"Welcome to Sudan" Top 5 Page for this destination Sudan by maykal

Sudan Travel Guide: 1,186 reviews and 3,125 photos

A Brief Introduction

Sudan is maybe not somewhere you've ever dreamed of visiting...in fact, maybe it is on your list of "I'm never going there" countries. Well, as a volunteer who enjoyed his time in Sudan, I feel I should try and raise the profile of this huge and diverse country.
People here often ask me what I'd heard about Sudan before I came...war, drought, famine, terrorism, extreme heat and desert was pretty much it. Well, it is all true in a way...yes, there has been a war in the south for decades, and tribal conflicts in various parts of the east and west; yes, water is a problem in some parts, although in places along the Nile there is never drought and parts of the country are flooded annually; yes, there are hungry people in areas where the crops have failed or where food cannot be transported, but there is more than enough food to be had in other parts of Sudan; yes, Osama Bin Laden did live in Khartoum for a while, and one or two other terrorists are of Sudanese origin, but you'll find many more terrorists in London than you will here; yes, it is hot, very hot; and yes, there is desert, but there are also mountains, rainforests, savannahs, coral reefsetc...

Sudan for the Tourist

Sudan will never become the new Nepal, Mexico or Thailand...there just aren't enough attractions, and the cultural restrictions certainly aren't to everyone's tastes. If you're hoping to be astounded by archaeological wonders or wander round medieval covered souqs, then look instead to Syria or Turkey or somewhere else in the Middle East. Sudan does have many archaeological sites, such as the Pyramids at Meroe and Jebel Barkal, but they are small and fairly difficult to reach. The souqs are mainly modern affairs, and, though often lively, hardly compare with the bazars of Istanbul, Aleppo or Sana'a. What you will find is a country almost completely untouched by tourism...there isn't much for tourists, but you'll be made to feel very welcome and you'll experience a country that not many other people have. Whatever attractions Sudan does have, other countries have better...for example, there are some nice mountains in Kassala, but there are some spectacular moutains over the border in Eritrea. However, Sudan does seem to have a monopoly on one thing, and that is hospitality. The Sudanese are incredibly friendly and welcoming to foreigners, and while that sounds like a huge generalization, I have to testify that it is true...everywhere you go, people invite you to drink tea, take rest, eat lunch, stay the night, etc...it is amazing how some of the poorest people on earth are some of the most generous.

This page will constantly be under construction. I will try to add tips when I can, but internet in Sudan is not exactly reliable, so it could take years! I want to make this a general page with info about Sudan as a whole, how to get here, what to bring, what to eat, etc...as well as using it as an index page for my other Sudanese pages. I have hundreds of photos waiting to be scanned...the only problem is that there is not a single scanner to be found here! Please bear with me...I will scan them if and when I go home, but who knows when that will be ;@P The same goes for all of my Sudanese pages...all of them are incomplete and will be updated bit by bit...

A note about recent events: due to all the media coverage of the crisis in Darfur, many people wrote to me to ask if everything was OK. Well, for the residents of Dongola or Kassala, Darfur was one of those far-away wars that weren't officially happening. If anyone cared to admit something was going on, it was dismissed as "tribal traditions". You see, in Sudan it is very hard to find out what is actually happening inside the country. Newspapers update you on the movements of the president and his family and contain many a heart-warming (sick-inducing?) article about peace and friendship, but no famine or fighting is ever reported. Even events in Kassala passed most of us Kassalawis by completely. An attempted coup was reported in Egypt, but friends in Sudan knew nothing of it.

The truth is very hard to find in Sudan, the only hint that things aren't quite right comes when you are refused a permit to visit a certain place. As a general rule, Khartoum and anywhere north is 100% safe and open for tourism, and this safe zone extends down to Gedarif and across to the Red Sea. Obviously Darfur is in turmoil, so you'd be foolish to attempt a trip there right now. Kassala is also unfortunately experiencing one or two problems, and the situation is unclear. Kordofan is sometimes OK, sometimes closed off, while much of the south remains off-limits to everyone but aid-workers. Anyone who is planning a holiday in Sudan, don't cancel it, but stick to the northern states for now. Inshallah things will improve, but everything in Sudan takes time.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Friendly hospitable people, adventurous travel
  • Cons:Not much tourist infrastructure, incredible heat, incredible bureaucracy
  • In a nutshell:It will never be a tourist hotspot, but that's one good reason to come!
  • Last visit to Sudan: Sep 2004
  • Intro Updated Feb 9, 2006
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Reviews (43)

Comments (42)

  • asiantraveler's Profile Photo
    Mar 12, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    i admire your courage maycal and you inspired me to be courageous as well ...cheers!

  • Jul 26, 2010 at 7:47 AM

    Hi !! well.. every single word you wrote is just true about sudan.. i guided like hundreds of forigners here ..and i feel like u got the spirit of Sudan.. good luck for you

  • Andrew_W_K's Profile Photo
    Jul 21, 2009 at 12:54 PM

    I'd forgotten just how bloody interesting your pages are.

  • Kristina1701's Profile Photo
    Jan 3, 2008 at 3:11 PM

    great insight into a country i'll probably never get to see

  • elae's Profile Photo
    Dec 23, 2007 at 8:54 AM

    lovely:)

  • awilla's Profile Photo
    Oct 23, 2007 at 9:12 AM

    I'm dying to go there! Enjoyed your photos

  • kenHuocj's Profile Photo
    May 15, 2007 at 1:20 PM

    Profound pages of Info & Tips - you're fortunate to have Arabic as an extra ;-)))

  • triplehelix's Profile Photo
    Apr 19, 2007 at 5:11 PM

    your reassurance makes me want to visit the country sometime. perhaps while visiting egypt. i assume visas are difficult to acquire.

  • brewjohnson's Profile Photo
    Jan 23, 2007 at 10:53 AM

    Great page. Some really interesting tips here.

  • xaver's Profile Photo
    May 7, 2006 at 9:57 AM

    so..nothing beautiful but locals and no tourist around, interesting enough to think about it.

maykal Used To Live Here!

maykal

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