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Transportation - Get In

By plane

Khartoum Airport (KRT) is the main gateway into Sudan by air. There are also some international flights which use Port Sudan airport.

Khartoum Airport is served by various European, Middle Eastern and African airlines. Among the cities with direct air links with Khartoum are Abu Dhabi (Etihad, Sudan Airways), Addis Ababa (Ethiopian Airlines), Amman (Royal Jordanian, Sudan Airways), Amsterdam (KLM Royal Dutch Airlines), Bahrain (Gulf Air), Cairo (EgyptAir, Sudan Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways), Damascus (Syrian Airlines, Sudan Airways), Doha (Qatar Airways), Dubai (Emirates, Sudan Airways), Frankfurt(Lufthansa), Istanbul (Turkish Airlines), London (British Airways, British Midlands, Sudan Airways) and Nairobi (Kenya Airways, Sudan Airways),Sharjah (Air Arabia low cost airline)

Port Sudan airport handles flights to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Cairo. These flights usually begin/end at Khartoum.

The airport is served by dilapidated yellow taxis that will routinely overcharge. Alternatively you can book taxis with a Khartoum taxi company called LimoTrip that use metered taxis and good vehicles at better rates - +249 183 591 313 or [email protected]

By train

There are train routes between Sudan and South Sudan from the city of Babanusa in Sudan to Wau in South Sudan.

By land

Libya "temporarily" closed its land border with Sudan on 16 Dec 2012. It is unclear when the border will reopen.

One way to get in from Ethiopia is via the border village of Gallabat. The road crossing from Egypt periodically closes, depending on diplomatic and trading relations between the two countries. Check for information before trying this route.

By bus

Even when open, there is no public transport via the road crossing from Egypt. There is no updated information about public transportation between Sudan and newly-independent South Sudan.

By boat

The most reliable way to enter Sudan from Egypt is via the weekly ferry from Aswan in Egypt to Wadi Halfa. Currently it runs on Mondays to Sudan and back on Wednesdays. Prices recently went up to US$33. The boat is old and crowded with people and goods (the best place to sleep is on deck amongst the cargo) but it takes in some magnificent views (including that of Abu Simbel). Food and drink are available on board. There are frequent ferries from Saudi Arabia. If travelling from the south, ferry tickets can be purchased at Khartoum's main train terminal in North Khartoum.

Transportation - Get Around

Permits and other legal requirements

  • Independent travellers in Sudan (definitely those with their own vehicles and possibly those using public transport) require a Permit To Travel if going to any places the Government deems unstable. Obtaining one is an arduous ordeal, costing USD15 and taking around a day (in Wadi Halfa). Travel permits are not required for the Northern State, nor on the road to Ethiopia. They are required if going near Eritrea, toward Darfur or southern Kordofan. The attack on Omdurman (May 2008) has increased security and hence this information may be out of date.
  • Independent travellers also need to register with police on arrival in any town or city. This is fairly quick and painless, once the police point has been located - and often the police will hear about your arrival and find you before you find them. Some towns may no longer require re-registration.

By plane

NOTE: Sudan Airways has among the worst safety records in Africa: Over a dozen fatal crashes have occurred in the last ten years.

Apart from Khartoum, there are small airports in Wadi Halfa, El Debba, Dongola, Port Sudan, El Fasher, Wad Madani, Merowe and El Obeid, all served by Sudan Airways [www]. Most flights operate from Khartoum. Be prepared for changing timetables and cancelled flights.

By train

Although Sudan has one of the largest rail networks in Africa much of it is in a state of disrepair. Recently however, there's reason for optimism about train travel in Sudan again. The Nile Express, with new trains brought in from China, now whisks passengers between Khartoum and Atbara on renovated tracks. More tracks are being renovated but for now other services are limited to local trains around the capital Khartoum, a weekly service from Wadi Halfa, timed with the ferry to/from Egypt, and a very sporadic service with Nyala. Sole operator of trains in Sudan is the Sudan Railways Corporation.

By car

Driving in Sudan is chaotic but not especially dangerous by African standards. Visitors to the area who are inexperienced at international driving are advised to hire a taxi or a driver. In most of the country, a 4WD is essential; Sudan's main highway is sealed for much of the way but most of the roads in the country are dirt or sand tracks. Crossing in to Sudan from Egypt via the ferry from Aswan to Wadi Halfa now has the benefit of the Chinese financed tarmac highway covering the 400km south to Dongola, and then right through to Khartoum, another 500km. This road is quick for overlanders as there are few military roadblocks, and very little other traffic.

By bus

While buses do run frequently in the better traveled areas, in remoter areas people tend to use trucks or "boxes" (Toyota Hiluxes) - they're usually just as crowded as the buses but have fewer people sitting on top and get stuck in the sand less often. They tend to go whenever they fill up, which can take half a day or so. If you have money to spare, you can hire a whole one to yourself

By bicycle

It is possible to cycle around Sudan, legally speaking, although it might be advisable to forget to mention your mode of transport when getting your permit to travel. "Cycling" will often consist of pushing the bike through sand or rattling along corrugations but the scenery and the warmth of the Sudanese people may compensate for the physical and bureaucratic hassles. Check carefully the availability of clean, drinkable water. Theft is not a problem; it is generally safe to leave bicycles unattended in villages and towns. Flies, puncture-generous thorn trees and, in the far north, lack of shade, can be real annoyances.

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Sudan - Travel guide