I just want to share the little that I have found so far from researching my upcoming move to Sudan. From what I can gather (mainly from a birding trip report by Ola ellestrom from http://www.travellingbirder.com/birdwatching/birding_Sudan.php) the best birding site around Khartoum is Tuti Island, located where the Niles meet. This was particularly good when he visited during autumn migration, but he also had good birds when he visited in winter. The best general information is on the website of the African Bird Club (http://www.africanbirdclub.org/countries/Sudan/introduction.html).
There is only one guide that properly covers the country, but it is from 1955 and is apparently very out of date (Birds of Sudan: their identification and distribution by Francis Cave). Other guides cover areas to the north (Hollom et al, Birds of the Middle East and North Africa), west (Borrow and Demey, Field Guide to the Birds of Western Africa), south (Stevenson and Fanshawe, Field Guide to Birds of East Africa) and east (Redman et al, Birds of the Horn of Africa). These are the ones that are recommended but I have yet to receive copies of most of them as I currently live in Mongolia. Another important book seems to be Nikolaus' Distribution Atlas of Sudan's Birds with Notes on Habitat and Status.
I hope to write up some information on birding in the country when I get there.
Molochiya is a traditional dish found all over the Middle east. In Egypt they use rabbit as the meat, but in Sudan they prefer to use mutton,the fattier the better, like the sheep's tail.
The basic ingredients are onions fried and then boiled with the meat. Salt pepper, coriander and garlic are added.
A large bunch of Jew's mallow is then brought, stripped of the leaves which are washed and dried, and then chopped finely with a mezzeluna. When the stew base is well cooked, the molochiya is added to the stew and cooked for a short time. The end result is a slimey green stew, which tasted delicious. It is much appreciated, especially in the hotter months.
Some people make it but leave the leaves whole and then use a mufraka . a stick with a small moonshaped end, to break the leaves down to mush. It is also customary to add a handful of fresh dill leaves and a teaspoonful of bicarbonate. The end result is a brighter and more viscous mixture which is then poured over a bowl of kisra, or even rice.
This is eaten as a lunch dish.
It tastes much better than it sounds!
See video to find out how the leaves are prepared
hey dude, hope this ain't late but port sudan has got some of the diving in on the red sea if not possibly the best in th world. here is a link that may help you in you you diving excursion. http://www.scuba.co.uk/Travel/Red_Sea/Sudan/sudandiving.htm
nb: pictures scanned from a post card.
I just attended an international reception where a local folklore group performed. The group of singers and dancers are very interesting. One of the group introduced the various instruments they use- from different kinds of drums and stringed instruments, gourds floating in water , and different sized pieces of wood which are beaten like a xylophone. The music played and dances performed cover different areas of the country with the various tribal traditions. These included dances from the Nuba mountains, from the Zande in Southern Sudan, Nubians from the north, stick dancing from the the east, Sufi drumming and twirling, as well as from the west of Sudan.
The audience participated by clapping and then even got up and joined in the dancing. To see Arabs from Saudi Arabia, Finns, Africans, Lebanese, Italians, Cypriots, Sudanese men in jellabiyas, and other Europeans all dancing together and having fun, made me wish such occasions were more common.
So, visitors to Sudan should try to see some of the local traditional dancing by attending such performances, attending wedding parties or going to see the Dervishes in Omdurman. Not many countries have such diverse music and dancing.
If you find yourself landing here unexpectedly with KLM or some other airline, you might as well make the most of it. Wave at the ground staff and security guards. You have about 1 hour with nothing to do, so be friendly. All the ground guys waved back.
Well, it entertained me.
Weddings are usually held at weekends [Thursday and Friday evenings], but it is not obligatory. Also during the Eid days they are very common as families congregate to celebrate the Eid, which means more family can attend.
When there is a wedding the outside of the bridal houses will be decorated, usually with lights, and a tent will be erected near the house for the guests to sit in. The bridal couple sit on a decorated dais [the 'kosha'].The groom may also wave a sword around and be carried o the shoulders of his friends.
Although invitations are issued if there is a reception at a club, in towns, it is still common for people to welcome anyone who comes to the tent or private house, so don't be embarrassed. Hopefully some will say 'et fadul, marhaba' = come in, welcome.
You will probably be given a soft drink and a plate of food, and can sit and listen to a group playing and watch [even join in] the dancing.
