Mickey Tarag of 5M Car hire in Khartoum is exceptionally friendly, professional and reasonable on price. He'll rent you a car/4x4/bus with driver at a great rate. During our last visit (Jan '06) we were charged US$90/day for a sedan (which turned out to be a small 4x4 - which was better!) the price included all taxes and driver charge, except petrol.
They cater for the US embassy as well as various local intl. business/tourist travellers.
Mickey is well connected in political and business circles and may prove invaluable to you as he's a local businessman who knows the country and the people.
Not quite a transportation tip, but as it deals with traffic I'm putting it here.
The road system in Khartoum has become quite complicated. The main roads are divided into carriageways, - right hand, left hand, and a wide central carriage way the seems to be dual and gives access to the two outer lanes.
There are also traffic lights at all major cross roads [when the power is off and at busy times traffic police may also be on duty], both the usual type, and the new overhead lights with a timer on the vertical post showing how many second are left before the lights change.
Pedestrians take no notice and will try to cross just as the lights are about to change!
Nowadays Khartoum is facing terrible traffic congestion. In the past taxis, buses and pickups [boksis] were the main means of transport. In recent years minibuses have flooded the town, and the 'rickshas' are like flies round a carcase. They are noisy, do not obey any traffic regulations, making u-turns in the middle of the street, turning off without warning. They are usually driven by youngsters, and unfortunately accidents are frequent. I know two people who were in accidents in one week; one having broken a leg. They are the least expensive way of getting around and do not follow a fixed route so can deliver passengers to the door.
Recently they have been banned from using the main roads- though some cheeky drivers will drive several hundred meters on the wrong side of the street to access a side street rather than finding an official opening.
English speaking cab drivers are not always that easy to find in Khartoum. Mohemed speaks good English and while not the cheapest ride in town, he can get you where you need to go. He tends to work out of the Bougainvilla guest house a bit. He can do longer trips out of Khartoum but you will need to negotiate with him with him on price though.
Raksha, a 3-wheeled motorcycle which resembles the infamous Tuk-Tuk in Thailand, is a common mode of transportation in Khartoum. Popular with the locals and those desperate enough, the fare on the raksha is pricier than the local bus but cheaper than a taxi. A ride to your destination will cost you minimum SDG3 (US$1.50). If you need a ride, you can hail one quite easily but better if you know a little Arabic because you will need to explain to them where you want to go
Bear in mind that Raksha drivers are fearless, often driving against traffic and cutting in front of other vehicles when trying to cross a junction. If you are a foreigner, expect to be charged higher and don't be surprised the engine breaks down in mid-journey
It's quite easy to recognize a taxi here, they're the ones painted in bright yellow. However, the paint might be the newest addition to the vehicles. The taxis resemble vehicles taken from the junkyard, pieced together and reborn as cabs. Expect no radio, no air-con and or in some cases, no working windows or doors. Once it moves, you'll feel like it will fall apart after a few meters.
Fares are about SDG5 (US$2) but if you're a foreigner, expect to pay more. Once, I paid SDG10 for a 1km ride. Nevertheless, it is the option for convenience especially when you have stuff to bring or when you have extra company. So far, I have seen ONE decent taxi, parked in front of a 5-star hotel. It was relatively new and looked like it had aircon & radio. There is hope yet
Quality of taxis have improved in the past years so you're able to get a decent one in town. Prices are still on the high side though
There is a brand new bus terminal for buses heading south. It is quite a bit south of the airport. I went there by taxi, so I can’t say exactly where it is.
But the taxi drivers will know. I paid SDG 15 for the taxi trip from Central Khartoum.
In order to enter the terminal, you have to buy a token from one of the cashier windows around the parking area. With this token, you can enter the terminal area through a revolving gate. The luggage enters over a kind of short conveyor belt.
When you get out of the taxi, a lot of guys with blue carts will offer you their services to carry your luggage to the bus. It is a good idea to hire one of these guys as they will show you exactly from where your bus leaves and where to buy the ticket. But you have to negotiate the price firmly. Don’t pay more than SDG 5.
The terminal consists of several modern buildings where you can buy the tickets and wait for the bus. The buildings are air-conditioned and very clean. The buses leave wait directly in front of these buildings. But you have to know exactly from where you us leaves.
I traveled to El Obeid (Al Ubayid) and the ticket cost SDG 49 for the air-conditioned luxury bus.
When you give your luggage to be charged on the bus, they will stick a label on your bags and write your seat number on it. And then they write the number of pieces of luggage on your ticket. This is a very neat system.
The Rishkas written about by Bornea Girl are really a vry good way to get around, if you are a little adventurous.
But I have discovered that they are now banned from Central Kahrtoum. If you are in Omdurman or Khartoum 2 and 3, Amarat, etc. they are veryuseful. But don't expect them to take you to Central Khartoum (between the railway line and the Nile), they are not allowed to go there anymore.
