{{ message }}

Admin Page Edit


Sudan (Arabic: ???????, As-Sudan) is a country in Northeast Africa and is Africa's third largest country in terms of area. Sudan was the continent's largest country up until the secession of South Sudan in 2011.

Since the 1980s, Sudan has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. The country has had a particularly turbulent history since independence from the United Kingdom, and has suffered from decades of conflict and warfare. Under less dire circumstances, however, travelling to Sudan offers one the opportunity to explore a large, diverse nation whose history is believed to go all the way back to 8000 BCE and meet some very hospitable, jovial people.



  • Khartoum — the national capital, which also consists of Omdurman and Khartoum North (Bahri)
  • 2 Abyei — simultaneously part of both Sudan and South Sudan until a referendum can be held in the area
  • 3 Al Ubayyid — capital of North Kurdufan state
  • 4 Gedaref — capital of Gedaref state
  • 5 Kassala
  • 6 Nyala — capital of Darfur
  • Port Sudan — Sudan's main Red Sea port
  • 8 Atbara — an important railway junction and railroad manufacturing centre

Other destinations

  • 1 Jebel Barkal — ancient Egyptian/Kush ruins with ruins of several temples, palaces, & a few pyramids. A UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • 2 Meroë — ancient Nubian royal city on the banks of the Nile, home to over 200 pyramids. A UNESCO World Heritage site.



The area around the banks of the River Nile was once known as Nubia, one of the world's earliest civilisations that was the main rival of its northern neighbour, Egypt. The city of Kerma is believed to have been the capital of the first centralised Nubian state. Nubia would be annexed by Egypt in the 16th century BCE under the rule of Pharaoh Thutmose I, with its southern limits extended all the way to the city of Napata, leading to the fusion of Egyptian culture with their own native culture by the Nubians.

With the weakening of Egyptian control, a de facto independent Nubian state would re-emerge in Napata, becoming the Kingdom of Kush. The Kingdom of Kush would grow in strength, eventually conquering Egypt in the 8th century BCE, thus establishing the 25th Dynasty, with its rulers popularly known as the "black pharoahs" due to the colour of their skin that stood in contrast to the lighter-skin Egyptians. The southern part of the kingdom was home to the city of Meroë, known for its Nubian pyramids, which while clearly influenced by the Egyptian ones, are also built in a distinctively Nubian architectural style, which later became the capital of the kingdom. During the height of Roman power, while Egypt was conquered by the Romans, the Kingdom of Kush managed to fend off the Romans under the leadership of the warrior queen Amanirenas, also known as the One-Eyed Queen due to having lost an eye during a battle with the Romans. Eventually, the Nubians proved so difficult to fight that the Romans agreed to a peace treaty, thus maintaining Nubia's independence.

Islam was introduced to the Sudan from Egypt in the 7th century by the Arabs, who called it bilal al-Sudan, meaning "land of the Blacks". In the 16th century, the Funj Sultanate ruled the northern quarter. After a brief period of Ottoman rule, Sudan became the scene of Mahdist uprisings resulting in British control. Sudan declared independence in 1956 as a modern republic and became the largest country in Africa.

Sudan was afflicted by civil wars for more than 40 years until South Sudan became independent in July 2011, following a referendum. When the colonial map-makers divided up Africa, they included in Sudan the predominantly Muslim people of the north (including Nubians and Arabs), who share much of their history and culture with Egyptians, and the largely Christian and Animist Bantu people of the south, who have more in common with the rest of sub-Saharan Africa than with their northern countryfolk. Minor conflicts still linger in the western region of Darfur, and hotspots do occur on the eastern front, next to the border with Eritrea. From 1989 to 2019, Sudan was under the authoritarian rule of Omar Hassan al-Bashir until a coup spurred by protests led to a new military government taking power.


Sudan is as geographically diverse as it is culturally; in the north, the Nile cuts through the eastern edge of the Sahara: the Nubian desert, the site of the Ancient Kingdoms of Cush and Meroe, and the land of the Seti. Here, some modest farming and husbandry supplements the staple crop of date palms. The East and West are mountainous regions, and much of the rest of the country comprises savannahs typical of much of central sub-Saharan Africa. The vast majority of its population are Sunni Muslims and proselytization of non-Sunni beliefs is not allowed.

Along the border of Egypt with Sudan there is the strange stateless limbo of Bir Tawil, which is not claimed by either state and thus legally the only piece of dry land outside Antarctica not belonging to or claimed by any state. This is politically connected to the conflict of the Hala'ib Triangle by the coast, controlled by Egypt.


Sudan has nearly 600 ethnic groups. Sudanese Arabs are the largest ethnic group and other ethnic groups include Nubians, Copts and Beja.

Get in


Sudanese travel visas are expensive and difficult to acquire for some nationalities in some countries or for people with an Israeli stamp in their passport. It is advisable to obtain a Sudanese visa in your home country if possible.

From Egypt: Cairo and Aswan are the easiest places to get one (usually a couple of hours after application), it costs US$150 (as of November 2022), payment is now possible in Egyptian pounds. A letter of invitation/introduction from your embassy is no longer needed.

As of July 2022, a UK passport takes four days processing once handed in at the Cairo office, US$150 paid in absolutely pristine banknotes plus two small passport photos and the paper form filled in, as given there. The tourist visa is for two calendar months from date of issue; it is all written in Arabic. Your declared first hotel name is scrawled against the sponsor on the visa sticker, but a specific hotel booking doesn't seem needed despite indications for this elsewhere. It's a somewhat confused process where showing lots of deferrence and patience is required. They say a COVID-19 negative test taken within three days is needed at the border but no vaccine or quarantine, nor restrictions on entry or exit points. The embassy for visas in Cairo is near Dokki metro station, turning left onto Dokki street, following the flyover and then taking the last right hand side turning to the end, past the small hospital.

From Ethiopia - getting a visa from the Sudanese Embassy in Addis Ababa is extremely unpredictable, although it is cheaper (around US$60). Your name is first sent to Khartoum merely for approval. An official has stated, "It could take two weeks, it could take two months." Once your name has been approved, the visa itself only takes a couple of days. Britons and Americans are generally given more of a run around, but no nationality is guaranteed swift receipt of a visa. Expect to wait a minimum of two weeks for approval. If your trip continues from Sudan to Egypt and you already have your Egyptian visa you may be given a one-week transit visa for Sudan in only a day, which can be extended in Khartoum (at a hefty cost, though). The British Embassy in Addis Ababa charges a steep 740 birr (over GBP40) for their letter of invitation/introduction.

From Kenya - visa applications are submitted between 10:00 and 12:00 and visa collected next day 15:00-15:50. Price is 5,000 Kenyan shillings (Ksh) (US$50). Letter of support for application can be obtained from own embassy (e.g. British Embassy, charges Ksh8,200, turnaround time depends on availability of the Consul who needs to sign the letter). Sudanese Embassy is located in Kabarnet Road, off Ngong Road (10 minutes walk from Wildebeest Campsite accommodation in Kibera Road, and near Prestige Shopping Plaza). Google, Visa HQ, etc., show the old address (Minet ICDC building), which is not correct. Generally the experience at the Nairobi Sudanese Embassy is less confusing than in Egypt (with its jostling queues at three anonymous but different windows).

Possibly out of date information: From Kenya - as in Addis Ababa, the Sudanese Embassy in Nairobi sends your name to Khartoum for approval. The time it takes is similarly ambiguous, although the embassy is far more professional and efficiently-run than Addis Ababa's.

Hours-long waits for customs clearance are not unheard of, and landing in Khartoum can be tricky. Entering or exiting by land usually goes smoothly. Alcohol is forbidden in Sudan, and attempting to import it could bring strict penalties.

Permits and other legal requirements

  • Registration is obligatory within 3 days of arrival. It can be done at any of the entry ports, including Wadi Halfa, KhartoumPort Sudan and Sawakin. Do not be tempted to skip registration, as it is very likely to cause problems when you leave the country - you might not be allowed to board your flight! Although anecdotal evidence suggests registration can be done when departing from the Khartoum airport.
Hotels used to complete the registration on your behalf, but it not clear that they still do so. Registration in Wadi Halfa shouldn't take more than an hour. Here, you may be approached (particularly if you're in a group) by an English-speaking man who will offer to take your passports and do everything while you wait outside. This is easier than doing it yourself (it is a ping-pong procedure between offices, counters, desks, etc.) but you'll find the fee he's added to each person's registration cost is USD2-3. It's not really that difficult.
  • There is a departure tax at the land borders. In case departing by air, departure tax is already included in the airline ticket price. The travel permit and the photo permit are no longer required.

By plane

Khartoum Airport (KRT IATA) is the main gateway into Sudan by air. There are also some international flights which use Port Sudan airport.

Khartoum Airport is served by various Middle Eastern and African airlines. Among the cities with direct air links with Khartoum are Abu Dhabi (Etihad), Addis Ababa (Ethiopian Airlines), Amman (Royal Jordanian), Bahrain (Gulf Air), Cairo (EgyptAir, Sudan Airways), Damascus (Syrian Airlines), Doha (Qatar Airways), Dubai Airport (Emirates), Istanbul (Turkish Airlines), Nairobi (Kenya Airways), Sharjah (Air Arabia low cost airline)

Port Sudan airport handles flights to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Cairo. These flights usually begin/end at Khartoum.

On April 15, 2023, Khartoum Airport was seized by rebel forces and is closed due to ongoing fighting.

By train

There are train routes between Sudan and South Sudan from the city of Babanusa in Sudan to Wau in South Sudan.

By land

One way to get in from Ethiopia is via the border village of Gallabat. The road crossing from Egypt periodically closes, depending on diplomatic and trading relations between the two countries. Check for information before trying this route.

By bus

When open, there are buses from Aswan, Egypt; be prepared for a long 5-6 hours delays at the border.

There is no updated information about public transportation between Sudan and newly-independent South Sudan.

