"Kassala" Kassala by maykal

Kassala Travel Guide: 53 reviews and 38 photos

Kassala was my home from December 2002 until October 2004...I started as an English teacher at Kassala University, then moved to freelance teaching and translating in the second year. Kassala is probably the most talked about destination in Sudan by backpackers and locals alike, although few ever get to see its surreal mountains, fertile fruit gardens and thronging souqs...and there is very little information in print or on the web about this dusty but loveable town in Eastern Sudan...I'm setting out to change that!

I have such a lot to write about Kassala...yet so little time to write it...this page will be under construction constantly, and I will update it whenever I find the time.

First of all, where is Kassala and why is it special? Kassala is in Eastern Sudan, close to the Eritrean border. On one side, the town is overshadowed by huge bizarre-shaped mountains, on the other, desert stretches as far as the eye can see. The people of Kassala are a real mix...Haddendawa, Beni Amir, Shergest and a hundred other tribes, plus Eritrean refugees, a large Indian community, and me...a lone khawaja volunteer.

If I'd listened to the British Embassy staff, I'd have never come here...it is technically a war zone, lying so close to the frontier where there have been one or two slight skirmishes (read "small war") in the past year or two. Security is high, due to a large military presence, and at first you might think it isn't the safest place to be....but once you get past the military checkpoints which surround the town, you soon realise that it is perfectly safe.

Kassala isn't the most wild town in the world...after visiting the lively souqs and sipping coffee on Jebel Totil, there isn't really anything else for a visitor to do. Still, it is where I lived, I love it there (even though it can be dull at times, and is always a trifle too hot), and I'd encourage any traveller in Sudan to make the effort to come here...

Please don't forget the travelogues...I have written about the devastating 2003 floods which hit Kassala and went almost unnoticed in the world media. Also, I have written about my houses and housemates, so you can read about my daily life.

#### If you think the main picture above looks a little familiar, then you are probably an avid reader of the Sudan Tribune. I almost choked on my sandwich when I saw my own photo decorating one of their articles. Apart from feeling slightly flattered, I also feel very annoyed...nobody thought to ask if I minded my photo being used for a commercial purpose, and what's more, I'm not even credited for the photo. I will not provide a link to the article, as the Sudan Tribune has not bothered to include a link to my page...but if you want to see the crime scene, it shouldn't be too hard to track down.

Oh, and a little message for my "friends" at the Sudan Tribune: Ya 'ayb 'aleykum ya haraamiyeen! Either give me credit for the photo and add a link to this page, or remove my photo from the article. And next time you want a pretty picture of Kassala, ask me nicely by e-mail, or go to Kassala and take one yourselves! Shukran wa yubarek allah fiikum.

  • Last visit to Kassala : Oct 2004
  • Intro Updated Jun 6, 2006
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Reviews (53)

Comments (40)

  • canuck68's Profile Photo
    Apr 16, 2008 at 6:13 PM

    Fascinating pages Michael. Your pictures are very good and your tips so well written. Sorting out all of the tribes sounds complicated.

  • corey07's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2008 at 6:33 AM

    Wonderful pages you have here! i'd better pour some ashes on my head, delete my pages and start all over again ..

  • Oct 23, 2007 at 11:03 PM

    Michael, these are great pages, Kassala is my home town, I thought you would be called Meekhaaile instead of Maykal, things change. I used to live in Elmirghania. Please add more of the nice pictures. CYa in Kassala sometime. Greetings form Sheffield, UK

  • evaanna's Profile Photo
    May 1, 2007 at 1:59 PM

    Fascinating landscapes, people, customs. Thanks for the wonderful virtual tour and bringing that part of the world closer to us.

  • alza's Profile Photo
    Apr 16, 2006 at 10:15 PM

    fascinating and well written. What a wonderful pic of Sawagi Janubiyya (in Sport tip)!

  • tevfik's Profile Photo
    Mar 8, 2006 at 3:59 PM

    excellent page, great tips...thanks.

  • Jan 22, 2006 at 7:25 AM

    A lovely story. Thank you for sharing. Greetings from Cape Town.

  • Sininen's Profile Photo
    Jan 11, 2006 at 10:30 AM

    I can hardly believe that I've found such a wonderful page on Kassala, written with love and it gives rare insight of the country. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • tpal's Profile Photo
    Jun 24, 2005 at 7:04 AM

    Beautifully written and wonderfully sensitive to the region and the culture. I have to admit that this my first knowledge about Sudan let alone Wilayat Kassala...aside from the horrible news that makes it to CNN. Thanks for for views...Tom

  • erendilight's Profile Photo
    May 31, 2005 at 1:41 AM

    perfect safety tips michael.. very much useful and informative.. thank you very much...

maykal

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