15 best places to visit in Sudan
There’s no doubt about it: Sudan is not a safe place for travelers right now. A duo of civil wars, repeated armed conflicts with their immediate neighbors (and recent compatriots) to the south, and destabilization elsewhere in the Sahel and North Africa all contribute to the problem… Today the country ranks second on the Fragile States Index, and most all foreign offices recommend against all travel there. Perhaps someday this will all come to an end. Perhaps one day we will once again look forward to putting on our desert gear and plunging into the quicksand of ancient Kush and Nubia. Perhaps one day a flourishing Red Sea dive scene in the west may reveal glistening coral and ocean treasures, and the spinning dervishes of Khartoum may show off their cylindrical spin for all to see. Allows you to explore the best places to visit in Sudan :
Source: flickr Meroe The former epicenter of the ancient kingdom of Napata is truly an otherworldly place to explore. Situated between the ochre rises of the Sudanese desert, north of the capital, it consists of more than 200 separate pyramid structures, along with a number of spectacular ruins of another type. It bears all the hallmarks of a grandiose architectural project in the same spirit as the Nubian cities of old, and today the entire area is accredited by UNESCO, and archaeological finds have confirmed the presence of an advanced civilization of steelworks and merchants with mercantile goods. There is no doubt about it: Sudan is not a safe place for travelers these days. The duo of civil wars, recurrent armed conflicts with their immediate neighbors (and recent compatriots) in the south, and destabilization elsewhere in the Sahel and North Africa all add to the problem… Today the country ranks second on the Fragile States Index, and most all foreign offices recommend against all travel there. Perhaps someday this will all come to an end. Perhaps one day we will once again look forward to putting on our desert gear and plunging into the quicksand of ancient Kush and Nubia. Perhaps one day a flourishing Red Sea dive scene in the west may reveal glistening coral and ocean treasures, and the spinning dervishes of Khartoum may show off their cylindrical spin for all to see. Allows you to explore the best places to visit in Sudan :
Source: flickr Meroe The former epicenter of the ancient kingdom of Napata is truly an otherworldly place to explore. Situated between the ochre rises of the Sudanese desert, north of the capital, it consists of more than 200 separate pyramid structures, along with a number of spectacular ruins of another type. It bears all the hallmarks of a grandiose architectural project in the same spirit as the Nubian cities of old, and today the entire area is accredited by UNESCO and archaeological finds have confirmed an advanced civilization of steel mills and merchants with mercantile goods.
Source: thisisafrica Suakine The blown sand of Suakine stands tall and hard against the gusts of the Red Sea. An iconic and historic site that still boasts a medieval past, it was once one of the main strongholds for Muslim pilgrims traveling to Arab Mecca from North Africa. Consequently, there are gilded mosques and interesting religious structures carved out of coral stone, all mixed in with rare Ottoman relics — Suakin later succumbed to the Turks, but fell into decline as European traders opened routes around the Cape of Good Hope.
Source: tourist destinations Khartoum Khartoum is perhaps best known as the mythical place where the two great banks of the Nile River unite before heading north to the ancient lands of Nubia and Egypt… The city settles on the banks of this famous waterway and even sticks out at the famous confluence on a promontory known as al-Mogran. In the heart of the city, lanes such as Nile Street (not surprisingly, they run along the Blue Nile) are filled with beautiful buildings of Arab design. Here you will also see the grandiose Presidential Palace, religiously guarded by zealous guards. Nearby is the bustle of Suq Arabi, the busier and more commercial center of the capital…
Source: flickr Kerma Another great ancient relic left on the meanders of the Nile River from ancient civilizations, Kerma promises to be a unique experience in the country… At its center stands the towering and mighty West Deffoofa, one of the largest and oldest earthen houses on the planet! And once you’re done with the sheer awesomeness of this central part, you can travel through the endless array of ruins that surround it (in fact, one of the largest in all of North Africa). They range from funerary complexes to excavated statues of old Nubian deities whose history goes back more than 5,000 years!
5. Dinder National Park
Source: interest Dinder National Park Dinder National Park is a triangular stretch of protected area that extends right up to the border with Ethiopia in the southeast of the country… Consisting of sprawling plains of arid grass that glow yellow and bake in the hot equatorial sun, it occupies a unique habitat right where the great highlands of Ethiopia descend to the North African plains. This means visitors can see the lions lumbering about, their beady eyes focused on the bushes and the leaping antelope. And then there are the curious long-legged ostriches of North Africa, which are a common and eye-opening sight.
