Hidden Treasures tour

Hidden Treasures tour

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Hidden Treasures tour

10 Days Starting in khartoum and ending in Khartoum, Sudan

Visiting: Khartoum, Karima, Jebel Barkal, Nuri, Meroë, Pyramids of Meroë (West)

Tour operator:

Encounters Travel

Tour code:

15

Recommended For:

Singles

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

2 - 16

Physical rating:

Low

Age range:

Over 16s

Special diets catered:

Request dietary needs

Tour operated in:
English
Interests:

Cultural, History

Activities:

Sightseeing, Walking

This tour is no longer available

Tour Overview

This Sudan tour allows you to follow in the footsteps of ancient civilisations. This 10-day adventure through Sudan takes you to the Nile Valley to see some incredible ancient sites and experience the unique Nubian culture. We start this tour in the capital city of Khartoum home to many museums, tombs and markets. We then cross the Nubian Desert in search of the lost pyramids and temples of the Nile Valley; en route we visit various historical temples. The Meroe Pyramids are the most concentrated pyramid complex in the Nile valley. We get to eperience a true dessert camp with some creature comforts thrown in like private verandah's that boast stunning views of the pyramids. We then head to Karima for more pyramids and Temples before driving back to Khartoum for our last evening. On most departures we include a visit to the popular weekly Nuba wrestling competition, a highlight of the week for many locals in Khartoum. The evening is then free time before your departure. Note: The daily itinerary for this tour may vary from time to time, occasionally operating in the opposite direction (Karima first, finishing with Meroe). All departures from 2018 onwards will start with Karima. This will allow us to better follow the historical flow of the sites we visit (starting with the oldest, and finishing with the newest). Full details will be provided at the time of booking.

Highlights

  • Capital city Khartoum

  • Sufi Whirling Dervishes

  • Old souk of Omdurman

  • Naga & Mussawarat

  • Meroe Pyramids

  • Jebel Barkal

  • Nubian house in Karima

  • Nuri

Itinerary

Expand All
Day 1 : Arrive In Khartoum
Location: Khartoum
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Khartoum hotel
Meals Included: No Meals

Upon arrival our staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel in Khartoum where they'll help you settle in and introduce you to the local area. An optional city tour is available if you arrive this morning.

Day 2 : Khartoum To Karima
Location: Khartoum, Karima
Accommodation Name: Karima Nubian Rest House
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We'll leave Khartoum this morning and head northwards to visit the animal market on the outskirts of Omdurman. The market here sells different types of cattle, sheep and camels which are brought here from various parts of Sudan. Our journey then continues across the flat Western Desert, before we cross Wadi Muqaddam with its many acacia trees. We'll make a short stop at a local tea house, in effect a very spartan roadside service station used by local truck drivers for a meal and some rest. On arrival in Merowe we'll cross the Nile and arrive in the small town of Karima where we spend the night.

Day 3 : Karima, Necropolis Of El Kurru And Jebel Barkal
Location: Karima, Jebel Barkal, Karima
Accommodation: Camp
Accommodation Name: Karima Nubian Rest House
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Our tours today start with one of tne Nubian desert landmarks, Jebel Barkal. These isolated red sandstone mountains have been considered holy since ancient times and can be seen from a far distance across the desert. Here we'll see a large temple dedicated to the Pharaohs of the New Reign and their patron Amon. Known as Amon's 'Pure Mountain', the equivalent of the Olympus of the Nubians, this was the heart of Nubian religion for more than 1,000 years. Along with the ruins of the main temple there we can see several sculptured granite rams that it is thought bordered a long avenue leading to a pier on the River Nile. The archaeological sites here are on the World Heritage list.

In the afternoon we will head south to the village of El Kurru to see one of the necropolisis of Napata, the ancient capital. The main tomb of interest here is excavated in the rock under some partially collapsed pyramids, and is decorated with images of the gods, Pharaohs and has various multicoloured hieroglyphic inscriptions. Our final visit today is to the fascinating site of an ancient forest with hundreds of petrified tree trunks. Sunset over the desert then rounds off the day.

