Khartoum: Wikis


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الخرطوم al-Kharṭūm
Night view of downtown Khartoum

Nickname(s): The Triangular City
Khartoum is located in Sudan
Khartoum's location in Sudan
Coordinates: 15°37′59″N 32°31′59″E / 15.63306°N 32.53306°E / 15.63306; 32.53306
Country  Sudan
State Khartoum State
 - Governor Abdul Rahman Alkheder
Population (2005)
 Urban 2,207,794
 Metro 8,000,000 Agglomeration

Khartoum (الخرطوم al-Kharṭūm) is the capital of Sudan and of Khartoum State. It is located at the confluence of the White Nile flowing north from Lake Victoria, and the Blue Nile flowing west from Ethiopia. The location where the two Niles meet is known as "al-Mogran". The main Nile continues to flow north towards Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea.

Divided by the Niles, Khartoum is a tripartite metropolis with an estimated overall population of over a million people consisting of Khartoum proper, and linked by bridges to Khartoum North called (al-Khartūm Bahrī) and Omdurman (Umm Durmān) to the west.



The word 'Khartoum' is derived from Arabic for "end of an elephant’s trunk", probably referring to the narrow strip of land extending between the Blue and White Niles.[1] Captain J. A. Grant, who reached Khartoum in 1863 with Captain Speke’s expedition, thought that the derivation was most probably from the safflower (Carthamus Tinctorius L.) which is called 'Gartoon,' and which was cultivated extensively in Egypt for its oil, used in burning.[citation needed]



Early history

Khartoum at the Bend of the Nile

Ibrahim Pasha, the ruler of Egypt, founded Khartoum in 1821 as an outpost for the Egyptian army. The settlement grew as a regional center of trade, including the slave trade. Troops loyal to the Mahdi Muhammad Ahmad began a siege of Khartoum on 13 March 1884 against the defenders led by British General Charles George Gordon. The siege ended in a massacre of the Anglo-Egyptian garrison.

The heavily damaged city fell to the Mahdists on 26 January 1885. Omdurman was the scene of the bloody battle on 2 September 1898, during which British forces under Horatio Kitchener defeated the Mahdist forces defending the city.

In 1899, Khartoum became the capital of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Several explanations have been offered for the design of the new, Anglo-Egyptian Khartoum. One is that Kitchener laid out the city's streets in a Union flag pattern as a symbol of British dominance. Another is that the grid system and diagonal streets of the city were designed to converge in a way that would allow machine-guns to sweep the town. However, there is no contemporary evidence to support either of these suggestions.[2]

When Sudan became independent in 1956, Khartoum became the capital of the new country.

Recent history

In 1973, the city was the site of an anomalous hostage crisis in which members of Black September held ten hostages at the Saudi embassy, five of whom were diplomats. The US ambassador, the US deputy ambassador, and the Belgian chargé d'affaires were murdered. The remaining hostages were released (see 1973 Khartoum diplomatic assassinations). A 1973 United States Department of State document, declassified in 2006, concluded "The Khartoum operation was planned and carried out with the full knowledge and personal approval of Yasser Arafat."[3]

The first oil pipeline between Khartoum and Port Sudan was completed in 1977.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Khartoum was the destination for hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing conflicts in neighboring nations such as Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Uganda. The Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees assimilated into society which some of the other refugees settled in large slums at the outskirts of the city. From the mid-1980s onward, large numbers of south Sudanese and Darfuri internally displaced from the violence of the Second Sudanese Civil War and Darfur conflict have settled around Khartoum.

Following the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings, the United States accused Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda group of responsibility and launched cruise missile attacks (20 August) on the al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum North. The destruction of the factory produced diplomatic tension between the U.S. and Sudan. The ruins of the factory are a tourist attraction.

After the sudden death of SPLA head and vice-president of Sudan John Garang at the end of July 2005, there were violent riots in the capital for three days which died down after southern Sudanese politicians and tribal leaders sent strong messages to the rioters. The situation could have been chaotic with mass killings and reprisals however the death toll was at least 24 as youth from South Sudan attacked North Sudanese and clashed with security forces.[4]

The Organisation of African Unity summit of July 18–22, 1978 was held in Khartoum, during which Sudan was awarded the OAU presidency. The African Union summit of January 16–24, 2006 was held in Khartoum.

The Arab League summit of March 28–29, 2006 was held in Khartoum, during which the Arab League awarded Sudan the Arab League presidency.

On 10 May 2008 the Darfur rebel group of the Justice and Equality Movement moved into the city where they engaged in heavy fighting with Sudanese government forces. Their soldiers included minors and their goal was the toppling of Omar Hassan al-Bashir's government, though the Sudanese government succeeded in beating back the assault[5][6].[7]


Khartoum features a hot arid climate, with only the months of July and August seeing significant precipitation. Khartoum averages a little over 155 mm (6 in.) of precipitation per year. Based on average annual temperatures, Khartoum is quite possibly the hottest major city on the planet. Its average annual high temperature is 38°C (100°F), with seven months of the year seeing an average monthly high temperature of at least 38°C (100°F). Furthermore, none of its monthly average high temperatures falls below 32°C (90°F). This is something not seen in other major cities with hot arid climates such as Riyadh, Baghdad and Phoenix. Temperatures cool off considerably during the night, with Khartoum's lowest average low temperatures of the year hovering around the 16°C (60°F) mark.

