Thursday, September 7, 2023
Sudan Travel Guide - Travel S Helper


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Sudan is a nation in northeastern Africa. It is sometimes known as North Sudan and is formally recognized as the Republic of Sudan. It is bounded to the north by Egypt, to the east by the Red Sea, Eritrea, and Ethiopia, to the south by South Sudan, to the southwest by the Central African Republic, to the west by Chad, and to the northwest by Libya. It is Africa’s third biggest country. The Nile separates Egypt into eastern and western parts. Its primary religion is Islam.

Sudan was home to a number of ancient civilizations, including the Kingdom of Kush, Kerma, Nobatia, Alodia, Makuria, Mero, and others, the majority of which thrived near the Nile. Nubia and Nagadan Upper Egypt were similar throughout the pre-dynastic era, evolving pharaonic royal systems at the same time about 3300 BC. Because of its closeness to Egypt, Sudan had a role in the larger history of the Near East, since it was Christianized by the 6th century and Islamized by the 15th.

The Old Nubian language is the oldest known Nilo-Saharan language as a result of Christianization (earliest records dating to the 9th century). Sudan was the biggest country in Africa and the Arab world until 2011, when South Sudan seceded and became an independent republic as a result of an independence vote. Sudan is currently Africa’s third biggest country (after Algeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo), as well as the Arab world’s third largest (after Algeria and Saudi Arabia).

Sudan is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Non-Aligned Movement, as well as a WTO observer. Khartoum, the nation’s political, cultural, and commercial center, is its capital. It is a democraticfederal republic with a presidential representative system. Sudan’s politics are governed by the National Assembly, a legislative body. The Sudanese legal system is founded on Islamic principles.

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Sudan - Info Card




Sudanese pound (SDG)

Time zone



1,886,068 km2 (728,215 sq mi)

Calling code


Official language

Arabic - English

Sudan | Introduction


Sudan is as varied physically as it is culturally; in the north, the Nile passes through the eastern border of the Sahara: the Nubian desert, the ancient kingdoms of Cush and Meroe, and the Seti’s homeland. Some little farming and husbandry complement the main crop of date palms here. The East and West are hilly areas, whereas the remainder of the nation is made up of savannahs characteristic of most of central Sub-Saharan Africa. The overwhelming majority of its people are Sunni Muslims, and proselytizing non-Sunni views is prohibited.


The quantity of rainfall rises as one moves south. The Nubian Desert to the northeast and the Bayuda Desert to the east are very dry desert regions in the middle and northern parts of the country, whereas wetlands and rainforests may be found in the south. The rainy season in Sudan lasts approximately three months (from July to September) in the north and up to six months (from June to November) in the south.

Sandstorms, known as haboob, may totally block out the sun in the arid areas. People in the northern and western semi-desert regions depend on little rainfall for rudimentary agriculture, and many are nomadic, traveling with herds of sheep and camels. There are well-irrigated fields producing cash crops near the Nile. The sunlight length is extremely high across the nation, but particularly in the deserts, where it may reach over 4,000 hours per year.


According to Sudan’s 2008 census, the population of Northern, Western, and Eastern Sudan totaled more than 30 million people. This puts current estimates of Sudan’s population following South Sudan’s independence at little more than 30 million people. This is a substantial growth over the previous two decades, since the entire population of Sudan, including present-day South Sudan, was 21.6 million according to the 1983 census. Greater Khartoum’s population (which includes Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North) is quickly increasing and has reached 5.2 million people.

Sudan, while being a refugee-producing nation, also has a refugee population. According to the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants’ World Refugee Survey 2008, 310,500 refugees and asylum seekers resided in Sudan in 2007. The bulk of this population came from Eritrea (240,400 people), Chad (45,000 people), Ethiopia (49,300 people), and the Central African Republic (2,500). During the year 2007, the Sudanese government forcefully deported at least 1,500 refugees and asylum seekers, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Sudan is a signatory to the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees.

Ethnic groups

The Arab population of Sudan is believed to be 70% of the total. Other Arabized ethnic groups include Nubians, Zaghawa, and Copts.

Sudan is home to 597 ethnic groups that speak over 400 distinct languages and dialects. Sudanese Arabs are Sudan’s most populous ethnic group. While the majority speak Sudanese Arabic, certain other Arab tribes speak other Arabic dialects, such as Awadia and Fadnia tribes and Bani Arak tribes who speak Najdi Arabic; and Rufa’a, Bani Hassan, Al-Ashraf, Kinanah, and Rashaida tribes who speak Hejazi Arabic. Furthermore, the Western province is made up of a variety of ethnic groups, although a few Arab Bedouin of the northern Rizeigat and others who speak Sudanese Arabic have the same culture and origins as Sudanese Arabs.