In this area you have to rely on the taxis or the Amjaad (blue micro-buses) that are much more expensive.
Imported from India are the (in)famous rakshas, also known as tuktuks. These small three-wheeled moped taxis will take you around Khartoum, unless you're going to the other side of the city (then you better take a "regular" taxi). The rakshas are usually a fun and uhm.. interesting way to get around the city. The drivers seem to compete in how much they can decorate the small front windows. There are teddybears hanging everywhere, neon light bulbs, plastic flowers and you name it. The driver is usually pretty funny too. Price is between 100-500 dinars, negotiate it before you get in the raksha.
This is the central bus station called Arabian Market (souq arabi) full of buses in and out.. throw Khartoum triple capital,,, the Great mosque the vocal point and the buses lines and markets around..
but let me tell u something... this bus transportation is very deficult!.. the station are unnamed.. the buses destination wrote in the bus body unfortunately in Arabic.. the buses way is without road station.. and any passenger could stop the bus everywhere!!.. u have to clap with ur fingers to notice the driver that u arrived ur station (just like when u call the waiter in such a restuarent) or u can say (garsa!) :)
forget about all these bla bla .. and use the taxi,,, but u have to know that most of taxi drivers do not speak more than Arabic
The best way to get to Khartoum is by plane. I went from Paris directly to Khartoum by Air France. I left by Egypt Air to Cairo. I am not sure if the railway is still going. It used to be possible to reach Khartoum by train from the Egyptian border.
If you wanna cross the Nile one way to do it is by ferry. There are ofcourse also buses and taxis going around in the city.
PHOTO: A FERRY CROSS THE NILE IN KHARTOUM NEAR THE FRIENDSHIP PALACE HOTEL.
Having travelled in Asia and elsewhere, I'm used to overcrowded, rusted buses that you can only pray you'll come out of alive. However, the buses in Khartoum are a pleasant surprise.
In the small minibuses you're virtually guaranteed a seat and although you will almost certainly get next to the largest, loudest lady on the bus and her bags and bags of shopping, they're reasonably comfortable and cheap. Fares are a flat rate and judged by the bus's final destination rather than yours but rarely more than 600 pounds (20p) for anywhere in the city, including the far edges of Omdurman. Music is played loud, which is fine, but try to avoid those with prayer tapes - no religious offence intended but a tape of the Koran being read by a 70 year old with a croaking voice for half an hour at full volume while stuck in traffic in 40 degree heat is NOT FUN!!!!
The larger buses are more crowded, much slower, but half the price. They're still not actually that bad but I'd recommend the minibuses.
To get on simply stand at the roadside and stick out your hand; to get off click your fingers at the conductor (commisari) or make a hissing noise. Getting a minibus outside of the main stations can be more difficult as they are often full.
The trickiest bit is working out where they're going - they don't have destinations written on them or route numbers (even in Arabic) - they tell you the destination by pointing and waving hands in certain directions. It'll take a bit of getting used to! But if you get to the wrong place, just get on another bus the other side of the road - they nearly all end up in or very near Souk Arabi.
The public transport system in Khartoum and Omdurman is cheap and fairly regular. The cheapest way to get around the city is by bus, sometimes called a hafla which is also confusingly the same word for party...but buses in Khartoum are by no means a party....they are crowded to the extreme! To stop a bus, you have to click your fingers and hiss through your teeth, and the fare varies between 300 and 600 pounds per journey. Smaller minibuses called amjads are slightly faster and usually cost 1000 pounds per journey. Rickshaws (for short journeys) and taxis are the expensive alternatives, although this does depend on your bargaining skills.
The main transport hub in Khartoum is Souk Arabi, a huge chaotic square intersected with markets and a large imposing mosque. On the east side of the mosque, buses depart for Omdurman and Bahri, while on the west side the destinations are mainly in Khartoum. Over in Omdurman, Shuhada seems to be the main place to find a bus.
I arrived in Khartoum on Sudan Airways from London Heathrow...a somewhat haphazard affair which was delayed a number of hours first at London, then at Paris where someone was being deported but blatantly didn't want to go....we sat on the plane for 3 hours while they screamed and fought with police, although it more than made up for the lack of in-flight entertainment. The plane continued on to Bangui (CAR) and Moroni (Comores), and to be honest, I didn't envy those passengers...legroom was minimal, meals were awful and served in the middle of the night when no one wanted to eat, and luggage disappeared on arrival in Khartoum. All that for £564...not exactly a bargain!
TAXIS ARE NOT EXPENSIVE. DOWNTOWN PRICES AROUND 10 SUDANESE POUND (5$) ... I ADVISE YOU TO FIX THE PRICE BEFORE GET IN THE CAR.