The area called Soba lies about 12 km south of Khartoum Formerly agricultural land, it is now being encroached upon by housing and small industrial enterprises.
We lived here for 18 years when working at the Forest Rangers' College, This has now become part of Sudan University Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. There is also a Research Station in the same complex. Nearby is Soba University Training Hospital, originally built by the Russians as a Chest Hospital.
Between these two places beside the river is the dairy farm and factory where Capo Yoghurt and milk products are produced. Entering this site is liking being taken into a different world- clean, organised and modern.
Along the river there used to be farms , but now resthouses are replacing these. Brick kilns and allotments too were to be found and when there was a high flood as in 1986, everything would be submerged in water. It used to be popular with expats for picnics, swimming and launching their boats, but I suspect all that has changed.
A few km further south is Soba Village which itself has been expanding over the past decades. And nearby is Soba Aradi where displaced people live.
2012 update. The whole area is different with a modern green golf course where there used to be the arboretum and railway. New housing complexes are springing uptoo, and it no longer seems a long way from Khartoum. It is being swallowed up !
Jebel Olea is about an hour South of Khartoum. It is basically a big dam and some of the pictures I took here were no no's. It is a great place to spend a morning as there is a small fish market along the side of the road. Bring your photo permit here and check in with the local security man....I got some cool photos here watching the locals throw nets off the dam and go out in their boats.....a Russian/Sudan Air Force helicopter also made a low pass while I was here but I was too slow with the camera to catch it.
Omdurman Boat Yard is situated along the Nile and on the edge of the Abu Roaf district of Omdurman.
The method of building boats has been around since the Nubians. Local boat builders cut tree trunks and shape them into traditional style boats which are still used today. The trade is in danger of disappearing since fast development is ongoing in the region. You will also find small stalls selling small pieces of wood and wooden cups used for burning incense.
The Battle of Omdurman actually took place in the Kerari battlefield, about 11km north of Omdurman present. Along the west bank of the Nile River, you will see the old mud fortress walls just outside of Omdurman.
The fortress was built to protect and watch out for the British approaching from the Nile. There is no admission fee to enter the site
Muhammad Ahmad Ibn As-sayyid 'abd Allah or El Mahdi was a great man in Khartoum who unfortunately died 5 months after the fall of Khartoum in 1885. In his honor, the people built a spectacular tomb for him with a silver dome. During the Battle of Omdurman in 1898, Lord Kitchener destroyed Mahdi's Tomb but later was restored to its present state.
The local Sudanese muslims consider this tomb as very important and every Friday, religious men come to the tomb's compound to sing songs of the man.
There is no admission fee to enter the compound but you are not allowed into the building, unless invited. Luckily while I was there, one of the religious men let me in to get a closer look at the tomb. Please remember that this is considered a sacred place and therefore, you must cover your arms & legs as a sign of respect
A visit to the Sufi school is fascinating and very rewarding. The school takes boys from all around the area both those who can afford to pay and others who are subsidised by donations.
Sufism is associated with both Sunni and Shi'a muslims, but encompasses other religions found around the world. The essence of Sufism is to let go of the self and realise divine unity with beauty truth and god.
You can walk around the grounds and watch the boys learning and they are very curious and friendly. You can also go inside the temple but cannot take photographs and must not watch people praying.
Technically this is not in Khartoum as it is 250km or so to the North, but you can do it in a day trip from Khartoum with a good vehicle and driver.
It is worth the trip because there is nobody there apart from the ticket sellers and the guys trying to sell camel rides. You can get some good tourist-free photos here, and it is a pleasant site to explore as it is not too vast, although there is little shade and it is very hot.
The site was the capital of the Cushite kingdom between 300BC and 350AD and contains the pyramids, burial chambers, a temple and the remains of a palace. The ruins suggest this was a very important city in its time. The pyramids have no tops because an Italian archaelogist blew the tops of thinking there was gold inside them.
There are some restorations which are pretty bad patching up efforts but they don't detract from the general enjoyment of the site as a whole.
You can have a short camel ride down from the pyramids to the gate, but I thought the camels were a lot thinner than those I have been on before and I didn't feel very secure.
Since Khartoum is landlocked, you can't enjoy a day at the beach unless you take an excursion to Tuti Island, the island right in the middle of the confluence of the White & Blue Niles.
Each year, the the rivers rise and recede to reveal a little beach on the east side of Tuti Island. This normally occurs after the rainy season and during the "winter". From the beach, you get fabulous views of Palace Hotel & the Presidential Palace.
Getting here is a little tricky because there are no roads to the beach. From Khartoum, you will have to take a ferry across to Tuti Island, then take a bajaj and walk through someone's farm before you arrive at the beach. To me, it was a fun trip with friends and it's always nice to feel real sand between my toes again.
