Wednesday 23 August 2017

SUDAN: Khartoum Safest In Sudan, Beware Of Theft And Car Break-ins

Khartoum is the capital of Sudan and is located where the Blue Nile and White Nile Rivers merge. The huge, spread-out city is actually made out of three distinct cities Khartoum, Khartoum North or Bahri, and Omdurman which are divided by the Nile and its two arms.

The Blue Nile flows between Khartoum and Bahri, the White Nile between Khartoum and Omdurman, and the merged Nile between Bahri and Omdurman. The confluence of the Blue and White Nile, known as Al-Mogran, lies just north of the bridge between Khartoum and Omdurman.

Khartoum is the capital and largest city of Sudan and the state of Khartoum. It is located at the confluence of the White Nile, flowing north from Lake Victoria, and the Blue Nile, flowing west from Ethiopia. The location where the two Niles meet is known as al-Mogran the confluence. The main Nile continues to flow north towards Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea.

Divided by the Niles, Khartoum is a tripartite metropolis with an estimated overall population of over five million people, consisting of Khartoum proper, and linked by bridges to Khartoum North or al-Kharṭūm Baḥrī and Omdurman or Umm Durman to the west.

Khartoum proper is the seat of the Sudanese government and is the largest of the three cities. The older part of the city lies beside the White Nile while the newer parts, such as Al-Amarat and Khartoum Two, spread out to the south, across the railway line and the ring road, and around the airport runway. The city, both the old part and its newer extensions, is laid out mostly in a grid. Omdurman has a more Middle Eastern atmosphere with maze-like streets and is home to the huge Souq Omdurman. Bahri is largely industrial and residential.

Sudan, in northeast Africa, measures about one quarter the size of the United States. Its neighbors are Chad and the Central African Republic to the west, Egypt and Libya to the north, Ethiopia and Eritrea to the east, and South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, and Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south. The Red Sea washes about 500 mi of its eastern coast, and it is traversed from north to south by the Nile, all of whose great tributaries are partly or entirely within its borders.

Khartoum is located in the middle of the populated areas in Sudan, at almost the northeast center of the country between 16 degrees latitude north, 15 degrees latitude south, longitude 21 degrees west, and 24 degrees longitude east.

It expands an area amounting to 20,736 km (12884 Mile) square between the West Bank of the River Nile, from North Khartoum Bahri, Shendi, River Nile State, from both the East Kassala, Kassala State, Port Sudan, Red Sea State and North East Blue Nile, from the West White Nile, Omdurman, North Kordofan and Northwest Omdurman, Northern State, from South Wad Madani, Al Jazirah (state) and Southwest Ed Dueim, White Nile State.

After the signing of the historic Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLA), the Government of Sudan began a massive development project. In 2007, the biggest projects in Khartoum were the Al-Mogran Development Project, two five-star hotels, a new airport, Mac Nimir Bridge completed in October 2007 and the Tuti Bridge that links Khartoum to Tuti Island.

In the 21st century, Khartoum developed based on Sudan's oil wealth although the independence of South Sudan in 2011 affected the economy of Sudan negatively. The center of the city has tree-lined streets. Khartoum has the highest concentration of economic activity in the country. This has changed as major economic developments take place in other parts of the country, like oil exploration in the South, the Giad Industrial Complex in Al Jazirah state and White Nile Sugar Project in Central Sudan, and the Merowe Dam in the North.

Among the city's industries are printing, glass manufacturing, food processing, and textiles. Petroleum products are now produced in the far north of Khartoum state, providing fuel and jobs for the city. One of Sudan's largest refineries is located in northern Khartoum.

The Souq Al Arabi is Khartoum's largest open air market. The "souq" is spread over several blocks in the center of Khartoum proper just south of the Great Mosque or Mesjid al-Kabir and the minibus station. It is divided into separate sections, including one focused entirely on gold.

Al Qasr Street and Al Jamhoriyah Street are considered the most famous high streets in Khartoum State.

Afra Mall is located in the southern suburb Arkeweet. The Afra Mall has a supermarket, retail outlets, coffee shops, a bowling alley, movie theaters, and a children's playground.

In 2011, Sudan opened the Hotel Section and part of the food court of the new, Corinthia hotel Tower. The Mall/Shopping section is still under construction.

All visitors to Sudan need a visa and a passport as well as $500. As Current as of 01/17, there seems to be no trace of this $500 requirement.

Also your money needs to be in SDG or the airport won't accept it, and they don't have ATMs

All visitors must register within three days of arrival and, if travelling outside Khartoum or taking photographs, obtain a combined Photography and Travel Permit.

Visitors to Sudan must register with the police within three days of arrival. This may be done at border crossings though is cheaper and easier in Khartoum. This may be done in the airport departure terminal, opposite GAD Restaurant. Inside the terminal on the left look for a mirror-esque booth full of policemen. There is also a photocopy shop next to the office which charges 2SDG per copy. Process takes between 15 minutes and three hours depending on how busy it is and how determined you are. As of 01/17 registration costs 385SDG, payable in that currency.

Ensure your passport receives a blue sticker before leaving as the police may tell you 'it's done' before it really is.

As Current as of 01/17, Khartoum departure terminal is not at the main Khartoum Airport area as shown on maps. Instead the departure terminal is located about 2km south, opposite GAD Restaurant, Africa Road. Co-ordinates: 15°34'26.7"N 32°33'05.4"E. This is also the location of the police registration office.