Because to cultural, linguistic, and genetic differences with other Arab and Arabized tribes, the majority of Arabized and indigenous tribes that speak Chadian Arabic, such as the Fur, Zaghawa, Borgo, Masalit, and certain Baggara ethnic groups, exhibit less cultural integration.

Sudanese Arabs in the north and east are mainly descended from migration from the Arabian Peninsula and intermarriages with Sudan’s pre-existing indigenous groups, particularly the Nubians, who have a shared history with Egypt. Furthermore, a few pre-Islamic Arabian tribes existed in Sudan from previous migrations from Western Arabia, but the majority of Arabs in Sudan are dated from migrations after the 12th century.

In the 12th century, the overwhelming majority of Arab tribes in Sudan moved into the country, intermarried with indigenous Nubian and other African people, and brought Islam.

The gradual process of Arabization in Sudan following these Arabian migrations after the 12th century, like much of the rest of the Arab world, led to the predominance of the Arabic language and aspects of Arab culture, leading to the shift among a majority of Sudanese today to an Arab ethnic identity. This process was aided by the expansion of Islam as well as the movement of ethnic Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula to Sudan, where they intermarried with the country’s Arabized indigenous peoples.

Sudan is home to a diverse range of non-Arabic ethnic groups, including the Masalit, Zaghawa, Fulani, Northern Nubians, Nuba, and Beja.


Over 97 percent of the people of the remaining Sudan adheres to Islam, according to the 2011 partition that separated South Sudan. Sufi and Salafi (Ansar Al Sunnah) Muslims make up the majority of Muslims. The Ansar and Khatmia, two prominent Sufi sects, are linked to the opposition Umma and Democratic Unionist parties, respectively. Only the Darfur area has historically been devoid of the Sufi brotherhoods that exist throughout the rest of the nation.

In Khartoum and other northern cities, there are significant, long-established Coptic Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Christian communities. Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox communities may also be found in Khartoum and eastern Sudan, mostly made up of recent refugees and migrants. Roman Catholics and Anglicans are the two biggest Christian faiths in Western Europe. The Africa Inland Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Sudan Church of Christ, the Sudan Interior Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Sudan Pentecostal Church, and the Sudan Evangelical Presbyterian Church are among the minor Christian organizations in the country (in the North).

The political divides in the nation are influenced by religious identity. Since independence, northern and western Muslims have controlled the country’s political and economic systems. Islamists, Salafis/Wahhabis, and other orthodox Arab Muslims in the north provide the NCP a lot of support. The Umma Party has long attracted Arab Ansar Sufis from Darfur and Kordofan, as well as non-Arab Muslims from the region. In the north and east, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) comprises both Arab and non-Arab Muslims, particularly members of the Khatmia Sufi sect.

Internet & Communications

The international direct dialing code for Sudan is 249. Although mobile phone users in Sudan will be able to call abroad numbers by adding “+” in front of the country code, its international direct dialing access code is 00.

Sudan has a plethora of prepaid mobile phone options. ZAIN (Tel: +249 91 230000) and MTN (Tel: +249 92-1111111) are Sudan’s two telecommunications providers. Zain’s prepaid bundle (SDG10) is less expensive than Mtn’s (SDG20). It’s worth noting that MTN’s customer care number, if you need to contact them for any reason, may be difficult to reach.

Entry Requirements For Sudan

Visa & Passport

For certain nationalities in some countries, or for individuals having an Israeli stamp in their passport, Sudanese travel permits are costly and difficult to get. If at all feasible, get a Sudanese visa in your native country.

From Egypt: Cairo is one of the quickest locations to get one (typically within a few hours of application), but it costs USD100 for many countries (payment is now possible in Egyptian pounds). Your embassy will almost certainly need to write you a letter of invitation/introduction, and the time it takes varies from embassy to embassy. The British Embassy, which is just 200 meters from the Sudanese one, costs 450 Egyptian pounds (GBP45) for theirs. The Canadian embassy does not issue these letters, however the Sudanese embassy in Cairo will grant visas to Canadians even if they do not have the letter. This may cause issues when attempting to acquire permits or renew visas inside Sudan, since they can only be obtained with a letter from the Canadian embassy in Khartoum, which the embassy would not give at this time. It is possible to get a visa sponsorship through the Cairo embassy and avoid having to submit a letter from your own embassy, however this is dependent on who you are dealing with at the embassy.

Obtaining a visa through the Sudanese Embassy in Addis Ababa is very difficult, but it is less expensive (around USD60). Your name is submitted to Khartoum for approval first. “It might take two weeks, it could take two months,” a source said. The visa itself just takes a few days after your name has been accepted. Although Brits and Americans get the short end of the stick, no country is guaranteed a visa in a timely manner. Expect to wait at least two weeks for your application to be approved. If your journey takes you from Sudan to Egypt and you already have an Egyptian visa, you may be granted a one-week transit visa for Sudan in only one day, which you may extend in Khartoum (at a hefty cost, though). For their letter of invitation/introduction, the British Embassy in Addis Ababa charges a hefty 740 birr (nearly GBP40).