Climate data for Khartoum
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 40
Average high °C (°F) 32
Average low °C (°F) 15
Record low °C (°F) 5
Precipitation mm (inches) 0
Sunshine hours 341 311 310 330 300 300 279 279 300 310 330 341 3,731
Avg. precipitation days 0 0 0 0 1 1 5 6 2 1 0 0 16
Source: BBC Weather [8] 2009-08-21


Year Population[9]
City Agglomeration
1907[10] 69,349 k. A.
1956 93,100 245,800
1973 333,906 748,300
1983 476,218 1,340,646
1993 947,483 2,919,773
2007 Estimate 2,207,794 8,363,915


View of the traffic in the city of Khartoum.

After the signing of the historic Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLA), the Government of Sudan has begun a massive development project[11][12]. The biggest projects taking place right now in Khartoum are the Al-Mogran Development Project, two five-star hotels, a new airport, Mac Nimir Bridge (finished in October 2007) and the Tuti Bridge that links Khartoum to Tuti Island.

Khartoum has a thriving economy. In recent years Khartoum has seen significant development, driven by Sudan's oil wealth. The center of the city is well-planned, with tree-lined streets. However, Khartoum has the highest concentration of economic activity in the country. This is slowly changing as major economic developments take place in other parts of the country, like oil exploration in the South, the Giad Industrial Complex and White Nile Sugar Project in Central Sudan, and the Merowe Dam in the North.

Among the city's industries are printing, glass manufacturing, food processing, and textiles. Petroleum products are now produced in the far north of Khartoum state, providing fuel and jobs for the city. One of Sudan's largest refineries is located in northern Khartoum. Moreover, a number of East-Asian companies have recently shown interest in the realization of a new project which will lead to the creation of new telecommunication services throughout the country.


Khartoum is the main location for most of Sudan's top educational bodies, including but not limited to:

High Schools


  • University of Khartoum. Founded as Gordon Memorial College in 1902, it was later renamed to share the name of the city in the 1930s.
  • Juba University, relocated from Juba during the civil war. Currently, one of the universities in Sudan that maintains English as the language of instruction. Plans exist to relocate the university or part of it back to Southern Sudan.
  • Computerman College, the college for computer studies, which recently added other departments.
  • Al Neelain University
  • Sudan University of Science and Technology. One of the main engineering and technical schools in Sudan, founded in 1932 as Khartoum Technical Institute and given its present name in 1991.
  • University Of Science & Technology one of better university in computer tecgnology and medical science.
  • Bayan Science and Technology University
  • The Academy of Medical Sciences and Technology. Better known as AMST, it was founded in 1996 by Prof. Mamoun Humaida and built in Khartoum.
  • Omdurman Islamic University
  • Ahfad University for Women
  • Academy of Medical Sciences and Technology, Khartoum
  • Comboni College for Science and Technology, Khartoum



Khartoum is home to the largest airport in Sudan, Khartoum International Airport. It is the main hub for Sudan Airways, Sudan's main carrier. The airport was built at the southern edge of the city; but with Khartoum's rapid growth and consequent urban sprawl, the airport is now located in the heart of the city. A new international airport is currently being built in the city of Omdurman.[citation needed] It will replace the current airport in Khartoum as Sudan's main airport followed by Juba Airport and Port Sudan Airport.


The following bridges cross the Blue Nile and connect Khartoum to Khartoum North:

  • Mac Nimir Bridge
  • Blue Nile Road & Railway Bridge
  • Kober Bridge
  • Elmansheya Bridge

The following bridges cross the White Nile and connect Khartoum to Omdurman:

  • White Nile Bridge
  • Fitayhab Bridge
  • Al Dabbaseen Bridge (Under Construction)
  • Omhuraz Bridge (Proposed)

the following bridges cross from Omdurman: to Khartoum North:

  • Shambat Bridge
  • Halfia Bridge (Under Construction)

The following bridges cross to Tuti from Khartoum states three cities

  • Khartoum-tuti bridge
  • Omdurman-Tuti Suspension bridge proposed
  • Khartoum North-tuti bridge proposed


Khartoum has rail lines from Egypt, Port Sudan and El Obeid.


A statue, claimed to depict Natakamani, at the front of the National Museum of Sudan


The largest museum in Khartoum, and indeed all of Sudan, is the National Museum of Sudan. Founded in 1971, it contains works from different epochs of Sudanese history. Among the exhibits are two Egyptian temples of Buhen and Semna which were originally built by Queen Hatshepsut and Pharaoh Tuthmosis III respectively but relocated to Khartoum upon the flooding of Lake Nasser.

Another museum in Khartoum is the Palace Museum, located adjacent to the historical Presidential Palace on Blue Nile Street.


Khartoum doesn't have as many open markets or souqs as neighboring Omdurman, but one of the largest is the Souq Arabi. The market is huge and spread over several blocks in the center of Khartoum proper just south of the Great Mosque (Mesjid al-Kabir) and the minibus station. It is divided into separate sections, including one focused entirely on gold.

Al Qasr St. and Al Jamhoriyah St. are considered the most famous high streets in Khartoum State.

Recently Sudan's first medium scale shopping mall opened, located in the southern suburb Arkeweet. The Afra Mall has a supermarket, retail outlets, coffee shops, a bowling alley, movie theaters, and a children's playground.

Also recently Sudan opened the Hotel Section and part of the food court of the new, Elfatih Tower. The Mall/Shopping section is still under construction.

Botanical gardens

Khartoum is home to a small botanical garden, in the Mogran district of the city.


Sudan sufis in Khartoum

Khartoum is home to several clubs such as the Sailing Club, German Club, Greek Hotel, Coptic Club, Syrian Club, International Club etc.

