A Hitchhikers Guide to Meroe
Meroe is a group of pyramids located about 250 kilometers from Khartoum. Some travelers report to have visited the pyramids as a day trip from Khartoum, but I would highly recommend having one night on the way or in the nearest city called Atbara, about 100kilometers away.
To get there we took two 5cent buses to get out of the city and then just stuck our thumbs out. It didn’t take long before someone picked us up, even just for a few kilometers. It took in total five rides to get to a village called Shendi and then another two rides to the pyramids themselves. We were never standing long before someone picked us up and every stop we got to drink water for free from car repair shops, stores or women selling tea.
From the main road it is impossible to miss the pyramids. Coming from the South you will see a few (free ones) on the left side and then lots of pyramids within a large fenced area on the right.
The official entrance fee is 20$ but how much you actually pay depends on your negotiation skills. Locals with camels will approach you to offer a ride as well, first asking for 10$, moving the price downwards and then turning around when we declined their last offer of paying 10 cents.
Apparently there are small sfinxes and pyramids a couple of kilometers south from the ticket office too, but the main gated area was enough for us. After an hour or two of walking through the desert you will be roasted and only want to find an air-conditioned car to take you back to Khartoum.
The Meroe Pyramids is a place I have wanted to visit for years and it has absolutely lived up to its expectations. You can walk inside the pyramids, stay as long as you want and you will be there completely alone, free from other tourists. Just don’t climb on them like locals do, so that people can enjoy these architectural treasures thousands of years from now as well.