If your passport stamp shows youve been from Israel, you may be denied entry in Khartoum. Thats the policy in Sudan. Also, on top of your visa, you are required by law to register within 10 days from arrival, at the nearest local police station of the district you are staying, else you will be fined, held at the airport for interrogation, and may miss your return flight home.
Travellers to Sudan need to get a camera permit. These are available from the Ministry of Information.
It is not allowed to take photographs of bridges or military installations. If there is any demonstration or political meeting , it is wiser not to take pictures or your camera equipment will be confiscated..
Some ex-pats have even been chastised for trying to take photos of their houses or local shops, so if it looks as if anyone is displeased, don't.
Although the railway has virtually stopped running through Khartoum, there are still remains of when it did.
The railway used to go from Khartoum to Khartoum North northwards to Wadi Halfa. There were two main crossings that disrupted the flow of traffic: one at the end of Mek Nimir St leading to Suq 2, the other past the army HQ and the Hai el Matar area which links with the Wad Medani Rd. These were the two main roads coming into the centre of town on the easternside, so when the man waved his red flag and the crossing barriers were down, congestion ensued. It was possible to use the railway bridge instead, but that would cause another bottleneck. This has now been demolished anyway.
For a while a commuter train used to run between Khartoum North and Khartoum bringing workers to and from work. This was a short train , unlike the goods trains which had dozens of flatwagons and carriages which meant a long delay for vehicles.
Yesterday I noticed all the signposts at the Hai el Matar crossing and the barriers standing erect , warning of the trains, and remembered the days when I’d get caught waiting for a train to pass, and counting the carriages.
It doesn't rain very often in Khartoum, and then between May-October. So far in 2008 I think we've had 3 slight showers, though the last one , on 31 August was preceded by a horrendous thunderclap and lightning that turned the sky pink. In our area in south-east Khartoum, there was little to show of the rain next morning, but to the west of us the rain was much heavier and huge puddles and mud made driving and walking difficult.
There are few drains in Khartoum so when it rains, take care of potholes, drainage channels and the dangers lurking in the puddles [broken glass, bricks etc] and wear stout shoes instead of sandals.
I had tarveled last July 2007.
When you take pictures, you'd better to watch your holdings.
Whilie taking pothos Sudanese ask you to take picture of them.
But it is possible for picpokets to take advatage of this moment.
I got this siuation in Arab Suq.
While I made videotaping, One pickpokek did his business.
At that time I was in troubled.
I had been kept in Poice station for 5 hours because of his illegal action.
Most of Sudanese are veru kind and nice.
But there are always bad guys in anywhere.
I recommend that you shall avoid tot take picture in Arab Suq area.
Perhaps this warning is rather out of date, but at one time a hotel in the Arab Suq area used to issue the following notice to its customers about keeping the windows closed as rats and cockroaches, mosquitos and flies might enter.
Nowadays the old suq has been demolished so the area may be more hygienic, but some of the pests may still be around.
This rule just came out in Aug 2006, that laptops or notebooks coming through Khartoum Airport can be retained and scanned for "unfavourable material" by customs. If you're already in Sudan and want to depart via Khartoum Airport, you will have to declare your laptop at departure in the airport in case you want to bring it back
UPDATE : I've noticed that the customs do not confiscate laptops at the airport anymore.
If visiting private houses, or drinking at cafes be warned that many people use milk purchased from a milkman who delivers. The milk is carried in churns and sold by weight.
It is usually boiled before being drunk, but there is no guarantee that is actually hygienically stored, strained etc.
It is safer to drink 'red tea', that is without milk.
Nowadays pasteurized milk is becoming more readily available in the capital but not in the other districts. Those who need skimmed milk may have to search a few shops before finding any. Drinking tea in hotels should be safe.
Sudan doesn't accept any form of credit cards (except for Hilton where a notice says they accept Diners Club, though I havnt tried yet). or travellers cheques. This is mainly due to US sactions imposed upone Sudan.