6. Sanganeb National Park
Source: interest Sanganeb National Park The first and only oceanic national park in all of Sudan, Sanganeb National Park consists of shallow reef habitats that showcase the absolute biodiversity of the Red Sea in all its glory. The protected area adjoins directly to the jetties and ports of Port Sudan, making it a very accessible place to visit. Divers can dive under the water and gaze at the tiered coral gardens, observe colorful tropical fish and understand why this place was added to the UNESCO list back in the early 1990s (along with the great Dungonab Bay). There’s also an old lighthouse where snorkelers can dock and spend a few days enjoying the wonder!
7. Port Sudan
Source: commons.wikimedia Port Sudan Located more than 20 hours on a rumbling train through the dusty deserts of upper Sudan from the capital, the country’s only major port is home to nearly 500,000 people. It tumbles toward the sparkling waters of the Red Sea in a mishmash of creaking cranes and endless warehouse complexes, all reaching out to huge tankers preparing for the Suez Canal and chattering land dockers from around the world. The Globe. For tourists, it’s the diving that really takes the cookie — it’s undeveloped, unreserved and offers a cheap way to see the coral depths of this crystal clear sea.
Source: Kristinchan Omdurman The largest city in Sudan is now more or less adjacent to the capital in Khartoum. It can be found face to face with its closest brother on the opposite side of the White Nile, rising from the shore at the legendary confluence at Al Moghran… But where Khartoum is crowned with old palaces and mosques with blue domes, Omdurman is studded with pulsating bazaars and souks. The most impressive of these is by far the eponymous Souq Omdurman, which is considered the largest market in all of Africa! The House of the Old Khalifa is also located here, and makes an ideal stop for those interested in unraveling the stories of Sudan’s colonial relationship with the United Kingdom… Oh, and be sure not to miss the rotating dervish shows that pop up here every Friday!
9. North Khartoum (Bahri).
Source: flickr Bahri Technically an autonomous city from its namesake across the bends of the Blue Nice, the North Khartoum neighborhood, also known locally as simply Bahri, claims to be the third largest city in the country… There aren’t many sights and attractions for visitors, mostly due to the distinctly industrial and mechanical nature of Bahri. Nevertheless, you will see sprawling docks on the river, and endless warehouses teeming with cotton and kiln-cooked red bricks, all waiting to be transported north… There are also the striking ruins of the Al-Shifa factory, which was destroyed by a cruise missile during the disasters of the late ’90s!
Source: picssr Arkawit The resort town of Arkawit, located more than 1,000 meters above the waters of the Red Sea, is an ideal destination for travelers who struggle to cope with the high equatorial temperatures of the Sudanese coast. With the soothing breezes of the highlands at hand, visitors can take some time to relax and unwind in rustic guesthouses while enjoying the green hills and rocky scenery that abound around the area. Walking is also important here, as hikes on Jebel Danayeb, often found in the company of Sudanese monkeys.
Tawkar sits down the mountain ranges from Arkawit, tucked between the rising massifs and rollers of the Red Sea. It is a beautiful place; a town of sleepy atmosphere and only 40,000 people. Surrounded by cotton plantations made possible by irrigation along the banks of the Baraka River, it has long been an important growing community… Today, however, there is the Tokar Reserve to attract visitors, where the dusty deserts of this equatorial nation glow in the sun. And there are several dive operators (though no one knows how qualified any of them really are!), Added for good measure!
12. Jebel Marra.
Source: Wikipedia Jebel Marra Rising in winding mountain ranges on the dusty plains of Darfur in the western limits of Sudan, Jebel Marra may be Africa’s first barren land. They are carved and chipped masses of ancient volcanic stone that have been forged from eruption after eruption for millennia. The most recent addition to the landscape is a colossal water-filled caldera known as Deriba Crater, which is believed to have originated after pyroclastic explosion flows in 1500 B.C. (that’s like yesterday to a volcanologist!). Jebel Marra itself is the highest peak in the country, at over 3,088 meters, and there are beautiful waterfalls and canyons around its base.
Source: flickriver Kassala Don’t let the wide plains of farmland and irrigated green fields fool you when you travel to the vast Kassala in the southeastern limits of Sudan, near the border with Eritrea. Mother Nature’s wild throws are still very important in these landscapes, and you only have to look up toward the horizon to see why! This is where the bulbous peaks and hollows of the Taka Mountains loom, surrounded by sandy canyons and carved gorges of desert rock. Above you can see Eritrea and at the bottom you can taste traditional Sudanese coffee with the locals.!
Source: tripstation Naqa The stunning Naqa is located in the shadow of Jabal Naka, about 170 kilometers from the capital, Khartoum. A place of ancient treasures, the city has been turned into a conglomeration of ruined peristiles and sun-cracked stones for centuries. But the magic is still very much alive, thanks in large part to the trio of temples that make up the centerpiece here. They begin with the haunting Temple of Amon, which is blasted with ancient stelae of the Egyptian deity Amon-Ra. Then there is the House of Worship of Apedemac, decorated with figures of ancient kings of Kush. Finally, there is the Roman kiosk, which combines Mediterranean, Hellenistic, Arabic, and North African styles.
