"Where Africa and Arabia meet at the Nile" Top 5 Page for this destination Khartoum by mafi_moya
Khartoum Travel Guide: 352 reviews and 749 photos
Khartoum is a city that tends to grow on you, which is a good job because first impressions aren't usually that great! Having worked here for the best part of a year I had time to grow to like it, although I doubt it'll ever be anybody's favourite city. If tourism ever does take off in Sudan it won't be because of Khartoum. So why do I like it? Well I'm not entirely sure myself!
A microcosm of the whole country, Khartoum is a multicultural melting pot (albeit not always a tolerant one): the point of Sudan where the Arabic north meets the African south. Old Nubian men in pristine white jalabiyas, light skinned Arab women decorated with ornate henna, loud multicoloured African shirts, jet black faces and incredible tribal facial scarrings - there isn't really a 'typical' citizen of Khartoum. Different cultures, races and languages aren't the only things that meet here - the confluence of the White Nile and Blue Nile is probably the city's most famous attraction.
Like much of Sudan, the Nile is the very heart and soul of Khartoum, and Khartoum is two highly contrasting cities depending on the season. I arrived in the rainy season and the Nile was this immense mass of dull grey water that dominated all around it. It seemed to suit the dull grey city. After a few months without rain however, the mighty Nile subsided and uncovered all the islands in the middle which had been submerged in the summer floods. The fertile bright green islands seemed to bring the city to life and suddenly Khartoum was a far more enjoyable place to be.
There's a ten minute period at sunset when birds take to the skies, the river is calm and peaceful, and a kind of pinky-orange glow envelops the city - Khartoum briefly feels like one of the most attractive cities in the world. Then the sun sets and it's all back to normal!
Aside from the Nile, the Souk Arabi bus station is the centre of Khartoum - an overcrowded, chaotic area that people avoid whenever possible. If you rely on public transport that's not easy. Forget most of your romantic images of exotic souks - this is grey, dirty and full of concrete. But it's also full of action. Other areas of the city range from the wealthy suburbs of Amarat and Riyadh, to the quiet residential areas of Burri and Sahafa, and the slums and refugee settlements of Soba on the southern edge. These settlements sprawl for many miles out of the city. In the summer rains they are often virtually cut off as the mud roads turn to rivers and become impassable.
Most people's main criticism of Khartoum is its dullness. There are no real bars or nightclubs (Sharia law means alcohol is illegal) and few other forms of entertainment. It is also an incredibly safe city with a very low crime rate. But it is one of the friendliest capital cities in the world and the best (some would say only) thing to do in Khartoum is sit down over a bowl of fuul and a pot of tea and make some wonderful new friends.
- Pros:The blend of cultures, friendly people, and fresh fruit juice over a Nile sunset
- Cons:Unbearable heat and summer sandstorms; it's very interesting but not really exciting
- In a nutshell:The longer you stay the more you'll like it
Omdurman is most definitely a separate city, but it's so close (walking distance if you're feeling energetic!) that no... more travel advice
Maps of Khartoum are pretty hard to come by. There's a good aerial map on a wall in the Acropole Hotel that will give... more travel advice
- See All An unimaginably unpleasant way to go!
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mafi_moya's Related Pages
Khartoum Travel Guide
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