Sudan is the largest country in Africa and is famous for its longstanding conflicts caused by ethnic and religious reasons. The country is poor. Much of the population lives far below the poverty line. Many people are starving and agriculture, which is the most important sector, suffers of the ever-growing desert.
Sudan is located in the northeastern parts of Africa, approximately between 3 and 22° north latitude and between 21 and 38° east longitude. Sudan is bounded by Egypt to the north, Libya to the northwest, Chad to the west, Central African Republic to the southwest, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Kenya to the south and Ethiopia and Eritrea to the east. On the northeast Sudan has an outlet on the Red Sea. This is the tenth largest country in the world. It occupies an area of 2,505,810 sq. km
Relief of Sudan. Sudan has a predominantly flat relief. Exceptions are Darfur plateau, located in the western parts of the country and the mountainous areas in southern Sudan (around the border with Uganda and Kenya). Not far from Uganda is located also the highest peak of Sudan – Kinyeti. It rises 3,187 meters above sea level. The coastline of Sudan is slightly indented, without large bays and peninsulas.
Climate of Sudan. Sudan falls within three climatic zones. The northern half of the country falls within the tropical climate zone. The weather is hot and dry throughout the year. The largest desert in the world Sahara covers most of northern Sudan. A typical town in the Sudanese tropics is Wadi Halfa. It is situated near the border with Egypt and has a typical desert climate. The temperature ranging is from 24°С in January to 41°С in June. Nighttime temperatures are low during the winter – about 10°С, but may become also much lower. During the summer months the weather is warm even at night – about 25°С.
Sub-Saharan climate merges into subequatorial. Gradually the dry and barren desert turns into a typical African savanna. The sub-equator also has very hot climate, but rainfall is heavy compared with the dry northern areas. There are two seasons – dry and rainy. In the southern-most part of Sudan the climate is equatorial. The weather is warm and wet throughout the year and rainfall is abundant. Pronounced dry season is practically missing. In the city of Malacca, which is located in the central parts of the country temperatures are high throughout the year and range from 31 to 39°С. There are two seasons – dry and rainy. The rainy season coincides with the summer months. Because of the rainfall the summer temperatures are slightly lower. Winters are dry and sunny and for this reason are hotter.
In the south of Sudan the climate is equatorial. Precipitation is abundant almost throughout the year and weaker in the period from November to February. Here temperatures are slightly lower than in subequatorial zone. They are highest during the winter months and reach to about 36 – 37°С, while the “coldest” weather is during the summer months (July and August) – about 30°С. The reason for the lower summer temperatures is again the reduced rainfall and sunshine. Nighttime temperatures are pleasant throughout the year – about 20 – 22°С. Sandstorms are typical for Sudan. They are frequent, especially during the summer months. This terrifying phenomenon can not be described in words. The wall of sand at such times literally absorbs everything in its way.
Geographic location, boundaries and size of Sudan.
Waters of Sudan. Sudan is a dry country and is generally poor in waters. This is detrimental to the local agriculture and the reason for the depopulation of many areas. However, in the territory of Sudan passes the longest river in the world – the Nile river. The flat topography and poor slope do not allow the river to run faster and therefore in some places have formed marshy areas. The two main sleeves of this river – the White Nile and Blue Nile – meet on the territory of the capital Khartoum.
Population of Sudan. Sudan is home to about 41,500,000 people. Arabic and English are the main spoken languages. The population consists mainly of Arabs and dark-skinned. In religious terms there are also significant differences. On the one hand the Arabs are Muslims, and on the other hand black population comprises a small percentage of Christians and people with traditional beliefs. Ethnic and religious differences are the main reason for the continuing and unabated for several decades conflict in Sudan.
The population of Sudan is very unevenly distributed in the country. The biggest concentration of people there is along the river Nile. The three largest cities in the country practically have merged into one. The capital Khartoum, Khartoum Bahri and Omdurman, who is considered as the most important tourist destination in Sudan, form together a metropolitan agglomeration with a population of about 5,000,000 people. This is about one eighth of the total population of Sudan. Other important cities are Port Sudan (500,000 people), Wad Medani, Kassala, Wau, El Obeid and Juba.
Economy of Sudan. Country’s economy is underdeveloped. The most important source of income is the primitive agriculture, which often suffers heavy damages from the prolonged droughts. Cotton and sesame are the two most important crops. Livestock breeding (sheep and goats) is also important for the local economy. People’s incomes and living standards are low even in the capital Khartoum! Conflicts in the country makes the situation even worse. Sudan has made changes to its currency. Until 2007 the official currency of the country was the Sudanese dinar. However, it was gradually withdrawn from circulation and was replaced with the Sudanese pound.
