So you’re feeling adventurous? You’d have to be living under a rock not to know how inundated with problems Sudan is. Vast swathes of one of Africa’s largest countries remain totally inaccessible, and the political situation – if you can describe Sudan as having politics at all – is amongst the most dubious in the world. Having said that, time your visit well and you can see parts of a country that few other travelers will even contemplate setting foot on.
The parts of the south and north west that are regularly accessible draw the tourists they do largely due to the untouched culture and lack of other visitors, and are home to locals who are stunningly eager to impress tourists, and so pay a small part in turning their country around. In fact, plenty of Sudan travelers come home raving about the people as much as the place. Sudan’s desert pyramids are the perfect example: though they fall some way short of Egypt’s equivalent, but you can see them alone, while the dunes surrounding nearby Begrawija make for a remarkable stop off.
Many parts of Sudan are extraordinarily isolated, such as the trickle of local travellers that pass through riverside Dongola - full of ruins and arid palm trees struggling against the desert - on the way to deserted Wadi Halfa, where camel traders still pass through the tiny village daily.
While capital Khatoum is at the core of the troubles, and would make an ill advised (and dusty) trip, more traditional Omdurman is a more well-advised city experience, and home to the countries largest ‘souq’ (Arabic market district), while both the Nuba Mountains and Kassala offer dramatic hillside scenery.
For all the sites (and hardcore traveller prestige), though, it’s the people and flavours of Sudan that overwhelm. Snacking on stewed brown beans, sipping shai tea at the back of a local shop, or wondering with the goat herds amongst the farmland are just as essential as the Sudanese desert sites.
It’s crucial that any visitor to Sudan checks the latest thoroughly before leaving, and is aware of the unavoidable risk associated with travelling here. If you’ve got the nerve for it, though, a trip to Sudan is one to tell the grandkids about.