Information that may be out of date: The Sudanese Embassy in Nairobi, like Addis Ababa, submits your name to Khartoum for clearance. The duration is also unclear, despite the fact that the embassy is much more professional and efficient than Addis Ababa’s.

Visa applications are filed between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. in Kenya, and visas are collected the following day between 15:00 and 15:50. 5,000 Kenyan shillings (KES) is the price (USD50). Own embassy may provide a letter of support for your application (e.g. British Embassy, charges KES8,200, turnaround time depends on availability of the Consul who needs to sign the letter). The Sudanese Embassy is situated on Kabarnet Road, which runs parallel to Ngong Road (10 minutes walk from Wildebeest Campsite accommodation in Kibera Road, and near Prestige Shopping Plaza). It’s worth noting that Google, VisaHQ, and other websites still display the previous address (Minet ICDC building), which is incorrect. In general, the experience at the Sudanese Embassy in Nairobi is less perplexing than in Egypt (with its jostling lines at three nameless but distinct windows), however the staff member dealing with the public is very unprofessional as of January 2010. (even suggests putting false information).

Customs clearance lines may be hours lengthy, and landing in Khartoum might be difficult. Getting into or out of the country by land generally happens without a hitch. Alcohol is illegal in Sudan, and trying to import it may result in severe consequences.

Visa restrictions

Entry will be refused to citizens of Israel and to those who show stamps and/or visas from Israel. The same usually applies to people with an Egyptian or Jordanian entry stamp indicating travel to Israel (e.g. the stamp you get when crossing from Israel to Egypt overland)

Permits and other legal requirements

Within three days of arrival, you must register. It costs SDG110 and may take up to a whole day in Khartoum. Alternatively, many hotels will handle your registration for you. Wadi Halfa is also a good place to register, and it shouldn’t take more than an hour. An English-speaking guy may approach you (especially if you’re in a group) and offer to take your passports and handle everything while you wait outside. This is simpler than doing it yourself (it’s a ping pong process between offices/counters/desks, etc. ), but the charge he’s added to each person’s registration cost is between $2 and $3 US dollars. It’s not nearly as tough as it seems. Don’t be tempted to skip registration; it will almost certainly create difficulties when you leave the country, and you may be denied boarding.

You will be sent back at the passport control desk after paying your departure tax and checking in with the airline while departing from Khartoum airport. In the same room, there is a visa office that will demand money and a passport photo. This took around 30 minutes with the appropriate amount of money in Sudanese Pounds and a passport.

For any kind of photography, visitors are theoretically obliged to acquire a permission. Apply at the British Council’s government office. Photos the size of passports are required, and the permission makes a great keepsake. The permission will specify where you are permitted to photograph and where you are not permitted to photograph.

How To Travel To Sudan

By plane

The major air gateway into Sudan is Khartoum Airport (KRT). Port Sudan airport is also used by certain foreign planes.

Several European, Middle Eastern, and African airlines fly into Khartoum Airport. Abu Dhabi (Etihad, Sudan Airways), Addis Ababa (Ethiopian Airlines), Amman (Royal Jordanian, Sudan Airways), Amsterdam (KLM Royal Dutch Airlines), Bahrain (Gulf Air), Cairo (EgyptAir, Sudan Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways), Damascus (Syrian Airlines, Sudan Airways), Doha (Qatar Airways), Dubai (Emirates, Sudan Airways), Frankfurt (Emirates, Sudan Airways), Frankfurt (E (Air Arabia low cost airline)

The airport at Port Sudan has flights to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and Cairo, Egypt. Typically, these flights originate and finish in Khartoum.

Dilapidated yellow cabs service the airport, and they frequently overcharge. Alternatively, contact +249 183 591 313 or email [email protected] to book a cab with LimoTrip, a Khartoum taxi business that uses metered taxis and excellent cars at better prices.

By land

The border hamlet of Gallabat is one route to enter from Ethiopia. Depending on political and trade ties between the two nations, the road crossing from Egypt shuts on a regular basis. Before attempting this path, make sure you have all of the necessary information.

By land

The weekly boat from Aswan, Egypt, to Wadi Halfa is the most dependable route to enter Sudan from Egypt. It now travels to Sudan on Mondays and returns on Wednesdays. Prices have lately risen to US$33. The boat is ancient and packed with people and stuff (the best place to sleep is on the cargo deck), but it offers some spectacular vistas (including that of Abu Simbel). On board, there is food and drink. Saudi Arabian ferries arrive often. Ferry tickets may be bought at Khartoum’s major railway station in North Khartoum if traveling from the south.