Tourism in Sudan
Caution: Most of Sudan is considered as unsuitable for tourism. The country suffers from long-standing internal conflicts. The unrest in Darfur is quite popular and has earned the glory of the Sudan as a dangerous destination. It is believed that the most dangerous for tourists are the southern and western regions. Several countries including the United States advise against traveling to Sudan if it is not really necessary! The main threat to tourists in Sudan is kidnapping and terrorism.
However, if you have decided to travel will be better to seek sufficient information on what documents will be needed. Do not leave anything to chance and prepare everything in advance. It is advisable if you visit Sudan to do this as a part of a group, although it is possible to travel also as an individual visitor.
Nature of Sudan. Sudan is place, where we can find two completely different faces of Africa. On the one hand is the dry and desert north of the Sahara, on the other hand are the rich in life savannas of central Africa and the rainforests in the south of the country. Therefore, on the territory of Sudan can be seen almost all major types of landscapes that Africa can offers. Besides location, size of the territory also plays an important role. From south to north through the country runs the River Nile. Passing through the northern parts of Sudan, the river separates the Sahara Desert into two parts – Libyan desert to the west and the Nubian Desert to the east. The longstanding conflicts in the country have affected quite negatively on local wildlife. Today with the advent of peace in some parts of the country wildlife is recovering gradually. But in other parts of Sudan the situation is still quite severe, and nature is still suffering of this fact.
Coast of Sudan. Also like Egypt, around the coast of Sudan there are beautiful coral reefs. They are located at shallow depth and underwater visibility is great. Like most tropical seas, the diversity of species in the Red Sea is significant. Unlike Egypt, however, here do not come a lot of tourists. Hotel’s facilities here are with significantly less capacity. One of the few places for a holiday by the sea is in Sudan Red Sea Resort. The place is very unpretentious. It is about a half hour drive north of Port Sudan. Marine waters are warm all year round. Even in January the water temperature is around 25°С. Red Sea Resort is famous for its opportunities for diving tourism. For this reason, here you can find all you need as a diving equipment. Everything here is different from Europe for example. Here the beaches are empty and is a rarity to find someone else besides you on the beach.
Cultural heritage of Sudan. Within Sudan there are traces of human presence since ancient times. On the territory of the country are found many articles, dating from the Stone Age. Today they are stored mainly in museums in the capital Khartoum. Sudan is home of Muslims, Christians and countless number of other beliefs that local people handed down from generation to generation. Unfortunately, namely this cultural diversity was one of the main problems of local residents and therefore is the main conflicts generator.
Cities in Sudan has a typical oriental appearance. For example, in the capital Khartoum you will feel like you’re not in Africa, but rather in the Middle East. The buildings are low, most often with flat roofs and are usually painted in white, yellow or beige shades. There are also new and modern buildings, but at the present time they are still rarity. These are mainly bank and hotel buildings. Even at the 5 million capital you will feel like you are in the middle of the desert. The streets are usually dusty and sandy. In some places in the capital (and in other cities) you can find typical oriental markets in which goods are placed directly on the canvas on the ground. In this way the dealers sell fruits, vegetables, nuts and other goods. The streets of the multimillion capital are always filled with people who scurried back and forth. The movement subsides only in the heat of the midday hours when it appears challenging to go out under the searing African sun. Cars move as they do not observe any traffic regulations and creates a sense of chaos and disorder.
Province of Sudan is sparsely populated. In practice, apart from the capital Khartoum and the coast everything else remains pretty far from the tourist routes. The province is not only considered as a dangerous place, but also is pretty wild and has weak developed infrastructure. In vast areas of Sudan there are virtually no roads and highways because they would be literally engulfed by the moving desert sands. Villages in the province are very cut-off from modern civilization. If it was safe to travel around the country probably for many people it would be an amazing experience to get in touch with locals. The simple way of life makes these warm and friendly people to enjoy the most insignificant and small things in their everyday lives and to meet with interest and humility all the foreigners.
What is the best time for tourism in Sudan? The best time of year to visit this hot tropical country is the winter months from December to February. Although often the weather is warmer during the winter season, however, in this way you will avoid the summer rains. Moreover, the dangers of sandstorm during the winter months is less.
What clothes to wear for tourism in Sudan? Traveling to Sudan is better to prepare the thinnest clothing you have. The weather is pretty hot throughout the year, so will be better to get also some suitable footwear. Infrastructure may be normal by African standards, but do not expect to be like in Europe or America. Furthermore, you may want to go on a safari and then you must be equipped with comfortable and durable clothing and footwear. Do not forget to take also sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat.