Nile River which means taking the ferry. As this is Africa, the ferry leaves when it is full. So, a lot of time is spent sitting around waiting for the ferry:

old-dongola

Old boys waiting for the ferry:

old-dongola

Still waiting for the ferry:

old-dongola

Finally, the ferry arrived:

nile-river-ferry

Our side of the river, loaded up quite quickly and so we were soon off:

old-dongola

This is the captain of the ferry:

old-dongola

We spent the night camped on the sand dunes around this man’s home:

old-dongola

Quite close to this chicken coop actually:

old-dongola

The next morning we awoke to discover why it is always good to come properly prepared for trips like this – both our spare and our right front tire were flat:

old-dongola

The patriarch and his family brought tea out to Eleonora and me and hung out with us while Ramadan, our driver and guide, sorted out the tire situation:

old-dongola

old-dongola

old-dongola

With the tire issue resolved, we drove up to the site of Old Dongola.

There isn’t much left:

sudan_old_dongola

What is left though, and is quite interesting, is a vast cemetery connected to the Old Dongola site:

old-dongola-cemetery

The entrance to one of the cone-shaped structures in the background:

cemetery in old dongola

Old Dongola, Sudan

Old Dongola, Sudan

My proof shot in the cemetery:

Old Dongola, Sudan

Now, dear readers, I need your help with this one… What is the story here? At first I thought it was a domesticated dog, but someone I showed this picture to pointed out that it looked like a hyena, which it certainly does. So, what is it and how did it get here in the middle of the cemetery?

old-dongola-sudan

Our visit to Old Dongola complete, it was time to cross the Nile River again to continue our journey north.

Others waiting for the ferry:

old-dongola-sudan

These guys down by the river were waiting as well:

old-dongola-sudan

I didn’t quite understand why these guys opted for the ferry, but sure enough, when it arrived, they clambered on board instead of using their own boat:

nile-river-sudan

At last the ferry arrived and we were off again:

old-dongola-sudan

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3 thoughts on “Old Dongola, Sudan

  1. Pingback: A Scene Of Life Along The Nile River In Sudan | The Velvet Rocket

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