Khartoum Airport (KRT) is the main gateway into Sudan by air. The airport is served by various European, Middle Eastern and African airlines. Among the cities with direct connections for Khartoum are: British Airways with connections to London, EgyptAir to Cairo, Emirates, FlyDubai to Dubai, Ethiopian Airlines to Addis Ababa, Gulf Air to Bahrain, Kenya Airlines to Nairobi, Lufthansa to Frankfurt, Qatar Airways to Doha, Turkish Airlines to Istanbul, on Tuesdays, Fridays, Sundays.

Sudan's national carrier Sudan Airways links Khartoum and several African and regional capitals, as well as with Sudan's domestic airports at Port Sudan, Nyala, El-Fashir, Malakal, Juba, Dongola, Wadi Halfa and El-Obeid.

No departure tax from 2016. Go early as the airport can get a bit chaotic. Be prepared for long waits and queue cutting. Immigration checks and other security checks can also take a long time. No screens, no information, with separate queues for men and women.

There is a bank facility to change money, also open during the night when there are flights.

Khartoum is home to the largest airport in Sudan, Khartoum International Airport. It is the main hub for Sudan Airways, Sudan's main carrier. The airport was built at the southern edge of the city; but with Khartoum's rapid growth and consequent urban sprawl, the airport is now located in the heart of the city.

A new international airport is currently being built about 40 km (25 mi) south of the city center. There have been delays to start construction because lack of funding of the project but it is expected that the airport will be completed sometime in 2017. It will replace the current airport in Khartoum as Sudan's main airport.

Khartoum Airport is located close to the city in Al-Amarat. Taxis should cost 5-15SDG to any spot within the city, although locals may pay less. You can also walk out to the main road about 200 m from the airport terminal and catch minibuses that cruise along Africa Road.

Khartoum has rail lines from Wadi Halfa, Port Sudan on the Red Sea, and El Obeid. All are operated by Sudan Railways. Some lines also extended to some parts of south Sudan

Architecture of Khartoum cannot be identified by one style or even two styles; it is as diverse as its culture, where 597 different cultural groups meet.

Sudan was home to numerous ancient civilizations, such as the Kingdom of Kush, Kerma, Nobatia, Alodia, Makuria, Meroe and others, most of which flourished along the Nile. During the pre-dynastic period Nubia and Nagadan Upper Egypt were identical, simultaneously evolved systems of Pharaonic kingship by 3300 BC.

In response to the worldwide deterioration of the environment and the increase in pollution levels, there has been a strong movement towards sustainable architecture across the globe. This movement has received attention and concern from governments as well as private sectors.

In the past decades, Sudan has seen a huge surge in infrastructure and technology, which has led to many new and innovative building concepts, ideas and construction techniques. There is now a constant flow of new projects arising, thus leading to a new, transformed, modernised form of architecture.

The main tarred road goes south from Khartoum to Wad Medani then east to Gedaref,for the Ethiopian border at Gallabat, Kassala for the Eritrean border and then to Port Sudan. South from Khartoum, a road also goes to El-Obeid, which then continues west towards the Chadian border via Darfur, which currently is a bit dangerous to use. From the north, the road comes in from Wadi Halfa via Atbara.

There are no road links to southern Sudan. The only option is to fly.

The chaotic Souq al-Shaabi used to be the main bus terminal for long distance south-bound buses in Khartoum, but a new terminal has been built which is more orderly. Buses leave for Port Sudan, Wad Medani, Kassala, El-Obeid and other cities. Going north long distance buses leave from Omdurman. Again, there are no buses to southern Sudan.

Buses from/to Shendi and Atbara both of which can leave you at the Pyramids of Meroe on request leave regularly from the Shendi Bus Station in Bahri.

Overnight buses from Aswan, Egypt arrive in Khartoum daily, though it is not clear where these buses stop, likely in Omdurman.

Railway lines link Khartoum with Wadi Halfa and Port Sudan via Atbara. Trains leave Khartoum main train station is in Khartoum North (Bahri).

There are no boat services along the Nile to destinations outside Khartoum.

Khartoum is both easy and difficult to get around. It is easy in that much of the city is laid out on a grid, with long straight roads and the airport and Nile as easy reference places. It is difficult in that the city or indeed the 3 cities are very spread out, making walking a long and tiring option.

Maps are hard to come by, but Google Earth offers some good high-resolution images.

These come in three flavours; bright yellow and often beaten up Toyota Corollas Model 1977, small 6 seater minivans, and modern comfortable air conditioned metred cabs operated by LimoTrip- rates are reasonable by meter only and saves the haggling; the cabs are also radio controlled.

Apart from metered taxis, taxi drivers always overcharge the foreigner and SDG 100 is the usual starting price for negotiations for short trips around town. It's highly recommended to take airport taxis to your destination as they are very safe at any time . Airport Taxi is available 24/7. Most of Taxi Drivers are friendly and helpful with tourists.

Fair foreigner prices for taxis are roughly:

- SDG 30-40 within Khartoum 1 (central Khartoum)

- SDG 50-70 Khartoum 1 to the airport / Amarat / Khartoum 2

- SDG 30-40 to Riyadh or Afra Mall (renovated and now open after a fire had destroyed it).

- SDG 40-50 from Riyadh to Khartoum

Since fuel prices have increased dramatically in 2014, prices have increased, but a determined haggler can still get away with a lower price.

Crossing the river will usually double the price. From the city center, they may ask for SDG 40-60 to go to Afra Mall. To get the Sudanese fare, you need a bit of luck and be prepared to walk away when drivers refuse to drop to a reasonable price. Remember that petrol is around SDG 18 per gallon

Finally be aware that most taxi drivers speak basic or little English but recently most of them speak English and use smart phones and whatsup services so you can share the location of your targeted destination , young drivers often even have little idea about Khartoum's geography, especially about other parts of the city to where you pick him up. A mobile phone with a map is a must for someone without intimate knowledge of the city. PLEASE note since oil subsidies have been removed 10/2013, taxi/bus prices are much higher. Please ask locals for appropriate prices.