By boat

The most reliable way to enter Sudan from Egypt is via the weekly ferry from Aswan in Egypt to Wadi Halfa. It runs on Mondays to Sudan and back on Wednesdays, and costs US$33 per person. The boat is old and crowded with people and goods (the best place to sleep is on deck amongst the cargo) but it takes in some magnificent views (including that of Abu Simbel). Food and drink are available on board. There are frequent ferries from Saudi Arabia. If travelling from the south, ferry tickets can be purchased at Khartoum's main train terminal in North Khartoum.

Get around

By plane

Apart from Khartoum, there are small airports in Wadi Halfa, El Debba, Dongola, Port Sudan, El Fasher, Wad Madani, Merowe and El Obeid, all served by Sudan Airways. Most flights operate from Khartoum. Be prepared for changing timetables and cancelled flights.

By train

Although Sudan has one of the largest rail networks in Africa much of it is in a state of disrepair. There is reason for optimism about train travel in Sudan again. The Nile Express, with new trains brought in from China, now whisks passengers between Khartoum and Atbara on renovated tracks. More tracks are being renovated but for now other services are limited to local trains around the capital Khartoum, a weekly service from Wadi Halfa, timed with the ferry to/from Egypt, and a very sporadic service with Nyala. Sole operator of trains in Sudan is the Sudan Railways Corporation.

By car

Driving in Sudan is chaotic but not especially dangerous by African standards. Visitors to the area who are inexperienced at international driving are advised to hire a taxi or a driver. In most of the country, a 4WD is essential; Sudan's main highway is sealed for much of the way but most of the roads in the country are dirt or sand tracks. Crossing in to Sudan from Egypt via the ferry from Aswan to Wadi Halfa now has the benefit of the Chinese financed tarmac highway covering the 400 km south to Dongola, and then right through to Khartoum, another 500 km. This road is quick for overlanders as there are few military roadblocks, and very little other traffic.

By bus

While buses do run frequently in the better travelled areas, in remoter areas people tend to use trucks or "boxes" (Toyota Hiluxes) - they're usually just as crowded as the buses but have fewer people sitting on top and get stuck in the sand less often. They tend to go whenever they fill up, which can take half a day or so. If you have money to spare, you can hire a whole one to yourself

By bicycle

It is legal to cycle around Sudan, although it might be advisable to forget to mention your mode of transport when getting your permit to travel. "Cycling" will often consist of pushing the bike through sand or rattling along corrugations but the scenery and the warmth of the Sudanese people may compensate for the physical and bureaucratic hassles. Check carefully the availability of clean, drinkable water. Theft is not a problem; it is generally safe to leave bicycles unattended in villages and towns. Flies, puncture-generous thorn trees and, in the far north, lack of shade, can be real annoyances.


See also: Arabic phrasebook

The official languages of Sudan are Arabic and English.

For most Sudanese people, Arabic is their first language, and English is normally their second language.

The local vernacular is Sudanese Arabic, which is somewhat similar to the Arabic spoken in Saudi Arabia.

If you don't know the local dialect, do not despair; all Sudanese people learn Modern Standard Arabic at school, so you should have no problems communicating in major cities. Bear in mind that illiteracy is still a major problem in Sudan.

Prior to a constitutional change in 2005, Arabic was the sole official language of the country.


In Khartoum/Omdurman you must see the Sufi ritual of drumming and trance dancing, about one hour before sunset and Friday prayer. These rituals take place northwest of the Nile river in Omdurman. Very welcoming, festive atmosphere.

A walk around Tuti Island, situated in the middle of the confluence of the two branches of the Nile, can take about four hours. The less populated northern section is pretty, with its shady lanes, and irrigated fields, and there is a great little coffee stall under a tree on the western side.

The pyramids of Meroe are 2.5 hours north of Khartoum (leave early to avoid Khartoum traffic). On the same route visit the sites of Naqa and Musawarat. Permits are required before visiting the sites. You pay at each site (which may depend on how well your driver gets along with the guards). Naqa and Musawarat are signposted beside the Nile Petrol station (about 1 hour 15 minutes north of Khartoum) and the track is fairly clear but sandy. It is probably good to carry a GPS to avoid getting lost in the bush.

After 16:00 take a good coffee at the Burj Al-Fatih - also known as Corinthia hotel -, with high altitude view over Khartoum, the Nile, and Omdurman, and stay to watch the sunset. Worthwhile.

About 1½ hours south of Khartoum visit the dam. Just north of the dam (downstream) the Nile is also very wide; on Friday/Saturday the area is popular is day visitors.

There is good diving near Port Sudan, either on live-aboards or from the new Red Sea Resort (north of Port Sudan). Beware the windy season (Nov to Feb) unless you're not prone to seasickness (2½-hour dingy ride from the coast in rough seas can be testing!)




The currency of the country is the Sudanese pound (Arabic: ???? jeneh, ISO currency code: SDG). The pound is divided into 100 piastres (coins). The "G" in the currency code stands for "guinea".

The pound was introduced in 2007, to replace the Sudanese dinar (Arabic: ????? dinar, SDD). The new pound is worth 100 old dinars.

