Is Sudan safe for tourism in 2018?

A Nubian family from Sudan

Sudan is a country where everybody knows there’s something going on, but no one is sure what is actually happening there. Unlike Iraq or Syria, Sudan doesn’t show up on the news very often, so when I said I was visiting Sudan, this was the kind of answer I got from most people:

But, is Sudan safe to visit?

Well, believe it or not, people who have visited Sudan claim that this is one of the safest countries in Africa and, as a friend of mine who has been to all the countries in the world said once, Sudan is home to the warmest and most hospitable people in the world.

Seriously, when you visit Sudan, you find only kindness and people who want to meet you because they just want to help you. They want you to have the best experience in Sudan and, even though they are poor, they will feed you, host you and, on many occasions, taxi drivers won’t accept your money. Sudan is the poorest country I’ve been to but, at the same time, one of the easiest places to travel around, thanks to the local’s hospitality.

Remember that, for more information, including a 2-week itinerary and travel tips, read: Sudan travel guide 

 

Is it safe to travel to Sudan 2-

 

Is Sudan safe for tourism in 2018?

All right, so why all this trouble? Is Sudan safe for tourism or not?

Yeah, Sudan is a safe place to visit but, like in any troubled country, it depends on where you go.

In this article, I want to highlight the safe areas, so you remove your doubts, fears and plan your trip wisely.

Nowadays, the problem with Sudan is that there are some ongoing civil conflicts in some specific areas of the country. These conflicts are ethnic, have nothing to do with ISIS and occur in certain provinces, which means that they are very unlikely to affect other regions.

Here you will find:

Safe places to visit in Sudan
Unsafe areas to avoid when you visit Sudan
Travel insurance for Sudan
More information

Read: How to get a visa for Sudan in 2018

A Nubian trying to calm down his donky
A Nubian trying to calm down his donkey – Is Sudan safe

 

Safe places to visit in Sudan for tourism

So which are the safe areas?

This is the itinerary most travelers follow, especially those who travel from Cairo to Cape Town or vice-versa. Entering from Egypt and leaving through Ethiopia (through Gallabata) is the safe route. The Red Sea coast, including major cities like Port Sudan, is also safe to visit. The area bordering Eritrea, including the beautiful town of Kassala, is free of danger as well.

1 – Wadi Halfa
2 – Abri
3 – Dongola
4 – Karima
5 – Atbarah
6 – Shendi
7 – Khartoum
8 – Gallabat
9 – Port Sudan
10 – Sawakin
11 – Kassala

For more information about each and every place, read my Sudan Itinerary

 

Unsafe areas tourists should avoid when they visit Sudan

1 – South Kordofan and the Blue Nile
2 – Darfur

Sudan safe areas

 

The red area is where the bad things are going on, so you should avoid these places. If you are an adventurous person and you still want to visit an unsafe area, the good news is that, unlike in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan, the violence doesn’t target foreigners. However, you could be in the wrong place at the wrong time, so it’s totally your responsibility if you decide to go there.

Why isn’t it safe to travel to these areas of Sudan?

1 – South Kordofan and the Blue Nile

In 2011, South Sudan got its independence from Sudan, following a referendum that passed with 98% of the vote. Today, South Sudan is still the youngest country in the world.

South Kordofan and the Blue Nile are two regions which belong to northern Sudan but most of their residents identify themselves as South Sudanese. The problem arose when they were not allowed to participate in the referendum, even though they had been promised they could.

This problem turned into a Civil War between the Sudanese Army and a pro-South Sudanese militia. It’s way more complicated than that but this was just to put you in the picture, so you know why you shouldn’t travel to that part of the world.

2 – Darfur

As you may know, Africa is ethnically diverse and nearly every country is composed of several ethnicities. One of the most common issues across African countries is that the president or ruler doesn’t care about anyone but the people from his own tribe or ethnicity.

In many African countries, ethnic minorities are excluded from their own government and that’s one of the main triggers of Civil War in Africa.

This is what is happening in the region of Darfur, as the Government of Sudan has been oppressing non-Arab Darfuri population for ages.

Tourism in Sudan – Sudan safe to visit?

 

Travel insurance for Sudan

Because of the sanctions, most travel insurance companies, such as World Nomads, don’t cover for travel in Sudan.

Therefore, the one I recommend is IATI Insurance, a very professional provider that offers full coverage for Sudan. Why do I recommend it?

  • It has a wide range of different plans for all types of budget and traveler
  • It offers very competitive prices
  • Readers of Against the Compass readers can get an exclusive 5% discount

BUY IT THROUGH THIS LINK TO GET A 5% DISCOUNT!

 

Other safety information you should know when you visit Sudan

Meeting other travelers – Believe it or not, I met quite a few travelers on my journey in Sudan, including two 60-year-old couples. Tourism in Sudan is increasing and, those people who used to travel to Egypt to see the pyramids now prefer Sudan because there they get to see pyramids and feel safer.

