Ministry of Tourism and Environment
PO Box 2424, Republic of Sudan
Tel: 776766 - 774660


Physical geography

The Republic of the Sudan is the largest state in the whole of Africa, covering an area of nearly a million square miles and extending from the northern boundaries of Uganda and Kenya in the South to the A.R.E. in the north over a range of Latitude about 18' (less than 4º N to 22º N). To the east lies Ethiopia and to the west lie the Republic of Chad and the Central African Republic. The territory also marches for short distances with the Zaire in the southwest and with Libya in the northwest.

Physically the Sudan can be divided roughly into three main regions:

  • The desert belt: The northern 30 per cent of the country is desert or semi desert with rocks at or near the surface covered by thin poor soil;
  • semi-desert belt: Mainly south of the desert belt in the west part of the country an area of undulating sand dunes dotted with vegetation. There scattered high lands, eg, Marra mountain (10,000 ft. above sea level), and Nuba Mountains, etc;
  • The Clay Plain: Covers the greater part of the country the whole southern and central east area.

The Nile, with a total length of somewhat more than 4,000 miles - probably the longest river in the world - runs through the country from south to north. The Nile is joined within the Sudan by its four greatest tributaries the Blue Nile, Sobat, Bahr El Ghazal and Atbara River.


As the Sudan lies wholly within the tropics, it has a tropical climate. The greater part of the country falls under the influence of the trade winds so it has, generally, hot rainy summers and warm dry winters. There is little rain in the far north and in the central region, average rainfall is about six inches, most of it falling in July and August; in the south the average is about 40 inches per year, the rainy season lasting from May to October. Summers are hot throughout the country with temperatures ranging from 80°F to over 120°F. Winter temperatures are around 60°F in the north and 80°F in the south. Between April and October severe sandstorms 'Haboobs' occur frequently. <P>From its southern boundary the Sudanese landscape changes from tropical forests and woodland savannas through vast swamp-lands to open semi-tropical savannas and scrub-lands and to sands and arid hills along the Red Sea and Nubian Desert. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Economic geography</H3> The Sudan's resources are mainly agricultural; most of the population live either by cultivating the land or by breeding animals. The central clay plain of the Gezira is the most modernised sector of the Sudan and the place where the greatest extension of agriculture has occurred. The Gezira is the most productive area of long staple cotton of which the Sudan is the second largest supplier to the world market. Cotton represents about 70 per cent of the country's foreign earnings and half of the Government revenue. <P>The Sudan is the chief producer and exporter of gum Arabic and accounts for 80 to 90 per cent of the world's supply. Vast areas of the central parts of the country are used for grazing of animals, mainly cattle, sheep, goats and camels, of which a large number are exported. There are the traditional products designed primarily for human consumption, mainly cereals, millet (dura), sesame and ground nuts, besides wheat, barley and other agricultural products. <P>Efforts exerted in the industrial field are limited to manufacture of simple consumer goods and processing of agricultural products, eg, cotton, sugar cane, fruit and dates. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Demography</H3> The population of Sudan is approximately 22 million inhabitants. 70 per cent of them live in the North and are predominantly Arabs and Moslems. The South is inhabited by Negroid peoples, who speak tribal dialects and are mostly pagans. <P>The capital Khartoum has a population of about 349,074. The triple capital (Khartoum, Omdurman and Khartoum North) has a population of 1,060,000. Port Sudan is the only sea port (population 135,065). <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>A brief history</H3> Archaeological research proved that man lived in the Sudan during the Stone Age. Since that time the Sudan was known to be rich with the materials of luxury of the age - eg, ebony, ivory, gold, ostrich feathers, etc. It is for that reason, amongst others, that the pharaohs of Egypt occupied the Sudan in 2000 BC. The strong Sudanese Kingdom of Napata drove away the Egyptians and under the rule of Bankhi they occupied Egypt in the seventh century B.C. Sudan became Christian in the sixth century and in the 14th-century Islam prevailed and the Fung Kingdom was formed. <P>The Turks of Egypt, under the rule of Mohed Ali Basha, occupied the Sudan in 1821. <P>Mohamed Ahmed El Mahdi, the great Islamic reformer, led the revolution against the corrupt Turks in the late 19th century, but the Egyptians and the English re-occupied the Sudan in 1898. Tthe Sudan finally regained its independence in 1956. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Religions</H3> The majority are of Islamic faith. <P>There are also Christians and pagans. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Languages spoken by nationals</H3> The Arabic language. Local tribal dialects. English is the second official language. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Time</H3> Two hours ahead of GMT. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Currency</H3> the Sudanese Dinar is divided into 1,000 piasters with the following paper money: DN100, 50, 25, 10, 5. PT1,200 is equal to US$1 subject to fluctuation). <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Official holidays (all offices and shops closed) </H3> 1 January, Independence Day - Ramadan Bairam (four days) Kurban Bairam (five days) Id-el-Kabir - Mohamedan New Year's Day (one day) - Easter (one day) Sham El Nassim - Mulid El Nabi (one day) Birth of the Prophet - 25 December, Christmas Day. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What one should not fail to see</H3> The simple country life and primitive tribes in various parts of the country. The tribal dances of the Nuba and Baggara in the west. The Fuzzy-Wuzzy of the Red Sea Hills. The Dinder National Park and the open game parks in the south. The Marine Gardens and coral reefs near Port Sudan. The Pyramids of Nuri and of Meroi. The old forts and castles and other archaeological remains scattered along the Nile valley. The old town of Suakin. <P>In and around Khartoum: The Mogren junction of the two Niles. The Sabaluka cataracts, the Zoological garden. The Green Belt. The Kalifa's House. Old Dervishes Fort. The 21st Lancers Memorial. Sudanese Handicraft Market. The Sudan National Museum. Historical Museum. Ethnographical Museum. Natural History Museum. Friendship Hall Omdurman. Camel Souk. Youth Palace. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Most favourable seasons for sojourns and touring All the year round except the hot and rainy season (June-September). <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>How to dress</H3> Light clothes, preferably cotton. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Main holiday resorts</H3> Summer resorts of Erkowit, Jebal Marra and the Imatong Mountains in the southern region. Other towns of the country are also recommended, eg, Port Sudan, Atbara, Karima, New Halfa, Kassala, Shendi, Sennar, Madani, Roseris, Kosti, El-Obied, Nyala, El-Fasher, Wau, Juba and Malakal. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Main holiday sports</H3> Sea fishing, boating, sailing, horse racing, horse riding, tennis, swimming. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What to eat and drink</H3> There are European dishes, together with oriental dishes. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What to buy</H3> Handicraft objects which are made of ebony, ivory, straw, and the fine leather from wild animals and creatures. Leopards, snakes, crocodiles are also sold. Oriental jewellery. Silver articles. Handmade cotton and silk. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Frontier formalities</H3> <H3>Passport and visas</H3> A visitor to the Sudan must be in possession of a valid passport and must, in addition, have a permit to enter the Sudan. Application for permit to enter the Sudan should be addressed to: 1. Ministry of the Interior, Passports and Immigration, PO Box 770, Khartoum, Cable address: Passport: Sudanese embassies abroad. Permits are given as follows: a) limited period visa - this visa allows the holder to enter the Sudan and remain for a stated period normally one month. b) Transit visa: valid, for seven days for air travellers and 21 days for surface route travellers. Both visas may on application be tended beyond the period mentioned. Visitors are requested to register their names at the nearest registration authority within three days and requested to do so if they move from one district to other. <H3>Health regulations</H3> Valid international certificates of vaccination are required as follows: 1. Smallpox, on arrival from all countries. 2. Yellow fever: on arrival from infected areas. 3. Cholera: on arrival from infected areas. 