Coins in Sudan come in denominations of 1-, 5-, 10-, 20 and 50 piastres and 1 Sudanese pound. Banknotes in Sudan come in denominations of 1-, 2-, 5-, 10-, 20-, 50-, 100-, 200-, 500 and 1,000 Sudanese pounds.

Things are not so simple when it comes to price quoting. Instead of new pounds (which are hardly used for quoting) and dinars (more commonly used, especially when quoting in English), most people still talk in terms of the old pound, although there are no more old pound notes in circulation. One dinar is worth 10 old pounds. Hence, when a person asks for 10,000 pounds, they actually want 1,000 dinars from you. And just to add to the confusion further, people usually do away with the thousands when quoting in pounds. So, your taxi driver may ask you for 10 pounds, which actually means 10,000 old pounds, which is equivalent to 1,000 dinars, which should be referred to once again as just 10 pounds! To clear any confusion, you could try saying "new pound" or ???? ?????? jeneh al-jedid.

Easy summary: 1 new pound = 100 dinars = 1000 old pounds (long out of use)

Foreign cash into Sudan, preferably United States dollars (often accepted in hotels), Bank of England pounds and, to a lesser extent, euros are also fairly easy to exchange at banks in big cities. Travellers cheques are not accepted in Sudan.

There are many banks in Khartoum and throughout Sudan but not all of them have foreign exchange facilities. There are several money changers in Khartoum, especially in Afra Mall. There are also several Western Union agents in Khartoum which will do payouts for money transferred from overseas.

The currency is not fully convertible, and there is a black market with rates a little higher than the official rates: black market dealers quoted the U.S dollar at SGP540 in March 2022. The Sudanese pound is a closed currency, so be sure to change it back before you leave the country.

The currency is unstable, and the annual inflation rate was reported in Apr 2022 to be 260%.


  • United Capital Bank (Corinthia Hotel) has an international Visa card ATM.
  • Bank of Khartoum Visa card
  • Qatar National Bank Visa card


Sudanese cuisine

Sudanese cuisine has various influences, but none of them dominates the regional culinary cultures. Among the influences are from Egyptian, Ethiopian, Yemeni and Turkish cuisines (meatballs, pastries and spices), but there are also numerous dishes that are common to all Arabian nations.

  • Foul, made from fava beans, is a common dish. It is eaten daily in breakfast by many Sudanese and can be considered the national dish.
  • Local Sudanese breads are Kissra, a bread made from durra or corn; and Gurassa, a thick bread from wheat flour similar to pancake, but thicker. Sudanese also class Aseeda, a porridge made from wheat, millet or corn, as a bread.
  • One local Northern Sudanese dish is Gurassa Bil Damaa, which is a bread of unleavened wheat similar to a pancake but thicker, topped up with meat stew or chicken.
  • Some Eastern Sudanese dishes are Mukhbaza, which is made of shredded wheat bread mixed with mashed bananas and honey; Selaat, which is lamb cooked over heated stones; and Gurar, which is a kind of local sausage cooked in a similar way to Selaat.
  • One of the popular dishes from western Sudan is Agashe, meat seasoned with ground peanuts and spices (mainly hot chilli), and cooked on a grill or an open flame.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables are very common.

Restaurants and food shopping

There are many modern restaurants/cafes such as Mexican, Korean, Italian, Turkish, Pakistani, Indian and Chinese in Khartoum and in Kharto North.

One of the main attractions is Sug al Naga (the camel market) north of Omdurman, where you can select your meat of choice and then hand it over to one of the ladies to cook it for you in the way which you prefer.


Islam is the official religion of the country, and alcohol has been banned since sharia was imposed in the 1980s. Sudanese people frequently drink tea, usually sweet and black. Sudan also has some refreshing drinks such as karkade (hibiscus) which can be served hot or chilled, aradeeb (tamarind) and gongleiz (made with the baobab fruit). The local energy drink is a carbohydrate-laden drink known as madeeda. There are several types of madeeda, made with dates, dukhun (millet) or other ingredients blended with fresh milk, and usually heavily sweetened with sugar, though reduced-sugar versions may be available if you ask. Sudanese coffee is available in most souks and is similar to Turkish style coffee; thick and strong, sometimes flavoured with cardamom or ginger with a powerful kick and altogether delicious. Not to be taken before bed though if you want an undisturbed night's sleep!

However, while alcohol is strictly illegal in the Muslim north, locally-brewed alcohol is widely available in various forms and at various degrees of potency. A local beer (merissa) brewed from sorghum or millet is cloudy, sour and heavy and likely to be brewed with untreated water and will almost certainly lead to the 'Mahdi's revenge' (the Sudanese version of 'Delhi belly'). Aragi is a pure spirit distilled from sorghum or in its purest form, dates. It is potent and should be treated with respect, and beware that it is sometimes contaminated with the likes of methanol or embalming fluid to add flavour and potency! Be aware though that all these brews are not only potentially hazardous for your health but illegal, and being caught in possession can result in the full implementation of Islamic law punishments.

The general advice is not to drink tap water; in most rural areas, you will not be able to, as there are no taps. Where there are no bore holes (which often yield water that is fine to drink), water is often taken directly from the Nile.


Larger towns and cities

Most larger towns and cities have affordable hotels, although not as cheap as you might imagine. Quality is generally consistent within the price range.

Basic hotels provide a bed and a fan with shared bathroom/toilet facilities. There may be more than one bed in the room but you are usually expected to pay for the whole room. The bigger the group of travellers, the more economical these rooms are, as more beds are often put in a room (within reason) to accommodate everybody without the price being changed. Some hotels have cheaper beds outside in the open as in smaller towns and cities. These hotels are not very clean but are cheap and perfectly acceptable for short stays.

Lower mid-range hotels - more likely to be found in Khartoum - offer the worst value for money. They may have en suite bathrooms, (mostly evaporative) air conditioning and satellite television, but for what you're paying (two or three times that of basic hotels depending on your bargaining skills) the rooms are extremely tatty and hotel owners will almost always subscribe to the philosophy of: 'Only fix something if the guest complains'. There will sometimes be rooms minus the bathroom/air conditioning/television for prices a little above those in basic hotels.

Upper mid-range hotels are the next step up, with spotless rooms of a far higher quality but prices (usually quoted in dollars) closer to what you'd expect in the West. You'll have little to find fault with, though.

Top-end hotels are commonly of the five star variety, and include the Hilton. The few are found mostly in Khartoum. They are much more expensive than the upper mid-range hotels.

Outside larger towns and cities

Outside larger towns and cities hotels don't normally go above basic. That means bedframes with either simply a string mesh or with thin mattresses; that is not to say they are uncomfortable. They are offered (generally in fours or fives) in rooms where there is often a ceiling fan to keep things cool. The beds are usually cheaper - and more fun to sleep in - out in the courtyard under the stars, although there is obviously less privacy and security. As with the basic hotels in larger towns and cities, it is more often than not impossible to rent one bed in a room as you might in a dormitory. Hotel owners insist that you rent the whole room. Rooms become unavailable quickly at certain times (weekends, for example). Showers may be bucket showers, with water straight out of the Nile if your route follows that river.

Camping in the wild is easy in rural areas outside the south as long as the usual precautions are taken.

Stay safe

Safety in Sudan has many dimensions. On one hand, theft is almost unheard of, you'll never be robbed in the street and people will go to great length to ensure your well-being. On the other hand, Sudan has a long history of conflict, the government is not particularly open or accountable, and under the surface corruption is rife.

Sudan is an Islamic country and consumption of alcohol is illegal. Extra-marital relations, including having guest in a hotel room, is illegal, with severe penalties.

Armed conflict

Sudan was at 40-year civil war between the Khartoum based central government and non-Muslim separatist groups from the South, at the time when South Sudan was still part of Sudan. Relations between the two countries after the independence of South Sudan remain fluid and somewhat tense or complicated

The well-publicized conflict in Darfur is still taking place, making travelling to the western parts of Sudan totally inadvisable.


Sudan is one of four countries worldwide that do not comply with international flight safety protocol. The fleet of the state-owned Sudan Airways is mainly composed of 1950s-era Soviet aircraft. Some planes have no navigation, lighting, or are missing critical pieces of landing gear. Sudan is a very dangerous country for internal air travel.

Entering Sudan via personal car is also challenging. Sudan has a highly militarized border with its neighbor Egypt and Westerners run into problems at the border if they wish to cross.

Bus travel is also not without its issues. Some buses are better than others - some are excellent, with icy-cold AC and complementary drinks, others may be less salubrious, e.g. sitting in a hot bus (did we mention no A/C?) with jabbering Egyptian tourists for nearly an entire day.

Personal safety

There is almost no likelihood of being physically attacked (mugged) for your possessions, but keep an eye on your things in public places, e.g. street cafes. Sometimes thieves operate in pairs: one distracts you while the other makes off with your stuff. There have been cases of pickpocketing in Sudan as well

Women travelers

While solo women will raise a few eyebrows, travel may be relatively safe (in areas unaffected by civil war) if they dress and act appropriately for an Islamic country. Traditionally, women in Sudan wear loose flowing robes due to restrictive laws against wearing trousers and short or tight skirts; thousands of women are arrested and flogged for indecency every year, and laws can be applied arbitrarily.

In general, it is best for women to travel in groups, and even better, with men.

Police and army

You will see armed policemen and military personnel everywhere but you will not have any problems with them unless you have infringed some rule, e.g., taking photographs or filming in prohibited areas. Sudanese police are sometimes known to target travelers for bribes .


Sudan has very strict rules about taking pictures. As this is a Muslim-majority country, people place a huge emphasis on personal privacy.

To take pictures in Sudan, you must have a permit from the government.

Photographing or filming military personnel or installations is a quick way to get into trouble.

LGBT travellers

Sudan is not a safe destination for gay and lesbian travellers; in the 2019 Arab Barometer Survey, only 17% of Sudanese people said that homosexuality was socially acceptable.

Open display of LGBT behaviour may result in open contempt and/or violence.

