As a life-long summertime visitor, and now permanent resident for over 2 months, I am a self-acclaimed expert on everything Khartoum and Sudan. I can maneuver my way around the Arabi Market and tell you which tea lady is the best on Nile Street. I can make a killer gurassa and mlah tagaliya and I can bargain my way out of everything. I am the ultimate guide.
I’m still absolutely clueless how to maneuver my own street, let alone the biggest souq in all of Khartoum. I’ve been living off of noodles and takeout. That is why I think I’m the best guide to what not to do. Learn from my mistakes so you can make the most out of your trip to this crazy, vibrant, beautiful city.
1. Don’t rent a car.
Rent a limousine service. You get your own driver who will chauffer you around every nook and cranny of the city and even wait for you for only a small fee an hour. And most of them are super nice. Do your self a favor. Save those gas bills and hours wasted asking for directions you won’t even be able to follow and get yourself a human Google Map.
2. Don’t wait around for 30 minutes on Airport Street for a rickshaw.
They don’t drive there. This isn’t from experience. I heard it from… a friend. Yeah.
3. Don’t buy glossy fruits.
You might want to reach out for the shiny apples but they’re most likely laced in wax and that defeats the whole purpose of eating healthy. Remember: the ashier the better.
4. Don’t waste your money sitting outside in a restaurant to get the Nile view.
They usually charge extra and you’ll be fighting mosquitos while eating. Save your 600 pounds, stand outside, and watch it like a normal person.
5. Don’t forget to haggle when taking a rickshaw anywhere in Al-Amarat or Riyadh.
They usually charge extra because they assume you live in those high-income areas. Plus, if you’re a foreigner you will already be ripped off. Never pay more than 15 pounds going anywhere within the greater Khartoum area.
6. Don’t forget to visit Starbox.
No, that’s not a typo. Don’t let the bootleg name fool you. They have frappuccinos that will kick Starbucks’s artificial ass.
7. Don’t use roaming or a phone service.
Get your self a SIM card for 3 pounds and charge your credit as much as you want. You get high speed internet for a week for only 17 pounds (about $3 USD)
8. Don’t say falafel.
It’s tamiya. You’ll be sorry you did.
9. Don’t tip.
It’s built into the bill. Don’t forget to calculate tax.
10. If you’re a girl, don’t forget to have a scarf with you.
You don’t even have to put it on. You can just throw it around your neck. It’s symbolic. Trust me. You’ll be warding off a lot of judgmental looks.
11. Stay away from black henna.
I know you’re excited to get a henna tattoo of the infinity symbol on your wrist but stay away from black henna. You can have extreme allergic reactions (don’t Google it) and can even be lethal. Stick to the natural stuff.
12. Don’t forget that you’re in one of the most historical countries in the world.
Sudan once held Ancient Egypt, Nubia, and the Kingdom of Kush and is home to thousands of tribes and ethnicities. Leave the city. Go explore Port Sudan and see the Red Sea. Go to Kassala and see the ancient pyramids and a camel race. Go to Mount Awliya and have your breath taken away by the pure, untouched nature. Make the most out of your trip to this (in my opinion) highly underrated country.