Minibuses are the cheapest way to get around Khartoum, especially between the three cities. There are easily thousands of minibuses and seeing all of them gather near the Great Mosque and Souk al-Arabi is a sight to behold. They are however quite complicated to use. None of them bear destination signs and you will have to be able to speak a little Arabic with their conductors to determine which minibus to take.

Hand signals are also an important part of minibus travel in Khartoum. Conductors will indicate the direction by waving their open hand that way, e.g., from Africa Road they wave left for Arabi and right for Bahri. If you know your direction you can also wave in the same way and the bus will stop if travelling that direction. Buses are always packed to the brim. Fares are always SDG 2-3, even cross-river.

Minibuses used to leave from the square near the Great Mosque or Mesjid al-Kabir or nearby in Khartoum proper, nowardays however, Arabi Bus Station is the main confluence of minibus routes.

All routes can be travelled both ways:

Africa Road: Bahri - From south of the Afra Mall, past the airport, across Blue Nile Bridge to Shendi Bus Station and finally the minibus station/souq in Bahri.

Africa Road - Arabi: From south of Afra Mall, past the airport, west on Al-Imam Al-Mahdi Road to Arabi Bus Station.

Riyadh - Arabi: Same route as above, via the Juref Turn

Omdurman Souq - Arabi: Morada Road, Omdurman Bridge, Nile Street, Arabi

Describing Khartoum's traffic as chaotic is a bit of an understatement. The current economic boom has seen many more cars on the road, although driving attitudes have not changed, resulting in almost comical chaos at intersections.

As Khartoum is laid out in a grid, there are many intersections for cars from all directions to barge in to fight for space. Having said that, the slow speed of vehicles ensures that they are very few major accidents, at least in the city. If you are not used to such driving conditions, it is better to resort to taxis.

Car hire is available and costs a bit above the African average, around 150 SDG per day for a Corolla, and 300 SDG for a 4x4 with a compulsory driver. However if you want to head off in to the desert the costs mount further, as the 100 km is standard, and then its 1 SDG per additional kilometre, hence a trip to the Meroe pyramids adds 400 SDG to your costs. Fuel, however, is cheap, at around 1.8 SDG per litre (March 2008). ‘Limousine’ is the Arabic for car hire – try along Airport Road or Ibed Khetim Road, east of the airport for car hire places.

Called "bajaj" like in India or "raksha", they are cheaper than taxis but more expensive than buses so about 20 SDG per trip. They are bestcan used for short trips within each of Khartoum's three cities. Rakshas are not allowed on any of the bridges crossing the river, so you must use taxis or minibuses if you have to cross the Nile to travel between the three cities.

There are no ferry services between the three cities as they are well connected by road bridges.

There is a ferry service between Khartoum proper and Tuti Island, a rural islet in the middle of the Blue Nile. In Khartoum, boats leave from the river bank along Nile Street opposite the Friendship Hall to the west of the city center. A ferry also runs between Tuti and Omdurman (except on Fridays)

The largest museum in all of Sudan is the National Museum of Sudan. Founded in 1971, it contains works from different epochs of Sudanese history. Among the exhibits are two Egyptian temples of Buhen and Semna, originally built by Queen Hatshepsut and Pharaoh Tuthmosis III, respectively, but relocated to Khartoum upon the flooding of Lake Nasser.

The Republican Palace Museum, opened in 2000, is located in the former Anglican All Saints' cathedral on Sharia al-Jama'a, next to the historical Presidential Palace.

The Ethnographic Museum is located on Sharia al-Jama'a, close to the Mac Nimir Bridge.

Khartoum is home to a small botanical garden, in the Mogran district of the city.

Khartoum is home to several clubs such as the Blue Nile Sailing Club, the German Club, the Greek Hotel, the Coptic Club, the Syrian Club and the International Club. There are also two football clubs situated in Khartoum – Al Khartoum SC and Al Ahli Khartoum.

Nile Street or Shari'a Al-Nil: Probably the prettiest street in Khartoum. With the Blue Nile on one side, the street is lined with pretty, albeit decaying-looking, colonial buildings, most of which are used as ministries, schools and even a hotel, the Grand Holiday Villa Khartoum. The Presidential Palace, also fronting the Blue Nile, is a pretty building but you will not be allowed to walk in front of it - the guards will ask you to cross the road and proceed behind and around the building.

You will also see the modern side of Khartoum along this street - the egg-shaped, Libyan-owned Al-Fateh Tower; Chinese-built Friendship Hall. The National Museum is also along Nile Street. The road is tree-lined most of the way except towards the west and has a sidewalk, so walking is quite pleasant. Many people sit on the concrete walls along the river.

Sudan Presidential Palace Museum: This Museum is located in the grounds of the Presidential Palace and is housed in the impressive century old Palace Cathedral. The palace contains many relics and pieces related to Sudan's administrative and modern political history, from paintings of Sir Gordon Pasha to the Presidential cars of more recent rulers.

The Changing of the Guard This is a ceremony held on the first Friday of every month, where the Black guard and the White Guard of the Presidential Palace swap over. The Ceremony is performed near the South Gate of the Palace.

Confluence of the Blue and White Nile: If you have the stamina, you will reach the confluence of the two branches of the Nile if you continue walking west along Nile Street for about 3-4km from the Presidential Palace. The confluence is called Al-Mogran and it is best seen from the metal bridge,the old one, not the newer concrete one linking Khartoum and Omdurman or Al-Mogran Family Park.