Twin cities

See also


  1. ^ Room, Adrian (2006), Placenames of the World (Second edition)., McFarland. ISBN 0786422483. p. 194
  2. ^ Home, Robert K., Of Planting and Planning: the making of British colonial cities (1997), p.41
  3. ^ "The Seizure of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Khartoum". U.S. Department of State. 2006-05-04. 
  4. ^ BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Riots after Sudan VP Garang dies
  5. ^ Curfew in capital as Sudanese army clash near Khartoum with Darfur rebels – Sudan Tribune 2008-05-10
  6. ^ Sudanese rebels 'reach Khartoum' – BBC News 2008-05-10
  7. ^ PHOTOS: Sudan capital after today's attack from Darfur JEM – Sudan Tribune 2008-05-10
  8. ^ "Average Conditions Khartoum, Sudan". BBC Weather. Retrieved August 21 2009. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica von 1911: Band 15, Seite 773
  11. ^ "Sudan and UNDP launch Millennium Goals project". Sudan Tribune. 20075-09-05. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  12. ^ "Khartoum booms as Darfur burns". BBC. 2007-04-24. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  13. ^ "'Muhammad' teddy teacher arrested". BBC. 2007-11-26. Retrieved 2007-11-28. 
  14. ^ Rob Crilly in Khartoum and Lucy Bannerman (2007-11-27). "Sudan police throw teacher in jail for teddy bear named Muhammad". The Times. Retrieved 2007-11-28. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Africa : Saharan Africa : Sudan : Khartoum
Khartoum and the Blue Nile at dusk.
Khartoum and the Blue Nile at dusk.

Khartoum (Arabic: الخرطوم Al-Khartum) is the capital of Sudan and is located where the Blue and White Niles merge to form the Nile. The huge, spread-out city is actually made out of three distinct cities - Khartoum, Khartoum North or Bahri, and Omdurman - which are divided by the Nile and its two arms. The Blue Nile flows between Khartoum and Bahri, the White Nile between Khartoum and Omdurman, and the merged Nile between Bahri and Omdurman. The confluence of the Blue and White Nile, known as Al-Mogran, lies just north of the bridge between Khartoum and Omdurman.

Khartoum proper is the seat of the Sudanese government and is the largest of the three cities. The older part of the city lies beside the Blue Nile while the newer parts, such as Al-Amarat and Khartoum Two, spread out to the south across the railway line and ring road, and around the airport runway. The city, both old and its newer extensions, is mostly laid out in a grid. Omdurman has a more Middle Eastern atmosphere with maze-like streets and is home to the huge Souq Omdurman. Bahri is largely industrial and residential.

Get in


All visitors to Sudan need a visa. Please see the Sudan page for details.

Permits and other legal requirements

Remember that all foreigners are required to register within three days of arrival. You will also need a permit to take photographs.

  • To register, go to the Aliens Registration Bureau at Shari'a al-Tayar Morad, Khartoum, just off Shari'a al-Nil, with passport sized photos required and US$33. Most hotels can register you upon payment of a commission.
  • Photo permits can be obtained for free from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism at Shari'a Abu Sin, Khartoum, east of Souq Arabi. The office is on the corner opposite the Dandas Hotel (see places to stay).

By air

Khartoum Airport (KRT) is the main gateway into Sudan by air. The airport is served by various European, Middle Eastern and African airlines. Among the cities with directo connections with Khartoum are: British Airways (with connections to London), EgyptAir (Cairo), Emirates (Dubai), Ethiopian Airlines (Addis Ababa), Gulf Air (Bahrain), Kenya Airlines (Nairobi), KLM (Amsterdam), Lufthansa (Frankfurt), Qatar Airways (Doha) Turkish Airlines (Istanbul, on Tuesdays, Fridays, Sundays).

Sudan's national carrier Sudan Airways [1] links Khartoum and several African and regional capitals, as well as with Sudan's domestic airports at Port Sudan, Nyala, El-Fashir, Malakal, Juba, Dongola, Wadi Halfa and El-Obeid.

While departing from Khartoum, airport tax is SDG 35 for international departures which must be paid before you check-in. The counter for airport tax (small signboard) is on your left after you pass the first security check when you enter the the airport building. Go early as the airport can get a bit chaotic. Be prepared for long waits and queue cutting. Immigration checks and other security checks can also take a long time.

Getting there/away: Khartoum Airport is located close to the city in Al-Amarat. Taxis should cost between SDG 5 and 15 to any spot within the city, although locals may pay less. Or you can walk out to the main Airport Road about 200m from the airport terminal and catch minibuses which cruise along the road.

By road

The main tarred road goes south from Khartoum to Wad Medani then east to Gedaref (for the Ethiopian border at Gallabat), Kassala (for the Eritrean border, currently closed) and then to Port Sudan. South from Khartoum, a road also goes to El-Obeid, which then continues west towards the Chadian border via Darfur, which currently is a bit dangerous to use. From the north, the road comes in from Wadi Halfa via Atbara.

There are no road links to southern Sudan. The only option is to fly.

By bus

The chaotic Souq al-Shaabi (GPS 15°31'44.45"N , 32°32'34.85"E) used to be the main bus terminal for long distance south-bound buses in Khartoum, but a new terminal has been built which is more orderly. Buses leave for Port Sudan, Wad Medani, Kassala, El-Obeid and other cities. Going north long distance buses leave from Omdurman. Again, there are no buses to southern Sudan.

By train

Railway lines link Khartoum with Wadi Halfa and Port Sudan via Atbara. Train schedules are said to be extremely erratic. Trains leave from the train station in Khartoum North (Bahri).

