Situated at the confluence of the Blue and White Nile, Sudan is an off-the-beaten-track destination in the heart of East Africa. It is a nation of spectacular, unspoilt natural beauty, friendly people, a rich cultural heritage and numerous ancient archaeological sites. Sudan is home to more pyramids than Egypt- rising up from the Nubian Desert, the ancient city of Meroe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, features over 200 pyramids dating back to 300 BC. Visitors can look forward to exploring Port Sudan, the centre of Sudan’s thriving world-class diving scene, and discover the 3500-year-old Western Deffufa Temple, said to be the oldest manmade structure in sub-Saharan Africa. Don’t miss the mesmerising whirling dervishes of the Sufi Qadiriyah order, who gather at the Hamed al-Nil Tomb in Omdurman to dance and pray on a weekly basis.
Banking and Currency
Sudanese Pound (SDG) = 100 piasters. Notes are in denominations of SDG50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins are in denominations of 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 piasters. The Sudanese Pound has replaced the Sudanese Dinar, which was phased out on 30 June 2007. 1 Sudanese Pound = 100 Sudanese Dinars = 1,000 old Sudanese Pounds.
Banking hours: Saturday -Thursday 08h30-12h00.
It is recommended to bring plenty of cash rather than rely on card transactions in Sudan.There are limited ATM facilities in Khartoum. Traveller’s cheques are generally not recommended.
Travel, Transport and Getting Around
Sudan Airways is Sudan’s main carrier. There are no direct flights from the UK or the USA. Indirect options include flights with Egyptair via Cairo and Turkish Airlines via Istanbul.
Only major roads are asphalted. Road conditions are poor outside towns, roads to the north are often closed during the rainy season (July to September) and street lights are non-existent. Owing to the bad conditions, you should carry a full set of spare parts for long journeys. Vehicles must be in good working condition. Car hire is available in the main towns and at major hotels but charges are high. It’s usual to hire a driver with the car. You can find taxis at ranks or hail them in the street. Taxis are not metered; you must agree fares in advance.
In recent years Sudan’s network of paved roads has increased enormously, making bus (and minibus) the easiest way to travel. Asphalt highway now stretches from Khartoum all the way to Wadi Halfa in the north, Port Sudan in the east, and the Ethiopian border.
Sudan has an extensive rail network (5,500km/3,418 miles) but the service is in bad repair, extremely slow and uncomfortable. The only remaining service is the Khartoum-Wadi Halfa train. Travelling first class is advisable; second- and third-class compartments can get very crowded.
Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice
Peanuts are an important ingredient in Sudanese cooking, adding both taste and texture, and are frequently used as the underlying flavour. Another important ingredient is the thick porridge-like starch made from millet, wheat or corn flour. Plain in taste, the porridge is used as a vehicle to carry richer sauces of meat or vegetables. Though it owes much to the indigenous people of the region, Sudanese cuisine has also been influenced by its history and geographic location close to the Middle East, demonstrated by an ingredient list that includes cardamom, cinnamon, green peppers and apricots.
All water should be regarded as a potential health risk. Water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should have first been boiled or otherwise sterilised. Milk is unpasteurised and should be boiled. Avoid dairy products which are likely to have been made from unboiled milk. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.
Tipping is not customary.
Climate and Weather
Temperatures are high all-year-round with a slight cooling in November to March. Sandstorms blow across the Sahara from April to September. In the extreme north, there is little rain but the central region has some rainfall from July to August. The southern region has much higher rainfall, the wet season lasting May to October. Summers are very hot throughout the country, whilst winters are cooler in the north.
Clothing and Dress Recommendations
Visitors are advised to wear tropical, cool clothing all year, warmer clothes can be worn in the cooler mornings and evenings (especially in the desert).
Internet access is available in main towns.
Electricity and Plug Standards
For the most part, electrical sockets in Sudan are one of the two European standard electrical socket types: The "Type C" Europlug and the "Type E" and "Type F" Schuko. Also reported to be in use is the "Type D" Indian socket. If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into. If it's crucial to be able to plug in no matter what, bring an adapter for all three types.
For the most part, electrical sockets in Sudan are one of the two European standard electrical socket types: The "Type C" Europlug and the "Type E" and "Type F" Schuko. Also reported to be in use is the "Type D" Indian socket. If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into. If it's crucial to be able to plug in no matter what, bring an adapter for all three types.If your appliance isn’t compatible with 220-240 volts, a voltage converter will be necessary.