Bring it all with you
Luggage and bags: Soft bags are most suitable for transporting by camel. A daypack to carry your day to day necessities.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Comfortable, well worn in footwear is a must. Some people find that walking boots become too hot in the desert. Wear whatever you feel most comfortable with. A pair of sandals or flip flops are great for lounging around camp at night.
Loose, comfortable clothing is important for camel riding. Shorts are not suitable.
Bring long sleeved shirts for protection against the sun.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring everything you need.
I find that J-cloths are more suitable than flannels, you can discard them on the fire at the end of each day. Wet wipes are very useful, you are unlikely to get much water for washing. Alcohol-based no-water hand wash is great for cleaning your hands between washes.
Toilet paper. This must be burned, not buried. Matches.
Talcum powder. Useful for sprinkling in socks to avoid blisters.
Blister treatment kits such as Compeed. Plasters. Painkillers.
Suntan lotion. Insect repellant.
Washing kit and towel
Photo Equipment: Bring more film than you think you will need and enough batteries to last you the duration of the trip. There is nowhere to recharge batteries once you're in the desert.
Desert sand is very fine and can easily get into a camera. Bring some protection for your camera such as a sealable plastic bag or waterproof housing.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Tents are provided, as are lovely thick mattresses. Bring your own sleeping bag and pillow. It can get quite cold in the desert at night.
Chairs are not provided, so if you are not comfortable sitting on the ground for eating/relaxing, bring a small collapsable camping / fishing chair.
A hat or other head gear is a must!
Windproof jacket and or fleece for those chilly evenings and sand storms.
Miscellaneous: It is a good idea to bring a few snacks with you for those days when dinner is late, or you just need a boost before the next meal. I find dried fruit, cereal bars and Lucozade tablets to be great!
A water carrier with a hose is really useful for keeping yourself hydrated while on camel back. Make sure it holds at leasat two litres.
A torch is impreative, head torch being much more useful, leaving your hands free to eat, pack etc. Remember spare batteries / bulb.
Pocket knife (do not pack in hand luggage for flight).
- Adventure Travel
Luggage and bags: backpacks and soft luggage is preferable if travelling around. Hard cases are likely to get badly scratched or damaged.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Loose cotton clothes.
Stong shoes for walking, flipflops for relaxing.
Rain is not often a problem, and a sweater is only needed at night in winter , especially in the northern provinces where ice may form on water .
A shawl is useful for women.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: In Khartoum most things can be found, but not out in the provinces.
Medicines can be bought over the counter without prescription.
Toilet paper is a must if travelling outside town- and not a bad idea to have or a packet of tissues at all times., or wet wipes. Toilets are frequently just holes in the ground, and water may not be at hand.
Anti-diarrhoea tablets, anti-malaria tablets, paracetamol, iodine and plasters, sunscreen, calamine lotion are all sensible precautionary items.
Photo Equipment: film and batteries can be found in Khartoum. If buying batteries in the provinces they may be expired and useless, so always stock up
Digital camera users may not find electrical points for using rechargers, so stock up with batteries., or have adaptors to fit different types of socket both 2 and 3 pin.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: ordinary camping is risky as there are scorpions and snakes in most rough areas. A sleeping bag may be useful if travelling to the north from December to February.
Miscellaneous: A good torch with batteries is essential. Power failure in towns is common, and still many villages have no electricity, or it is erratic; though the situation is improving rapidly since the construction of the Merowe dam...Related to:
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Luggage and bags: bags that won't get spoiled by dust or manhandling
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: The Sudan his hot most of the year, but being an Islamic country means you cannot go bare-chested [men] or bare-armed [women]. In fact it is unwise to do so as the strong sun can cause severe sunburn, even on a cloudy day. This means light natural materials are best as synthetics only make you sweat more. Loose clothing is also better than tight , as nasty rashes can occur. High heeled shoes are a menace to walk in, as the road surfaces are uneven, and pavements do not exist except in new areas. A scarf or hat is useful for keeping the sun off the back of the neck and face, as well as the top of your head.
In winter [Nov-March] a shawl or light sweater can be useful.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Toiletries are available and so are many medicines, but they can be expensive, so it is best to bring your own supplies.Medicines can be bought over the counter without prescription.
Nowadays toilet tissue can be found in the capital, but wet wipes are very useful especially if travelling away from modern toilets.
Photo Equipment: Bring your own , and good batteries even for digital cameras as many rechargeable units do not fit the local sockets.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Camping is not recommended.
Beach gear is rarely needed and women particularly cannot swim in bikinis or swimsuits except in clubs .
Miscellaneous: Alcohol is forbidden, so be careful not to bring any into the country.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Study Abroad
Things you won't find here...
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Clothes are available fairly cheaply, although you won't find top quality designer clothes. Likewise, shoes are cheap, but tend to fall apart quite quickly...you can get them repaired for a couple of coins by the shoeshine boys in the streets, but there are only so many times that you can sew them back together again! Many foreigners here wear sports sandals, which are practical in the heat, but you will have to buy them before you come to Sudan.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Most things are available for a price in Khartoum, but the selection is limited elsewhere. One thing I haven't yet found is a deodorant stick, and I am reliably informed that tampons are also rare. Bring enough suncream and mozzie repellent to last, and leave any excess with sunburnt and bitten expats like me! Malaria tablets are available cheaply here...no need for prescription, you just buy doxycycline over the counter at the pharmacy. Tap water is OK here, but if you're on holiday, you might not want to risk catching anything...a water-filter in a bottle is an excellent idea, or use water purification tablets, or stick to bottled water.
