A paradise on earth: One nation, thousand worlds
There are countless tourist attractions in Sudan, unmatched anywhere. There are the ancient civilizations' sites, the colourful cultural, ethnic and climatic diversities, the beautiful fauna and flora that include rare animal and plant species, wildlife conservation parks like the Dinder Park, the Red Sea hill resorts -- all are great attractions for tourists, film-makers and investors.
In the southern states of Sudan, there are the virgin tropical forests and many natural scenery and tourist villages. In the northern states there are many archaeological sites on the Nile banks, from Dongola up to Wadi Halfa in the extreme north, and at Bajarwia in the Nile State.
In Darfur State, there is the fascinating Jebel Marra mountain. In Khartoum State there are many places, including the historic confluence of the White and Blue Niles... a historic site for tourists.
Apart from tourists, interested investors who wish to venture in this sector have many alternatives. They can promote the infrastructure of this sector by building tourist camps and villages, establishing fishing and diving centres on the Red Sea coast, providing services along the roads leading to major tourist areas. For filmmakers, the scenery is second to none. For tourists, it is a paradise on earth.
For tourists, taxis are available at the airports. Special limousine services and car rentals are also available. There are also train and bus services criss-crossing the country for the budget tourist. A cruise on the Nile can not be missed.
Sudan, a land known for its sunrises and sunsets, ancient civilization and diverse geographical entities and wildlife and fauna is extending a sincere invitation to you.
Khartoum state has three main towns, which are Khartoum, Khartoum North and Omdurman, all joined by four bridges across.
One of the most exciting places to visit in Khartoum is the National Museum, which is the custodian of the rich historical heritage of Sudan. There is also the Ethnographical Museum, which reflects the cultural life and traditional artifacts of the Sudanese people. The Museum of National History sheds light upon the diverse animal life of Sudan. A visitor can also enjoy Khartoum's Botanical Garden, where he/she can enjoy the wonders of Sudan's rich botanical variety.
A visit to the city of Omdurman acquaints the tourist with Sudan's very unique and traditional markets and bazaars. It was made capital of the Mahdists who fought the English colonizers at the end of the last century. Hence the visit to the Mahdi and the Khalifai's Museum has no alternative.
In Omdurman, there is also a boatyard where traditional boats are made near the Nile. West of Omdurman, about 40 minutes drive, is the camel market. Here, camels brought from western Sudan are offered for sale or barter.
KAWAHLA REGION: This is situated about 325 km southwest of Khartouin. The region is in the rich Savanna belt and is home to a variety of birds, rabbits and gazelles.
A semi-desert region southwest of Omdurman that extends north and west up to the Western desert. It is a region abundant in desert gazelle's onyx and fowl birds. The hunting season is typically October to July,
One of the most famous game reserves in the country is Dinder Park, which is located some 585 km southeast of Khartoum. Our four-wheel-drive vehicles, which are prepared especially for such trips, cover this distance in 10 hours, passing on its way through the Gezira Scheme, regarded as the largest irrigated agricultural schemes under one administration in the world.
Thereafter one could encounter the town of Sennar, the capita! of the first Islamic kingdom in Sudan (1504-1821). The town is home to Sennar water dam on the Blue Nile, which dates back to 1925 and irrigates the Gezira Scheme.
The journey to Dinder Game Park takes one across Singa bridge, and another 4 hours drive takes to the outreaches of the game park at a camp named Galago. From here our tour begins with wild animals and birds, not to mention the beautiful landscape of the game park.
Dinder Game Park is one of the largest wild reserves in Africa. The park boasts a unique diversity of animals and birds, including buffalos, lions, kudus and gazelles in addition to a wide variety of baboons and monkeys. On its southern outskirts, elephants and giraffe can be found roaming the area.
The Sudanese Red Sea coast, which stretches for 750 km from Sudan's northern borders with Egypt down to the southern boundary with Eritrea, is certainly unique and unrivalled in the world as to the purity and unexplored beauty of its beaches and water.
The region is known internationally as an ideal place for snorkeling, diving, seafaring and large fish hunting. The marine life is rich and diverse with crystal clear waters, coral reefs and exotic colourful underwater life.
The Red Sea is looked upon as a huge lake that intercedes between the Mediterranean Sea from the north and the Indian Ocean to the south with fiords and small islands.
Diving trips usually begin from Port Sudan aboard yachts of different sizes and fully equipped with diving equipment, with the availability of many diving locations.
Senganib Coral Colony is also famous for its sea fiords and many types of fish, chief among them the Hammer Head Shark. Divers often sail north to the region of Romi Corals, where the famous marine scientist Jack Costaeu had accomplished his notable studies and research. Mr. Costaeu's underwater laboratory still exists.
Further north, we find the largest sea island on the Sudanese coast. It is the Island of Mogarsem, which is embedded with golden sand beaches, and dense mangrove forests, interspersed with volcanic sun-beaters and rocky hillocks. Schools of Manta Ray's fish can often be found roaming the surrounding waters. In the evening, the nights here are spent leisurely amid quiet isolated camps and traditional folklore demonstrations.