Day 4 : Nile Boat Trip And The Pyramids Of Nuri
Location: Karima, Nuri, Karima
Accommodation: Camp
Accommodation Name: Karima Nubian Rest House
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, we visit the market in Karima where we can have a real experience of daily life of the local Sudanese people. We'll then take to the water and board a small motorboat for a pleasant trip along the Nile to see the contrasts between the sandy stretches and cultivated islands. The 4th Cataract on the Nile is a little further north from here, where rocky granite formations speeded the waters up and formed many rapids which also impeded navigation. However, since the Merowee Dam was built in 2008 these scenic rapids are no more. After a picnic lunch we'll visit the archaeological site of Nuri which is home to many pyrmaids, among them one for the great Pharaoh Taharqa, who was part of the 25th Dynasty of Egypt.

Day 5 : Karima, Visit Old Dongola
Location: Karima
Accommodation Name: Karima Nubian Rest House
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We have a long day on the road today, but busy with various different and interesting visits and encounters. After an early start we'll visit a very local and traditional market, before following the Nile to the archaeological site of Old Dongola. The site here comprises Coptic Christian churches with marbles columns as well as other ruins situated on the bank of the Nile. We are in the heart of the Nubian region here, and the local population live in small villages and speak a different language to the Arabs in Sudan. Women are not required to cover their faces and speak readily with foreigners and tourists. Several houses in these villages are painted with patterns of flowers, but most are completely white. We'll have our picnic lunch in one of the village houses with tea and coffee preprated by our Nubian host family. In the afternoon we'll return to Karima.

Day 6 : Karima - Ghazali Monastery - Meroe
Location: Karima, Meroë
Accommodation: Camp
Accommodation Name: Meroe Pyramids permanent tented camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After crossing a bridge over the Nile this morning we enter the Bayuda Desert, an area bounded by the loop formed by the Nile between the 4th and the 6th Cataract. The desert here is characterised by sharp black basalt mountains, most of them volcanic and typically cone-shaped. En-route we will visit the Monastery of Ghazli. We're also likely to come across isolated groups of Bisharin Nomads. They live in small family groups with their caravans and herds of camels and donkeys close to isolated water wells in huts made of intertwined branches.

Later we'll cross the NIle again using a local ferry boat, or ponton. These ferry crossings can be great fun, with the boats busy with people, vehicles, camels, goats and donkeys. After crossing the river, all of a sudden we'll get our first view of over 40 pyramids, some perfectly preserved, located on the top of a hill. This is the Royal Necropolis of Meroe, which will be our focus tomorrow.

Note - the Wadi Abu Dom track is possible only if we have a minimum of 2 vehicles - if we have a very small group with only 1 vehicle we will take a different route on tar roads.

Day 7 : Exploring The Necropolis Of Meroe, Royal City And Other Sites
Location: Pyramids of Meroë (West)
Accommodation: Camp
Accommodation Name: Meroe Pyramids permanent tented camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning is dedicated to a visit and tour of the Meroe pyramids. This will include the Royal Necropolis of Meroe, which sits on hills covered by yellow sand dunes around 3km from the Nile. Several of the pyramids stand out particularly, with their sharp shapes edged against the clear sky. Each pyramid has its own funerary chapel with bas-reliefs decorating the walls showing the King’s life and offerings to the gods. If it is open, we will also visit the Tarabil School which we support as part of our responsible tourism activities. After a coffee break at the local village of Kabushia we will visit the Sun Temple, the Western Necropolis and the Quarries of the Meroitic civilization. Finally we'll enjoy sunset at the Pyramids.

Note - we may not be able to visit the ruins of the Royal city, which was closed by UNESCO to evaluate damage caused by a flood of the Nile.