How To Travel Around Sudan

  • If traveling to any areas the government considers unstable, independent travelers in Sudan (certainly those with their own cars and perhaps those using public transportation) must get a Permit To Travel. Obtaining one is a time-consuming process that costs USD15 and takes about a day (in Wadi Halfa). The Northern State, as well as the route to Ethiopia, do not need travel permits. If you’re traveling near Eritrea, Darfur, or southern Kordofan, you’ll need them. As a result of the assault on Omdurman in May 2008, security has been tightened, and this information may be outdated.
  • On arrival in any town or city, independent travelers must also register with the police. Once the police point has been found, this is a pretty fast and easy process – and the police will frequently hear about your coming and find you before you find them. Re-registration may no longer be required in certain municipalities.

By plane

Sudan Airways has one of Africa’s worst safety records, with over a dozen deadly accidents in the past 10 years.

Apart from Khartoum, Sudan Airways serves minor airports at Wadi Halfa, El Debba, Dongola, Port Sudan, El Fasher, Wad Madani, Merowe, and El Obeid. The majority of flights depart from Khartoum. Be ready for flight cancellations and changes in schedules.

By train

Even though Sudan boasts one of Africa’s biggest rail networks, most of it is in disrepair. However, there is new cause to be optimistic about rail travel in Sudan. The Nile Express currently transports passengers between Khartoum and Atbara on rebuilt lines, thanks to new trains imported from China. More lines are being repaired, but other services are currently restricted to local trains in and around Khartoum, a weekly trip from Wadi Halfa that coincides with the boat to and from Egypt, and an occasional service with Nyala. Sudan Railways Corporation is the country’s only railway operator.

By car

Sudanese driving is hectic, though not particularly hazardous by African standards. Visitors who are unfamiliar with foreign driving should take a cab or hire a driver. A 4WD is required for much of the nation; Sudan’s main highway is paved for part of the trip, but the majority of the country’s roads are dirt or sand tracks. Crossing into Sudan from Egypt via the boat from Aswan to Wadi Halfa now enjoys the advantage of a Chinese-funded asphalt roadway that runs 400 kilometers south to Dongola and then 500 kilometers to Khartoum. Because there are few military checkpoints and little other traffic, this route is ideal for overlanders.

By bus

While buses run regularly in more heavily trafficked regions, residents in more isolated places prefer to utilize trucks or “boxes” (Toyota Hiluxes), which are typically just as packed as buses but have fewer people riding on top and are less likely to get stuck in the sand. They usually leave after they’re full, which may take up to half a day. If you have enough money, you can rent the whole place to yourself.

By bicycle

Legally, it is permissible to cycle across Sudan, but it is best not to specify your method of transportation when applying for a travel permit. Cycling may frequently entail pushing the bike over sand or rattling through corrugations, but the beauty and friendliness of the Sudanese people may make up for the physical and bureaucratic difficulties. Make sure there is clean, drinking water available. Theft is rarely an issue, and leaving bicycles alone in villages and towns is usually safe. Flies, thorny trees that pierce easily, and, in the extreme north, a lack of shade, may all be major annoyances.

Destinations in Sudan

Cities in Sudan

  • Khartoum — the national capital, which also consists of Omdurman and Khartoum North (Bahri)
  • Al Ubayyid
  • Gedaref capital of Gedaref state
  • Kassala
  • Nyala — capital of Darfur
  • Port Sudan — Sudan’s main Red Sea port

Other destinations in Sudan

  • Jebel Barkal is an ancient Egyptian/Kush ruins site that includes the remains of numerous temples, palaces, and pyramids. The property has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Mero is an old Nubian royal city on the Nile’s banks with approximately 200 pyramids. The property has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Accommodation & Hotels in Sudan

Larger towns and cities

Most major towns and cities offer reasonably priced hotels, but they are not as inexpensive as you would think. Within the price range, quality is usually constant.

Basic hotels provide a bed and a fan, as well as a common bathroom and toilet. Although a room may include more than one bed, you are generally required to pay for the whole room. The more people in a group, the more affordable these accommodations become, since additional beds are frequently added to a room (within reason) to accommodate everyone without changing the price. As in smaller towns and cities, some motels offer cheaper mattresses outdoors in the open. These hotels are not very clean, but they are inexpensive and suitable for short stays.

The poorest value for money may be found at lower mid-range hotels, which are more common in Khartoum. They may have en suite bathrooms, (mostly evaporative) air conditioning, and satellite television, but the rooms are extremely tatty for the price (two to three times that of basic hotels depending on your bargaining skills), and hotel owners almost always adhere to the philosophy of “only fix something if the guest complains.” Rooms without a bathroom, air conditioning, or television are sometimes available at costs slightly higher than those in basic hotels.

Upper mid-range hotels are the next step up, with clean rooms of much better quality but rates that are closer to what you’d expect in the West (typically listed in dollars). However, there won’t be anything to criticize.