4. Vaccination against other diseases depends on the outbreak of such diseases locally or abroad. 5. No certificate required for children under one year of age. <H3>Customs</H3> No duty required for tourists personal effects, such as clothing, toilet requisites, etc, 200 cigarettes or 25 cigars, 1/4 lb. tobacco. <P>Customs duties will be collected on such articles as cameras typewriters, firearms, etc, subject to refund if some are exported from the Sudan within six months. A guarantee signed by a bank or business firm or a known resident may be accepted in place of deposit or duty. <P>No arms will be imported into the Sudan except under a permit 'obtainable from all Sudanese Diplomatic Missions abroad' approved by the under-secretary, Ministry of the Interior, Khartoum. Import of limited amounts of ammunition is allowed only if it is suitable for the firearm in the possession of the importer and for personal use; a further permit is required for possession or use of firearms valid for a period of one month. If the visitor wishes to extend his visit beyond one month a licence is required obtainable from the Ministry of the Interior. <H3>Currency regulations</H3> Tourists are allowed to bring into Sudan unlimited amounts of foreign currency. All bank notes traveller's cheques, letters of credit and drafts have to be declared to customs upon arrival and departure. Visitors are also allowed to take out with them the unspent currency brought in with them. All banks and some hotels are authorised to change foreign currencies in accordance with the prevailing rate of exchange declared monthly by the Bank of Sudan. <H3>Photography</H3> Sudan offers unique opportunities for both the amateur and the professional photographer, lighting conditions are ideal throughout the year. Photographers are kindly requested to visit the Tourism Administration Corporation to obtain a photographic licence, so as to avoid inconvenience. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Main travel routes </H3> <B> By road</B>: Khartoum - Port Sudan. Khartoum - Atbara - Halfa. Khartoum - El Obied - El Fasher. Khartoum - Kosti - Malakal - Juba. Khartoum - Wad Madani - Dinder. Khartoum - Gadaref and Khartoum - Kassala. The Sudan neighbours the Middle East and by virtue of its position in the heart of Africa, Khartoum, the capital of the country, has become a centre of all air routes coming from Africa - Asia and Europe. <P>Motoring - Application for permission to motor through the Sudan should be made to Passport and Immigration, Ministry of the Interior, Khartoum Motorist must pay a deposit or give a guarantee signed by a known resident of the Sudan, a bank or business firm. Permission to motor in or through the Sudan may not be given for less than two vehicles. Most roads in the Sudan-especially in the northern part are fit for motoring only in dry seasons (November-May). Motorists are advised to enquire about the state of roads before attempting to travel. Note: When motoring through towns motorists should keep to the right. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Miscellaneous</H3> Sudan is the most suitable country for game and hunting north of the Equator. The Dinder National Park is the biggest and most unique park in the world. It covers an area of about 3,500 sq. miles with a variety of animals and various kinds of colourful birds. The southern region is a real paradise for game hunters; it is characterised by green forests, open park land, waterfalls and treeless swamps abounding with many animals and birds, such as elephant, white and black rhinoceros, buffaloes, lions, leopards giraffes and many varieties of antelopes. The primitive villagers, with their fantastic tribal dances and fascinating folklore together with the hospitality all the friendliness of the Sudanese in general help to make your visit to the Sudan the most unforgettable ever. <P>Main event: 1997 14th International Fair of Khartoum: 22 January to 8 February. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Representatives abroad</H3> Please apply to the nearest diplomatic mission. <P><I>We have been able to publish the present tourist information on SUDAN thanks to the co-operation of Ministry of Tourism and Environment in Khartoum. <!-- End of article --> <P> <CENTER><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="4"></CENTER> <P> <CENTER><A HREF=#TOP><IMG SRC="Countrypics/WhiteTopbut.gif" BORDER="0" hspace="5"></A> <A HREF="../../../watanetwork/NTOs/Countrieslist/"><IMG SRC="Countrypics/WhiteNTObut.gif" BORDER="0" hspace="5"></A></CENTER> </TD> </TR> </TABLE> </BODY> </HTML>