police and army

You will see armed policemen and military personnel everywhere but you will not have any problems with them unless you have infringed on some rule, e.g., taking photographs or filming in prohibited areas. Those posing as Sudanese police/army are known to target unwitting travelers for bribes. Anyone can don a uniform and put a siren on a vehicle. If you are pulled over for whatever reason be courteous and patient - be careful about asking for ID as those engaging in this are dangerous. Pay and report it at the next police station!

Safety in Sudan has many dimensions. On the one hand theft is almost unheard of, you'll never be robbed in the street and people will go to great length to ensure your well-being. On the other hand Sudan has a long history of conflict, the government is not particularly open or accountable, and under the surface corruption is rife. The information that follows highlights some of the potential dangers of which a traveler should be made aware.


During conversation, avoid asking direct questions about people's political opinions unless you know the person quite well and sense that they would be comfortable; repercussions could be serious for them. Tact is a necessity in a country that has suffered the trauma of more than 40 years of civil war and refugees from affected areas are spread around the country, especially Khartoum.


The official languages in Sudan are Arabic and English, according to the 2005 constitution. English is not widely spoken except by officials, Students and hospitality workers. In contrast to many places in the world, it is the older generations that tend to speak the better English.

religious sensitivities

Sudan is an Islamic nation, and the government has imposed a form of Sharia law. Alcohol and drugs are forbidden, though many people dip a kind of snuff, and a few make moonshine. Sudanese women tend to wear very conservative clothing and cover their heads, so foreign women would be wise to do the same, even if they observe other tourists who do not respect this custom. Men should wear long trousers, not shorts. If in doubt, play it safe and cover up.

The Sudanese do not expect foreigners to adhere to Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, but it would be tactless to eat, drink or smoke in public. Many people, e.g., diabetics and those traveling more than a certain distance, are exempt from Ramadan, so it is possible to find open restaurants during the day but they are not well advertised.

Be assured that any foreigner will be treated as a local, and dealt with accordingly, in many cases, given a jail sentence of several months and a whipping, the minimum being forty lashes it may be more, according to the discretion of the judge. Distances between towns or villages being far, and news may travel very slow because of the political unrest, so your government, if it even knows or cares to interfere, may not be willing or able to help you.

Do not in any circumstances, show images/statues/figures etc. of the prophet Muhammad. A heated controversy erupted when a British schoolteacher in Sudan allowed one of her students to name a teddy bear "Muhammad", prompting angry protests in Sudan. Although the British school teacher is safe in her home country and no fatalities were reported, other related controversies such as the Pope Benedict XVI and the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad drawings had led to violence.


Sudan's international direct dialing code is 249. Its international direct dialing access code is 00 although mobile phone users in Sudan will be able to dial overseas numbers by putting "+" in front of the international direct dialing code.

Prepaid mobile phone packages are easily available in Sudan. The two telecommunications companies in Sudan are ZAIN ( Tel: +249-(0-91-230000) and MTN ( Tel: +249-(0-92-1111111). Zain has a cheaper prepaid package SDG 10 than Mtn SDG 20. Note that the customer service line for MTN, should you need to call them for any problems, can be difficult to get through, as it only allows one call to the service line from each registered phone number per day.

Coverage maps

Mobitel zain SD (

MTN Sudan (

local customs

To show the bottom of your foot is an insulting gesture, as is the touching of the thumb to the index finger while extending the rest of the fingers the North American sign for "O-kay". Although Sudan is a moderate Muslim culture, foreigners are still discouraged from speaking directly to local women unless spoken to, and even then it would be polite to ask permission from the man accompanying her before responding. Try to avoid physical contact with women if possible.

This is a list of holidays in Sudan.January 1: Independence DayJanuary 7: Coptic ChristmasFebruary 4: Al-Mowlid Al Nabawi Birth of the ProphetApril 15: Coptic EasterJune 30: Revolution DayAugust 19: Eid-Ul-Fitr End Of RamadanOctober 26: Eid-Al-Adha Feast Of SacrificeNovember 15: Islamic New YearDecember 25: Christmas Day

Sudan is a malarial region, so be especially cautious during the rainy season. Poisonous snakes, spiders and scorpions are common to the southern areas.