It is said that one can actually see the two different colours from the different branches come together and flow separately for a distance downriver before mixing together. The Al-Mogran Family Park, which has a ferries wheel and other rides, is located near the bridge. Warning: There is a signboard saying NO PHOTOS from the bridge. Please heed it as people have been arrested for taking photos of the confluence!

Souq Arabi: If you want to see crowds and action, this is the place. The commercial heart of town, Souq Arabi or Arabian Market can provide everything you need. The market is huge and spread over several squares in the center of Khartoum proper just south of the Great Mosque or Mesjid al-Kabir and the minibus station. Come here to see Khartoumites go about their daily lives.

Sudan National Museum: Surprisingly impressive museum that has recently had a bit of a revamp. The large hall contains exhibits that rival those in the ancient Egypt sections of the British Museum or the New York Met, however if you’ve arrived in Khartoum fresh from temple gazing in Egypt things may look familiar.

The gardens contain three temples relocated from Aswan. The joy of the place is that you’ll have it all pretty much to yourself. Best visit in the mornings, and give yourself 2 hours, tends to close at 12 noon but not reopen at 3pm, contrary to the sign on the door. Open from Monday to Friday. Entrance 2SDG, Nile Street, next to the Friendship Hall, just west of the Libyan-financed Burj el-Fatih sail-hotel.

Sudan Ethnographic Museum: A fascinating little Museum on the corner of Al Gamaa street and Mak Nemir Avenue. This Museum explores the various cultures and traditions of Sudan's numerous ethnic groups. Displays range from intricate handicrafts to models of traditional homes. This museum is certainly worth a visit, if you have the time.

Commonwealth War Cemetery: Home to nearly 400 British Empire graves, the tranquil cemetary contrasts with Khartoum's busy streets. The cemetery mainly commemorates the 1940-1 East Africa campaign though has graves from as early as the mid 19th Century. Located in the North East of Khartoum 2 Open from Saturday - Thursday, 7am to 2:30pm and free to enter.

Souq Omdurman: Said to be one of the largest markets in Africa and you can get handicrafts here. The handicraft street is quite difficult to find, its towards the northern end of the market, near the gold section not on the western side, as stated in the Bradt guide. The street is actually a covered lane between two buildings with gates at either end. Its not very busy in comparison with the rest of the market and they can lock up and go home in the evenings, and sometimes on Fridays also. The GPS coordinates are somewhere near 15°38'57.04"N , 32°28'56.75"E.

The Khalifa's House: Abdullah al-Taaisha, also known as The Khalifa succeeded as leader of the Mahdists on the death of the Mahdi. His house is now a museum and is worth a visit if you want to get a flavour of Omdurman's history. Exhibits include various remnants from old battles and some interesting old British newspaper clippings reporting the British efforts in the Sudan.

The museum shuts early somewhere between 1 and 2 pm is usual and costs 1SDG. Its next to the Mahdi's tomb and walking distance from Souq Omdurman (GPS 15°38'20.43"N , 32°29'18.61"E)

Sufi dancing or aka dhikr / whirling dervishes: Rightly recommended as a must do for visitors to Khartoum. Every Friday except during Ramadan tourists and visiting foreign aid workers flock to the Hamed al-Nil tomb with cameras in hand. A very colourful and noisy celebration. Its about 2km south of the Omdurman souq - ask your taxi driver to go to Ghobba al-Hamed al-Nil (15°37'32.57"N 32°27'47.87"E). Starts around 4-5pm. Free

Bombed Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory - a facinating place to explore, and well off the Khartoum tourist trail,if Khartoum even has such a thing. Tomahawked in 1998 the remains are an eerie reminder of Sudan's precarious relationship with the West. It's quite easy to reach (GPS / google earth co-ordinates 15°38'46.99"N , 32°33'41.60"E, get a minibus to Bahri, then get a taxi. The guards are quite friendly and will let you in for a wander - a contribution of 10SDG would be gratefully received.

The bombed ruins have been removed and a new factory or something now being built. Unless you want to look at a brick wall not worth going to unfortunately

Nuba Wrestling – Every Friday at 4pm two teams of wrestlers battle it out in front of several hundred spectators – and it certainly is quite a spectacle and well worth the trip. Finishes around 6pm and cost 1 SDG. It’s about 12 km from central Khartoum next to souq Sita Al Haj Yousef – best get a taxi there costs around 20 SDG but you can easily find a bus back to al-Arabi in central Khartoum for 1 SDG,GPS/Google Earth co-ordinates 15°36'51.77"N , 32°38'42.46"E

Saad Gishra - this is located in central Bahri and it is very similar to Souq Omdurman but it would be better to go there first as they are more likely to have what you want and at better pricing.

There are many professionnal and international clubs spread around the three cities. Providing for sport, cultural activities or simply a place to meet, they are a lively remnant of British influence.

Greek club. Khartoum 2, entrance off Mak Nimir Ave. The hideout of Sudan's greek community, it is open to the public and offers sports facilities like tennis, volleyball, basketball, football, running, a swimming pool,entrance fee 50 SDG and basic food and drinks.

Coptic club. this is where the Coptic Orthodox Christians socialize, this is especially true for the youth. This is also where a major part of the Coptic Orthodox Christians hold their wedding and engagement celebrations.

German club. Nothing especially german, a basketball court, a garden in the shade of trees and a swimming pool. It also serves as an hotel.

Indian club. Omdurman. The center of the capital's large Indian community social life, it organizes events for all important indian's festivals.

A wander around Tuti island is highly recommended if you want to see green rather than the brown of Khartoum. If you are heading to Omdurman, a good way of unwinding after the chaos of the souq is to catch the ferry across to Tuti from Omdurman except Fridays or take the newly opened Tuti Suspension Bridge. Aim for around 5-6pm to enjoy Tuti in the early 7 evening.

