Permits And Other Legal Requirements
Independent travellers in Sudan definitely those with their own vehicles and possibly those using public transport require a Permit To Travel if going to any places the Government deems unstable. Obtaining one is an arduous ordeal, costing US$15 and taking around a day in Wadi Halfa. Travel permits are not required for the Northern State, nor on the road to Ethiopia. They are required if going near Eritrea, toward Darfur or southern Kordofan. The attack on Omdurman May 2008 has increased security and hence this information may be out of date.
Independent travellers also need to register with police on arrival in any town or city. This is fairly quick and painless, once the police point has been located - and often the police will hear about your arrival and find you before you find them. Some towns may no longer require reregistration.
It is possible to cycle around Sudan, legally speaking, although it might be advisable to forget to mention your mode of transport when getting your permit to travel. "Cycling" will often consist of pushing the bike through sand or rattling along corrugations but the scenery and the warmth of the Sudanese people may compensate for the physical and bureaucratic hassles. Check carefully the availability of clean, drinkable water. Theft is not a problem; it is generally safe to leave bicycles unattended in villages and towns. Flies, puncture-generous thorn trees and, in the far north, lack of shade, are the only real annoyances.
There is a weekly train from Wadi Halfa to Khartoum, which leaves some time after the weekly ferry from Aswan arrives. "Some time" can mean anything from a couple of hours to a couple of days but word usually spreads around town before the train leaves. There are a few different options for accommodation, and plenty of simple restaurants. The journey is scheduled for roughly 50 hours, but can vary greatly. To be on the safe side you shouldn't make any other plans for your next 75 hours. You might not be able to find fresh water until you get to Khartoum, so it is advisable to stock up on water supplies before leaving Wadi Halfa. The train makes quite a few stops. Some more planned than others. At the more planned stops you should be able to buy a snack, and if you are lucky take a quick shower in a communal bathroom. There is also a train between Khartoum and Port Sudan, via Atbara, and from Nyala to Er-Rahad in the West.From Khartoum, trains to Wadi Halfa and Port Sudan depart from the main terminal in Khartoum North Bahri.
Apart from Khartoum, there are small airports in Wadi Halfa, El Debba, Dongola, Port Sudan, El Fasher, Juba, Wau, Wad Madani, Merowe and El Obeid, all served by Sudan Airways (http://www.sudanair.com/). Most flights operate from Khartoum. Be prepared for changing timetables and cancelled flights.
Driving in Sudan is chaotic but not especially dangerous by African standards. Visitors to the area who are inexperienced at international driving are advised to hire a taxi or a driver. In most of the country, a 4WD is essential; Sudan's main highway is sealed for much of the way but most of the roads in the country are dirt or sand tracks. Crossing in to Sudan from Egypt via the ferry from Aswan to Wadi Halfa now has the benefit of the Chinese financed tarmac highway covering the 400kms south to Dongola, and then right through to Khartoum, another 500kms. This road is quick for overlanders as there are few military roadblocks, and very little other traffic.
While buses do run frequently in the better traveled areas, in remoter areas people tend to use trucks or "boxes" Toyota Hiluxes - they're usually just as crowded as the buses but have fewer people sitting on top and get stuck in the sand less often. They tend to go whenever they fill up, which can take half a day or so. If you have money to spare, you can hire a whole one to yourself