By boat

There are no boat services along the Nile to destinations outside Khartoum.

Get around

Khartoum is both an easy and difficult place to get around. Easy in that much of the city is laid out on a grid, with long straight roads and the airport and Nile as easy reference places. Difficult in that the city (or indeed the 3 cities) are very spread out, making walking a long and tiring option.

Maps are hard to come by, but Google Earth offers some good hi-res images.

By taxi

These come in two flavours; bright yellow and often beaten up Toyota Corollas Model 1977, and small 6 seater minivans. Taxi drivers always practice 'overcharge the foreigner' and 10 pounds is the usual starting price for negotiations for short trips around town.

Fair 'foreigner' prices for taxis are roughly:

  • 5 SDG within Khartoum 1 (central Khartoum)
  • 5-10 SDG Khartoum 1 to the airport / Amarat / Khartoum 2
  • 10 SDG to Riyadh or Afra Mall

Crossing the river will usually double the price. From the city center, they may ask for between 15 and 20 to go to Afra Mall. To get the 'Sudanese' fare you need a bit of luck and be prepared to walk away when they refuse to drop to a reasonable price. Remember that petrol is around 7 pounds a Gallon - so drivers can make a profit even on a 2 pound fare.

Finally be aware that most taxi drivers speak no English, can't read maps, and there is a good chance that they can't read Arabic either - to top it off they often have little idea about Khartoum's geography, especially about other parts of the city to where you pick him up.

But rent a car shops are everywhere which will at least lead you to somebody who can give you some ideas where to go.

By minibus

Minibuses are the cheapest way to get around Khartoum, especially between the three cities. There are easily thousands of minibuses and seeing all of them gather near the Great Mosque and Souk al-Arabi is a sight to behold. They are however quite complicated to use. None of them bear destination signs and you will have to be able to speak a little Arabic with their conductors to determine which minibus to take. They are also always packed to the brim. Fare's are always less that 1SP, even cross-river.

Most of the minibuses leave from the square near the Great Mosque (Mesjid al-Kabir) or nearby in Khartoum proper.

By car

Describing Khartoum's traffic as chaotic is a bit of an understatement. The current economic boom has seem many more cars on the road, although driving attitudes have not changed, resulting in almost comical chaos at intersections. And as Khartoum is laid out in a grid, there are many intersections for cars from all directions to barge in to fight for space. Having said that, the slow speed of vehicles ensures that they are very few major accidents, at least in the city. If you are not used to such driving conditions, it is better to resort to taxis.

Car hire is available and costs a bit above the African average, around 150SDG per day for a Corolla, and 300+SDG for a 4x4 (with compulsory driver). However if you want to head off in to the desert the costs mount further, as the standard inclusive kilometres is 100, and then its 1SDG per additional km, hence a trip to the Meroe pyramids adds 400SDG to your costs. Fuel however is cheap, at around 1.8SDG per litre (March 2008). ‘Limousine’ is the Arabic for car hire – try along Airport Road or Ibed Khartoum Road (east of the airport) for car hire places.

By three-wheeled taxis

Called "bajaj" (like in India) or "raksha", they are cheaper than taxis but more expensive than buses ie. less than 5 pounds per trip. They are best used for short trips within each of Khartoum's three cities. It will be better to use taxis or minibuses if you have to cross the Nile to travel between the three cities.

By boat

There are no ferry services between the three cities as they are well connected by road bridges.

There is a ferry service between Khartoum proper and Tuti Island, a rural islet in the middle of the Blue Nile. In Khartoum, boats leave from the river bank along Nile Street opposite the Friendship Hall to the west of the city center. A ferry also runs between Tuti and Omdurman (except on Fridays)