Women wear brightly coloured tobes and lots of gold. Older men often to prefer to wear national dress. little girls may wear imitation wedding dress. Tthe whole scene is very colourful.
For a fun, week long adventure, buy a train ticket in Khartoum to Wadi Halfa......the northern most city in Sudan, right on the border of Egypt. It is a two-day train journey and prepare to get dirty, but what a wonderful experiece it is. You take the train up to Atbara along the Nile, and then on to Abu Hamed, where the Nile turns west. From here, the train cuts straight through the nubian desert up to Wadi Halfa. Be sure to sit next to a window to see the Nile, and the ocean of desert that you will cross. Along the way, children in the villages will run along side the train and hope you throw out a little gift for them. It is fun to watch them race to the cookies or ball or whatever you throw out.
Once in Wadi Halfa, take a couple days to stay in one of the many small hotels. Be warned that most of the places have a row of beds in a courtyard where everyone sleeps together. You are not going to want to sleep inside....I promise. I would say there is little to nothing to do in Wadi Halfa. See the lake, meet all the neat people travelling overland from Egypt, eat local food, and smoke shisha. After a few days, take the train back to Khartoum, and clean up.
This is a tough trip and is not for the person looking for comfort....it is an adventure beginning to end. But, if you are reading about travelling in Sudan, I highly doubt you are looking for comfort.
1. Ozone cafe nice place to chill out and meet local as well as expats location Khartoum 2
2. Omdurman souks..nice souvenirs and gift shops
3. Hilton hotel...poolside restaurant and also Shee-Sha!!!!
4. Little India Restaurant for those who fancy some true indian dish..location Khartoum 2
5. White Nile River
Outside Khartoum there has also been a lot of development in the past decade. from being flat , desert landscape, there are now towns on both sides of the road, including the new industrial city of Giad.
The Gezira province still produces most of the agriculture in the country, irrigated by canals
With the increase in traffic, the roads have become more dangerous, but there are plenty of places to stop and refresh yourself with food and beverages.
However, all this development inevitably brings negative factors too. Everywhere you go polythene bags are stuck on trees and fences, or litter the roadside.
Everyone who writes about the Middle East mentions felafel. It is called taamiya in Sudan. It is made from minced chickpeas and deep fried. The ingredients vary from one person to another either adding onion, garlic, parsley, dill, egg or not as the case may be. Then spices are always salt, pepper, coriander and red chili pepper [optional], a pinch of bicarbonate of soda is added too.
The mixture is formed into flattened balls and deep frieduntil golden.
It is commonly eaten at breakfasrt or in the evening as a snack . It can be bought at takeaway places, or outside shops.
A bag of 10 costs 100SD at my local man illustrated below.
Because of the extreme heat [well into the 40s] any shade is welcome, and if there is the river nearby, it is all the better. People like to walk along the Nile , though swimming may not be wise unless on the outskirts of town.
Part of the development in Khartoum is the extension of the Nile Corniche. It was quite a surprise to see people enjoying themselves sitting having picnics, relaxing on the grass or just strolling along the side of the Nile. Khartoum was sadly lacking in open areas for public relaxation when I left 6 years ago. Now this is changing ,with parks, gardens and cafes springing up everywhere.
This dam was completed in 1937 and is approximately 25 to 30 miles south of Khartoum on the Jebel Awlia road. 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 pelican, herons, kingfisher, wader, 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 -- though bring along suitable wrapping and ice/coolers for any fish purchased!
This is situated opposite the Mahdi's tomb. Once the home of the Mahdi's successor, the house was built of mud and brick in 1887, and is now a museum. It contains relics from Mahdiyya battles, including guns, war banners and suits of mail. An interesting collection of photographs depicts the city of Khartoum at the time of the Mahdi's revolt and its subsequent occupation by the British.
On the death of the Mahdi in 1885, the Mahdi's body was entombed in a silver-domed mosque in Omdurman. This was completely destroyed by Kitchener in 1898, when the Mahdi's body was burned and his ashes thrown into the river. In 1947 the Mahdi's son had the mosque and tomb rebuilt. Not surprisingly, it is closed to foreigners, but can be viewed from the outside.
Africa Road, P.O. Box 12290, Khartoum, Sudan
Good for: Couples
This is an excellent hotel with clean and comfortable rooms, everything that you would want. The...more
My wife and I lived in the Burj Al-Fateh Hotel for 5 months. The staff (and there's plenty of them)...more
More Regions in Sudan