Tuti Island is a crescent shaped island situated at the confluence of the White & Blue Niles, and is surrounded by the three major areas of Khartoum that are Khartoum city, Omdurman & Bahri. For 1½ years, I've only been able to look at this island from across the banks but I finally got the chance to step on the island and do a little exploring
This is a great place to "get away" from Khartoum without getting away from Khartoum because the island not linked to the mainland by any bridges. To get there, you will have to take a short boat ride across the Nile, either from Nile Street or Omdurman.
Tuti Island is mainly agricultural and where Khartoum gets most of its supply of fruits & vegetable and therefore, you can find many farms situated all around the island, many of them still using manual methods of farming. You will find acres of green fields & lime groves and riding through them, I sometimes forget that I am actually in the heart of Khartoum!
Life here is slower and people are friendly, no one will harass you or ask you for money except that they will be curious about you, especially if you're a foreigner. This is a lovely escape from the traffic, noise & monotonous brown color of Khartoum. However, a bridge between Khartoum & Tuti Island is currently under construction and I don't know how long before this way of life will change
Sejana from its name derives from the word 'prison'. I don't know if there was once a prison in this area or if prison workers lived here. Nowadays it is an area of workshops for artisans , auto part salesmen, building construction materials and the like, as well as being a residential area. If you want anything in the hardware line or gardening equipment too, this is the area to come to. There are also schools and mosques for those who live in the area. It is not an attractive area because this is where people work, not sit in air-conditioned offices.
Khartoum is UGLY! i dont have to convince anybody of that!... or even does not need a high IQ to recognise...
but guess what .. Sudanese realy friendly.. and like to talk to foreigners and catch them in the street... and also they are realy honest if u need to ask some one or loose ur destination..
also.. there are so many places u thought it's out of this country.. and some places are pretty charmed and with defferent manners..
u have to be an discoverer.. and find out what is realy suites u.. Sudanese will tell u about the places they think it's good for them... and sometimes these places are not ur type..
South of the railway line, you enter the richer areas of Khartoum, the first one imaginitively named Khartoum 2. Filled with fenced0off villas, posh clubs and well-guarded embassies, there isn't much to really see around here, but if you've spent a long time in Sudan, a walk up the main shopping street towards Amarat, another upmarket suburb, will give you a taste of life beyond Sudan's borders. Supermarkets are big enough to warrant the use of a trolley, which you can fill with all sorts of imported nonsense if you've enough dinars (or dollars) for it. This is where you'll find music shops selling copied CDs instead of badly-produced cassettes, white chocolate Kit-Kats outnumber the more humble Nity in shop fridges, and boxes of Pringles and even pork products can be tracked down if you know where to look. Restaurants abound, mostly of the fast-food variety (look out for Pizza-Hat and Lucky M with its golden arches) but Indian, Chinese, Korean, Turkish and Ethiopian are all represented here. Further south, you come to Arkawit (where I used to teach in a secondary school) and the huge new Akmerkez Turkish Shopping Mall...not for tourists, but expats and rich Sudanese flock here every day for the multi-plex cinema, the bowling alley, designer clothes shops and capuccino bars. Nearby are two large funfairs, designed with kids in mind but attracting mainly young couples and groups of students.
This was one of the most bizarre sights I saw in Sudan - and something that nearly all tourists miss. To see it you'll have to take a boat along the Blue Nile (not always easy but ferry tours can sometimes be arranged) - you can only see it from a certain point of the river (near the Bahri Bridge to Khartoum North) and because of the required angles and light it doesn't work if you're on foot and look from the road either side of the river.
As the boat reaches the bridge, look back towards Khartoum and two otherwise mundane concrete tower blocks are suddenly noticeable for two crosses of light that appear between them. Given the accusations of religious persecution against Christians in Sudan it's quite an amazing sight and there are many stories surrounding it told by Southern Christians. Some say that Southerners employed as slaves to build the towers were mistreated and designed it like this as revenge; others say it's a message from God to avenge the towers being built on the grounds of a demolished church; or simply a message of hope to Christians in Sudan. Of course most just think it's a bizarre, accidental quirk of design. Whatever the story behind it, seeing the light shine through so powerfully in the form of a cross and the fact that it can only be seen at a certain point, makes for quite an impact even if you're not religious.
Tutti Island lies in the Nile between Khartoum, al-Bahri and Omdurman. Surrounded by city on all sides, Tutti has one very small village and lots of open fields. A very traditional place, but bring drinks etc, as there is not much here. You can get there by taking a boat from Khartoum or Omdurman. For more photos, visit my travelogue below ;@P
Next to the new Chinese Bridge, on the banks of the White Nile, lies Sunt Forest, a popular local picnic spot. Calling it a forest is a bit optimistic, but yes, there are trees here, and it can be pleasant to sit in the shade and relax...there isn't anything else to do! Be wary of the monkeys above, particularly if you plan on having a bite to eat...they will want to join in, and are obviously used to getting their own way. Rather like the dodgy figures who patronise the forest towards sunset...we ran into some would-be thieves, which spoiled our day, even though they got away with nothing more than a quick grope...don't come alone, and don't be fooled by the "we're police" line...just keep walking!