A Nile cruise, several boats moored by Tuti Bridge are available for cruises. A cruise on some of the smaller boats can cost you as little as 15 SDG.

Centre Culturel Français. Downtown, Ali Dinar St. Offers French courses, Sudanese Arabic courses, a library and cultural events music, art, literature, conferences, movies.

Goethe Institute. Downtown, Al Mak Nimir St. Offers German courses, cultural events music, art, litterature, conferences, movies.

British Council. Downtown, Abu Sinn St. Offers English courses, cultural events music, art, litterature, conferences, movies.

Evening tea on Nile Avenue. With the extension of Nile Avenue to Manshia complete, the stretch of road bewteen Mak Nimir and Manshia bridges has become the place to be of Khartoum's evening life. Innumerable tea ladies cater to the needs of the crowd enjoying the grass while watching the road and the river.

Concerts. The Sudanese music scene is active. Artists of the moment play live in clubs, mostly on week end evenings. Look for the arabic posters that dot the city or ask the locals.

Weddings. It is common for sudanese to hire star musicians to perform one or two of their favourite piece at wedding ceremonies. The footage of the performance usually ends up as an unofficial video clip on the sudanese TV channels.

Creative events. Khartoum youth and amateur scene can be spotted at one of the numerous and often changing cultural events. Whether Wapi British Council, Makaan, Space or Khartoum Open Mic', they offer a scene for young musicians, hip hoppers, dancers, slammers and poets. Most accurate information is to be found on Facebook.

Cinemas. The last commercial cinemas closed in 2009 but the open air buildings of the Coliseum (Souk al Arabi), Halfaya and Watania(Khartoum North) or Watania (Omdurman) can still be spotted. Afra Mall movie theaters still shows movies, mainly bollywood or egyptian.

Film festivals. The European Union and the Embassy of Venezuela organize yearly film festivals. The French Cultural Center offers free weekly projections as does occasionnaly the Goethe Insitute.

Official exchange rates equate €1 to 6.9SDG. This rate should be avoided at all costs however, as money can be changed covertly on the street, in shops or in souqs for €1=20/21SDG (01/17).

Most shopping is still done in street markets or souqs. The souqs here are not as attractive those in other Middle Eastern countries but are still interesting enough for a glimpse of Sudanese economics. And you can certainly buy everything you need, including handicrafts if you are a tourist, from these markets. Prices are not amazingly low due to transport costs for imported,mainly Chinese goods, but cheaper than in Afra Mall or proper shops. Upmarket, Khartoum has only one shopping mall with a supermarket, several shops and food outlets.

Souq Arabi: Located smack in the city centre, this is your classical chaotic market teaming with people. The market is divided in to several sections, each focussing on a certain product. There is even one block devoted to gold, although it certainly looks less sophisticated and organised than its counterpart in Dubai. However, this souq is a bit lacking in term of handicrafts and fresh foodstuff. You are better off going to Souq Omdurman for handicrafts.

Afra Mall: Located on Africa Road in the southern suburb of Arkawet. Afra is Khartoum's and Sudan's only mall but don't expect too much. Afra is already starting to lose it new shininess - it is more like a small neighbourhood mall rather than those you would find in Hong Kong, Singapore or Dubai. It has a supermarket and retail outlets selling clothes and other things you would expect to find in a mall. You can find money changers and pre-paid mobile telephone kiosks too. Afra Mall is certainly not a must-see attraction, nor a place to head for a night out. (15°33'33.57"N , 32°33'17.90"E)

Al-Amarat Centre: For visitors this is probably your best bet for tracking down imported foodstuffs and household items. Prices are high of course, but you are paying for convenience. (15°35'6.89"N , 32°32'39.63"E)

Souq Omdurman: Very large Sudanese market. Most of the commodities are cheaper and vegetables and fruits are fresher than Souq Arabi. You can get handicrafts here. The handicraft street is quite difficult to find, its towards the northern end of the market, near the gold section not on the western side, at stated in the Bradt guide.

The street is actually a covered lane between two buildings with gates at either end. Its not very busy in comparison with the rest of the market and they can lock up and go home in the evenings, and sometimes on Fridays also. There are many local buses between Souq arabi and here. Bus fare are 1 SDG from here to Souq Arabi. The GPS coordinates are somewhere near 15°38'57.04"N , 32°28'56.75"E.

Saad Gishra:This is a covered market place, it is bahris main shopping market. Prices here can be a little higher then those in souq omdurman however it is much more easily navigable for tourists.

Khartoum has a good sprinkling of restaurants, with new ones popping up every couple of months – other than restaurants attached to hotels there is little quality eating to be had in Khartoum’s city centre. Amarat hosts the majority of the better eateries, although Ridyah and Khartoum 2 also have some places. Omdurman and Barhi have a light sprinkling of simple restaurants. All restaurants have about 15% goverment tax and 3-14% service charge.

Nile Street - Khartoum

Opera Restaurant Nile Street - inside Grand Holiday Villa Hotel. High quality 'international' cuisine, newly renovated, air conditioned, WIFI. Specialty in Pakistani / Indian cuisine. The most authentic Pakistani food in Sudan. Prices are competitive.