Be prepared to pay USD110 as Visa fee, if you dont have pre stamped visa. The terminal fee when you are leaving out of Sudan is USD20. so once again, bring in enough CASH.
You have to register yourself/Passport within 3days of arrival. The hotel will arrange for registration within 1 day. The hotel charge for registration is SDD 9500 (Hotel Palace) approximately USD 47.00 (as of Oct -06)
Can change foreign currency in hotels or exchange centers located in shopping malls (Afra). Some times you get a better rate in the hotel.
Do not expect to get change less than 100 SDD as many places do not give change less than SDD 100 (coins).
Dont´ *** with police and/ or military. If they caught you be patient. If you know how to behave, they will let you go without doing you no harm at all. But if you don´t behave yourself in a VERY cooperative way they are able to lock you your ass until your children are grandparents...For example: One day my cousin and me crossed a red traffic light by car. Not a big issue. But when the policeman entered the car, he recognized that we were drunk and without driving license. The car even was´nt registered...(Yeah I know, bad idea) After ten minutes of talking and asking some questions he left the car. Nothing happened and we continued our trip. Just because of our good tongue. The opposite case could be like this: You cross a red traffic light. You are not drunk. You got a driving license and your car is registered. The policeman will enter the car and take you right away to the police station to put you in bigger trouble just because your tongue was bad.
So this is what to do when you get caught by police:
1. Just talk if somebody ask you something
2. Do what they say, even if they like to take your passport away
for making a copy or something...Give it to them. You´ will get
it back, if you´re lucky. LOL
3. Don´t lie. If they ask for your religion don´t say something
stupid like "muslim" if you´re christian.
4. Try to tease them when ever it´s advisable. Speak some
words arabic. Tell them that you like sudan and it´s people,
especially the food and the strong family relations. Food and
family is most important issue down there. If they left their
police/military-suites after work they will be into this things.
Nobody likes to be militant and trouble people. It´s just
because the rubbish government gives them houses and
food for this jobs. In real life every policeman is a father and/or
familymember. Recognize this and you will know how to
handle police and military...
5. Dont be afraid. There are just two ways to die anyway. As a
man or as a ***ing coward. So relax!
Due to lack of funds in the hands of Khartoum City corporation, there are potholes in the pavements, Manholes without lids and no traffic signals. So if u start walking on the streets of Khartoum, be attentive.
Sandstorms are not cool, they disrupt flights, get sand in your eyes, mouth, basically everywhere. A sandstorm would cover everything in this fine red-brown dust which makes the scenery look like an old sepia photograph. It normally happens when there is a change of climate and in summer. Best thing to do is to stay indoors and avoid it when it happens
Khartoum airport lies between the residential areas of Amarat, Riyad and Erkowit, so aircraft noise is a problem to those in these areas. Our house is slightly south of the airport, about 5 minutes drive away, and less disturbed than those living in Amarat. But sometimes planes fly right over the house and the noise is horrendous.
It is now planned to move the airport to north west of Omdurman- so we'll have to add travelling time to get there!
Do not allow the driver of your hired car to go off and put petrol in the tank on his own. Ensure you are present whenever filling the tank and make sure the figures on the pump match what you are paying. Petrol stations in Khartoum are not computerised so the driver can easily put half the amount in the tank, get a receipt for the full amount and then keep the other half to himself. I've seen it happen before my eyes.
In Khartoum it's hard to avoid small hands reaching out for money, but please don't fall for their begging eyes and torn clothes. If you do, their parents will make sure that they continue begging which means that they won't be able to go to school, which we all know is a bad consequence. My best advice of how to handle the situation is to give them a friendly patronizing encouragement, a broad smile and say "al-hamdulillah!" which means something like "thanks to God" or "allah kareem". The reaction will most likely be that they laugh (I haven't figured out if it's because you say something in arabic or if it's because of the meaning of what you say) and leave you alone.
If you really can't stand to deny a child, buy him/her a bottle of soft drink and/or something to eat and then walk away with a good conscience. There are better and more effective ways to do something for the poor in Khartoum.