Sudan Notes

I was in Sudan between the 03 of April 2018 and xxx . The information and prices were correct at the time of writing

For daily distances and a brief description of each day follow this link

Visa
I got my visa at the Sudan Consulate in Aswan (GPS 24.055254,2.883256). I took my passport one day and collected it the following day. The people at the consulate were helpful and friendly. I paid 50 USD for a 30 day visa.

The consulate is closed on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. They are open from 10.30 and seem to be flexible as to the closing time. There is a lot of waiting so take a book!

On day (Monday) 1 I took with me:

a photocopy of my passport
a photocopy of the Egypt visa
Passport photo (can’t remember whether it was one or two)
50 USD

There is a photocopy shop round the corner from the consulate (GPS 24.053981,32.88318)

They gave me a form to fill in. The sponsor is the hotel you are staying in. I chose one hotel in Wadi Halfa.

Then you wait – I waited for 3 hours after which they gave me a slip of paper with my name and  told me to come back the following day to collect my pasport

Day 2 (Tuesday)
I went at 10.30am and waited for a couple of hours after which my passport arrived with the visa

All in all pretty painless, just a lot of waiting.

On arrival
My entry into Sudan through the Eshket border was a bit chaotic.

There were loads of lorries parked either side of the road between the two countries. I cycled along and got to the gate that was padlocked, told the official I wanted to get into Sudan and was told to wait. I sat in the shade with a crowd of lorry drivers wanting conversation, mainly football. After a while I went to ask whether I could come into Sudan. I was told to wait again as it was time for prayer. Eventually I was let through, pointed to a building and asked to leave the bike outside. I went inside

Window 1 – you fill in a form – they stamp your passport

Window 2 – you fill in a form again -with the same information pretty much

Please note some people are asked for 60SDP (Sudanese pounds) This is a scam. I did not have to pay anything. If you feel like fighting it just say other travellers have not paid.

Out of the building again -fetch the bike and in you go to the customs area with the bike, in my case the process was pretty painless – they asked me what I had in each pannier and the official put a sticker in each. You then go towards the exit where another official crosses off the sticker with a thick felt pen and you are free to go

Registration
You need to register in Sudan within three days of arrival. I registered in Wadi Halfa (GPS 21.80075,31.35099)

You need
A photocopy of the passport
A photocopy of the Sudan Visa
One Passport photo
532 SDP

There is a photocopy shop to the left of the Registration office

Once again a lot of waiting is involved

Office one – you fill in a form, there is a section that asks for a guarantor in Sudan, I was told I could leave that section blank and the same goes for the address in Sudan. Then you wait until you are asked to go to

The computer room where someone will enter the information in a computer. You sit and wait until they tell you to go to

The cash office – where you hand over your money and they print a receipt

Someone takes you back to office one where a blue-green sticker is placed in your passport. This is very important, until that sticker is in your passport you are not registered.

In make case a soldier had to go and fetch the rubber stamp. The sticker is stamped and you are done.

The whole process took just over 2 hours

Money
I changed my leftover Egyptian money in a small cafe in Abu Simbel but they gave me a pretty poor exchange rate 1 EGP = 1.5 SD. You are better off waiting until the border. However here is the GPS location of the coffee shop 22.341475,31.613126

At the Sudanese border someone approached me when I was having my passport stamped and offered me 100 EGP = 195 SDP and 100 USD = 3300 SDP That was without negotiating

I waited to Wadi Halfa and the very best I could get was 100USD =3250 SDP

In the rest of the country I have consistently got 100USD = 3300 SDP

Sudanese SIM card
I was told ZAIN has the best coverage. The office in Wadi Halfa is located at GPS 21.801503,31.350888

When I was there, there was a special offer 1.5GB + 1GB for 75 SDP. I had to pay and extra 10 SDP for the SIM.If you want to make voice calls you have to buy extra. I didn’t.

Coverage is not brilliant, very slow.

Food and Drink
Like in Egypt felafels are available but the stalls are not as prevalent as in Egypt although you will find them in biggish places. 5SDP will get you around 8 to 12 small felafels.

Bread is widely available and Sudanese eat it in large amounts. A rollwill/cost 1SDP. Take your own plastic bags because they charge for them.

Fruit and vegetable were cheap but the markets are not as well stocked as those in Egypt

Grilled chicken is delicious. It comes with beans (fool) bread, raw onions and some spicy sauces. I have been paying around 70SDP for 1/2 chicken.

And beans are cheap and are also served with raw onion and bread

The full cream yogourth is very nice and a small carton was around 7SDP and the next size up 18SDP.

Soft drinks were around 10SDP. Coke and Pepsi in glass bottles was cheaper at 6 to 8SDP.

Khartoum  has a variety of restaurants of different prices but you can get a  decent meal in a nice restaurant for under 150SDP

You can find bottled water everywhere but if like me you don’t want to leave a trail of plastic bottles behind and I use a filter you can fill up at the pottery containers along the road. The water can have quite a lot of sand and be quite cloudy but in my time there it never made me ill (I never drank it unfiltered though)

Alcohol is forbidden by law

Sometimes you will find small coffee stalls run by women. These stalls sell onllly coffee and tea and the coffee there is pretty nice. The coffee they make is Turkish style.

When I was there, there was a shortage of petrol in Sudan so if you have a liquid fuel cooker you may want to check out the situation and/or stock up in Egypt. Once you get to Khartoum it gets a  bit easier to get petrol

On the road
The Sudanese A1 main roads was good. Good tarmac and raised so unlike Egypt, there is no sand on the road. There is no hard shoulder.

Every now and again there are metal studs across the road, they don’t slow the cars down but they can be very slippery, however there is enough space at the side to avoid them. When I left the A1 and went through some villages by the Nile they had killer speed bumps similar to the ones in Egypt.

I found drivers gave me the thumbs up and a fair amount room and never felt unsafe on this road.

I then took buses to Dongola to Karima and from then to Atbara. A very different picture here. The road to Khartoum is the main trunk road linking the capital to Port Sudan and it was extremely busy with lorries and buses. I found the lorries not too bad but the buses overtake you very closely at high speed and if an oncoming bus will overtake another vehicle regardless of the fact that they may collide head on with you. I kept my eyes peeled on my rear view mirror and came off the road when I saw a bus coming. On a few ocassions I had to come of the road to avoid being knocked off my bike.

Around 65 Km before Khartoum the traffic becomes lighter. Because of the heavy traffic the tarmac on this road can be quite bumpy

Accomodation
I have listed where I spent the night at each location and the cost. For the exact coordinates check here.

Wadi Halfa Nubian Hotel –  250 SDP no breakfast, shared bathroom, no WIFI, AC – clean and comfortable
El Beer Camped in the first cafe on the left after the sign cold drinks, water, food
Abri Magzoub Nubian Guesthouse –  250 SDP, no breakfast, shared bathroom (basic), good WiFi, fridge, keetle. Magzoub was very helpful
Village in Km 656 Camped, shop with cold drinks, latrines, water. Possibly nicer camping spots a bit further along on the righ
Palm Grove beautiful – Camped – pick up water in village just before camping spot as no water there
Dongola Olla Hotel – 300 SDP – Double room with bathroom and balcony, AC, fan and fridge – no breakfast – hot water – erratic WIFI
Karima – Ahmed Mousa Hostel – 150 SDP – shared shower no hot water and toilets – kitchen – fan – ok
Atbara – Adel Hotel – 550 SDP – Fan  AC Fridge bathroom with hot water mini breakfast – great WIFI – very clean
Meroe Pyramids – camped in the desert – beautiful spot – fabulous stars – bring everything including plenty of water although there is water just inside the main gate to the pyramids
Khartoum – Shandi Road – camped by a café near a disused petrol station – delicious chicken
Khartoum – Shandies Road – camped by side of road by a small house right after a big water station – latrines water
Khartoum – Stayed with a friend