Solo women travel in Sudan: During my journey, I met one solo woman traveler who told me that she hadn’t experienced any sort of trouble. The locals were always very kind and helpful to her. Just be aware that Sudan is a very conservative Muslim country, so as long as you cover your head and shoulders, you should be fine. However, if you want to know more about it, read: Visiting Sudan as a solo female traveler

More about Sudan

Sudan travel guide
How to visit the pyramids of Sudan
Tales of the Nubian people in Sudan
Visa for Sudan
Egypt-Sudan border crossing

 

Is it safe to travel to Sudan-

 

JOIN 100,000 MONTHLY READERS

AND GET A FREE COPY OF MY LATEST BOOK

HOW TO TRAVEL TO THE MOST OFFBEAT COUNTRIES

43 comments

    1. I wouldn’t recommend Sudan to inexperienced backpackers. It lacks tourism industry, there are no signs, no information and there are barely hotels. However, people are extremely kind and helpful, so that makes your journey easier, definitely. I don’t know what to tell you. If you really feel like going there, you should just go

      1. Agree with you. Your website has introduced many awesome off-the-beaten-path countries, sadly some of them are not easy to travel independently due to the lack of tourist information/infrastructure etc…

        Enjoy your trip to Pakistan. Looking forward to your guide to Pakistan 🙂

  1. What types of places did you stay in? I am considering going as a solo woman, but I’ve heard that much of the accommodation is either shared rooms that are only appropriate for men, or pricey enough that it’s only realistic as a couple. Were you able to find affordable (under $30/night) private rooms? Or did you camp at all?

    1. Hey Carrie, how are you? Some of the accommodation is as you describe yes… But there are some villages and places where you can good guesthouses as well! Also, in the capital, Couchsurfing is very easy. Check out my latest travel guide. I recommend quite a few bunch of places and if you decide to go (it won’t be now because it’s too hot) let me know if you have any question!

  2. Wow great place. It`s a really wonderful and natural place. This blog is very helpful. i like your program. SUDAN seems to be a great place and it would be comparatively cheaper than other countries. Thanks for sharing the info. Great resource

  3. I can vouch for the safety of Sudan. Interestingly I am a Pakistani national and visited Sudan four times between 2011 and 2014. The locals are very nice, friendly helpful and appreciative of outsiders, much like Pakistan itself. The fact that I am Muslim and can communicate in very broken basic Arabic also helped I guess. Once I was on the way to the Nubian pyramids near the town of Marawi (Meroe) when I stopped over in a little roadside rest stop to offer prayers at the small Mosque over there while talking to my brother and father in our mother tongue: Urdu . Then the most strangely amazing thing happened. This middle aged local fellow who was sitting in the corner of the Mosque approached and asked me, in my own tongue of Urdu, whether or not I was from Pakistan? Turns out he had studied in a Pakistani University in the 1980’s, which even today offer better learning than what is available there, and had an amazing time there. It truly is a really small world!

    1. Hi, Noman. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed Sudan. Sudan is about the people and yes, I also enjoyed their hospitality, as much as in Pakistan. It is indeed a very small world and you realize it when you travel. Just a couple days ago, in Kyrgyzstan, I bumped into one Israeli guy who turned out we had friends in common who I had met during my trip in Palestine. Two days after, I met a girl who knew about me because of this Israeli guy. I also had similar experiences in Pakistan. Anyways. Best of luck!

  4. I’m just now in beginning stages of planning a trip to Sudan and Eritrea and this is really helpful! I think the hardest thing will be convincing my family that it’s a relatively safe destination!

    Did you go to Kassala or Suakin? I think we’d focus our time there and in Khartoum/Omdurman, rather than following the Nile. I’d love to hear more tips if you have them!

    1. Hi Nick, good that you go to Sudan! To be very honest, Kassala and Suakin are the destinations I know the least. Everything what I know you can find it in my Sudan Travel Guide, which is linked to this article. Cheers

  5. Hi , i appreciate the great afford you done in this website …and as Sudanese i love to show the world my country and people which you are doing here . and i can provide you with any needs to visit sudan and south sudan . thank you.

  6. Could you elaborate why you like World Nomads? I’ve only had one insurance claim in 45 years of travel, and they (Covermore, a big company) were horrible, and did everything they could to prevent a legitimate claim. Some of them sound great, but can be shocking if you actually need to claim. By the way, I get an annual (frequent traveller) policy every year, and according to the guy on the telephone, they DO cover Sudan. I was really surprised. Thanks, Terry

    1. Hi Terry,
      When it comes to insurance claiming, World Nomads is the best. If you send them all the bills and everything seems all right, you will receive the totality of your money within a month. Moreover, if you have a real urgency and you call World Nomads before going to the hospital and go to the medical center they recommend you to go, they may even pay for the bill. This hasn’t happened to me (fortunately) but I know a few cases.
      Furthermore, regarding your second concern, yes, World Nomads covers each and every country in the world but my point is that they don’t cover accidents related to war, terrorism, and hostility. However, unless you go to the dangerous areas which are highlighted in this post, you should be more than fine and don’t worry about anything.
      Does it make sense?

