It is essential to drink plenty water in the heat of Sudan. However water is a problem in many areas. In villages and towns large water jars are placed along the streets for passers by to dip a cup in and take a drink.
In many villages along the Nile the water is clean enough to drink except during the flood season when it takes on the colour of the silt. In towns this phenomenon is also becoming more common, so bottled water is readily available to buy from small shops and supermarkets.
However August 2010 , for example, the town tap water has become discoloured and not pleasant to drink. Even locals have been experiencing stomach disorders. Then the bottled water disappeared from shops because of the increased demand.
A filter is useful , or else be vigilant and boil water before ingesting , or washing fruit and vegetables, as well as for cleaning your teeth.Related to:
- Food and Dining
Be well prepared
If driving in Sudan, especially away from towns, you must be very well prepared.First make sure there is plenty of water , as even a small delay or breakdown can deplete the body's supply.
Have a can of oil. I had an unexpected radiator leak and the overheated engine forced the oil to gush out. Apart from the delay till the engine cooled enough to investigate, we had not enough water to satisfy the children and refill the radiator, so someone had to walk for miles to a village to get some. Luckily I did have a can of oil in the back.
Punctures are common. Or worse. Every main road has burst tyres littering the verge. In town sharp things and nails are the main problem. I had two punctures one morning taking the children to school. But on a long trip it is better to make sure there are two spare tyres. Firstly, garages may not be readily available to repair a puncture, and travelling off road you may be driving over sharp rocks or near thorny trees.
Always check that your tool kit has everything you need and that the jack etc are in good working order. Sand is another problem so a shovel or sand ladder are valuable extras.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Adventure Travel
Is Sudan safe?
According to the locals yes...I had no problems here and I stick out like a sore thumb also. I think compared to other parts of the world, your odds are pretty good here of going home in the same condition you came (assuming you stay out of the conflict zones to the East and the South). Old Omar B for all the bad press he gets runs a tight ship in Khartoum and other parts of the North and Red Sea coast. Two years ago some ding dongs that had a beef with the US and its allies decided it was time to kill a westerner. An American aid worker and his Sudani driver were killed in Omdurman early one morning as a result..those involved were quickly rounded up and would have been executed by now had they not appealed their case. Sudani's do not look kindly at this type of thing as it does not represent them or Islam for that matter. If you are going to be killed by something in Sudan it is most likely kindness. Spend a few minutes standing out on the street waiting for a cab and chances are a local will approach you and ask in broken English or guesture to you if you are ok.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
My friend lived here for 2 years and never took anti-malarials...The idea of taking a daily dose of Malarone or a weekly dose of Larium did not appeal to her...traveled to all the cool places Darfur, Juba, etc...claims she got bit by a mosquito once every three weeks. Do I doubt her? Not at all but I was in Khartoum for two nights when I got my first bites.
Some people call Malaria the African flu..call it what you want, I don't want anything to do with it. As you know it is a parasite..according to the CDC - 5 species can infect humans..you get a fever, chills, body aches etc....and the best thing about it is can take 10 days to several months to show itself...that is what I hate about it.
Check out the CDC website as it has plenty of good info.
The most popular drugs are Malarone..this is taken 1-2 days prior, daily while in country, and for another seven days after you return unless your Dr. tells you otherwise.
Larium is my fav since you only take it once a week which works better for an absent minded schmuck like me.
Try and find a good travel Doc prior to going on a trip and listen to him. I got Malarone for this trip which I am no fan of since I have to take it daily but I am also smart enough not to argue too much with a Dr.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
Register with the Aliens Office
Any visitor to the Sudan has to register with the Aliens office within 3 days of arrival. They need to have passport photos and pay the current fee. Travel within the Sudan will be difficult otherwise, especially if travelling by air within the country. Also when travelling to another town, a traveller is expected to register with the police immediately.
As I have mentioned before, the Sudanese are friendly people , but where bureaucracy is concerned it is best to obey the rules, as even police cells look far from inviting.Related to:
- Road Trip
roads and traffic
Traffic in Sudan has increased enormously in recent years. A real pest is the small 3-wheeled menace , 'ricksha', that darts in and out between ordinary vehicles, making u-turns without warning- and polluting the atmosphere .
Mini buses, buses and ordinary taxis and cars compete with the articulated lorries and oil-tankers. This is particularly true on the south bound road from Khartoum to Wad Madani. The roads can take one vehicle each way in comfort, but passing /overtaking can be hazardous. Drivers drive at speed and as close as possible to the vehicle in front.
Accidents are frequent and often horrendous. The burnt out shells of buses, tankers and cars litter the verges, as well as the carcases of cows, goats and donkeys.
Plans are underway for an alternative route from Port Sudan using the east bank. In the meantime be careful when driving out of town as animals, pedestrians and heavy lorries can cause accidents, as can the potholes.
And don't be distracted by the funny things you see on the vehicle in front of you! Enlarge picture and stand on your head!Related to:
- Road Trip
Don't think Sudan is always hot and dry. The rainy season can extend from May to October, but the number of showers can vary from single figures to many heavy downpours. When it rains heavily, the water soaks into the dry earth, and then forms puddles causing problems for transportation. If there are a number of showers the water accumulates and forms breeding grounds for mosquitos and frogs. The drainage system is non existent- even in Khartoum it cannot cope where it exists. The rain is so heavy that schools will stay closed and offices may be understaffed as only the brave will turn up for work.