Photo Equipment: Photo labs sell films, often good quality, and can develop your prints fairly well, although APS cameras have yet to reach this part of the earth. If you plan to do a bit of travelling, or are here for the long-term, then you'll need passport photos galore...several labs in Khartoum do them, but check that they have a white background as some ministries do not accept the colour "beauty photos" which are so popular here. Camera batteries are also hard to find..
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: You are unlikely to camp in Sudan, and the beaches here are not for lying on, so I can leave those categories. If you intend to do some sort of activity, such as hiking or diving, then it is best to bring all your equipment with you, as you will be hard pushed to find anything here.
Miscellaneous: Patience is useful for ministries, and a sense of humour is essential for bus travel. Batteries are useless here (Nilepower best of a bad bunch), so a solar-powered battery recharger could prove useful, especially as there is no shortage of sun here. If you don't like heat, then a portable fan can come in handy, but don't expect it to go unnoticed...my friend has one, and she ends up the centre of attention every time she uses it!
Season of Migration to the North
Miscellaneous: Season of Migration to the North, by Tayeb Salih, is far and away the most famous Sudanese book, although you won't find many copies on general sale in Khartoum as the explicit sexual content didn't go down too well with government censors.
The book deals with differences between Africa and the West, looking at the very different lifestyles of the main character (drawn partly from the experiences of the author) at home in a small Sudanese village on the Nile and away in England studying at Oxford University, particularly in terms of sexual relations.
This is regarded as a classic of Arabic literature not just Sudanese, in which case I think it’s a bit overrated and disappointingly simple. But it’s a good entertaining story and without a doubt the book that foreigners read when coming to the country.
Books to read
Miscellaneous: It's always good to read up a little about the history and culture of a country you're visiting so here's a few books about Sudan. I'll keep adding to it as I remember more...
Me Against My Brother, by Scott Petersen, is a journalist's account of his experiences covering horrific wars in Rwanda, Somalia and Sudan.
Emma's War by Deborah Scroggins is a fairly recent book about an English aid worker who married Riek Machar, an SPLA rebel commander. It looks at the aid industry and the recent political history of Sudan.
Containing an interesting chapter on overseas aid to Sudan, amid other stories from Africa and Asia, is Famine Crimes by Alex de Waal
The Weekenders is a book of short stories by some of Britain's foremost writers (Irvine Welsh, Alex Garland, WF Deedes...) inspired by their weekend trip to camps in South Sudan. It was supposed to bring attention to the problems of Sudan and I suppose it was pretty successful, but I thought it was pretty rubbish overall.
It's hot, hot and did I say hot here?
Luggage and bags: Screw a suitcase here. Packs are the way to go..easy and comfortable to carry here. It is only humid in the South for the most part so don't worry about sweating too much as it evaporates quickly on your skin so you do not have to worry about the stinky cloths smell as much.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: a nice light pair of comfortable walking shoes..I had a pair of Columbia boots that I like because they are good all around travle shoes but some regular day hiking shoes will work fine also..stick to light hiking pants..shorts may work in Port Sudan but in Khartoum you are going to glow in the dark.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: You can find most of what you need in Khartoum..with all the Aid workers here you can find just about anything here for a price.
Photo Equipment: If you want to head out to the Red Sea and do not plan to stay on a dive boat but want to snorkel or dive..bring a waterproof camera...I forgot to buy a cheap disposable one and if you try and find one the Indian shops in Port Sudan are going to be your best bet..bring one from home to be safe.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: If you are going to camp bring all your gear..you are not in Cuzco. I also did not see alot of mosquito nets hanging in the hotels so you might want to bring one or some wipes/repellent.
Miscellaneous: A small torch. The power did not go out here like it did in Addis but then again I was not here in the summer when everyone with a/c has it on. Bring a few good books if you are headed out of Khartoum unless you like to daydream. Also an emergency roll of tp helps if you are not fond of the splash and wipe methods of the ME.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring your proof of vaccinations, which are legally required prior to entry, though rarely checked. Still, I would not want to travel here without my documents in order. Moreover, there is a real risk of contracting an infectious disease when traveling in the country, including: Yellow Fever; tetanus; measles; Poliomyelitis; cerebrospinal meningitis; typhoid; and hepatitis 'A'.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: It's hard to strike a balance between preparation for temperatures of more than 100 degrees fahrenheit, while also figuring out how to cover your bare arms so as not to offend. Still, you must try to do this. Similarly, shorts are a red flag.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring a good first aid kit.
Photo Equipment: Strongly discouraged.
Miscellaneous: Times heals all wounds, right? In all seriousness, if you must visit this place, bring one of the many great books that have been wrtitten about the fascinating history of this region. If serious history is not your hthing and you want a fun (but informative) book on the history of the battle for Khartoum, try the old classic G.A. Henty book: The Dash for Khartoum: A Tale of the Nile Expedition. I've got and have read the old book and here is how the dustjacket describes it:
"In the record of recent British history there is no more captivating page for boys than the story of the Nile campaign, and the attempt to rescue General Gordon. For, in the difficulties which the expedition encountered, in the perils which it overpassed, and in its final tragic disappointments, are found all the excitements of romance, as well as the fascination which belongs to real events. "
Africa Road, P.O. Box 12290, Khartoum, Sudan
Good for: Couples
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