Nile Street and the Grand Holiday Villa Khartoum.
Nile Street and the Grand Holiday Villa Khartoum.
  • Nile Street or Shari'a Al-Nilشارع النيل الخرطوم: Probably the prettiest street in Khartoum. With the Blue Nile on one side, the street is lined with pretty, albeit decaying-looking, colonial buildings, most of which are used as ministries, schools and even a hotel, the Grand Holiday Villa Khartoum. The Presidential Palace, also fronting the Blue Nile, is a pretty building but you will not be allowed to walk in front of it - the guards will ask you to cross the road and proceed behind and around the building. You will also see the modern side of Khartoum along this street - the egg-shaped, Libyan-owned Al-Fateh Tower; and the ugly, Chinese-built Friendship Hall (looks like it had been plucked straight out of Tiananmen Square and plonked here). The National Museum is also along Nile Street. The road is tree-lined most of the way (except towards the west) and has a sidewalk, so walking is quite pleasant. Many people sit on the concrete walls along the river.
  • Confluence of the Blue and White Nile: If you have the stamina, you will reach the confluence of the two branches of the Nile if you continue walking west along Nile Street for about 3-4km from the Presidential Palace. The confluence is called Al-Mogran and it is best seen from the metal bridge (the old one, not the newer concrete one) linking Khartoum and Omdurman or Al-Mogran Family Park. It is said that one can actually see the two different colours from the different branches come together and flow separately for a distance downriver before mixing together. The Al-Mogran Family Park, which has a ferries wheel and other rides, is located near the bridge. Warning: There is a signboard saying NO PHOTOS from the bridge. Please heed it as people have been arrested for taking photos of the confluence!
  • Souq Arabi: If you want to see crowds and action, this is the place. The commercial heart of town, Souq Arabi (Arabian Market) can provide everything you need (see "Buy" section for more details on shopping options). The market is huge and spread over several squares in the center of Khartoum proper just south of the Great Mosque (Mesjid al-Kabir) and the minibus station. Come here to see Khartoumites go about their daily lives.
  • Sudan National Museum Surprisingly impressive museum that has recently had a bit of a revamp. The large hall contains exhibits that rival those in the ancient Egypt sections of the British Museum or the New York Met, however if you’ve arrived in Khartoum fresh from temple gazing in Egypt things may look familiar. The gardens contain three temples relocated from Aswan. The joy of the place is that you’ll have it all pretty much to yourself. Best visit in the mornings, and give yourself 2 hours, tends to close at 12 noon but not reopen at 3pm, contrary to the sign on the door. Open from Monday to Friday. Entrance 1SDG, Nile Street, next to the Friendship Hall, just west of the Libyan-financed Burj el-Fatih sail-hotel.
  • Souq Omdurman: Said to be one of the largest markets in Africa and you can get handicrafts here. The handicraft street is quite difficult to find - its towards the northern end of the market, near the gold section (not on the western side, as stated in the Bradt guide). The street is actually a covered lane between two buildings with gates at either end. Its not very busy (in comparison with the rest of the market) and they can lock up and go home in the evenings, and sometimes on Fridays also. The GPS coordinates are somewhere near 15°38'57.04"N , 32°28'56.75"E.
  • The Khalifa's House: Abdullah al-Taaisha [2], also known as "The Khalifa" succeeded as leader of the Mahdists on the death of the Mahdi. His house is now a museum and is worth a visit if you want to get a flavour of Omdurman's history. Exhibits include various remnants from old battles and some interesting old British newspaper clippings reporting the British efforts in the Sudan. The museum shuts early (somewhere between 1 and 2 pm is usual) and costs 1SDG. Its next to the Mahdi's tomb and walking distance from Souq Omdurman (GPS 15°38'20.43"N , 32°29'18.61"E)
  • Sufi dancing (aka dhikr / whirling dervishes): Rightly recommended as a must do for visitors to Khartoum. Every Friday (except during Ramadan) tourists and visiting foreign aid workers flock to the Hamed al-Nil tomb with cameras in hand. A very colourful and noisy celebration. Its about 2km south of the Omdurman souq - ask your taxi driver to go to Ghobba al-Hamed al-Nil (15°37'32.57"N 32°27'47.87"E). Starts around 4-5pm. Free
  • Bombed Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory - a facinating place to explore, and well off the Khartoum tourist trail (if Khartoum even has such a thing). Tomahawked in 1998 the remains are an eerie reminder of Sudan's precarious relationship with the West. It's quite easy to reach (GPS / google earth co-ordinates 15°38'46.99"N , 32°33'41.60"E) get a minibus to Bahri, then get a taxi. The guards are quite friendly and will let you in for a wander - a contribution of 10SDG would be gratefully received.
  • Nuba Wrestling – Every Friday at 4pm two teams of wrestlers battle it out in front of several hundred spectators – and it certainly is quite a spectacle and well worth the trip. Finishes around 6pm and cost 1SDG. It’s about 12km from central Khartoum next to souq Sita Al Haj Yousef – best get a taxi there (around 20SDG) but you can easily find a bus back to al-Arabi in central Khartoum for 1SDG (GPS / Google Earth co-ordinates 15°36'51.77"N , 32°38'42.46"E)
  • There are many international clubs spread along Amarat & Khartoum. Ozone is an elegant cafe to sit in & watch the country high class society.
  • A wander around Tuti island is highly recommended if you want to see green rather than the brown of Khartoum. If you are heading to Omdurman a good way of unwinding after the chaos of the souq is to catch the ferry across to Tuti from Omdurman (except Fridays) or take the newly opened Tuti Suspension Bridge. Aim for around 5-6pm to enjoy Tuti in the evening light. The construction of Tuti bridge was finished in March of 2009.


Most shopping is still done in street markets or souqs. The souqs here are not as attractive those in other Middle Eastern countries but are still interesting enough for a glimpse of Sudanese economics. And you can certainly buy everything you need - including handicrafts if you are a tourist - from these markets. Prices are not amazingly low due to transport costs for imported (mainly Chinese) goods, but cheaper than in Afra Mall or proper shops. Going up-market, Khartoum has only one shopping mall with a supermarket, several shops and food outlets.

  • Souq Arabi: Located smack in the city centre, this is your classical chaotic market teaming with people. The market is divided in to several sections, each focussing on a certain product. There is even one block devoted to gold, although it certainly looks less sophisticated and organised than its counterpart in Dubai. However, this souq is a bit lacking in term of handicrafts and fresh foodstuff. You are better off going to Souq Omdurman (see below) for handicrafts.
  • Afra Mall: Located on Africa Road in the southern suburb of Arkawet. Afra is Khartoum's and Sudan's only mall but don't expect too much. Afra is already starting to lose it new shininess - it is more like a small neighbourhood mall rather than those you would find in Singapore or Dubai. It has a supermarket and retail outlets selling clothes and other things you would expect to find in a mall. You can find money changers and pre-paid mobile telephone kiosks too. Afra Mall is certainly not a must-see attraction, nor a place to head for a night out. (15°33'33.57"N , 32°33'17.90"E)
  • Al-Amarat Centre: For visitors this is probably your best bet for tracking down imported foodstuffs and household items. Prices are high of course, but you are paying for convenience. (15°35'6.89"N , 32°32'39.63"E)
  • Souq Omdurman:: Very large Sudanese market. Most of the commodities are cheaper and vegetables and fruits are fresher than Souq Arabi. You can get handicrafts here. The handicraft street is quite difficult to find - its towards the northern end of the market, near the gold section (not on the western side, at stated in the Bradt guide). The street is actually a covered lane between two buildings with gates at either end. Its not very busy (in comparison with the rest of the market) and they can lock up and go home in the evenings, and sometimes on Fridays also. There are many local buses between Souq arabi and here. Bus fare are 1 SDG from here to Souq Arabi. The GPS coordinates are somewhere near 15°38'57.04"N , 32°28'56.75"E.
  • Saad Gishra:This is a covered market place, it is bahris main shopping market. Prices here can be a little higher then those in souq omdurman however it is much more easily navigable for tourists.