Day 8 : Meroe To Khartoum Via Mussawarat & Naga. Dervishes Ceremony
Location: Khartoum
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Khartoum hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

We'll leave the Meroe Pyramids this morning and head southwards back towards Khartoum. On the way we'll visit the site of Mussawarat which sits in a beautiful valley, surrounded by hills. The ruins of a large and important temple are visible here. The temple's main feature is its 'Great Enclosure' which is made up of many boundary walls and constructions surrounding a temple built in the 1st century A.D. Our next stop is then at Naga, one of two centres that developed and thrived during the Meroitic period. Here, amidst a typical Saharan rocky and sandy environment, we find a temple dedicated to Apademak from the 1st century A.D. This is a wonderful building which various bas-relief decorations depicting the Pharaoh, noblemen, the god with a lion's head, and several other ritual images. Close by is a small and rather odd construction, known as the 'kiosk' which has columns and arches, and where we can pick out Egyptian, Roman and Greek styles all in the same building. Our final visit is to a temple dedicated to Amon which has many statues of rams and beautiful gates decorated with more bas-reliefs. Finally we finish our loop through northern Sudan by returning to Khartoum.

After checking in, and before sunset, we will head to the tomb of the Sufi leader Ahmed al Nil to see the fascinating and impressive Dervishes Ceremony (note - this is only possible on Fridays and if we arrive back into Khartoum in time to leave the hotel by 3pm).

Day 9 : Khartoum City Tour. Nuba Wrestling
Location: Khartoum
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Khartoum hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

After a leisurely breakfast we start our sightseeing by crossing the confluence of the Blue and White Nile rivers near the Presidential Palace. In 1885 General Gordon was beheaded here by the Mahdi's troops. We'll then reach the old capital of Sudan, Omdurman, where we'll see the Mahdi's Tomb from the outside, the interesting Khalifa's House, home to a small museum about the Mahdyia (closed for refurbishment in 2022). We should have a little time to explore Omdurman's colourful souk before we take a pleasant boat ride to see the confluence of the Nile rivers. In the afternoon we'll visit the National Museum which hosts many important historical items and houses two beautiful temples in its gardens. These were rescued by UNESCO and moved here when Lake Nasser was flooded. (Note - the inner part of the museum was closed for refurbishment in 2022, but the temples in the garden should still be available to visit).

In the early evening we will hopefully enjoy a final highlight, the Nuba Wrestling competitions in Khartoum North. This is a fascinating sport, traditional in the Kordofan region of Sudan, and teakes place on Fridays, Saturdays and Wednesdays (Note - the event was paused during Covid times, but hopefully will resume).

The order of visits in Khartoum may change or be moved to a different day according to museum opening hours and other local factors.

Day 10 : Khartoum, Departure Airport Transfer
Location: Khartoum
Accommodation Name: N/A
Meals Included: Breakfast

We transfer you to the airport from your hotel around 3 hours before your flight departure time. If you have booked a full night's hotel accommodation then your day is free until we transfer you to the airport for your onward flight.

What's Included

  • Accommodation
    3*

  • All accommodation as stated in the itinerary

  • All transport and transfers

  • 24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service (on tour days)

  • Services of a local tour leader throughout

  • All sightseeing tours as per itinerary

  • Mineral water outside Khartoum

  • Boat excursion on the Nile (life jackets will be provided)

  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary

  • Visa invitation letter for most nationalities

What's Not Included

  • International flights (available on request)

  • Arrival taxes

  • Sudan visa fees (an invitation letter will be provided)

  • Travel insurance (compulsory - available from Encounters Travel)

  • Entrance fees to archaeological sites, photo permits and local passport registration (EUR 280)

  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary

  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)

  • Tips for tour leader & driver

  • Any other items not mentioned above

Mode of Transport

A/C 4x4 vehicle
Boat

Accommodation

Hotel
Deluxe tented camp
Guesthouse
Pre-set camp

Check out our Q&As

  • Are vaccinations required for this tour?

