"Where Africa and Arabia meet at the Nile" Top 5 Page for this destination Khartoum by mafi_moya

Khartoum Travel Guide: 357 reviews and 772 photos

Khartoum

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 and Cons
  • 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
  • Last visit to Khartoum: May 2002
  • Intro Updated Sep 6, 2004
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Reviews (28)

Comments (14)

  • janiebaxter's Profile Photo
    Aug 31, 2009 at 2:56 PM

    Hi, Great Khartoum pages. Greetings from Manchester UK.

  • May 8, 2007 at 6:34 AM

    Hi Am a Sudan I am not going to comment but I need more information about the university because I have aplan to join but am in the remote village of Kurmuk county. So would please make every thing clear for me through my email address?

  • awladhassan's Profile Photo
    May 30, 2006 at 6:42 AM

    A lot of Information , well presented. The old town has changed much since we lived there by the sound of it.

  • Bangkokjoe's Profile Photo
    Apr 17, 2006 at 1:40 AM

    Khartoum, an interesting page here. Thanks, Ian

  • raffy's Profile Photo
    Feb 15, 2006 at 2:50 PM

    great pages about Sudan. Raffy

  • BluBluBlu's Profile Photo
    Aug 8, 2005 at 11:05 AM

    Great tips & terrific photo's...very enjoyable to read!

  • grets's Profile Photo
    Nov 11, 2004 at 3:26 AM

    I'm getting quite nervous now - just two days to go - but reading your pages here help me feel a little better. Thanks.

  • freya_heaven's Profile Photo
    Sep 30, 2004 at 1:34 PM

    Another fascinating read, a throughly enjoyable page. I would love to see the Whirling Dervishes, Omdurman sounds an interesting place. Excellent!

  • pepples46's Profile Photo
    Aug 21, 2004 at 2:00 AM

    these two crosses are amazing....I would love sitting by the Nile having a good meal, watching the River go by Khartoum is facinating, your presentation superb.

  • ElenaPerego's Profile Photo
    Aug 10, 2004 at 5:13 AM

    Good web page! It's a good help! But i need other help! I wrote you an e-mail! Please read it!

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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