The Hilton is one of the most prestigious five-star hotels in the world. Khartoum is home to the majority of the few. They are much more costly than hotels in the upper mid-range.

Outside larger towns and cities

Outside of bigger towns and cities, hotels usually don’t provide much more than the bare minimum. That implies bedframes with either a string mesh or thin mattresses; this isn’t to suggest they’re uncomfortably unpleasant. They’re usually seen (in groups of four or five) in rooms with a ceiling fan to keep things cool. Out in the courtyard beneath the stars, the mattresses are generally cheaper – and more enjoyable to sleep in – but there is clearly less privacy and security. It is almost difficult to rent one bed in a room, as it is in a dormitory, at most cheap motels in major towns and cities. The hotel insists that you rent the whole room. At some periods, rooms become rapidly unavailable (weekends, for example). If your journey follows the Nile, showers may be bucket showers with water directly from the Nile.

Outside of the south, camping in the bush is simple as long as the normal precautions are observed.

Things To See in Sudan

Around one hour before sundown and Friday prayer in Khartoum/Omdurman, you must witness the Sufi ritual of drumming and trance dance. These rites take place at Omdurman, which is located northwest of the Nile River. The ambiance is really friendly and lively.

It takes approximately four hours to walk around Tuti Island, which is located in the midst of the Nile’s two branches. With its leafy alleys and irrigated fields, the less crowded northern part is lovely, and there’s a wonderful small coffee shop beneath a tree on the western side.

Meroe’s pyramids are 2.5 hours north of Khartoum (leave early to avoid Khartoum traffic). Visit the sites of Naqa and Musawarat along the same path. In principle, permits are needed before visiting the sites, and guidebooks suggest paying in advance in Khartoum, however this seems to have altered as of January 2010. You must now pay at each location. The price is ten Sudanese pounds. The route between Naqa and Musawarat is reasonably clear though sandy, and it is marked near the Nile Petrol station (approximately 1 hour 15 minutes north of Khartoum). It’s probably a good idea to have a GPS with you if you don’t want to get lost in the woods.

After 4 p.m., head to The Egg hotel for a delicious coffee with a view of Khartoum, the Nile, and Omdurman from a high height, and remain to see the sunset. Worthwhile.

The dam is around 1.5 hours south of Khartoum. The Nile is also quite broad just north of the dam (downstream); the region is popular with day tourists on Friday and Saturday.

Near Port Sudan, there is excellent diving, either on liveaboards or from the new Red Sea Resort (north of Port Sudan). Unless you’re not prone to seasickness, avoid the windy season (Nov/Dec/Jan/Feb) (a 2.5-hour dingy trip from the shore in strong waves may be challenging!).

Food & Drinks in Sudan

Food in Sudan

Sudanese cuisine

Sudanese cuisine is influenced by a variety of factors, although none of them dominates regional culinary traditions. Egyptian, Ethiopian, Yemeni, and Turkish cuisines (meatballs, pastries, and spices) are among the inspirations, but there are also many foods that are common to all Arabian countries.

  • Foul is a popular meal made with fava beans. Many Sudanese people eat it for breakfast every day, and it is called the national meal.
  • Kissra, a bread made with durra or maize, and Gurassa, a thick bread made from wheat flour that is similar to a pancake but thicker, are two popular Sudanese foods. Aseeda, a porridge prepared from wheat, millet, or maize, is also classified as bread by Sudanese.
  • Gurassa Bil Damaa, a traditional Northern Sudanese delicacy, is an unleavened wheat bread similar to a pancake but thicker, topped with beef stew or chicken.
  • Mukhbaza (shredded wheat bread combined with mashed bananas and honey), Selaat (lamb cooked over hot stones), and Gurar (a kind of local sausage prepared in a similar manner to Selaat) are some Eastern Sudanese cuisines.
  • Agashe, a beef meal seasoned with ground peanuts and spices (mostly spicy chilli) and grilled on a grill or over an open flame, is a popular western Sudanese cuisine.
  • Fruits and vegetables are widely available.

Restaurants and food shopping

In Khartoum and Khartoum North, there are many contemporary restaurants/cafés serving Mexican, Korean, Italian, Turkish, Pakistani, Indian, and Chinese cuisines.

Sug al Naga (the camel market), north of Omdurman, is one of the major attractions, where you may choose your meat and then give it over to one of the women to prepare it for you in the style you want.

