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Sudan

Stay safe & healthy

Stay safe & healthy


Stay safe

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.

Armed conflict

Sudan was at 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 or complicated

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

Transportation

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.

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. There have been cases of pickpocketting in Sudan as well

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.

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 some rule, e.g., taking photographs or filming in prohibited areas. Sudanese police are sometimes known to target travelers for bribes. So, If you are pulled over for whatever reason, be sure to pay them.

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.

LGBT travellers

Sudan is an Islamic country and consumption of alcohol is illegal. 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 thousand lashes for both men and women, (which is virtually the death penalty anyway, it would be surprising if anyone could survive that sort of harsh punishment). 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. Ask for consular assistance from your government if you are arrested.


Stay healthy

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.

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Sudan - Travel guide

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