"Omdurman - the real capital" Top 5 Page for this destination Omdurman by mafi_moya

Omdurman Travel Guide: 48 reviews and 148 photos

Omdurman... my home for most of my time in Sudan. Fans of British history will of course have heard of the famous Battle of Omdurman (Kitchener avenging the decapitation of General Gordon by massacring the Mahdi's troops) and Omdurman is indeed the country's historic, cultural and spiritual capital.

Often lumped together as part of 'Greater Khartoum' Omdurman is in fact a fiercely independent city rather than a sprawling suburb. Khartoum may be the political and modern commercial capital (although don't let that description fool you about the state of Khartoum!) but Omdurman is by far the most interesting. Many people in Khartoum see Omdurman as some sort of slum and many of the young urban elite in particular will hardly ever go there, but in fact Omdurman is like any city - there is abject poverty but there are also countless millionaires and luxury mansions. Former presidents such as Sadiq Al-Mahdi and Jaafar Nimeiri still live here.

Despite its independence it's easy to see why people class Omdurman/Khartoum as one city. Separated only by the White Nile, there are two bridges linking the cities - you can walk across one in five minutes. Many people live in one and work in the other. I personally worked every day in Khartoum but was grateful that I lived 'over the river' and refused many new offers of accomodation in Khartoum.

So why is Omdurman so much better than Khartoum? Well there's the sense of history - the Mahdi's tomb and the house of his successor the Khalifa were just down the road; there are far more interesting souks to wander around; I found that living here gave far more of a sense of community than Khartoum; and I'm a sucker for a sense of romanticism, of which there is far more here than in the sister city over the bridge.

That's not to say that Omdurman is the quiet, peaceful little sister - it's every bit as big as Khartoum (nobody really knows the size or population but it sprawls for miles into the desert), it's just as busy and in places dirty - there are open sewers along the roads and goats grazing in the rubbish round the corner from my house. There are the same kind of shops, and far from quaint and serene it can be chaotic and loud.

But it was my home and I loved it!

  • Last visit to Omdurman: May 2002
  • Intro Updated Aug 20, 2004
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Reviews (8)

Comments (2)

  • grets's Profile Photo
    Nov 10, 2004 at 3:07 AM

    Just four more days and I'll be there! Can't wait! Great tips here.

  • tini58de's Profile Photo
    Aug 23, 2004 at 2:45 AM

    Omdurman really sounds like an interesting destination! Thanks for this page!

mafi_moya

“"If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a closed room with a mosquito" - African Proverb”

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