15. Wadi Halfa
Source: Sudanhub Wadi Halfa One of the country’s northernmost cities, the low-rise development of Wadi Halfa sits between two ridges of desert cliffs and the waters of Lake Nubia. While today it bustles with the comings and goings of traders from Egypt, its main draw lies in its former inhabitants of the Middle Kingdom period. And while Wadi Halfa itself may not be important in the search for Nubian treasures, the emergence of Lake Nasser in the 1970s meant that archaeologists came here to focus their efforts on finding relics that had been submerged up and down the valley…
Sudan’s 17 best sights
Sudan, situated on a plateau in the Nile Valley, is a major state in East Africa, famous for its natural reserves and ancient architecture.
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Who should come to Sudan and why?
Sudan was a British colony for many years. After independence in 1956, it began to be torn by civil wars. Constant conflicts led to the division of the state into two parts and the deterioration of living standards.
Territorial disputes and poor economic situation make the country unattractive for tourists, but despite this, there is a lot to see.
The beautiful and mysterious Sudan is of interest to lovers of antiquities. There are Nubian architectural monuments which date back to the 2nd millennium B.C. Travellers come to see the pyramids, statues of mighty pharaohs, ruins of temples and cities.
Sudan has access to the Red Sea and is famous for its clean, sandy beaches. The best months for swimming and sunbathing are from April to October. The rest of the time it rains and storms rage. The long, gentle white sand beaches in the northeast attract snorkelers, exploring the seabed, watching turtles and dolphins.
Sudan – a country of forest reserves and deserts, almost devoid of vegetation. The wilderness attracts active and inquisitive travelers. In the reserve Dinder spend safaris and hunt elephants, antelope and lions. At the confluence of the White and Blue Nile organize hiking with local obstacles. However, to overcome them requires good physical fitness and equipment.
Sudan pleases visitors with affordable prices and a variety of products. In the local markets you can buy leather belts, bags, hairpins, wallets. Things made by hand in small workshops are wearable and beautiful. As souvenirs are in demand figurines of ivory and ebony, Sudanese rose tea, date vodka and natural coffee.
Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, sits at the confluence of the Blue and White Nile. The architecture of the city of five million people stands out for its bright oriental motifs. The center is full of narrow streets built in typical Arabic style. There are craft shops, stores, and museums in the houses.
On the waterfront built the Palace of the Republic, a shopping center, offices of financial companies. In the vicinity are the royal tombs, the Ruins of the Temple of Amon, and the ruins of the Mussawarat.
On the banks of the Nile near Khartoum lies Omdurman City, the commercial center of Sudan. In 1884 it was a small settlement where Muhammad “Mahdi” Ahmad established the military headquarters of the anti-colonial rebellion.
In time the riot was suppressed, but the city continued to develop and gradually became an agglomeration of two million people. There are many spontaneous markets, stores, and souvenir shops within its boundaries. The tomb of al-Mahdi is considered the main monument.
A port city in the north-east of Sudan is the industrial and commercial center of the African state. Large quantities of camel hair, cotton, leather and gum arabic pass through it for export. The main attraction of Port Sudan are the beaches.
Tourists enjoy the warm Red Sea, fine sand and attractions. In the center of the city there is a windsurfing school, rent boats, water skis and scooters.
Historical and architectural monuments
The Ruins of Amon
North of Khartoum lies the town of Napata, founded by the Nubians in 1450 BC. It was the religious center of the country, which was completely destroyed by the Romans who came to this land during the reign of Amanirena. Exploration of the city ruins began in 1820.
Scientists managed to find three palaces and 13 temples. The largest of them, the Temple of Amun, is still considered sacred by the local residents. Giant stone columns, fragments of powerful walls, the altar, decorated with intricate writings, drawings depicting the ancient kings and gods, remind of their former greatness.
The royal tombs
Napata was the capital of the Meroitic kingdom, an important rival of Egypt. It has preserved monuments that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. Visitors to the tombs are shown large pyramids of pharaohs, queens and royal families.
Unfortunately, many tombs have been looted in the past. Adventurers in search of treasure often used explosives and destroyed unique monuments. Now excavations in the royal tombs are being carried out by international archaeological expeditions.
The Great Wall at Mussawarat
Stone monuments dating back to the 3rd century B.C. have been found in the Mussawarat El-Sufra Valley. Archaeologists have found that these are fragments of walls, which were joined together by corridors and ramps. It is not clear what these sandstone structures were used for.
It is assumed that there was a sanctuary for the ancient gods or a pilgrimage center. The monument is recognized as one of the best places of interest in Sudan and is included in the list of world heritage.
