- The Online Guide to Travel History Comes Alive - Explore Sudan's Ancient Civilisations

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Travel Notes: Africa - Sudan Travel Notes.

Sudan Travel Notes

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Sudan Travel and Tourism on Travel Notes


Step back in time as you wander through Sudan's archaeological marvels. Immerse yourself in Nubian culture and witness the legacy of pharaohs first-hand.

About Sudan

Sudan is a country with a complex history and diverse culture, facing challenges related to political instability, economic development, and conflict resolution.

However, there is also hope for positive change and progress, as evidenced by recent efforts towards democratic reform and peacebuilding.

Sudan offers a unique travel experience with Khartoum and Omdurman considered the safest areas for tourists.

Countries neighbouring Sudan: Chad, Libya, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Central African Republic.

Travel Map Mapping Sudan

Map of Sudan

Map of Sudan

The River Nile is the major feature of Sudan. Its headwaters, the White Nile and Blue Nile, flow through the country and meet at Khartoum; the capital of Sudan.

Sudan is the third-largest country in Africa by land area, after Algeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Sudan Overview

Sudan, officially the Republic of Sudan, is a country located in north-eastern Africa, bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the north-east, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the south-west, Chad to the west, and Libya to the north-west.

Culture and Ethnicity

Sudan is culturally diverse, with over 500 ethnic groups.

The major ethnic groups include the Arabs, Nubians, Beja, Fur, Nuba, and others.

This diversity is reflected in Sudan's languages, religions, and traditions.

Arabic is the official language, and Islam is the dominant religion, though there are Christian and indigenous religious communities in Sudan as well.

Darfur Conflict

One of the most notable conflicts in Sudan's recent history is the Darfur conflict, which began in the early 2000s.

The conflict arose from tensions between the government and rebel groups in the Darfur region.

It led to widespread violence, displacement, and allegations of genocide.

While the situation has somewhat improved in recent years, the region still faces significant challenges.


Sudan's economy is largely based on agriculture, with crops like sorghum, millet, wheat, and cotton being important.

The country also has significant natural resources, including oil and minerals like gold.

However, economic development has been hindered by factors such as political instability, conflict, and economic sanctions.


Sudan has a rich and complex history.

It was home to several ancient civilisations, including the Kingdom of Kush.

In more recent history, Sudan was colonised by the British and Egyptians in the 19th century and gained independence in 1956.

Sudan's history has been marked by conflict, including civil wars and ethnic tensions.

Political Situation

Sudan has experienced political instability and conflict for much of its independent history.

In April 2019, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was ousted from power after months of protests against his rule.

This led to a transitional period, during which a civilian-military transitional government was established.

Sudan has been working towards democratic reforms and peace agreements, although challenges remain.

South Sudan Independence

In 2011, South Sudan gained independence from Sudan after decades of civil war.

The split was largely along ethnic and religious lines, with the predominantly Christian and animist South Sudanese seeking to break away from the Muslim-dominated north.

However, South Sudan has faced its own challenges since independence, including internal conflict and economic difficulties.

Visiting Sudan

Sudan has various attractions and destinations that make it an interesting place to visit for travellers interested in history, culture, and natural beauty.

A land shrouded in ancient mysteries and breathtaking landscapes, Sudan awaits adventurous travellers seeking to traverse beyond the beaten path.

While safety requires careful consideration, for those willing to venture beyond the warnings, Sudan unveils a tapestry of wonders waiting to be experienced.

Sudan Highlights

Dinder National Park

Located in south-eastern Sudan, Dinder National Park is home to diverse wildlife, including elephants, lions, giraffes, and various bird species.

It's a great destination for safari enthusiasts and nature lovers.


This region in eastern Sudan is famous for its lush agricultural landscapes, particularly during the rainy season when the fields are filled with sorghum and millet.

It offers a different perspective on Sudan's natural beauty compared to the arid northern regions.

Kassala and the Taka Mountains

Kassala is a picturesque town located near the Ethiopian border, surrounded by the Taka Mountains.

The area is known for its colourful markets, unique landscapes, and historic sites such as the Khatmiyya Mosque.

Nubian Villages

Along the Nile River, you can visit traditional Nubian villages such as Sai Island and Soleb, where you can experience Nubian culture, architecture, and hospitality.

Pyramids of Meroe

Located near the Nile River in northern Sudan, the Pyramids of Meroe are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Sudan's most iconic attractions.

These ancient pyramids were built by the Kingdom of Kush and are renowned for their unique architectural style.

Red Sea Coast

Sudan's Red Sea coast offers pristine beaches, coral reefs, and excellent diving and snorkelling opportunities.

Popular destinations include Port Sudan, Suakin Island, and Sanganeb National Park.

Sudan National Museum

Situated in the capital city of Khartoum, the Sudan National Museum houses a rich collection of artifacts from Sudan's ancient civilisations, including Nubian pottery, Egyptian artifacts, and items from the Kingdom of Kush.

Whirling Dervishes of Omdurman

Omdurman, near Khartoum, is famous for its Sufi ceremonies, where you can witness the Whirling Dervishes perform their spiritual dance rituals.

Republic of South Sudan

In January, 2011 people in the south voted for independence from Sudan.

With Juba as its capital city South Sudan formerly declared its independence on 9th July, 2011; although the region of Abyei still remained disputed.

A separate referendum may be held in the region to decide whether the people of Abyei will join the North or South.

Is it Safe to Visit South Sudan?

