10 Things You need to Know Before Going to Sudan
Researching information about Sudan has been a pain in the ass, as there is practically no updated information out there.
Here I provide you with the situation as of May 2018:
Money: There are no ATM’s accepting foreign debit/credit cards, so you have to bring enough cash to change once you are there. 1 US dollar equals 18 Sudanese Pounds official rate or 37-40 Sudanese Pounds on the black-market.
If you can’t afford a hotel room, the staff will usually put out a bed for you
Sleeping: Outside of Khartoum there are just a few sleeping options in every town. In small towns you will only find so called “lokandas” (guesthouses) where locals go to get a bed for less than 1USD. Hotel rooms start at around 15$ and Khartoum has a HI hostel for less than 2$ for a dorm bed.
Foul is the staple food here consisting of fava beans, bread and egg.
Eating: Food is simple and cheap. You can get falafels and schwarmas for less than 20 cents. Foul (picture above) costs about 50cents. Other traditional meals which mainly consists of beans and meat would set you back 1-2 dollars.
Drinking: Alcohol is forbidden. Tap water is generally safe to drink and people will offer it to you everywhere, but there has been cases of cholera even in the capital.
There are some new Chinese trains and buses in addition to the beat up vans uses as minibuses
Transport: There is currently a gas shortage so buses leave less frequently and sometimes charge over double of normal price which should be around 2$ per hour on long drive buses and 10 cents for bus rides in the city. You will usually get your own seat which is an upgrade from East Africa where they squeeze in as many as possible. Hitchhiking is also easy and common!
People: Sudanese are the most friendly people I have come across. People always try to offer food and sometimes try to pay for stuff you are buying. You really have to insist on paying because most people here have very little, and can go too far to make you welcome.
Safety: Except for Darfur and Kordofan Sudan is one of the safest countries in Africa! Most people are poor, so pick pocketing can happen, but you will see people being polite and respectful towards you as a foreigner. You will also see people are genuinely interested hearing about life in your country so pictures of your house, family etc can be good to have ready on your phone.
Weather: One of the hottest countries I have ever visited. When walking around the pyramids in 46 degrees celcius it is crucial to bring enough water.
Visas: Have become much easier and once you have the visa you will no longer need travel permits to go anywhere in Sudan. I got mine the next day from the Embassy in Addis who just wanted 68$ and an application form, but most embassies will ask for a invitation letter which can be given by your host/hotels like Acropole. Visas has to be registered withing 72hrs of arrival for a 30$ fee.
Religion: Most people are muslim. The few times I walked in shorts I was given extra attention, so I ended up wearing pants the rest of my stay. If you are a girl get a hijab. It is not required by law, but 99% of the people here still wear it.
It is not certain how long Sudan will stay in its current state, but this is what you should expect if you are coming here during times of political sanctions, currency black market and gas shortages.
Is there any info you are missing, or did you have another experience when visiting Sudan? Feel free to write a comment below!