  7. Hi.. Sudan is such a nice place to visit. This blog is very helpful for me because I am planning to travel in Sudan with my friends. I am really happy and excited to visit there.

  8. Hi Joan, thanks for your reply about travel insurance. I’m not sure why things might have changed, but neither World Nomads or First Allied seems to be covering Sudan or Iran at the moment. I have GIO and it does cover both, but I don’t know if that is just the frequent traveler policy (which is automatically worldwide) I have, or all of them. Cheers, Terry

    1. Mmmhh… That must be due to all the sanctions from the USA Government, so that’s why American insurances don’t cover Sudan. Thanks for letting me know. Yeah, same here. I have a 1-year worldwide travel insurance with World Nomads so didn’t realise that, perhaps, it didn’t cover Sudan. I will check this GOI you say…

      1. I never realized World Nomads was American, but you are probably spot on about the reason. They are ruining the world. I like GIO because their individual trip limit is 90 days, some are much shorter. And, they will issue it to people over 60! That said, I have never tried claiming with them, and that’s when how good they really are shows.

  9. Hi,
    thank you very much for this informations ! Do you know if we need an invitation to get a visa to go to sudan ? What did you do to get the visa ?

  10. OK. So I’m a white 50 year old man from the USA. My friend who runs an orphanage in Omdurman is trying to get me to come as I sponsor some of the kids.. Am I afraid? Yes, Am I interested? Yes. If I go it will be in January. So my question is WILL I BE SAFE THERE? I do want to see other parts of the world and meet different people.

    1. Hey Eric! Yes, it is a really safe region, you seriously don’t need to worry about anything 😉 and I am sure that your experience will be so rewarding! Good job by the way!

    2. Sudan is safe and you will enjoy your trip. There are a lot to visit in Sudan although no touristic signs but all people are friendly and helpful. Many will guide you . My uncle guided him a man ,he offered him to guide him and he accepted . He was generous and when my uncle offered him money he refused. They are really good ,kind and warm hearted people.

  11. Is it safe to travel to Sudan now in February in view of the latest demonstrations? Or is it better to postpone it? Thank you for advice

  12. In Shendi is a nice and reasonalbe hotel. I made a photo of this that you could present to your tuk tuk driver. Unfortunable I don’t know hwo to inswert images here.

  13. Ahmed Abdelbasit

    Hello all, I am very happy to join this rich conversation to see my country through foreign eyes, for me Sudan is definitely a safe place as I lived there for 23 years without an incident, lol, and it’s more safe for tourists because the nature of the people of Sudan who will be happy help just for the sake of kindness and they don’t scam or cheat to get more money from tourists as i experienced in many countries . However currently and till the date of this comment I do not advise any tourist to go to Sudan, specially Khartoum as a terrorist militia is ruling Sudan currently (Rapid Support Forces) and they are extremely dangerous so please check the news before you travel to Sudan and unless you found that civilian government has been formed then do not take the risk and this includes Khartoum the capital, you can check the hashtag #Blueforsudan in twitter and Facebook to understand more.

    It’s very hard for me to say so but I am trying to establish non-profit organization to support tourism in Sudan and transparency is one of my main factors to help the tourists who are trying to explore Sudan to be safe.

  14. Hello there,

    Thank you so much for travel tips. Sudan has never been on my list, but after reading about the first lithuanian group going to Sudan and reading your blog, decided to make more research.
    Would it be safe to travel with a 4 year old kid a family from Lithuania? We just came back from a 2,5 weeks trip to Iran and we enjoyed it very much, but of course we realise Sudan is much less touristic..
    Have you met any travellers with kids? And what about the vacination?
    Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Vaida, what I can tell you is that Sudan is as safe as Iran 🙂
      However, this is a very developing country but I am sure you will find everything your kid needs.
      I don’t know which kind of vaccinations you need for Sudan. I am just vaccinated from everything possible, so I don’t check it anymore

  15. Hello Joan,

    Good to read your article as it is clear and full information for basic awareness on the country “safeness”. Reading in between the lines I am not too sure though that you confirm: Traveling by own car is also safe and roads are good enough to travel easily through the most used route between Egypt and Ethiopia? Since I am also thinking to go to Ethiopia, is it also as easy and safe as Sudan? On another side, how easy is to find hotels and restaurants on the way in Sudan?

    Best Regards (keep the great work)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

DOWNLOAD A FREE COPY OF MY LATEST EBOOK

a guide to plan your trip to the most offbeat destinations

Scroll to Top