Sudan Travel

When planning a trip to Sudan, it's essential to research the current political situation and travel advisories, as well as any entry requirements or visa regulations.

Additionally, consider hiring a local guide or tour operator to assist you in navigating the country and experiencing its attractions safely and responsibly.

Sudan by Rail

While there is a good rail network in Sudan, the rolling stock is fairly old.

Most of the major cities and towns in Sudan are linked by rail.

Trains Run From

Wadi Halfa (on the Nile, near the Egyptian border) to Khartoum.

This line branches at Atbara, for trains to Port Sudan (on the Red Sea).

From Khartoum, the train runs south to Sennar, where the line branches (east) to Kassala and Port Sudan, and (west) to Kosti, Nyala and Wau.

To get to Wau, leave the Nyala-Kosti line at Babanusah. This section was often sabotaged by the SPLM (Sudanese People's Liberation Movement).

Sudan Schedules

Wadi Halfa to Khartoum

Trains are meant to connect with the steamers at Wadi Halfa, although you might find yourself waiting a day or two.

Trains are supposed to depart Wadi Halfa in the late afternoon, on Thursday and Sunday.

North from Khartoum, trains are supposed to leave early mornings on Sunday and Wednesday, the last we heard.

Trains are crowded (there are even people on the roof) and take around 50 hours; if they don't break down.

More interesting than travelling to Khartoum by train, is to follow the course of the Nile.

Trucks leave Wadi Halfa for Kerma (15-30 hrs), then it's another lorry (or shared taxi) to Dongola (2.5 hours).

Cross over the Nile and continue on to Karima (7-10 hours), or take the steamer (if the river is high, from August to December) - two sailings a week, if all goes well, and the journey takes 3 days.

From Karima, you can get on the train for the 36-hour ride to the capital (Wednesday and Sunday). There are also buses: via Shendi, Atbara and Abu Hamed - twice a week, which take about 24 hours.

Khartoum to Kosti

Train schedules are erratic in Sudan but rumour has it that a train leaves Khartoum, for Nyala (via Sennar and Babanusa), on Mondays.

Again, you might want to do the trip in stages - by road. Trucks leave from the souk in Omdurman.

Khartoum to Kosti takes about 4.5 hours and another 4-5 days to Nyala.

From Kosti, there are buses to El Obeid and (by bus or truck) onto Kadugli (5 hrs); an interesting, little town in the Nubian Mountains.

Buses and lorries run from Kadugli to Babanusa (via El Fula).

Khartoum to Port Sudan

The rail route to Port Sudan, via Sennar and Kassala, is miserably slow.

Trucks and buses leave from the Shabi souk (in south Khartoum) early in the morning to Wad Medani, Gedaref, Kassala and Port Sudan.

The journey to Kassala - where the Port Sudan buses stop for the night - takes around seven to nine hours.

Sudan by Boat

Sudan has over 4,000km of navigable waterways; nearly half of them are useable all year.

Sudan by Road

Most of the roads are little more than dirt tracks, made impassable after heavy rains.

A paved road exists between the capital, Khartoum, and Port Sudan; on the Red Sea.

Sudan by Air


Sudan Airways has services throughout the country and operates scheduled international flights. Several foreign airlines also fly into Sudan.

Sudan - Language and Culture

The official language of Sudan is Arabic, although English is widely spoken.

Before the displacement caused by the civil war, the northern two-thirds of Sudan was an area of Islamic culture, while traditional cattle-raising customs remained strong in the south.

Adventures of Sudan

Wild animals. Green river valleys. Endless desert. Red Sea diving. Mountain trekking. Genuine camel caravans. Beautiful people. Nomads. Colourful markets without tourists. 150 ethnic groups. It's all the Sudan.


Khartoum, founded in the early 1820s as an Egyptian military post, is Arabic for elephant's trunk; a referral to the Nile proper that starts just north of the capital.

Map of Khartoum

Map of Khartoum

Bridges cross the Blue Nile to Khartoum North and the White Nile to Omdurman.

During a revolt against Anglo-Egyptian rule, 1884-1885, the city was besieged for ten months and the entire Anglo-Egyptian garrison was massacred.

Khartoum was recaptured by the British in 1898 and it became the capital of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan from 1899 to 1956.

Nubia (Northern Sudan)

Ancient Nubia

The ancient civilisation of northern Sudan existed along with the Egyptian kingdom; between Aswan and Khartoum.

Nubian civilisation had it's own distinct culture.

Sudanese Embassies

Sudan Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Established in January 1956, when Sudan attained independence, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is entrusted with the conduct of the country's foreign policy and the management of its  relations with other countries.

Embassy of the Republic of Sudan in London:
3 Cleveland Row, St. James’s
London SW1A 1DD
United Kingdom

Embassy of the Republic of Sudan in Washington DC:
2210 Massachusetts Ave NW,
Washington, DC.


Darfur, on Sudan’s western border with Chad, is one of the world's poorest and most inaccessible regions.

The region has been the site of recurrent violence since 2003, when the pro-government Janjaweed Arab militia were accused of using systematic rape, as well as killing and destroying the villages of black Africans, in the conflict in Sudan's western Darfur region.

In 2023, analysts traced many of the roots of the latest conflict in Sudan back to the appalling violence and human rights abuses in Darfur from 20 years previously.

Sudan Maps and Travel Guides

Sudan, 3rd (Bradt Travel Guide Sudan) South Sudan (Bradt Travel Guides)

Sudan Travel Guides - Sudan Maps.

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