Universal Amarat St. 27. Italian flavoured, offering pleasant al fresco dining, priced with the expat wallet in mind. (15°34'33.97"N , 32°32'42.82"E)

Solitaire Amarat St. 15. Decent ‘international’ cuisine, air conditioned, wifi and low ceilings. Has a bit of a café feel to it, but the food is good. (15°34'48.47"N , 32°32'48.08"E)

Korean Restaurant. Africa Street (next to Hotel Africa). Unfortunately closed, but still famous for having served the only kimchi for 1,000km! Pretty good Korean food, including cook-your-own bulgolgi and other favourites. (15°34'34.39"N , 32°33'0.70"E)

Mat'am 15 Cha'abi - Popular Restaurant 15. Al-Amarat, St 15 (on the square off Macro Supermarket / Syrian Fresh Food 2, facing Kanon Hotel). Serves north of Sudan traditional gurasa (a large thick wheat pancake) or kisra (large thin pancake) with your choice of sauce (bamya based with lamb or chicken) or yoghurt with sugar (gha'ib). Also has a juice bar. Very cheap (many dishes under 20 SDG), it is a favourite of local workers and touk touk drivers.

Amwaj Restaurant. Airport Road, Al-Amarat (on the corner with Street 15 or "Shari'a Khamsa ta-Ashaara"). Big, airy and spotless, and really good food. Extremely popular with locals and visitors. Menu offers shawarmas, kebabs, grilled chicken, lamb stews and others, all accompanied by bread, soup and salad. Delicious fruit juices and shakes too. Dishes cost between 20 and 60 pounds.

Royal Broast. Airport Road, Al-Amarat. Another popular place a few doors from Amwaj.

Laziz Delicious Restaurant. Al-Amarat Street 1. Nice place to eat in. They have another branch in Ryad area.

Afra Mall Chinese restaurant and food court. Afra Mall, Africa Street, Arkawet. Located on the first floor of Khartoum's one shopping mall

Waha Mall - food court and coffee shops to cater for a variety of tastes.

Horizon Hotel - excellent Indian cuisine near Waha Mall in downtown Khartoum.

Khartoum 2

Assaha Restaurant. Would be considered an excellent restaurant in any city, and a jewel in Khartoum. Good atmosphere with professional and knowledgeable wait staff. They have lots on the menu including luncheons, light meals and full dinners. A large selection of appetizers, mains, dessert and a "hubble bubble" cost about 90 SDG (~US $37) per person with everything included. They charge 12% government tax and 14% service charge.(15°35'44.70"N , 32°32'14.04"E)

Bawabi Tourist Restaurant. Khartoum 2 St 47 east of Souk Khartoum 2. A reknowned table for spicy grilled chicken and broast. Mains cost 15-20 SDG.

Hadramawt Restaurant. Khartoum 2 St 47 (west Souk Khartoum 2). Yemeni restaurant offering the traditionnal salta, fahsa, mandi, lahm hanith and fatah for desert. Mains cost around 15 SDG.

East of the airport

Habesha Ethiopian restaurant. Arkaweet Area, east of Afra Mall. Good atmosphere, good food and very affordable. The restaurant is on two floors there is a pleasant internet cafe on the 3rd floor, upstairs is more lively with Ethiopian pop on the plasma screen. About 25SP each for a big meal and coffee.

A good choice if you are looking for somewhere with music playing and a bit of atmosphere. 15°33'41.47"N , 32°33'45.27"E
Salt n Pepper. Buri area, north end of Obeid Khatim Street - Next to Buri family park. One of two Pakistani restaurants in Khartoum the other being Opera Restaurant in Grand Holiday Villa Hotel on Nile Street.


Asian Biryani Restaurant. Khartoum North - As the name suggests this place specialises in Biryanis - and very tasty they are too. More of a cafe than a restaurant this is a good choice for lunch rather than a slap-up dinner. Lamb Biryani and a some salad for 8SP. The restaurant, and the supermarket next door, sells excellent mango juice for 1SP a bottle (Maaza). Easy to get to, head over the Burri Bridge, take the first right, and its on your left. GPS 15°37'25.35"N , 32°33'25.69"E


Papa Costa. Located in the center of Khartoum, and reasonably priced. Service charges are minimal, food is reasonably good, but service level is so-so. You can choose food from steak to pasta. They charge 3% service charge and 10% government tax.


Kandahar, souq libya Eating at Kandahar in souq libya is probably the most unique and authentic culinary experience in khartoum. The format there is rather different firstly you choose the meat that you want cooked usually a choice between camel meat and lamb, you then hand over the meat you have choosen to be cooked and prepared as part of a meal. Kandahar is one of the few places in khartoum where you can find camel meat. It is located in Souq Libya in the peripheries of Omdurman.

It's best to prepare yourself to be alcohol-free for your stay: there are places serving 'special tea' dotted around and non-alcoholic beers are available, but in general it's more hassle than it's worth to track down alcohol during a short visit. For long-termers, the market does exist - via diplomatic bags and the black market but since punishments are harsh, this is not advised.

Note that a 5% tourism tax and 15% VAT may well be added to your bill - Khartoum's hotels are inconsistent in telling you about these taxes in advance, and especially for cheaper hotels inconsistent in paying this money to the tax authorities. Remember to ask if there are any hidden extras before booking.

Blue Nile Sailing Club. An alternative to Khartoum's hotels, on the river's southern bank just east of the confluence, the club often accommodates overlanders and accommodates tent camping on its grounds. The club is fenced, monitored, inexpensive and offers expansive river views. It is also home to a river gunboat that once belonged to Horatio Kitchener and now houses the club's offices.

Hotel Africa. A cheap and not-so-cheerful hotel for those on a budget. No hot water, dubious cleanliness but only $40 per night. Africa Road - the Korean Restuarant is attached. (GPS / Google Earth co-ordinates 15°34'32.92"N , 32°33'1.01"E)

Khartoum Youth Hostel. House no 66 / Street 47, Khartoum 2. Opened in 2007 and part of Hostelling International this is the best option for non-camping travellers on a budget. Interior is extremely basic but location, garden and number of foreign travellers tends to compensate. Also has safe parking and camping space. Beds from 70SDG (01/17). Located at 15°35'28.7"N , 32°32'23.0"E.