    You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation. Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination. You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions. In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are: South Africa: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area. Namibia: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from an infected area. Botswana: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted or travelled through an infected area. Zimbabwe: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area. Zambia: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area. Malawi: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area. Tanzania: Additional vaccinations: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area. Kenya: Additional vaccinations: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Poliomyelitis, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from an infected area. Uganda: Additional vaccinations: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid, Yellow Fever. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from an infected area. Sudan: Additional vaccinations: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid, Yellow Fever. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area. A certificate may also be required for those departing Sudan. Morocco: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria not normally present. Yellow Fever certificate not required. The above information can change at short notice. For up to date health information & vaccination requirements we recommend that you contact your medical practitioner or a travel clinic. Malaria: Vaccinations are not available against Malaria, which is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes that can be very serious and sometimes fatal. You should avoid mosquito bites by covering up bare skin with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers and applying insect repellents to exposed skin. When necessary, sleep under a mosquito net. Mosquitoes are most active during and after sunset. You should consult with your GP/medical practitioner/travel clinic about the most appropriate malaria prophylactic medication to take for the regions you are visiting. Yellow Fever: This disease is spread by infected mosquitoes that bite during the day. A Yellow Fever Certificate of vacinnation is often required as a condition of entry depending on which country you are arriving from, or that you have travelled or transitted through recently (including connecting flights with stopovers of over 12 hours). You can view this US CDC information about where the virus is present and follow the links to further information detailing which countries need you to have a Yellow Fever vaccination as part of their entry requirements. Please ensure you have this certificate organised in advance and with you and to hand during the trip. Please inform us of any pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or asthma and any prescription medicine you may be taking. We also need to know about any food allergies or physical disabilities that you may have. If you are travelling on an Overland tour or your trip includes wildlife safaris then please bear in mind that you may be travelling on bumpy roads and/or rough ground for several hours at a time. This can be very uncomfortable or painful if you have a bad back, and make such conditions worse. Please contact us if you have any concerns.

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    This tour includes an airport meet and greet and transfer service on the first day of the tour. Our rep. will be holding an Encounters Travel signboard or have your name displayed for easy identification. If you can't find our representative, our emergency contact numbers will be provided on your tour confirmation voucher. A departure transfer to the airport is also included at the end of the tour. Please check the tour itinerary and your flight times; most international flights leave Khartoum in the early hours of the morning, and as a result if you have upgraded the hotel in Khartoum to 4 or 5-star we normally only include a day-use room in the Khartoum hotel for your final day. A full night is included in the standard 3-star hotel If you will need a full night in the hotel and have upgraded the accommodation, a supplement will generally need to be added. No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to incorrect flight details being provided or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense. If your flights arrive/depart before/after the tour starts/ends then we will be very happy to arrange additional accommodation and airport transfers for you. We will aim to book these in the same hotel as the main tour, though this will be subject to availability (upgraded hotels are also available on request). If you do not book your additional accommodation through us, then our arrival/departure service is not included and you will need to make your own airport transfer arrangements.

  • Are all entrance fees included in the price?

    The tour price does not include permits and entrance fees to the National Museum and archaeological sites visited during the tour. To cover these, plus photo permits and local passport registration, a fee of EUR 260 per person will be collected in Khartoum at the start of the tour. Please ensure you have 260 Euros (or equivalent in US Dollars) in new bills, ideally small denominations ($10/$20). Please also bring 2 passport photos with you which are needed to complete the permits.

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    At Encounters Travel we aim to only use local Sudanese guides and reps wherever possible. We feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing.

  • Are all the relevant entry visa’s included in the price of the tour?

    Obtaining Sudan visas is not always straightforward. There are two options: Obtain your visa in advance This provides the most surety and peace of mind, but it is more expensive and time consuming as you will need to either visit your local Sudanese embassy or post your documents back and forth. Most nationalities (including UK) now need both an invitation letter from our partners in Sudan, and also a letter from the Sudanese Ministry of Interior to accompany your application. Please allow a minimum of 4 weeks for the whole process to complete. You may be asked to attend the embassy/consulate for a short interview to confirm you are genuine tourists. Sometimes visas are issued the same day, but often you will need to return a few days later to collect your passport. Most embassies/consulates also offer a postal option. You can also use a visa agency, but you will still need us to provide all the paperwork and cover the costs for it, as well as paying the visa agency. There is then an additional visa fee, payable at the immigration desk in the airport. This fee is US$100 for most nationalities, and US$150 for US citizens. Obtain your visa in Khartoum airport on arrival This is a little cheaper, less hassle and works fine. We will provide you with the invitation letter and other the paperwork from the Sudanese government that you will need. Once arranged we will send you an entry permit - you must print this out and take this with you, or you will not be allowed to board your flight to Khartoum. On arrival you will exchange this permit for a visa sticker in your passport (first show your passport and entry permit to one official, then proceed to the Counter Visa desk to pay the visa fee and get your visa sticker). The visa fee is US$100 or US$150 for US citizens, payable in cash to the customs officer in the airport (use one $100 bill and one $50 bill issued no earlier than 2009). For both of these options you will need to make an additional payment in US Dollars cash to our local partners in Sudan after you arrive for the provision of the paperwork required to process your visa. Please check the Options section for details or speak to your travel consultant for more details. Please send us a scanned or photographed copy of the identity pages of your passport as soon as possible after you have booked so that we can obtain the necessary paperwork for you.

