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Before anything else, we strongly recommend that you do not travel to Sudan outside Khartoum, Omdurman, and Northern Sudan. South Sudan and Darfur are somewhat violent places these days, so you do not want to be there in case anything happens.
Sudan is the third largest country in Africa. If you manage to get a visa, you will create some beautiful memories, as long as you restrict yourself to the safe zones. The Sudanese people are very nice and hospitable. However, the country is governed by sharia law and homosexuality is punishable by death. Gay or lesbian tourists should refrain from publicly demonstrating their sexual orientation to avoid problems.
As to how to get in Sudan, it can be potentially problematic. Only 6 nationalities can enter the country without a visa. The citizens of Egypt, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Syria, and Yemen can cross the border without a visa. The period of time which they can spend in Sudan depends on nationality.
Another option would be a visa on arrival, which Sudan’s visa policy allows. However, not everyone is eligible for a visa on arrival. Only the citizens of 27 countries qualify for a visa on arrival. The time allowed for a stay depends on the nationality. For example, a traveler from Burkina Faso can stay in Sudan for 2 months, while a person from Malaysia can stay only for 30 days.
If you cannot find yourself on any of the lists, your only option is to apply for a visa at the nearest Sudanese embassy. However, the process can be tricky. Plus, it is quite costly, and you have no guarantee that your request is approved. It can happen for people who meet all the requirements to be refused entry. For example, a visa entry stamp from Israel can have your request denied.
Every single traveler who enters Sudan, no matter which document he or she has (passport only, visa on arrival, consular visa,) needs to register the entry with the nearest police station. The police registration needs to be done no more than 24 hours from arrival.
Getting around Sudan may seem a bit chaotic if you come from Western nation. If you choose to drive around your personal car or a rental, you will see that the traffic is not well-disciplined. Just so you know. Traveling by bus imposes the same issues. You can choose to go by train for long distances, and if you wish to explore a particular location, you should consider a bike. It is less stressful.
The official language in Sudan is, of course, Arabic. English is not widely spoken, although officials and hospitality workers often speak it quite well. One thing that may surprise you is that in Sudan, it is the older generations who speak English better. Only highly educated young people speak English. For that reason, we recommend that you learn some Arabic before you leave for Sudan. It may come in handy.
Sudanese cuisine is nothing out of the ordinary. If you try a variety of restaurants, you will see that the kitchen in Sudan has multiple influences, such as Yemeni, Egyptian, Turkish, and a few others. Of course, you have Arab influences, which is always delicious. As far as drinks are concerned, you will not find alcohol everywhere you go. As mentioned above, Sudan is governed by sharia law since the 1980s. Alcohol is illegal for Muslims, but you can find some locally brewed beer in certain locations. Sudan may ban alcohol, but it is not an entirely dry country.
One thing that you need to remember is that Sudan’s population is entirely Muslim. As a result, you need to be respectful of the culture and tradition. You should dress decently, especially if you are a woman. You need to have your hands and legs covered, and it is never a good idea to show too much. Also, if you visit religious sites, do not forget to cover your head if you are a woman.
All in all, Sudan is a tricky country. It has its fair share of dangers, however, if you avoid the conflict zones and stay within your lane, you should not have any incidents.