The children we met in the Sudanese port of Suakin during the cruise on board Spirit of Adventure were delightful – always a beaming smile and, unlike those we encountered in Egypt, they were not incessantly pestering for cash.
They have not yet been spoilt by hordes of visiting tourists, and they were happy to see their own faces on the cameras’ screens rather than demanding hand-outs.
We saw no signs of the harassment and violence which the US Department of State cites in order to warn its citizens to avoid travelling to Sudan.
Spirit of Adventure’s managing director, James Duguid is spearheading a project to re-build the town of Suakin. For hundreds of years it was a bustling port on the trade route from the Far East, but its buildings now lie in ruins, as these pictures show.
The passengers who toured the town, having taken the short ride from the ship in a convoy of mini-buses, were full of admiration for his ambition, but doubtful as to whether they would ever see the plans reach fulfilment, despite the fact that Sudanese Minister of Culture Mohamed Yousif Abdalla (above left) had made a seven-hour drive from Khartoum to greet us. I look forward to being proved wrong if I ever get the chance to return.