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Sudan Travel Information

The Basics

Time

Local time is GMT +3.

Electricity

Electrical current is 230 volts, 50 Hz. Round two- and three-pin plugs are in use.

Language

Arabic is the official language, but English is spoken by those with an education.

Travel Health

For health in Sudan, visitors should ensure they are vaccinated against yellow fever, typhoid, hepatitis A and meningococcal meningitis. A yellow fever certificate is required by those arriving from an infected country. Malaria is rife, more so in the south of the country, and dengue fever occurs, so precautions against mosquito bites should be taken. Cholera outbreaks occur. Water and food-borne diseases are common and travellers should purify drinking water and carry anti-diarrhoeal drugs. AIDS is a growing problem. Medical facilities in Khartoum are adequate for routine problems, but the war has resulted in shortage of many medicines and hospital equipment; visitors should ensure they have comprehensive medical insurance, which should include evacuation by air ambulance.

Tipping

Tips are accepted for good service and are usually 10-15% of the bill.

Safety Information

All unnecessary travel to Darfur should be avoided due to the current conflict and unstable security situation, and all travel to the Eritrean border should be avoided. Travel south of Juba is also not advisable. Travellers to Khartoum, in particular, should be aware of a heightened threat of terrorism to Western interests. The crime rate is relatively low in Khartoum and other large northern cities, but banditry in Darfur is widespread. If you are intent on travelling to Sudan, stick to the areas of Khartoum, Omdurman and the Northern State.

Local Customs

Northern Sudan and Khartoum are predominantly Muslim, and local customs and sensitivities should be respected, particularly with regard to dress and public conduct. Women, in particular, should wear loose fitting clothes that cover most of the body, although covering the head is unnecessary. Eating, drinking and smoking in public during the holy month of Ramadan should be avoided, as it is forbidden by the Muslim culture. Sharia law applies to Northern Sudan, but not to the south. Travel anywhere outside of Khartoum requires a permit, as do any historical or archaeological sites, and visitors arriving in any town or city are required to register with the police. Photography permits are also required by anyone intending to take photographs while in the country; certain subjects are forbidden. Homosexuality is illegal. Visitors are advised to avoid political discussion.

Business

English is widely spoken in business, although a greeting in Arabic will be appreciated. Business cards should be printed in both English and Arabic. Punctuality is unimportant, and it is considered rude to be in a hurry. Sudanese prefer to do business with people they know and trust, so relationship building is essential. Businesswomen travelling to Sudan should let their contacts know in advance that they are female. Office hours are generally Saturday to Thursday 8am to 2.30pm.

Communications

The international dialling code for Sudan is +249. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the UK). City codes are in use e.g. (0)183 for Khartoum. Outgoing international calls must go through the operator. GSM mobile coverage extends as far south as Malakal, and covers most cities and towns. Internet cafes are increasing in major cities, but can be hard to find outside of these areas.

Duty Free

Passengers over the age of 20 can bring 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars, perfume for personal use, and a reasonable amount of gifts into the country without paying any costs. Alcohol is prohibited, as are goods from Israel or South Africa.

Become our Sudan Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Sudan travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Sudan or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.