Drinks in Sudan

The country’s official religion is Islam, and alcohol has been prohibited since the implementation of sharia law in the 1980s. Sudanese people drink a lot of tea, which is typically sweet and black. Sudan also offers several pleasant beverages including karkade (hibiscus), aradeeb (tamarind), and gongleiz (made with the baobab fruit). Madeeda is a carbohydrate-rich energy drink popular in the area. Madeeda is a sweetened milk drink prepared with dates, dukhun (millet), or other ingredients. It is typically highly sweetened with sugar, but reduced-sugar versions may be available if you inquire. Sudanese coffee is comparable to Turkish coffee in that it is thick and robust, occasionally flavored with cardamom or ginger, has a strong kick, and is overall wonderful. If you want a restful night’s sleep, don’t take it just before bed!

While alcohol is officially prohibited in the Muslim north, locally produced alcohol is readily accessible in a variety of forms and potencies. A hazy, sour, heavy native beer (merissa) made from sorghum or millet, which is almost definitely brewed with untreated water, would almost certainly result in the ‘Mahdi’s vengeance’ (the Sudanese equivalent of ‘Delhi belly’). Aragi is a pure spirit made from sorghum or dates in their purest form. It’s a powerful substance that should be handled with caution, and be aware that it’s occasionally tainted with methanol or embalming fluid to enhance flavor and strength! Keep in mind that all of these drinks are not only potentially harmful to your health, but they’re also prohibited, and being found with them may result in full-fledged Islamic law penalties.

The usual recommendation is not to drink tap water; in most rural places, there are no taps, so you won’t be able to. Water is frequently collected straight from the Nile when there are no bore holes (which typically produce water that is safe to drink).

Money & Shopping in Sudan


The Sudanese pound (Arabic: jeneh, SDG – the ‘G’ actually stands for “guinea”), which replaced the Sudanese dinar (Arabic: dinar, SDD), was adopted by the government in January 2007. The new pound is equivalent to 100 dinars. There are 100 piastres in the new pound (coins).

When it comes to price quotation, though, things aren’t that easy. Despite the fact that new pounds (which are seldom used for quoting) and dinars (which are more frequently used, particularly when quoting in English) are no longer in circulation, most people still refer to the old pound. A dinar is equal to ten old pounds. As a result, when someone asks for 10,000 pounds, they really mean 1,000 dinars. And, to add to the confusion, when quoting in pounds, individuals typically leave off the thousands. So, your taxi driver may ask for ten pounds, which is really 10,000 old pounds, which is equal to 1,000 dinars, which should be referred to as just ten pounds once again! You may say “new pound” or ” jeneh al-jedid” to clear up any misunderstandings.

In a nutshell, 1 new pound equals 100 dinars, which equals 1000 old pounds (long out of use)

USD1 = SDG4.4 in August 2013 (most banks/changers/hotels, etc. exchange at USD1 = SDG4.0).

Only bring foreign CASH into Sudan, ideally US dollars (which are often accepted at hotels). Bank of England pounds and, to a lesser degree, euros are also easily exchanged at banks in major towns. Due to the US embargo, travelers’ cheques, credit cards, and foreign bank automated teller machine cards are not accepted in Sudan.

Although there are many banks in Khartoum and throughout Sudan, not all of them provide foreign exchange services. Money changers abound in Khartoum, particularly at the Afra Mall. In Khartoum, there are many Western Union agents that would pay out money sent from outside. Despite the fact that the currency is not completely convertible, the Central Bank regulates the exchange rate in accordance with market forces, thus there is no parallel FX illegal market. Because the Sudanese dinar and pound are closed currencies, you must exchange them before leaving the country.

Credit cards

Credit cards are not accepted in Sudan due to the US embargo. The Khartoum Hilton is the lone exception, since it accepts Diners Club. All transactions must be made in cash, which makes it risky since you will be carrying huge amounts of money. Using the internet while in Sudan may be problematic, since certain businesses (particularly American ones) will detect your Sudanese IP address and refuse to do business with you. If you try to use an American Express card for any kind of online transaction while in Sudan, your card will very certainly be revoked.

Festivals & Holidays in Sudan

Every year, the following public holidays are observed:

  • January 1: Independence Day
  • January 7: Coptic Christmas
  • June 30: Revolution Day
  • December 25: Christmas Day

Variable (Because Islamic holidays are determined by the Islamic calendar, which follows the phases of the moon, holidays in the Gregorian calendar are 10 to 11 days early every year.) Furthermore, Islamic festivals are determined by the moon’s appearance.)

  • Al-Mowlid Al Nabawi (Birth of the Prophet)
  • Eid-Ul-Fitr (End Of Ramadan)
  • Islamic New Year (Hijri New Year)
  • Eid-Al-Adha (Feast Of Sacrifice)
  • Coptic Easter

Traditions & Customs in Sudan

Religious sensitivities

Sudan is an Islamic country where Sharia law has been enforced by the government. Although alcohol and narcotics are illegal, many individuals use a kind of snuff and a few manufacture moonshine. Sudanese women are known for wearing conservative clothes and covering their heads, therefore international ladies should follow suit, even if they see other visitors who do not. Long trousers, not shorts, should be worn by men. If you’re unsure, it’s best to be cautious and cover up.