Stay healthy

Sudan is a malarial region, so be especially cautious during the rainy season. Poisonous snakes, spiders and scorpions are common in the southern areas.

Be cautious when drinking water. Make sure you choose bottled water, or use purifying tablets. Also, avoid any fruit drinks, as they are obviously made with the local water. And remember, that any ice cubes (for example, in sodas) are only frozen local water.

On long trips (particularly during the hot season) on public transport it is often impossible - or would be expensive - to carry the amount of bottled water you need, and it may be scarce at certain remote stops. Therefore, keep plenty of your chosen means of purification close at hand (not in your luggage strapped to the roof!). Sanitation in some areas is nonexistent, so wash your hands frequently.

Food from streetside vendors is generally fine if it is being prepared and served frequently. Empty restaurants and street cafes often indicate that food is standing uncovered and unrefrigerated for hours at a time.

Sudanese currency is notoriously dirty, and even the Sudanese handle small bills as little as possible. A hint would be to carry antibacterial wipes or gel in your luggage to treat your hands after handling filthy currency notes or shaking too many unwashed hands.

Sudan reported Ebola outbreaks in 2004 and it is not advised to take local hospital treatments unless there is a real urgency. If you have malaria-like symptoms, seek medical assistance when possible, medical treatment is also available in many private clinics with high standards and reasonable prices. Here are some of these private clinics: (Doctors clinic, Africa St, Fidail medical center, Hospital road Downtown, Yastabshiron medical center, Riyadh area, Modern medical center, Africa St, International Hospital, Khartoum north-Alazhary St)

Schistosomiasis/Bilharzia - Avoid bathing or walking through slow-flowing fresh waterways. If you have been in contact with such water or develop an itchy rash or fevers after your return, seek medical attention. Doctors in the West may only think to test you for malaria - you may need to see a tropical medicine specialist.


In general, the Sudanese are hospitable, sociable people. They consider it shameful to give someone a poor welcome, so you can expect to be treated with immense respect as a tourist.

Basic etiquette

Always use your right hand when shaking hands, bringing something to someone, and so on. The left hand is considered unclean in Sudan. It would be considered impolite to use your left hand to offer something to someone.

The Sudanese are not known for being punctual, which can be very surprising to visitors from countries where punctuality is highly valued. Lateness does not imply rudeness or a lack of interest; people have a casual approach to time.

It's common for the Sudanese to turn up to a place unannounced. When this happens, stop what you are doing and attend to your guests.

The Sudanese take relationships very seriously and they view them as long-term commitments. The following tips will come in handy:

  • If you've been invited to a Sudanese home, you will often be showered with tea, coffee, and snacks. Refusing any of these would seriously offend the Sudanese and it could get them to think that you do not appreciate them or their hospitality.
  • Social visiting and hosting have a lot of importance in Sudanese society. Not visiting someone for a long time and/or not talking to someone for a long time could get someone to think that you do not value the relationship you have with them.
  • Sincerity and genuineness are highly valued in Sudan. Don't say something if you don't mean it. Don't say "next time" if there isn't going to be a "next time".
  • Generosity is highly valued in Sudan. Offering someone a ride, helping them out with something, and the like will be greatly appreciated by the locals.
  • Always return favours. If a Sudanese person asks you for your help, you are expected to follow through with it.

Religious sensitivities

See also: Islam#Respect

Sudan is a Muslim-majority country. From 1973 to 2021, Sudan was governed by a form of Sharia law. The new government has been making an attempt to liberalise Sudanese society by separating religion and the state.

During Ramadan, you should refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and chewing in public. Not doing so would be seen as tactless and extremely disrespectful.

Do not under any circumstances show images, statues, or figures of the prophet Muhammad. In 2007, a British schoolteacher was arrested for allowing her class to name a teddy bear "Muhammad" and approximately 10,000 protestors took to the streets in Khartoum and demanded her execution. Although the schoolteacher returned safely to her home country, other related controversies have led to violence.

Dogs are considered to be unclean in Sudan.

Local customs

To show the bottom of your foot is an insulting gesture, as is the touching of the thumb to the index finger while extending the rest of the fingers (the North American sign for "O-kay"). Although Sudan is a moderate Muslim culture, foreigners are still discouraged from speaking directly to local women unless spoken to, and even then it would be polite to ask permission from the man accompanying her before responding. Try to avoid physical contact with women if possible.


During conversation, avoid asking direct questions about people's political opinions unless you know the person quite well and sense that they would be comfortable; repercussions could be serious for them. Tact is a necessity in a country that has suffered the trauma of more than 40 years of civil war, and refugees from affected areas are spread around the country, especially Khartoum.


Internet and telephone services remain unreliable and may be blocked or suspended at short notice (Apr 2022).


Sudan's international direct dialling code is 249. Its international direct dialling access code is 00 although mobile phone users in Sudan will be able to dial overseas numbers by putting "+" in front of the country code.

Prepaid mobile phone packages are easily available in Sudan. The two telecommunications companies in Sudan are ZAIN (Tel: +249 91 230000) and MTN (Tel: +249 92-1111111). Zain has a cheaper prepaid package than Mtn. The customer service line for MTN, should you need to call them for any problems, can be difficult to get through.

Coverage maps

  • Mobitel (zain SD) [1]
  • MTN Sudan [2]
  • Sudani [3]


The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.

States and regions along the border with South Sudan

There is increased military activity in the states along the shared border with South Sudan. Direct military confrontations in March-April 2012 have greatly increased the security risks. Fighting in the border regions has severely affected 480,000 people, according to UN estimates. You are advised to leave these areas immediately.

Sudan has declared a state of emergency in the states bordering South Sudan and has suspended all flights to and from South Sudan.

Abyei region, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states

You should leave if you are in the Abyei administrative region, South Kordofan State or Blue Nile state State. Both Sudan and South Sudan claim these regions. Fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and rebel groups has escalated significantly since the independence of South Sudan in July 2011. There is a heightened risk of attacks in the region. Armed groups have carried out attacks on foreign workers, including oil field workers. Militias and disenfranchised groups have stated on several occasions that they regard oil installations as legitimate targets, and have conducted recent attacks on oil infrastructure. Be aware of security threats if you are in the oil development region despite this advisory.

Travel to the region bordering Eritrea, including Kassala, should also be avoided as cross-border militant activity is creating a volatile situation. Foreigners working for aid organizations in this area have in the past been the target of attacks.


The conflict in Darfur has created a dangerous situation in western Sudan, particularly outside the major towns. It also affects other areas of Sudan and eastern Chad. Despite the signing of a preliminary peace agreement, the security situation in Darfur remains extremely volatile. The region has seen sporadic fighting between the government and the rebels, and carjacking and kidnapping remain a genuine threat to foreigners. Curfews are sometimes put in effect by the government. Recent violence has resulted in deaths, displacement of people, and general instability and insecurity. On July 13, 2013, unidentified armed assailants attacked members of the African Union-UN peacekeeping mission near the town of Khor Abeche, killing seven and injuring 17 others. Further clashes and regional violence cannot be ruled out.

If you are in Darfur, you should leave, and avoid this region until further notice.

Khartoum and Omdurman

Westerners face the risk of being kidnapped in Khartoum. Maintain a heightened level of vigilance in Khartoum and consider regularly modifying your patterns of travel.

A number of large anti-government and anti-Western demonstrations have taken place in Khartoum and other major cities over the past few years. Contact the Embassy of Canada in Khartoum for updates on safety or security risks. There is a credible threat of armed rebellion aimed at toppling the regime. Although Canadians may not specifically be targeted, there is the potential for Canadians to be caught up in violence, especially with the increase in inflation, food and fuel prices and unemployment following loss of oil revenue after the secession of South Sudan.


In September 2013, the lifting of fuel subsidies triggered demonstrations across Sudan, including in Khartoum. Clashes between protesters and security forces have led to casualties. Avoid all demonstrations, monitor local news and follow the advice of local authorities.

Increased threat of attacks and kidnappings

In 2013, the French military assisted the Malian government in efforts to repel armed rebels. Terrorist groups in the region declared their intention to increase attacks and kidnappings targeting Westerners. While the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali has been supporting the transitional authorities in stabilizing the region since July 2013, citizens of countries supporting the intervention are still at particular risk, but all travellers should exercise increased vigilance in the region.


While the incidence of crime in Khartoum is low, incidents of petty crime are increasing.

Banditry is increasing throughout western Sudan, especially in the Darfur region (particularly the Chad-Sudan border region), where several incidents have resulted in deaths.

General safety information

For national security reasons, individuals from diplomatic missions or international organizations could be subject to random searches of personal effects by Sudanese authorities.

Tourist facilities are limited. The locations frequented by tourists are the archaeological sites of Meroe and Jebel Barkal, and dive sites on the Red Sea. Note that there are no medical facilities to treat diving-related injuries in Port Sudan. You need to obtain authorization from the Department of Antiquities prior to travel outside Khartoum if you are interested in visiting archaeological sites. Consult the Entry/Exit Requirements tab for more information.

Road travel

Road conditions are poor. Many roads outside the capital are sand tracks. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is required for overland travel except on the Khartoum-Kassala-Port Sudan, Khartoum-Atbara, and Khartoum-El Obeid highways. Only experienced and fully equipped travellers should undertake desert travel; basic equipment should include a shovel, metal ramps for heavy sand, a global positioning system (GPS), spare fuel and water supplies. Roadblocks are common. Have your identity and vehicle documents readily available. Unpredictable local driving habits, pedestrians and roaming animals pose serious risks.

Public transportation

Public transportation is limited outside of major urban areas.
Taxis are available in urban centres but are generally old and uncomfortable. Khartoum now has a metered taxi service though it is important to note that English is not widely spoken by the drivers and this may cause a problem for foreign passengers.

A weekly train service operates between Wadi Halfa and Khartoum. Trains are dilapidated, but service is punctual. Only top-of-the-line buses should be used; most other buses are irregularly scheduled, poorly maintained and very badly driven. Fatal accidents involving buses are routine.