Be cautious when drinking water. Make sure you choose bottled water, or use purifying tablets. Also, avoid any fruit drinks, as they are obviously made with the local water. And remember, that any ice cubes for example, in sodas are only frozen local water.

On long trips particularly during the hot season on public transport it is often impossible - or would be expensive - to carry the amount of bottled water you need, and it may be scarce at certain remote stops. Therefore, keep plenty of your chosen means of purification close at hand not in your luggage strapped to the roof!. Sanitation in some areas is nonexistent, so wash your hands frequently.

Food from streetside vendors is generally fine if it is being prepared and served frequently. Empty restaurants and street cafes often indicate that food is standing uncovered and unrefrigerated for hours at a time.

Sudanese currency is notoriously dirty, and even the Sudanese handle small bills as little as possible. A hint would be to carry antibacterial wipes or gel in your luggage to treat your hands after handling filthy currency notes or shaking too many unwashed hands.

Sudan has reported Ebola outbreaks in 2004 and it is not advised to take local hospital treatments unless there is a real urgency. If you have malaria-like symptoms, seek medical assistance when possible, medical treatment is also available in many private clinics with high standards and reasonable price here are some of these private clinics: Doctors clinic, Africa St, Fidail medical center, Hospital road Downtown, Yastabshiron medical center, Riyadh area, Modern medical center, Africa St, International Hospital, Khartoum north-Alazhary St

Schistosomiasis/Bilharzia - Avoid bathing or walking through slow-flowing fresh waterways. If you have been in contact with such water or develop an itchy rash or fevers after your return, seek medical attention. Doctors in the West may only think to test you for malaria - you may need to see a tropical medicine specialist.


Sudan is one of four countries worldwide that do not to comply with international flight safety protocol. The official state airline, Sudan Airways fleet is mainly composed of 1950's era Soviet manufactured aircraft. Some planes have no navigation, lighting, or are missing critical pieces of landing gear. Over 27 fatal crashes occurred last year in the Northern region alone, making Sudan the most dangerous country for internal air travel.

Entering Sudan via personal car is also challenging. Sudan has a highly militarized border with its neighbor Egypt and Westerners are increasingly running into problems at the border if they wish to cross.

Bus travel is also not without its issues. Some buses are better than others - some are excellent, with icy-cold AC and complementary drinks, others may be less salubrious - there is nothing worse than sitting in a hot bus did we mention no A/C? with jabbering Egyptian tourists for nearly an entire day.

armed conflict

Sudan is recovering from a 40-year civil war between the Khartoum based central government and non-Muslim separatist groups from the South, at the time when South Sudan was still part of Sudan. Relations between the two countries after the independence of South Sudan remain fluid and somewhat tense.

The well-publicized conflict in Darfur is still taking place, making traveling to the western parts of Sudan totally inadvisable.

women travelers

Travel for solo women is relatively safe in areas unaffected by civil war, if you dress and act appropriately for an Islamic country. You will raise a few eyebrows but will generally be treated with great respect.In general, it is best for women to travel in groups, and even better, with men.

lgbt travellers

Sudan is an Islamic country and homosexuality is punishable by death.The death sentence for homosexuality is mainly only enforced after the second or third repeated offense. Mainly the first offense it is usually imprisonment and about a 100 lashes for both men and women, . The government's form of punishing those convicted of homosexual acts is dealt with under the strict interpretation of the Islamic Sharia Law. If a foreigner is arrested for committing a homosexual act, that person may probably either be given a warning if "truly remorseful" or be dealt with in the same manner as the Sudanese national. It is better to ask for consular assistance from the country from where you come from if you are arrested.

personal safety

There is almost no likelihood of being physically attacked mugged for your possessions, but keep an eye on your things in public places, e.g. street cafes. Sometimes thieves operate in pairs: one distracts you while the other makes off with your stuff.

taking pictures

Sudan has very strict rules about taking pictures. First and foremost, you need a permit to take pictures see "Get in" section above for details which will tell you where you can and cannot take pictures. Photographing or filming military personnel or installations is a quick way to get into trouble. People have been arrested for taking pictures at the confluence of the Blue and White Niles in Khartoum.