Rainwear is not really needed as nobody goes out. We only use an umbrella if going from the house to open the courtyard gates.
When it is likely to rain,the sky turns dark with the heavy rain clouds.Take care if caught in a storm as flash floods are frequent and can hide drainage ditches, potholes etc.Related to:
- Work Abroad
U.S. Department of State Warning
Updated by the United States Department of State on Febraury 6, 2006:
"The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Sudan. Although the two parties to the long-running civil war signed a peace accord in January 2005 to end the war, travel in the south is still dangerous in many locations. Violence continues throughout Darfur, creating a serious humanitarian crisis. Some violence has also been noted in the eastern areas bordering Eritrea.
As noted in previous Travel Warnings for Sudan, the U.S. Government has received indications of terrorist threats aimed at American and Western interests in Sudan. Terrorist actions may include suicide operations, bombings, or kidnappings. U.S. citizens should be aware of the risk of indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets in public places, which include tourist sites and locations where westerners are known to congregate, and commercial operations associated with U.S. or Western interests. As physical security remains high at official facilities, terrorists may turn towards softer targets, such as residential compounds.
Sporadic fighting instigated by militias is often reported in the southern parts of the country. Travel outside of the capital city of Khartoum is potentially dangerous. Threats have been made against foreigners working in the oil industry in Upper Nile state. Travel into southern Sudan requires a visa and a specific travel permit. As a result of violence and banditry, the United Nations has declared many parts of Darfur “No-Go” areas for UN personnel. Due to the potential for banditry and general lawlessness in rural areas, land travel at night should be avoided. The U.S. Government is seriously concerned about aviation safety throughout Sudan.
There have been demonstrations in Khartoum against United States foreign policy in the past. In some instances, demonstrators have thrown rocks at the U.S. Embassy and Westerners. Americans should avoid large crowds and demonstrations. "
Despite attempts to solve the crises over the decades, Sudan can only be described to have been in a civil war for more than two generations. Indeed, the most recent outbreak in the western region of Darfour is a true humanitarian crisis, having displaced millions and killed untold hundreds of thousands. Worse, you cannot count on being completely safe anywhere. Random bombings -- both by governmetn forces and insurgents -- are not at all uncommon.
Water and Food
Great Caution are should be exercised when eating and drinking in Sudan!!
The Hilton Hotel tap water is considered potable, but I did not risk it. Most the time it is advisable to drink bottled products such as Pepsi or soda water.
Beef and lamb are excellent choices at restaurants and considered disease free.
Greens for salads must be washed thoroughly using clorox.
Some dairy products are not pasteurized according to U.S. standards and I would avoid dairy entirely.
Make no mistake, this is a dangerous country. In this respect, nothing seems ot ahve changed much in the past several decades. The regime is authoritarian, which also means arbitrary and seemingly irrational to outsiders and insiders alike. People live in fear, including those working in the government. Worse, the government does not (and never has had) a strong grip on insurgents -- hence, random hijackings like ours. Plan on keeping things simple and staying beneath the radar screen for the best possible experience.
As soon as you get to Kharthoum, you are suppoed to register with the local authorities. Go to the Alien REgistration Office and hope that this costs you only about $20 -- the official rate. Bring a photo with you, becasue getting a photo made locally is cumbersome and expensive, if not outright impossible.
You will need a visa to do anything in this country. The length of the application process may be from several days to several months. If you apply in advance, they may cost you about $50. If you apply in person, the price could be hundreds of dollars, depending on how deperate you appear to depart Kharthoum.
Travelling away from the towns , you may find that you cannot recharge your camera batteries because the plug sizes are not standard. This happened to me so I had to rely on ordinary ones which I bought in large numbers. Unfortunately I fell ill a few days before travelling home and forgot to remove the batteries from my hand luggage. At the final security check at the airport, the officer sitting by the scanning machine pounced on my bag and emptied out my batteries [used, rechargeable and new]. He ranted on about there being far too many of them, and carrying batteries was forbidden. He confiscated all the unwrapped packs, and generously allowed me to keep the rechargeable ones ['because they are expensive'].
So, only put batteries in your checked-in luggage when travelling through Sudanese airports. Or make sure you have multiple size adaptors to take your charger.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Watch the sky
Whether travelling by road or just lounging at home, beware when the sky starts to look red. It is the approach of a haboob or dust storm. Within a very short time the sky will unload what seems like the whole of the desert.
Visibility can become nil. The airport closes down, and drivers are at risk of veering off the road completely even with hazard lights on.
Indoors, all windows have to be shut, and anything outside that can be blown away should be taken indoors or weighted down.
The haboob season is from May to about August.
It has one benefit, it makes the temperature drop.
But it is a housekeeper's nightmare, as everything gets covered by the reddish dust and it infiltrates everything too. How it gets into the houses is a mystery, but it does , no matter how hard you try to prevent it.
Out in the desert , of course, it is a much more dangerous situation.Related to:
- Work Abroad
- Adventure Travel
Africa Road, P.O. Box 12290, Khartoum, Sudan
Good for: Couples
Port Sudan, 79800, Sudan
Good for: Couples
I stayed in this hotel for one month on May 2013. I have honestly found it to be the best hotel in...more
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