Khartoum has a good sprinkling of restaurants, with new ones popping up every couple of months – other than restaurants attached to hotels there is little quality eating to be had in Khartoum’s city centre. Amarat hosts the majority of the better eateries, although Ridyah and Khartoum 2 also have some places. Omdurman and Barhi have a light sprinkling of simple restaurants. All restaurants have about 15% goverment tax and 3-14% service charge.

  • Universal Amarat St. 27. Italian flavoured, offering pleasant al fresco dining, priced with the expat wallet in mind. (15°34'33.97"N , 32°32'42.82"E)
  • Solitaire Amarat St. 15. Decent ‘international’ cuisine, air conditioned, wifi and low ceilings. Has a bit of a café feel to it, but the food is good. (15°34'48.47"N , 32°32'48.08"E)
  • Habesha Ethiopian restaurant* Arkaweet Area, east of Afra Mall. +249 912302410. Good atmosphere, good food and very affordable. The restaurant is on two floors (there is a pleasant internet cafe on the 3rd floor), upstairs is more lively with Ethiopian pop on the plasma screen. About 25SP each for a big meal and coffee. A good choice if you are looking for somewhere with music playing and a bit of atmosphere. 15°33'41.47"N , 32°33'45.27"E
  • Korean Restaurant. Africa Street (next to Hotel Africa). The only kimchi for 1,000km! Pretty good Korean food, including cook-your-own bulgolgi and other favourites. You can also enjoy some kinds of Chinese foods. They have a 10% service charge and also government tax.(15°34'34.39"N , 32°33'0.70"E)
  • Thai-Mex-Sizzlers Restaurant. Prof Abdalla Attayb Street, Riyadh. Probably the only Thai restaurant in Sudan. Set in a pleasant lawned garden with lots of big fans keeping things cool this place adds a bit of variety to Khartoum's international cuisine. The vegetarian dishes tend to be tastiest (and best value), with the kitchen choosing to keep down costs by using poor quality meat. The 'fresh' fruit juices (6SP) seem to be fresh from the bottle, and the menu is priced with international clientele in mind (40+SP for a 2 course meal). That said it is worth trying if you are looking for something different. GPS 15°34'22.03"N , 32°34'32.47"E
  • Asian Biryani Restuarant. Khartoum North - As the name suggests this place specialises in Biryanis - and very tasty they are too. More of a cafe than a restaurant this is a good choice for lunch rather than a slap-up dinner. Lamb Biryani and a some salad for 8SP. The restaurant, and the supermarket next door, sells excellent mango juice for 1SP a bottle (Maaza). Easy to get to, head over the Burri Bridge, take the first right, and its on your left. GPS 15°37'25.35"N , 32°33'25.69"E
  • Lebanese Village. Good atmosphere and well-served food. They have lots on the menu including luncheons and light meals. A little bit costly, normally about 40~50SP per person (all are included). They charge 12% government tax and 14% service charge.(15°35'44.70"N , 32°32'14.04"E)
  • Papa Costa. Located in the center of Khartoum, and reasonably priced. Service charges are minimal, food is reasonably good, but service level is so-so. You can choose food from steak to pasta. They charge 3% service charge and 10% government tax.
  • Kandahar, souq libya Eating at Kandahar in souq libya is probably the most unique and authentic culinary experience in khartoum. The format there is rather different firstly you choose the meat that you want cooked usually a choice between camal meat and lamb, you then hand over the meat you have choosen to be cooked and prepared as part of a meal.

Kandahar is one of the few places in khartoum where you can find camal meat. It is located in souq libya in the perepheries of omdurman.

There are several large restaurants along Africa Road facing the runway that are popular with Sudanese and offer good local fare:

  • Amwaj Restaurant. Airport Road, Al-Amarat (on the corner with Street 15 or "Shari'a Khamsa ta-Ashaara"). Big, airy and spotless, and really good food. Extremely popular with locals and visitors. Menu offers shawarmas, kebabs, grilled chicken, lamb stews and others, all accompanied by bread, soup and salad. Delicious fruit juices and shakes too. Dishes cost between 20 and 60 pounds.
  • Royal Broast. Airport Road, Al-Amarat. Another popular place a few doors from Amwaj.
  • Delicious Restaurant. Al-Amarat Street 1. Nice place to eat in. They have another branch in Ryad area.
  • Tasty Pizza Restaurant. Another a nice place to eat in.
  • Afra Mall Chinese restaurant and food court. Afra Mall, Africa Street, Arkawet. Located on the first floor of Khartoum's only shopping mall.


Its best to prepare yourself to be alcohol free for your stay - there are places serving 'special tea' dotted around and non-alcoholic beers are available, but in general its more hassle than its worth to track down alcohol during a short visit. For long-termers however the market does exist - via diplomatic bags and other routes... apparently.


