Portuguese architect Tania Monteiro and her husband are almost alone as they tour Sudan’s pyramids, a world-class attraction long neglected by the world.
“People are really, really nice, always very welcoming,” Monteiro said on a recent visit to Meroe, an ancient city on the east bank of the River Nile about 200 kilometer (125 miles) northeast of the capital Khartoum.
Sudan has more - though smaller - pyramids than Egypt, but attracted only about 700,000 tourists in 2018 compared to some 10 million in its northern neighbor.
Conflicts and crises under veteran ruler Omar al-Bashir, a tough visa regime and a lack of roads and decent hotels outside Khartoum have made Sudan an unlikely tourist destination.
But Bashir lost power in April, and the new civilian transition government is easing visa rules to attract more visitors with their hard currency to places such as the Royal Pyramids of Meroe. A film crew was shooting a promotional video for a travel agency in Khartoum.
Like the Egyptians, the Nubian Kush dynasty that ruled in the area some 2,500 years ago buried members of the royal family in pyramid tombs.
Near Meroe’s pyramids lie an array of temples with ancient drawings of animals and the ancient city of Naga, and there are more pyramids further north at Jebel Barka.