Sudan had a rough go of it in the second half of the twentieth century, and with two civil wars between 1955 and 2005 and ongoing conflict in Darfur, some people get the impression the entire country is dangerous. Quite the contrary, as most of Sudan is clean and relatively safe, offering rich history, fascinating culture, and an experience most travelers never get to have.

This country just south of Egypt is also full of desert history, which you’ll find at the temple of Soleb, built by Pharaoh Amenhotep III in the 14th century. Its ruins sit on the west bank of the Nile River, which flows through much of the country. You’ll also learn the tales of the Kush Kingdom, who reigned in the region for over 1,000 years. Much of their royalty is buried among the 100+ pyramids in Meroe, where the pyramids may not be as grand as the ones near Cairo, but outnumber them considerably. You can also spend a few days wandering the capital of Khartoum, where what it lacks in alcohol it more than makes up for in archeological sites.