Travel Letters

Siwa Oasis Temples


Matrouh Governate

Arab Republic of Egypt

February 19, 2020

In her book The Western Desert of Egypt Casandra Vivian writes “Siwa is different. It is not Egyptian, but North African.  Most Siwans are Berbers, a people who once roamed the North Africa coast from Tunisia to Morocco as early as 10,000 BCE.  The Berbers are the true Western Desert indigenous people.”

The Berbers had many visitors: Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Christians, Arabs, British, Germans, Italians … and Yours truly. 

I visited four of the ancient sites:

A Marvelous Day


Khartoum State

The Republic of the Sudan

February 12, 2020

My Friends,

I had planned a destination for today.  I never arrive.   Instead I make a series of unplanned stops along the Nile.

It’s a marvelous day.

Across the Nile into Omdurman, I spot a sign for a Fish Market.  The traditional market is a noisy scene of blood and guts.  Busy fish mongers butcher and clean, chop and slice, weigh and sell the daily catch.  The diligent butchers barely acknowledge my presence.  A few smile. 

The Dam at Jebel Aulia

Jabal Awliya

Nahr An Nill State

The Republic of the Sudan

February 14, 2020

Jebel Aulia  (Jabal al Awliyā', Jebel Aulia, Gebel Aulia) lies 60 kilometers south of Khartoum.  The village is the home of the Jebel Aulia Hydroelectric Dam that harnesses the waters of the White Nile.

Built by the British for the Egyptian government, the dam opened in 1937 and was the largest dam in the world.

In the village I found impressive works of graffiti, curious/friendly people, and heaps of enormous watermelons.

Royal Pyramids of Meroe


Northern State

The Republic of The Sudan

February 5, 2020

Dear Friends and Fellow Explorers,

If I close my eyes and eliminate the National Geographic video team and a few dedicated archaeologists, I can imagine that today, I alone “discovered” the Meroë Pyramids (270 BCE- 450 CE).  

Tourists are a rarity here, even though the pyramids built by the Kushite royalty are the most visited site in Sudan.  (“Most visited” is a relative term.)

Today it is just me and my guide, the rising sun, the setting sun and the hills and sands of the Nubian desert.