The Sudanese do not require visitors to observe Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, yet eating, drinking, or smoking in public would be impolite. (Because many individuals are exempt from Ramadan, such as diabetics and those traveling over a particular distance, open eateries are available throughout the day, although they are not widely promoted.)

Be certain that any foreigner will be regarded as a native and punished as such, with many instances resulting in a prison term and a flogging, with the least being forty lashes (it may be more, according to the discretion of the local cleric). Since of the great distances between cities or villages, and because news travels slowly due to political instability, your government, if it even knows or cares to intervene, may not be willing or able to assist you.

Under no circumstances can pictures, sculptures, figurines, or other depictions of the prophet Muhammad be shown. When a British schoolteacher in Sudan permitted one of her pupils to call a teddy bear “Muhammad,” it sparked a furious backlash in Sudan. Despite the fact that the British schoolteacher is safe in her own country and no deaths have been recorded, previous similar issues such as Pope Benedict XVI and the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons have resulted in bloodshed.

Local customs

Touching the thumb to the index finger while extending the rest of the fingers is an offensive gesture, as is showing the bottom of your foot (the North American sign for “O-kay”). Despite the fact that Sudan has a moderate Muslim culture, outsiders are nevertheless advised not to talk directly to native women until they are approached, and even then, it is customary to seek permission from the male accompanying her before replying. If at all possible, avoid making physical contact with women.


Avoid asking direct inquiries about people’s political views during conversations unless you know them well and have a good feeling about them; the consequences may be severe. In a nation that has been traumatized by more than 40 years of civil conflict, tact is essential, and refugees from afflicted regions are dispersed across the country, particularly in Khartoum.

Culture Of Sudan

Sudanese culture combines the habits, traditions, and beliefs of approximately 578 ethnic groups in an area microcosmic of Africa, with physical extremes ranging from sandy desert to tropical forest, and communicating in 145 distinct languages. According to recent research, although the majority of the country’s people firmly identify with both Sudan and their religion, Arab and African transnational identities are much more polarizing and disputed.


Sudan has a diverse and distinctive musical culture that has been shaped by chronic instability and repression throughout the country’s contemporary history. Many of the country’s most famous poets, such as Mahjoub Sharif, were imprisoned after the installation of strong Salafi interpretations of sharia law in 1989, while others, such as Mohammed el Amin (returned to Sudan in the mid-1990s) and Mohammed Wardi (returned to Sudan in 2003), escaped to Cairo. Traditional music was also harmed, with traditional Zr rituals disrupted and drums seized.

At the same time, European armies helped to expand Sudanese music by introducing new instruments and genres; military bands, particularly the Scottish bagpipes, were well-known for combining traditional music with military marching music. Set to the sounds of the Shilluk, the march March Shulkawi No 1 is an example. Northern Sudanese music differs from that of the rest of Sudan in that it employs a type of music known as (Aldlayib) and a musical instrument known as (Tambur) that is made by hand, has five strings, and is made of wood, and produces wonderful music accompanied by human applause and singing artists, giving the region a distinct character.


Athletics (track and field) and football are the most popular sports in Sudan. Handball, basketball, and volleyball are all popular in Sudan, but not as popular as football.

Sudanese football has a long and illustrious history. Sudan was one of the four African countries that created African football, together with Egypt, Ethiopia, and South Africa. Sudan hosted the inaugural African Cup of Nations in 1956 and has only once won the competition, in 1970. Sudan’s National Football Team competed at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich two years later. The Khartoum Competition, which is regarded as Africa’s oldest football league, is based in the country’s capital.

Sudanese football clubs like Al-Hilal and El-Merreikh are among the best in the country. Khartoum, El-Neel, Al-Nidal El-Nahud, and Hay-Al Arab are among the other teams gaining prominence.


The majority of Sudanese people dress in either traditional or western clothing. The jalabiya, a loose-fitting, long-sleeved, collarless ankle-length garment also seen in Egypt, is a traditional Sudanese garment. Women wear a big scarf with the jalabiya, which may be white, colorful, striped, or made of fabric of various thicknesses, depending on the season of the year and personal tastes.

The thobe or thawb, which is pronounced tobe in Sudanese dialect, is a similar garment. The thobe is a long, single-piece fabric used by women to cover their inner clothing. The term “thawb” in Arabic means “clothing,” and the thawb is a classic Arab men’s garment.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Sudan

Stay Safe in Sudan

Sudanese security has several facets. On the one hand, stealing is almost unheard of; you will never be robbed on the street, and people will go to tremendous lengths to guarantee your safety. Sudan, on the other hand, has a lengthy history of war, a government that is not especially transparent or responsible, and widespread corruption under the surface. The following material outlines some of the possible hazards that a tourist should be aware of.