  • What should I know before traveling?

    It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters. General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not. You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds. Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.

  • Is travel insurance compulsory?

    Yes! Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event).

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    You are always able to change your travel date. However, some charges may apply depending on how long before your departure you make the change. Our flexible booking conditions and reduced charges will apply if you are changing date because of a Covid-19 reason or because your government is advising against travel to your destination. Please check our detailed booking conditions for full details.

  • When is my balance payment due?

    For all tours departing in 2020 and 2021, balance due dates are reduced to 28 days. For 2022 departures onwards they will revert back to our standard conditions (60 days).

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    On most of our group tours, solo travellers may choose to form a temporary 'tour bubble' and share a room with another traveller of the same sex in the group. If a room share is not available then a single room supplement may be payable, with the costs for these kept as low as possible. We have also removed compulsory single supplements from many of our tours, and are reducing the cost by 50% on s

  • How long can I keep my booking as a 'Credit on File'?

    New bookings need to be made within 1 year of your original departure date, with travel started within 2 years of your original departure date.

  • Can I transfer my booking to someone else?

    Yes, if you don't want to, or can't travel, you can transfer your booking and existing payments to other family members or friends. We are waiving our normal fees for doing this for all departures up to the end of 2022. This applies to bookings you may have moved to a Credit on File as well as those setup on a particular date. Note - not all payments may be transferrable.

Reviews from Travellers on this Tour

548fran  

Encounters Travel - Sudan tour

September 2014

Just back from Sudan after visiting the land of the Nubian Pharaohs (Meroe, Jebel Barkal, Old Dongola, Khartoum, etc). From the very beginning Encounters Travel were flexible and attentive to my itinerary wishes. So so easy to deal with in the planning process and always getting back promptly - Thanks Anthony! The trip itself was breath-taking. The guides were professional, flexible, friendly - all round perfect really. Also, the people met on the road were extremely welcoming. I never felt any security concerns. I've travelled in over 20 countries in Africa over a few years and would highly recommend using Encounters travel. Greatly reassuring for a solo traveller.

buzzybeebronygarth  

Tailor-made tour to Sudan and Egypt's Red Monastery

November 2017

We arranged this tour through Encounters Travel and it was an amazing trip from start to finish. Tourism in Sudan is in its infancy so there was a real sense of discovery in the fields of pyramids and the ancient royal cities. The food and accommodation in Sudan were first-class and enabled us to see the sites in a high degree of comfort. Egypt is suffering so much economically at the moment from the lack of tourism, but we felt safe everywhere even though we were travelling well off the beaten track and visiting remote sites in Central Egypt. We planned the trip around the eastern desert monasteries of St .Antony and St. Paul and the Red Monastery outside Sohag which has been closed until very recently for many years for the restoration of its sublime frescoes: now it's like the Sistine Chapel but without the crowds. We were the only visitors and had the great good fortune to be shown around by the team responsible for the restoration who happened to be down from Cairo for a short stay to supervise ongoing restoration work in the monastery. courtyard.

Marijo Wilson  

Recommended Trip

February 2018

Best trip I have ever been on. I have traveled with many tour companies but none compare to the itinerary, information, and professionalism of this company.

Book with Confidence

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Encounters Travel allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform encounters travel, 60 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Encounters Travel requires a minimum deposit of 150 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of encounters travel charges.

    Up to 61 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 35% of booking price.

    At 41 days before tour starts: Forfeit 70% of booking price.

    At 27 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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