Not far from Dongola stand the ruins of the capital of the ancient kingdom of Mukurra. During the excavations, archaeologists found marble columns, clay tablets with Arabic script, stone sidewalks, walls of houses. The most valuable artifact of the 650 BC is a statue of Pharaoh Taharka, who belonged to the XXV dynasty of kings.
The massive sculpture is carved from granite and weighs more than a ton. Its height is 2.6 meters. In ancient times, the monument was barbarously broken into several pieces. All the pieces were found within the city.
University of Khartoum
The University of Khartoum, which opened its doors in 1902, is the oldest university in Africa. The building, which was erected by the British, was reconstructed after Independence: new campuses, a library and a scientific research center appeared.
Organized excursions are held on the territory of the educational institution. During the visit, you can learn interesting information about the colonial era, the construction of the university and the lives of students.
A beautiful two-story building in downtown Khartoum is the National Sudanese Museum. It has a huge collection of antiquities found in the country over the years: Nubian frescoes, stone sculptures, ceramics, glass and gold jewelry, coins, and weapons.
During the construction of the Aswan Reservoir it was necessary to remove ancient historical monuments from the flood zone. Two Egyptian temples were transported in parts and installed in the courtyard of the national museum.
There is a small museum in Khartoum devoted to the cultural peculiarities of the local people. It has information about the nomadic tribes of northern and southern Sudan. There are well-structured exhibitions about the people’s daily lives, beliefs, traditions and trades.
Exhibits include national costumes, jewelry, fabrics, utensils, and musical instruments. There is a huge wooden drum at the entrance – with its help priests used to communicate with spirits and gods.
Al Khalifa Al Mahdi House Museum
In Omdurman, across from the Al Mahdi Tomb, rises a 19th-century mansion built for the state nobles. The heirs of Al Khalifa Al Mahdi, leader of the Sudanese anti-colonial rebellion, lived there for many years. The house is now a museum dedicated to the struggle for freedom.
The collection inside displays weapons of the time, including machine guns used by the British against the rebels, ammunition, personal effects of the soldiers, letters and documents.
A small art gallery in Khartoum displays an impressive collection of contemporary art. The museum hall features paintings by local artists, installations, ivory figurines, and wood crafts. All of the gallery’s exhibits are for sale at a reasonable price. Those who wish can order a portrait or landscape and get a quality work quickly.
Sanganeb National Park
Sanganeb Marine National Park is located in the coastal area of the Red Sea. It consists of a small atoll, Dungonab Bay, and Mukkawar Island.
The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and includes a complex system of coral reefs, dense forests, picturesque valleys, and white sand beaches. The national park is home to seabirds, giant turtles, dolphins, and sharks. Dugongs, rare aquatic mammals of the siren family, live in Dungonab Bay.
In 1935, a national park was founded in Sudan, declared a biosphere reserve. It included plains in the lowlands of the Dinder and Rahad rivers, tropical savannah, rocky hills, and deep lakes. In the green zone it is easy to meet rare animals: savannah elephants, spotted and striped hyenas, giraffes, buffalo, antelope, water goats, gazelles.
Plant life is represented by lilies, Indian dates, African rosewood, sorghum, Egyptian balanitis. Since 2001, the park operates an international program for the protection of wildlife. The project involves restoring fauna that have disappeared from the region, such as the Nile crocodile.
In the Marra Mountains there is a dome that resulted from a volcanic eruption more than 3,000 years ago. On top of it were two hollow forms, which once collected magma. Now the holes are filled with water.
The first lake is 11.5 meters deep and consists of potassium chloride water and is surrounded by healing mud. The second is much deeper and filled with clean water with high salt content. Nearby, steam comes out of small cracks in the ground and hot springs gush out.
The desert, located between the Enbai Range and the Nile, is part of the Sahara. Its relief is dominated by valleys strewn with sand and plateaus riddled with dried-up riverbeds. Here and there are hills and mountain peaks.
Animal and plant life is poor. In the dry, hot climate there are prickly shrubs, dum palms, and tamarisk trees. Of the animals there are poisonous snakes, varanas, geckos and jackals. Traveling in the Nubian Desert must be in the company of an experienced guide – otherwise it is easy to get lost and die.
The Blue Nile originates in the Ethiopian highlands, flows through Ethiopia, Sudan, and merges with the White Nile near Khartoum to form a single river. It is one of the main attractions of Sudan, around which almost the entire economy of the country is based. The river is used for transportation of goods, fishing, fertilizing fields, and water supply.
Tourist companies offer interesting itineraries along the Nile. While traveling, one can see turtles, crocodiles, water snakes, traverse the rapids between Khartoum and Aswan, catch Nile perch, catfish or African carp.