The only regular surface access from Egypt is by ferry from Aswan (Egypt) to Wadi Halfa (Sudan). There are ferries to and from the Red Sea port of Suakin.

Consult our Transportation FAQ in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

If travelling by air, you should arrive at Khartoum’s international airport at least two hours before departure. Departure formalities are complicated and passengers must pass through three security check points in the airport.

Border crossings

The land borders with many surrounding countries are closed. Border closures may occur without notice. Check with local authorities for up-to-date information. Attempting to cross land borders is dangerous and not recommended.

Commercial overland expeditions occasionally cross Sudan’s land borders with Libya, the Central African Republic and Chad, but these routes are dangerous. There are landmines in many areas outside the main cities, including border areas.


Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters, and in some cases, further out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.


Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.


Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.


Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.


This country is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area where there are many cases of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease (meningitis) is a serious and sometimes fatal infection of the tissue around the brain and the spinal cord. Travellers who may be at high risk should consider getting vaccinated. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers), those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings, or those travelling for a longer period of time.


There is a risk of polio in this country. Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up-to-date.


Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).


Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
  • There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
  • Vaccination may be recommended depending on your itinerary.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites.

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in Central Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Central Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!


Schistosomiasis is caused by blood flukes (tiny worms) spread to humans through contaminated water. The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in contaminated water. There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.


Insects and Illness

In some areas in Central Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis, Rift Valley feverWest Nile virus and yellow fever.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

African trypanosomiasis

African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a tsetse fly. Tsetse fly bites are painful and if the disease is left untreated it is eventually fatal. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from bites especially in game parks and rural areas during the day. Avoid wearing bright or dark-coloured clothing as these colours attract tsetse flies. There is no vaccine available for this disease.

Dengue fever
  • Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.  
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.
Leishmaniasis, viceral

Visceral leishmaniasis (or kala azar) affects the bone marrow and internal organs. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly. It can also be transmitted by blood transfusion or sharing contaminated needles. If left untreated it can cause death. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine available for leishmaniasis.


Onchocerciasis (river blindness) is an eye and skin disease caused by a parasite spread through the bite of an infected female blackfly.  Onchocerciasis often leads to blindness if left untreated. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from blackfly bites, which are most common during the daytime and close to running water. There is no vaccine available for onchocerciasis although drug treatments exist.



  • There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
  • See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.


Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in Central Africa, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.

Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.


Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.

Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical facilities are well below western standards. It is not advisable to have surgery. Emergency medical evacuation can also be difficult; air ambulances are usually not available on short notice. Ensure that your health plan coverage includes Sudan; many policies do not. It is advisable to obtain separate travel insurance when travelling in Sudan.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Laws and illegal activities

Public displays of affection between members of the opposite sex are frowned upon. Overtly homosexual behaviour will render an individual liable to immediate arrest and imprisonment.

Religious proselytization is frowned upon and often leads to arrest for long periods of time and deportation.

Islamic Sharia Law is applied in the states of Northern Sudan and in Khartoum. It is prohibited to import or consume alcohol (even in private) in these areas and to import magazines or books of a sexually explicit nature. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Bags are routinely searched upon arrival and departure at the Khartoum airport.

A photography permit is required for all forms of photography. Even with a permit, it is strictly prohibited to photograph airports, military areas, bridges, drainage stations, broadcast stations, public utilities, slum areas or beggars. Any photography without a permit immediately draws suspicion of espionage. If you travel with your laptop, ensure that you remove any photo files that could be deemed by the authorities as suspicious or controversial.

It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving.

An International Driving Permit is recommended.

The work week is from Saturday to Thursday, however government offices are closed on Saturdays. Working hours are typically 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.


By Western standards, Sudan is a traditional, conservative society. Islamic practices and beliefs are closely adhered to in the country’s customs, laws and regulations. Women should dress conservatively. They should not wear short skirts, shirts with low necklines and should avoid displaying bare arms. Neither men nor women should wear shorts in public, and all should be extremely discreet when swimming in public.


The currency is the Sudanese pound (SDG). The SDG is non-convertible outside the country and its export is prohibited. You should carry sufficient funds in U.S. dollars, euros or pounds sterling to cover your expenses for the duration of your stay. You may have to pay for international flights booked in Sudan in U.S. dollars, euros or pounds sterling cash. Transferring U.S. or Canadian dollars to Sudan is difficult because of international sanctions. U.S. currency dated prior to 2006 is not accepted by most currency exchange units.

Credit cards are not accepted in Sudan. Hotel bills must be paid in cash. Traveller’s cheques are not accepted. There are automated banking machines (ABMs), but they only service local accounts. ABMs cannot be used to access Canadian bank accounts or credit card cash advances.


Disasters & Climate

Sandstorms occur, particularly from July to October. Expect difficulties travelling overland. Local services and the availability of water and basic food may be affected. Take preventive measures and exercise extreme caution.

Rainy season

The rainy season in Sudan lasts three months, from July to September. Some roads may become impassable during this period. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.

Site issues? Contact Us