Note that a 5% tourism tax and 15% VAT may well be added to your bill - Khartoum's hotels are inconsistent in telling you about these taxes in advance, and (especially for cheaper hotels) inconsistent in paying this money to the tax authorities. Remember to ask if there are any hidden extras before booking.

  • Blue Nile Sailing Club. An alternative to Khartoum's hotels, on the river's southern bank just east of the confluence, the club often accommodates overlanders and accommodates tent camping on its grounds. The club is fenced, monitored, inexpensive and offers expansive river views. It is also home to a large gunboat that once belonged to Horatio Kitchener and now houses the club's offices.
  • Hotel Africa. A cheap and not-so-cheerful hotel for those on a budget. No hot water, dubious cleanliness but only $40 per night. Africa Road - the Korean Restuarant is attached. (GPS / Google Earth co-ordinates 15°34'32.92"N , 32°33'1.01"E)
  • Khartoum Youth Hostel. House no 66 / Street 47, Khartoum 2, +249 183480385 [3]. Opened in 2007 and part of Hostelling International this is the best option for non-camping travellers on a budget. Beds from 25SDG....
  • Dandas International Hotel +249 1 83741931/2 clean and comfortable hotel that offers comparatively good value-for-money, frequented primarily by African businessmen. Every room has a/c and satellite TV, and is en-suite. Free wired & wireless internet in the lobby. Try to avoid the windowless rooms. Breakfasts are disappointing, however. US$90 (inc taxes) per night. Corner Abu Sin & El Sharif St. (GPS 15°36'8.16"N , 32°31'56.93"E)
  • Lisamin Safari Hotel [4] Opened in late 2007, this hotel is a welcome addition to Khartoum’s rather drab hotel stock. Lebanese run, and housing an excellent Lebanese restaurant (The Cedar Tree) this hotel is very Dubai-esque and is certainly worth checking out if your budget can stretch to the room rates. Wireless internet available for a fee. The gym is a joke however. US$144 single, US$156 double, suites from US$168 (inc VAT and tourism tax). 41st Amaret. (15°34'13.52"N , 32°32'46.86"E)
  • Bougainvilla Guesthouse [5] Small 17 room hotel in the Riyadh suburb – the big attraction is the breezy roof terrace where excellent European breakfasts and dinners are served. Although the rooms themselves are nothing special, they are clean and have the essentials of a/c, wireless internet and satellite TV, although standard rooms involve sharing a bathroom. A favourite with visiting aid workers and other westerners. 71 euro (approx US$110 / 200SDG inc taxes) for a standard room inc breakfast. (15°34'18.67"N , 32°34'2.59"E)
  • El-Haramein, near ring rd
  • El-Riyadh New Hotel, near ring rd
  • El-Shark Hotel, Sharia al-Gamhuryya
  • Safari Palace Hotel, Sharia Abdul Rahma
  • Al Salam Rotana. [6] Airport Street, near Afra Mall. Tel: +249 1 87007777. Fax: +249 1 8700 7788. E-mail: Opened in mid 2007, this is the only hotel in Khartoum that offers international five-star standard. Nice big rooms, perfectly equipped. Pool, gym, restaurant and lobby bar, conference facilities and Wifi (fee). Rooms are around USD 200.
  • Grand Holiday Villa. [7] Nile Street (Shari'a al-Nil). Tel: +249-183-774039. Fax: +249-183-773961. E-mail: (Located to the west of the city center towards the confluence of the Blue and White Nile, along the banks of the Blue Nile). This Malaysian-owned hotel is housed in a colonial style building and has a wonderful atmosphere. The prices may not match the facilities on offer but it is certainly some of the best on offer in Sudan. The restaurant, with many Malaysian favourites on offer, comes highly recommended. Rooms start at US$180.
  • Hilton Khartoum. Tel: +249-183-774100. Fax: +249-183-775793. (Near the Al-Mogran Park and the confluence of the Blue and White Nile, about 3km to the west of the city center). Lets just get it out of the way - this Hilton is not part of the chain which Paris Hilton is supposed to inherit. It is locally owned and as such, its five star standards are those of Khartoum's. Rooms are a bit on the tatty side and the carpets need a wash; but the showers are strong and hot, the air-conditioning very good, toilets flush and the staff are very willing to help. Its coffee bar in the foyer seems to be a favourite hangout of the local business community while its indoor restaurant has a good buffet spread. The best attraction in the hotel has to be the pool- and tennis court-side cafe, offering drinks, food and sheeshas. A popular hangout. Rooms start at US$180. Amazingly, it accepts Diners Club but no other cards.
  • Assaha Lebanese Village [8]. +249 183481919 A bit of a strange one this – based in an attractive, if slightly kitsch, dry stone palace, the Assaha Village combines a large restaurant, conference facilities and even a ‘museum’ with intimate, middle eastern themed bedrooms. Its part of a small chain with sister hotels in Beirut and Doha. Prices, however, are sky-high at SDG360 for a single room and SDG480 for a double. (15°35'44.70"N , 32°32'14.04"E)
  • Burj al fateh This new 250-room, 5 star hotel is undoubtedly Khartoum's premier hotel; the standard of service offered here is comparable to any 5-star hotel around the world. As well as being a hotel it has several restaurants and cafes, and a health centre and spa which are open to guests and membership holders. However, prices in this hotel are the highest in Khartoum - a standard room costs roughly SDG600.