Acropole Hotel The oldest Hotel in town, warm, friendly and family hospitality situated in Zubeir Pasha street, in Khartoum near shops, banks and important business firms. All rooms are full board,Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner including taxes. Air-Conditioned rooms with direct dial telphone and big balconies. Acropole Hotel offers an international cuisine with Greek and Italian Specialities. The family will be able to arrange Visas for tourism which you can claim upon arrival.

German Guesthouse A small clean and comfortable hotel in Riyadh, run by Germans. The special feature is the pool with bar area in the little garden. All rooms have private bathrooms, a/c, free wireless connection. There is a community satellite TV room and free laundry service. Rooms for a night range between 100 and 120 $ including full board buffet and taxes. (15°34'4.70"N , 32°33'50"E)

Dandas International Hotel clean and comfortable hotel that offers comparatively good value-for-money, frequented primarily by African businessmen. Every room has a/c and satellite TV, and is en-suite. Free wired & wireless internet in the lobby. Try to avoid the windowless rooms. Breakfasts are disappointing, however. US$90 inc taxes per night. Corner Abu Sin & El Sharif St. (GPS 15°36'8.16"N , 32°31'56.93"E)

Lisamin Safari Hotel Opened in late 2007, this hotel is a welcome addition to Khartoum’s rather drab hotel stock. Lebanese run, and housing an excellent Lebanese restaurant.The Cedar Tree, this hotel is very Dubai-esque and is certainly worth checking out if your budget can stretch to the room rates. Wireless internet available for a fee. The gym is a joke however. US$144 single, US$156 double, suites from US$168 (inc VAT and tourism tax). 41st Amaret. (15°34'13.52"N , 32°32'46.86"E)

Bougainvilla Guesthouse Small 17 room hotel in the Riyadh suburb – the big attraction is the breezy roof terrace where excellent European breakfasts and dinners are served. Although the rooms themselves are nothing special, they are clean and have the essentials of a/c, wireless internet and satellite TV, although standard rooms involve sharing a bathroom. A favourite with visiting aid workers and other westerners. 71 euro (approx US$110 / 200SDG inc taxes) for a standard room inc breakfast. (15°34'18.67"N , 32°34'2.59"E)

- El-Haramein, near ring rd

El-Riyadh New Hotel, near ring rd

El-Shark Hotel, Sharia al-Gamhuryya

Safari Palace Hotel, Sharia Abdul Rahma

Rotana. Airport Street, near Afra Mall.Opened in mid 2007, this is the only hotel in Khartoum that offers international five-star standard. Nice big rooms, perfectly equipped. Pool, gym, restaurant and lobby bar, conference facilities and Wifi (fee). Rooms are around USD 250/night / 1500 SDG.

Grand Holiday Villa or Funduk al-Kabeer. Nile Street or Shari'a al-Nil.Located to the west of the city center towards the confluence of the Blue and White Nile, along the banks of the Blue Nile. The swimming pool is the largest in Sudan and has been recently renovated. Features: Unlimited Free WiFi, Nile Terrace Restaurant,Water Sprayers on Year Round, Free Breakfast. The restaurant now serves continental and Pakistani cuisine - comes highly recommended.

Rooms start at US$90 + VAT / Approx SDG 550 + VAT and include a continental buffet breakfast and free internet for all guests. Shisha is served with imported flavored tobacco for SDG 45 + VAT. This hotel is arguably the best value in Khartoum and offers the only rooms in Khartoum that overlook the Nile River. Rates are negotiable for long staying guests. All Major Credit Cards are Accepted at a 5% fee. This is the only hotel in Khartoum that will provide Credit Card facility for Room Guests only.

Coral Khartoum. Near the Al-Mogran Park and the confluence of the Blue and White Nile, about 3km to the west of the city center). Lets just get it out of the way - this Hilton is not part of the chain which Paris Hilton is supposed to inherit. It is locally owned and as such, its five star standards are those of Khartoum.

Rooms are a bit on the tatty side and the carpets need a wash; but the showers are strong and hot, the air-conditioning very good, toilets flush and the staff are very willing to help. Its coffee bar in the foyer seems to be a favourite hangout of the local business community while its indoor restaurant has a bit of catching up with the times to do. The best attraction in the hotel has to be the pool- and tennis court-side cafe, offering drinks, food and sheeshas. A popular hangout. Rooms start at US$180.

Assaha Lebanese Village . A bit of a strange one this based in an attractive, if slightly kitsch, dry stone palace, the Assaha Village combines a large restaurant, conference facilities and even a museum with intimate, middle eastern themed bedrooms. Its part of a small chain with sister hotels in Beirut and Doha. Prices, however, are sky-high at SDG600 for a single room and SDG800 for a double.

Corinthia Hotel This new 250-room, 5 star hotel is undoubtedly Khartoum's premier hotel; the standard of service offered here is comparable to any 5-star hotel around the world. As well as being a hotel it has several restaurants and cafes, and a health centre and spa which are open to guests and membership holders. However, prices in this hotel are the highest in Khartoum - a standard room costs roughly SDG1500.

Khartoum is one of the safest cities in Sudan and the crime rates are low. The biggest concerns here are theft and car break-ins. However, regular precautions are advised. Travel different paths every day to avoid attacks, keep an eye out for pickpockets, don't leave valuables visible in your car. and keep out of large crowds.

Sabaloga Gorge: This gorge is also known as the 6th Cataract. It is approximately 50 to 60 miles north of Khartoum and can be reached in about 2-1/2 hours. It is essential that a 4-wheel drive vehicle be used, and it is wise, as is true in all cases in traveling outside Khartoum, to travel with at least two vehicles. On arrival, visitors can stroll around a Sudanese village and inspect Ansar forts that once bombarded steamers on their way to relieve General Gordon. It is advisable to take this trip in the cooler months.

