We spend the night at the family run Nile Hotel. For a little extra fee we even get a home-cooked diner.
I wanted to go to Karima for two things: the mythical mountain Jerbel Barkal and the graveyard for the old Nile steamers that had become obsolete with the end of colonialism and a string of new roads. There is just one problem with this plan: Karima (like most of Sudan) isn’t exactly a tourist hot spot. So finding a hotel (that has air condition) is not an easy task. However, my research online had revealed that an Italian women runs a gem of a hotel called Nubian Rest House on the outskirts of town. My travel companion and I quickly decided the 100 dollar a night price tag was a) up for negotiation and b) worth a little vacation.
It is already afternoon when we arrive. Finding a tuk-tuk driver that knows the Rest House proves difficult. But in the end we hit a jackpot: the driver not only knows the hotel; he also speaks English, doesn’t try to rip us off and points out we should check in with the police if we plan to stay more than a night. So we do.
Unfortunately when we get to the hotel there is nobody there apart from a smiling elderly man who has no idea what we could want. After the almost disaster between Meroe and Atbara I am nervous: am I about to lose my nimbus of perfect travel guide?
20 minutes later a young man comes and guides us to a large building. Along the way we can see a beautiful property: the rooms are arranged around a large courtyard which much to my amaze not only boasts green grass but also flowers in bloom. This is still the Sahara desert after all. At the main building the man apologizes: the hotel is closed during the summer months. My heart sinks.
However, they could set up a room for us and accommodate us if we didn’t mind a little less service. Private hotel? Bring it on!
The 100 USD nightly rate isn’t up for negotiation. But they include breakfast and dinner. Once we’ve seen the room we know we haven’t wasted our money: the air condition is both, powerful and almost inaudible; the shower is hot and strong or cold, if that’s what you fancy; the sheets are clean and the beds soft. This must be heaven.
The next two days we need very good reasons to leave the room. Dinner, for example: a delicious mix of Ethiopian (our host is Ethiopian) and Sudanese fair. The baba ganoush is to die for…
Tomorrow it’s time for the final…