Sudan Favorite Tips by mafi_moya Top 5 Page for this destination
Sudan Favorites: 41 reviews and 37 photos
Sudan.net website logo
Favorite thing: If you're off to Sudan some time soon, or more likely just want to find out a bit more about the country, an excellent online resource is www.sudan.net.
As well as brief and a bit out of date political and statistical info, it contains excellent news archives of all major news stories on Sudan from news agencies and newspapers all around the world. As Sudan (present time obviously excepted) is rarely a major global news story this is a great way to find out all the latest goings-on. As it's online it also avoids the censorship that faces the Sudanese media, so even when I was living in Sudan I found it a good source of news. Now I'm not there anymore it's practically invaluable!
The other very interesting bit to read is the discussion forum, used by members of all ethnic Sudanese groups, both in Sudan and dispersed around the world. The word 'nutters' doesn't even begin to describe some of the people who post on here (as well as some normal ones of course!) and if you want to understand the extreme views of all sides then have a read and prepare to shake your head in disbelief at times!
Travel here can be difficult!
Favorite thing: Sudan is simultaneously a very difficult and very easy country for a tourist to travel in.
It's hard because there is very little tourist infrastructure - no helpful tourist information offices and there's no Lonely Planet guidebook to help you here. Journeys other than between the main cities mean crowded old buses and sharing truck space with goats and families of twenty. Roads are often little more than mud tracks and desert journeys include countless stops to dig wheels out of the sand. It can take hours to travel a few miles.
There are few comfy hotels and the local lokanda lodges can be pretty miserable places. There are few signposts to point you to hotels and sights of interest, and the buses don't even have numbers and destination signs in Arabic never mind English! Then there's the fact that some parts of the country still require special permits and endless delays while confused soldiers wonder what to do with the foreigner - let him through or send him all the way back to Khartoum?
But on the plus side, who needs a guidebook when the people here are so helpful! You'll soon get used to people not only telling you the directions to a place but going out of their way to take you there themselves. There aren't many countries where you'll have so many offers to buy you breakfast, pay your bus fare, sleep at the family house, marry the daughter (well ok not that one but you get the idea!)
Once you get used to it travel in Sudan is easy. And very liberating if you're used to relying on guidebook information. I quickly got into the habit of just turning up in a town not knowing anyone or anything about it, knowing full well that the locals would soon help me out. In fact I rarely arrived anywhere without making at least a few new friends and offers of accomodation and help before I even got off the bus.
Take the bed outside
Favorite thing: The weather in Sudan is ideal for sleeping outside. Most houses drag their beds into the yard, and I soon became addicted to waking up outdoors and falling asleep under the stars. The sky is jet black and beautiful and even in the cold of winter I used to sleep outside. I'd wake up freezing cold but I still preferred it to sleeping indoors.
After returning to Britain I felt really uncomfortable sleeping under a roof again. In Sri Lanka I've tried sleeping outside again, but the weather there is a bit more unpredictable and it's not so pleasant when you get woken up by a midnight thunderstorm!
Favorite thing: I told you living in Sudan was at times a bizarre experience. For example...
I was doing some work for a daily newspaper called the Khartoum Monitor. An English language paper, it was run and read mainly by southern Sudanese and gained a reputation as being an anti-government opposition paper. Now Sudan has all the usual 'third world' problems in abundance and media freedom is a pretty unknown concept, so most of the editors and some of the writers got used to spending nights in jail, going 'missing' for a week or so, hassled by the security police and so on. Nothing as extreme as electrodes to the genitals or anything like that but still enough that is legally classed as torture. Behind all this were the shadowy 'secret police' and they'd also regularly come to the offices and confiscate the next day's issue and impose large fines - generally making life as difficult as possible for everyone.
Most of the senior staff were Christians but there were also plenty of Muslims involved (both northern and southern) so Islamic festivals were celebrated on a par with Christian ones. It was over the festival of Eid-al-Adha that we were all sat around in the office preparing for the night's party when a boy delivered a parcel to the door. It was from the secret police...
Fondest memory: Highly confused and a little wary we passed the parcel between ourselves, one person half-joking that it was probably a bomb. Eventually we unwrapped it and... there was a box of expensive Belgian chocolates and a handwritten note (the type you might send to your girlfriend) wishing a happy holiday and the best of luck for the future! The chocolates had obviously been brought from abroad - ones that nice weren't available in Khartoum!
The same police service responsible for imprisoning, harrassing and torturing our staff were now sending us chocolates! I tried to search for an ulterior motive but there was none - it was simply a very Sudanese, totally unfathomable gesture. Of course, straight afterwards they got back to arresting people, locking them up and doing their best to put us out of business!
So how were the chocolates? Well after nervously wondering whether they were laced with arsenic we decided to take the risk, and they were delicious! So thankyou very much Mr Secret Policeman - now if you could just stop torturing people maybe we could get on better!