Armed conflict

When South Sudan was still a part of Sudan, there was a 40-year civil war between the central government in Khartoum and non-Muslim rebel parties in the south. Following South Sudan’s independence, relations between the two nations have remained fluid, contentious, and complex.

The well-publicized war in Darfur continues, making travel to Sudan’s western regions completely unadvisable.


Sudan is one of just four nations in the world that does not adhere to international aviation safety standards. Sudan Airways, the official national airline, operates mostly Soviet-made aircraft from the 1950s. Some aircraft lack navigation, illumination, or essential landing gear. Sudan was the most hazardous nation for domestic aviation travel last year, with over 27 deadly accidents in the Northern region alone.

It is also difficult to enter Sudan by personal vehicle. Sudan’s border with Egypt is heavily fortified, and Westerners seeking to cross the border are increasingly encountering difficulties.

Bus travel has its own set of problems. Some buses are better than others – some are superb, with icy-cold AC and complimentary refreshments, while others may be less so. There is nothing worse than spending almost an entire day on a sweltering bus (did we mention there is no A/C?) with a group of jabbering Egyptian tourists.

Personal safety

There is virtually little chance of being physically assaulted (mugged) for your belongings, but keep a watch on them in public areas, such as street cafés. Sometimes criminals work in teams, with one distracting you while the other steals your belongings. Pickpocketing has been reported in Sudan as well.

Women travelers

If you dress and behave properly for an Islamic nation, lone female travel is generally secure (in regions untouched by civil conflict). You’ll raise a few eyebrows, but you’ll be treated with tremendous respect in general. Women should, in general, travel in groups, and much better, with males.

Police and army

You’ll see armed cops and military people everywhere, but you won’t have any issues with them unless you break a regulation, such as photographing or recording in forbidden locations. Travelers have been known to be targeted by Sudanese police for bribes. So, if you’re stopped for whatever reason, make sure you pay them.

Taking pictures

The regulations for shooting photographs in Sudan are extremely stringent. To begin, you’ll need a photography permission, which will specify where you can and cannot shoot photographs. It’s easy to get into problems by photographing or recording military people or facilities. People have been detained in Khartoum for photographing the confluence of the Blue and White Niles.

LGBT travellers

Alcohol use is prohibited in Sudan, which is an Islamic nation. Homosexuality is a crime that carries a death penalty. In most cases, the death penalty for homosexuality is only applied after the second or third crime. For both men and women, the first crime typically entails imprisonment and a thousand lashes (which is virtually the death penalty anyway, it would be surprising if anyone could survive that sort of harsh punishment). The government’s punishment of individuals found guilty of homosexual activities is based on a rigorous interpretation of Islamic Sharia Law. If a foreigner is caught for performing a homosexual behavior, he or she will most likely be issued a warning if “really regretful” or treated similarly to the Sudanese citizen. If you are arrested, request consular help from your government.

Stay Healthy in Sudan

Because Sudan is a malaria-prone area, take extra precautions during the rainy season. Southern regions are home to poisonous snakes, spiders, and scorpions.

Drinking water should be done with caution. Make sure you drink bottled water or filter your water using purifying tablets. Also, stay away from any fruit drinks, since they are almost certainly prepared with local water. Also, keep in mind that any ice cubes (such as those found in sodas) are just frozen local water.

Long journeys on public transportation (especially during the summer) make it difficult – or prohibitively costly – to carry the quantity of bottled water required, and it may be limited at certain distant stations. As a result, have enough of your preferred method of filtration on hand (not in your roof-mounted baggage!). In certain places, sanitation is non-existent, so wash your hands often.

Food from street sellers is usually acceptable provided it is cooked and served on a regular basis. Food remaining exposed and unrefrigerated for hours at a time is frequently indicated by empty restaurants and street cafés.

Sudanese money is notoriously filthy, and even Sudanese people try to avoid handling tiny banknotes. To treat your hands after handling dirty cash notes or shaking too many unclean hands, have antibacterial wipes or gel in your baggage.

Ebola outbreaks were recorded in Sudan in 2004, and local hospital treatment is not recommended unless there is a true emergency. If you experience symptoms similar to malaria, get medical help as soon as possible. Medical treatment is also accessible at many private clinics with excellent standards and affordable prices. Here are some of these private clinics: (Doctors Clinic, Africa St., Fidail Medical Center, Downtown Hospital Road, Yastabshiron Medical Center, Riyadh area, Modern Medical Center, Africa St., International Hospital, Khartoum north-Alazhary St.)

Avoid bathing or strolling across slow-flowing fresh rivers if you have Schistosomiasis or Bilharzia. Seek medical care if you have come into touch with such water or if you develop an itching rash or fevers after returning home. You may need to visit a tropical medicine expert if your doctor in the West just thinks to test you for malaria.



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