Most flights to Sudan land at the airport in Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan.
- The flight from London Heathrow to Khartoum is 11 to 12 hours long. This flight comes with a stopover at Cairo or Istanbul.
- Flights heading for Khartoum from Manchester are 10 to 12 hours long. These flights come with a stopover usually at Istanbul.
- Flight from Birmingham to Khartoum is 11 to 14 hours long; depending on the airline the passenger chooses to fly with. This flight can have a stopover in Istanbul, Doha or Dubai.
- Flights heading out of London Gatwick to Khartoum are traditionally longer. These flights have a long stopover at Doha or Istanbul airports and can take more than 23 hours to reach their destination.
There are no direct flights to any Sudanese airport from the United Kingdom for now. The preferred route to Sudan is to land in Khartoum by using the services any middle-eastern airline. Competitive airfares are often provided by Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways and EgyptAir for this flight.
The best time to visit Sudan is in December and January. During this time the highest temperatures will not go beyond 30°C. This is the coolest weather one can experience in Sudan, as the temperatures can exceed 40°C in June. Remain hydrated during your trip and use sunscreen when you need to absorb some Vitamin D.
There are two major international airports in Sudan. The following are their details.
- Khartoum International Airport (KRT) is based in Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan. The airport went through a major overhaul recently and was blessed with a new 4-kilometre runway, thanks to the Chinese investment in the area. The airport is right in the heart of the city so there is not much distance to be covered from there to the hotel of your stay. The airport handled about 2.5 million passengers in 2017.
- Port Sudan New International Airport (PZU) is based in the coastal city of Port Sudan. Port Sudan Airport is a new induction in the IATA but is gaining the interest of many international commercial airlines since 2014. This airport is the second largest airport in Sudan but has handled only a few thousand passengers in 2017. Port Sudan Airport is located 26 kilometres south of the city centre.
A British National is required to obtain a visa from the Embassy of Sudan in London. Upon arrival, the traveller needs to register himself at the Aliens Department of the Ministry of Interior. Please visit the department within three days of landing in the country. The department will ask the traveller for two passport sized photographs and a processing fee of £35. They only accept Sudanese Pounds so please carry some local currency with you when you go. The department will also issue an exit visa that the traveller needs to show at the airport’s immigration office at the end of the trip. Some established hotels will do this process for you, so please inquire from the hotel staff if they can help when you check-in.
The cheapest time to go to Sudan would be in the month of August. The rains in this month bring down the hot temperature quite a bit. This difference can be felt as August is cooler by 5°C in comparison to the heat in June usually experienced in the country. The humidity does not rise in the area as it rains because the winds keep blowing the access moisture away. After the peak of the rainy season in August, the temperatures start to rise again. August gives the traveller a brief window in the summer months, to visit the country in relative comfort without burning a hole through the pocket.
Sudan is an ancient country. Sudan, like its northern neighbour Egypt, is nurtured by the Nile River. The early history of the country had powerful kingdoms of the Ancient Nubian civilization ruling the area. Many of the current landmarks and tourist attractions are museums and archaeological sites that have been cherished by the locals and have received international acclaim.
- The Jebel Berkel is a small mountain close to the banks of the Nile. The mountain is an archaeological site because under its shadow are the remains of the ancient city of Napata. Napata was to the Upper Nile Kingdom what Delphi was to the Ancient Greeks. Every time a king used to ascend the thrown, priests and monks bearing gifts would visit the Temple of Amun to ask the approval and blessing from the oracle of Napata. Apart from the temple, there are pyramids, tombs and stele from a bygone time. The ruins of the city are said to be 3,500 years old but the site is considered sacred by the local villagers even to this day.
- National Museum of Sudan is on the El Neel Avenue in Khartoum city. The museum was established in 1971 and has a collection of many artefacts that were found in the archaeological excavations throughout the country. As one enters the museum, a 4-meter tall statue of the Biblical Pharaoh ‘Taharqo’ greets the visitor. Many other sculptures, statuettes and stele are displayed in the museum that belongs to the different Nubian kingdoms and dynasties. The museum also celebrates the Christian heritage of Nubia and exhibits the many murals and painting retrieved from the Ancient Cathedral of Faras that was functioning up till the 14th century.
- The ancient city of Kerma in Northern Sudan is a site of archaeological importance and is dated to be more than 5,500 years old. The excavations have revealed that Kerma was an urban area with almost 10,000 people living in its walls. The ruins of the city indicate the presence of a palace, a tomb and a few temples in the area. About 30,000 graves and tombs were discovered, the remains of which were untouched which made Kerma a site of historical interest. Due to the dry desert climate, natural mummification was common and most graves were filled with urns, pots and other utensil destined to be used by the dead in the afterlife. The excavations proved that Kerma was not a satellite extension of the Ancient Egyptian civilization but had a culture and identity of its own.
Being an Islamic country, Sudan celebrates festivals that are usually celebrated by Muslim cultures all over the globe. These festivals include the Eid ul Fitr and the holy month of Ramadan but a lot of non-Islamic festivals are also enjoyed by all throughout Sudan. The Sudanese calendar of festivities starts with the Milad-un-Nabi, which is the celebration of the birthday of Prophet Muhammad. There are stands with food and delights that line the streets of Sudan and the locals dance and rejoice until nightfall. The popular Spring Holiday is held every year in April, on the first Monday after the Christian Easter holiday. The day is characterized by displays of music, dance, and all-round festiveness. Held in honour of the Sudanese saints, the Sufi Holiya Festival is distinguished by the gathering of people from all walks of life, who dance and hug each other in the streets. This really is one of the most spiritually uplifting traditions in Sudan.
Getting around in Sudan can be easy but at times could be very testing. Sudan is a desert country with a hot climate almost the entire year. Walking about the place, even in more developed places like Khartoum could be tiring, to say the least. Greater Khartoum includes three city districts of Northern Khartoum, Bahri and Omdurman, which makes this conurbation difficult to cover on foot. In Sudan the taxi is your biggest friend. As is mostly the case in the rest of Africa, a lot of taxi drivers try to tout and intimidate the traveller to use their taxis at unfair prices. Please note that one litre of petrol is for 7 Sudanese Pounds. Bargain with the driver and use the airport taxi services to get a fair price. Apart from the taxis, rickshaws are also an easy way to travel through the most congested of intersections of the city.
There are many five star hotels in Sudan, the majority of them are in Khartoum but a few are located in Port Sudan as well.
- Al Salam Rotana Hotel
- Corinthia Hotel Khartoum
- Coral Khartoum Hotel
- Ewa Khartoum Hotel and Apartments
- Grand Holiday Villa Hotel & Suites Khartoum