All Saints Cathedral
Favorite thing: Christmas in Northern Sudan is, as you'd imagine, quite an unusual experience. I had one xmas in Khartoum and had a fantastic time. It's a minor Muslim holiday too so everyone has the day off, but for most of the activity it's obviously best to focus on the city's Christian and foreign communities.
After a day with some Muslim friends, I spent Xmas Eve night at a party at the British Embassy bar - all very casual outside by the pool. Most expat residents go home for Xmas so it was a smaller crowd than usual there and extremely friendly. It's one of the few places in Sudan where alcohol and pork is legal so there was a huge hog roast party (not very politically correct I suppose, especially with the smell of suckling pig wafting over the city!, but absolutely delicious!) After drinking the bar dry we all made our way home about 4am, somehow avoiding all the checkpoints.
Early Christmas morning I went to All Saints Cathedral in Amarat to see the service. Services are given in English and repeated in Dinka and various Southern languages. The vast majority of people there were Southern Sudanese, dressed up in brightly coloured African dress - although it was a more formal and sombre service than I expected, none of the dancing and lively singing you associate with African churches. During Easter earlier in the year, a service at this cathedral was stormed by police - arrests were made and shots fired, but no-one was killed. Fortunately the Xmas service passed off without any problems.
After a quick Xmas Day dip round the corner at the German Club, I had two invites to dinner. First up was a traditional British style Xmas Dinner at a friend's house. Next I'd promised my Sudanese neighbour I'd invite her over to my house, so a few of us feasted again on Sudanese stew and roast potatoes, followed by proper Christmas pudding!
All in all, it was a fascinating couple of days that summed up all that was best about living in Khartoum amid all the different cultures.
More Reviews (47)
- See All Season of Migration to the North
- See All Insha'allah Airlines!
- See All Clicking your fingers, Oi You!
- See All A horizontal waterfall!
- See All Looks better on the animal...
- In this heat! Are you mad?
- See All Need a sugar fix? Go Turkish!
- See All Getting ill - health care
- See All Just turn up!
- See All Illegal substances! If you really need a...
- 99% of the country
- The world's only horizontal waterfall!
mafi_moya's Related Pages
Sudan Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "Salaam Sudan!"
- "Once Largest Country in Africa"
- "Welcome to Sudan"
- "Tamam - Sudan?"
- "Sudan, the country of contradictions"
- "Sudan the largest country in Africa"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Sudan
- Hotels in Sudan
- Transportation in Sudan
- Nightlife in Sudan
- Restaurants in Sudan
- Shopping in Sudan
- Warnings and Dangers in Sudan
- See All...
Explore the World
- Cocodrie Hotels
- White Haven Hotels
- Wojewodztwo Podlaskie Hotels
- Chatsworth Hotels
- Bad Salzig
Badges & Stats in Sudan
- 125 Reviews
- 189 Photos
- 10 Forum posts
- 8 Cities
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (15)
Have you been to Sudan?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Sudan
Top 10 Pages
- Top 5 Page for this destination Sudan Intro, 52 reviews, 74 photos, 4 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Sri Lanka Intro, 49 reviews, 51 photos, 1 travelogue
- Marrakesh Intro, 24 reviews, 54 photos, 4 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Colombo Intro, 38 reviews, 38 photos, 1 travelogue
- Beijing Intro, 25 reviews, 47 photos, 3 travelogues
- Morocco Intro, 21 reviews, 39 photos, 2 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Khartoum Intro, 28 reviews, 31 photos, 1 travelogue
- Jerusalem Intro, 11 reviews, 42 photos, 4 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Ramallah Intro, 14 reviews, 37 photos, 3 travelogues
- Vietnam Intro, 6 reviews, 39 photos, 4 travelogues
Top Sudan hotels
- Khartoum Hotels
- 352 Reviews - 749 Photos
- Yei Hotels
- 2 Reviews
- Wadi Halfa' Hotels
- 8 Reviews - 3 Photos
- Omdurman Hotels
- 48 Reviews - 145 Photos
- Nyala Hotels
- 3 Reviews - 10 Photos
- Meroe Hotels
- 45 Reviews - 159 Photos
- Marawi Hotels
- 4 Reviews - 23 Photos
- Juba Hotels
- 26 Reviews - 66 Photos
- Jabal al Awliya' Hotels
- 10 Reviews - 18 Photos
- Port Sudan Hotels
- 21 Reviews - 104 Photos
- Atbara Hotels
- 13 Reviews - 24 Photos
- Al Ubayyid Hotels
- 30 Reviews - 46 Photos
- Khartoum North Hotels
- 18 Reviews - 68 Photos
- Al Fashir Hotels
- 4 Reviews - 12 Photos
- Kassala Hotels
- 53 Reviews - 38 Photos