  • Canada, +249 156 550 500 (fax: +249 156 550 501), [9].  edit
  • Sabaloga Gorge: This gorge is also known as the 6th Cataract. It is approximately 50 to 60 miles north of Khartoum and can be reached in about 2 ½ hours. It is essential that a 4-wheel drive vehicle be used, and it is wise, as is true in all cases in traveling outside Khartoum, to travel with at least two vehicles. On arrival, visitors can stroll around a Sudanese village and inspect Ansar forts that once bombarded steamers on their way to relieve General Gordon. It is advisable to take this trip in the cooler months.
  • Jebel Awlia: This dam was completed in 1937 and is approximately 25 to 30 miles south of Khartoum on the Jebel Awlia road. A 4-wheel drive vehicle is not required for this trip as the road is paved to the dam. However, if you intend to cross the dam and travel on the other side, a 4 WD will be needed. The area around the dam itself has a number of large trees and flat grassy land which are ideal for picnics. For those interested in bird watching, there are numerous birds to be seen, such as pelican, herons, kingfisher, wader, plovers, etc. One of the fringe benefits of a trip to Jebel Awlia is a short drive up to the dam itself. Here the fishermen sell their catch, which they have just brought in. The prices are about half of what they might be in Khartoum. It is advisable to bring along suitable wrapping and ice/coolers for any fish purchased.
  • Meroe: This site is approximately 200 miles north of Khartoum. There is also a hotel in Shendi (very basic) where one could be based. The trip should be arranged with a tour agency unless someone in the party really knows his/her way around the desert tracks. There are some paved roads to Meroe but you do have to drive off the main road on to some sandy areas. Four-wheel driver vehicles are a necessity for this trip. The Pharaonic influence left its imprint in the hieroglyphic language, the religion of Amon, and building of the pyramids, which were a simplified version of the Egyptian model with no rooms or corridors. The Greek and Roman architectural influence is evident in the pillars of temples and the classical forms of the statues of men and women. The Meroe ruins are a four-hour drive from Khartoum. But there are various other sites in the area, so a two or three day trip should be contemplated, and a knowledgeable guide is essential for the best understanding of the ruins. National Geographic’s book Splendors of the Past provides excellent background for such a trip.
  • Dinder National Park: (12°19'N 034°47'E) The Dinder National Park is said to be one of the most unique in the world. It is totally “unorganized,” and the visitor can truly see game in its natural state. The site is about 300 miles south of Khartoum on the Blue Nile near the Roseires Dam. Travel by 4-wheel transportation from there to the park is recommended. Inside the park there is a small tourist area consisting of round, grass thatched huts. Inside these huts are beds, a chair and a table. The huts are burned and rebuilt every year after the flood season. This park is only accessible for a few months of the year from December through May. It is essential that the visitor traveling to Dinder make thorough preparations for the trip.
  • The Red Sea Area - [Port Sudan]: The Red Sea is noted for its magnificent under water diving, the clearness of its water and the variety of marine species. Visitors generally reach the area by flying Sudan Air. Daily, one hour and a half flights are available, but you may drive on paved road to Port Sudan in about 12-14 hours. Travelers should be completely self-sufficient with all fuel as well as food and water. It is about 510 miles to Port Sudan. Visitors may want to stay at the Red Sea Hotel. This hotel is booked for most of the year, and it is necessary to have reservations confirmed in advance. The Hilton Hotel has opened in Port Sudan. It is located about half an hour drive from the airport, along the harbor. Outdoor swimming pool, three restaurants, and a gymnasium, are some of the facilities available. For more enquiries, call 31139810 or fax 31131183.
  • Erkowit: This area has been recently reopened after a closure of several years. It is 39 km southwest of Port Sudan, and it is the only developed summer resort in Sudan. The altitude is 1,200 feet above sea level.
  • Jebel Barkal Unesco World Heritage site - [Northern state]:Jebel Barkal or Gebel Barkal (Arabic: جبل بركل‎) is a very small mountain located some 400 km north of Khartoum, in Karima town in Northern State in Sudan, on a large bend of the Nile River, in the region called Nubia. Around 1450 BC, the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III extended his empire to that region and considered Gebel Barkal its southern limit. There, he campaigned near the city of Napata that, about 300 years later, became the capital of the independent kingdom of Kush. The 25th Dynasty Nubian king Piye later greatly enlarged the New Kingdom Temple of Amun in this city and erected his Year 20 Victory stela within it.

The ruins around Gebel Barkal include at least 13 temples and 3 palaces, that were for the first described by European explorers in the 1820s, although only in 1916 were archeological excavations started by George Reisner under a joint expedition of Harvard University and the Museum of Fine Arts of Boston. From the 1970’s, explorations continued by a team from the University of Rome La Sapienza, under the direction of Sergio Donadoni, that was joined by another team from the Boston Museum, in the 1980’s, under the direction of Timothy Kendall. The larger temples, such that of Amun, are even today considered sacred to the local population.

For these reasons, the mountain, together with the historical city of Napata and other ancient sites, were considered by UNESCO, in 2003, World Heritage Sites.

Buses leave daily from Khartoum to Kerma, However the most comfortable and convenient way of getting there is by Car. The route is tarmaced,but you will still require the best part of a day to get there.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:



From Arabic خرطوم (khartú:m), meaning "elephant trunk".

Proper noun


  1. Capital of the Sudan.


Simple English

[[File:|thumb|240px|Khartoum on map of Sudan]]

Simple English Wiktionary has the word meaning for:

Khartoum is the capital of Sudan. This big city has over three million people, and is located where the Blue Nile and main Nile come together. Its name means elephant tusk. Two other big cities nearby are Omdurman and Khartoum North.


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