Jebel Awlia: This dam was completed in 1937, and is approximately 25 to 30 miles south of Khartoum on the Jebel Awlia road. A 4-wheel drive vehicle is not required for this trip as the road is paved to the dam. However, if you intend to cross the dam and travel on the other side, a 4 WD will be needed. The area around the dam itself has a number of large trees and flat grassy land which are ideal for picnics.

For those interested in bird watching, there are numerous birds to be seen, such as pelicans, herons, kingfishers, waders, plovers, etc. One of the fringe benefits of a trip to Jebel Awlia is a short drive up to the dam itself. Here the fishermen sell their catch, which they have just brought in. The prices are about half of what they might be in Khartoum. It is advisable to bring along suitable wrapping and ice/coolers for any fish purchased.

Meroe: This site is approximately 200 miles north of Khartoum. There is also a hotel in Shendi where one could be based. With a car, turn off the Shendi-Atbara road and drive along the track for approximately 1km to the pyramid enterence. There are some paved roads to Meroe but you do have to drive off the main road on to some sandy areas. Four-wheel drive vehicles are a preferable but not a necessity for this trip.

Using public transport, take a bus from Khartoum to Atbara (see 'Get in' section above) and ask to get off at the pyramids which can be seen from the road on the right side. Returning to Khartoum it will be necessary but possible to hitchhike. The Pharaonic influence left its imprint in the hieroglyphic language, the religion of Amon, and building of the pyramids, which were a simplified version of the Egyptian model with no rooms or corridors.

The Greek and Roman architectural influence is evident in the pillars of temples and the classical forms of the statues of men and women. The Meroe ruins are a four-hour drive from Khartoum. But there are various other sites in the area, so a two- or three-day trip should be contemplated, and a knowledgeable guide is essential for the best understanding of the ruins. National Geographic’s book Splendors of the Past provides excellent background for such a trip.

Guards may try to charge $25 entry each but with almost not attempt at bartering other than a genuine willingness to leave this will be dropped to 50SDG (01/17). The Pyramids can also be seen by simply walking around the perimiter.

Dinder National Park: (12°19'N 034°47'E) The Dinder National Park is said to be one of the most unique in the world. It is totally unorganized, and the visitor can truly see game in its natural state. The site is about 300 miles south of Khartoum on the Blue Nile near the Roseires Dam. Travel by 4-wheel transportation from there to the park is recommended.

Inside the park there is a small tourist area consisting of round, grass thatched huts. Inside these huts are beds, a chair and a table. The huts are burned and rebuilt every year after the flood season. This park is only accessible for a few months of the year from December through May. It is essential that the visitor traveling to Dinder make thorough preparations for the trip.

The Red Sea Area - Port Sudan: The Red Sea is noted for its magnificent underwater diving, the clearness of its water and the variety of marine species. Visitors generally reach the area by flying Sudan Air. Daily 1-1/2 hour flights are available, but you may drive on paved road to Port Sudan in about 12-14 hours (510 miles). Travelers should be completely self-sufficient with all fuel as well as food and water.

Visitors may want to stay at the Red Sea Hotel. This hotel is booked for most of the year, and it is necessary to have reservations confirmed in advance. The Coral Hotel is located about half an hour drive from the airport, along the harbor. Outdoor swimming pool, three restaurants, and a gymnasium are some of the facilities available.

Erkowit: This area has been recently reopened after a closure of several years. It is 39 km southwest of Port Sudan, and it is the only developed summer resort in Sudan. The altitude is 1,200 feet above sea level.

Jebel Barkal Unesco World Heritage site - Northern state: Jebel Barkal or Gebel Barkal is a very small mountain located some 400 km north of Khartoum, in Karima town in Northern State in Sudan, on a large bend of the Nile River, in the region called Nubia. Around 1450 BC, the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III extended his empire to that region and considered Gebel Barkal its southern limit. Thutmose III campaigned near the city of Napata, which became the capital of the independent kingdom of Kush about 300 years later.

In the 8th century BC, the 25th Dynasty Nubian king, Piye, conquered Egypt, greatly enlarged the Napatan New Kingdom Temple of Amun, and erected his Year 20 Victory stela within it.

The ruins around Gebel Barkal include at least 13 temples and 3 palaces, that were for the first described by European explorers in the 1820s, although only in 1916 were archeological excavations started by George Reisner under a joint expedition of Harvard University and the Museum of Fine Arts of Boston.

From the 1970s, explorations continued by a team from the University of Rome La Sapienza, under the direction of Sergio Donadoni, that was joined by another team from the Boston Museum, in the 1980s, under the direction of Timothy Kendall. The larger temples, such that of Amun, are even today considered sacred to the local population.

For these reasons, the mountain, together with the historical city of Napata and other ancient sites, were considered by UNESCO, in 2003, World Heritage Sites.

Buses leave daily from Khartoum to Karima, However, the most comfortable and convenient way of getting there is by car. The route is tarmaced, but you will still require the best part of a day to get there.

Embassies and consulates in Khartoum

- Canada

- Egypt

- Greece, Sh. El Gamhouria, Block 5, No 30

- Malaysia

- United States, US Embassy Road, Kilo 10, Soba, off Wad Madani Road, near Highway Traffic Police Division Headquarters

- France, Al Amarat St 13.

- Venezuela, Ebaid Khatim Street.

- Netherlands 47 Street, Khartoum 2 (15°35'29.5"N , 32°32'27.2"E)

Tourism Observer

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