Sea cruise may last for two or three weeks. However, those who desire shorter or longer trips can also be accommodated.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL TOURS
Early history of human life in Sudan dates back to about 25,000 years, as evidenced by the discovery of what is known as the relics of Singa man.
There are four main sites and some other small ones, whose history dates back from 750 BC to 500 AD. Temples and pyramids, which are restored and kept in good shape, stand witness to those great civilizations, which once prospered in the Sudan and influenced large parts of Africa.
Visits to the relics of Merowe Kingdom usually take two days and one night for the visitor to be fully acquainted with the many sites and relics. Further north of Merowe is Barkal, the Metropolis of the Napatan kindgom, which lies some 400 km north of Khartoum. Visitors will cross the Bayouda desert, a southern part of the western desert. It is a typical desert atmosphere scattered with sand dunes, thorny acacia trees and thick bushes.
Upon arrival at the massive Barkal Mount, the sacred and sanctimonious abode for the ancient Napatan kings, visitors will find our well equipped camp ready to accommodate their every need, Our camps are fully equipped and our guides well acquainted with the traces and sites of the greatest civilization ever to be found in Africa.
The region abounds with pyramids, royal burial grounds, temples and lush greenery of palm date orchards along the river Nile.
A tour may take more than a week after crossing the Western Nuba desert for a distance of 150 km that takes from five to six hours drive due to the sandy roads. Reaching the Nile after the blazing and scorching desert is a real delight and blessing. The ancient town of Kerma comprises one of the oldest and unique civilizations of Sudan and Africa (2800 BC). Western archeological expedition has repeatedly discovered evidence of the uniqueness and wonders of Kerma civilization. The amphors found in great quantities is characterized with fine quality and artistical nuances unparalleled in the ancient world.
Further north are the archaeological relics belonging to the modern Egyptian kingdom - the two temples of Soleb and Sadenga, not far from the Nile.
In the adjacent Western desert, which is part of Great Sahara, tours for desert lovers could readily be organized amid sand dunes and sparse oasis where gazelles and rabbits are found. The length of such tours may be defined by the tourists.
It is worth mentioning that most of the archaeological sites are located along the ancient caravan routes. Sudan at that time served as a crossroad for African, Hellenic, Egyptian and Mediterranean civilizations. Hence several vital Sudanese towns sprang to accommodate the movements and busy activity of transit caravans.
Most notable among such towns are Shendi, Suakin, Berber, Kassala, Dongola, Melit and Omdurman. These can be visited through tour programs. The town of Kassala in eastern Sudan acts as an example of an urban center for the famous Beja tribes (Kippling's fuzzy wuzzy) and the Rashaida people of the Arab peninsula. The town is known for its old traditional markets, artifacts, industries and silver ware.
Suakin's old port, on the other hand, dates back to the times of prophet Suleiman.
In western Sudan, along the borders with Libya, is the town of Melil that stands as the starting point of the 40-day-road. This famous historical route joins West Africa with the Middle East via Sudan. Although the road has lost its aura and continental importance today, it is still used by some tribes to herd camels to the markets of Egypt. Moreover, Melit town is regarded as a large camel market not for Sudan alone, but for neighbouring African countries as well.
SUDANESE RED SEA
Of the most attractive natural areas of Sudan are its Red Sea coastlines. They are the country's biggest tourist attractions and have gained an excellent reputation throughout the world.
Geological Characteristics of the Red Sea: The Red Sea is a long and narrow marine basin, with a total length of about 1,900 km. It extends northwards from the strait of Baab El Mandab in Yemen to the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. It is 306 km at its widest point. The Red Sea has three distinct zones of depth: the shallow reef-studded shelves of less than 50 metres, the deep shelves of 500-1,000 metres and the central trench of more than 1,000 metres.
The maximum depth of the Red Sea is 3,040 metres off Port Sudan
The Red Sea is unique in several aspects, among them is its uniform temperature distribution at the surface and at different depths. At the surface near Port Sudan, the temperature range is 26.2-30.5 degrees Celsius, at a depth of 150 metres, the range is still 23.9-25.9 degrees. Moreover, its high degree of transparency reaches up to 46 metres. These characteristics have made the Red Sea an ideal place for snorkelers, divers and photographers - as it is comfortably warm, one could float nicely and the visibility is better than in most other places.
The Sudanese coast is 650-km-long as the crow flies. Numerous embayments and gulfs make it around 800-km-long. It has two prominent features: coastal lagoons or marsas in local parlance and reefs or Shia'ab in Arabic. The marsas may be protected embayments of the sea, or may have been cut into the coastal plain, well beyond the general coastline.
In marsas, despite the heavy fresh water influx during the short rainy season, corals grow and build coral knobs (tens of centimeters to meters in size) and the patch reefs (meters to tens of meters in size). As for the reefs, they are distinguished according to their shapes and positioning. There are the fringing reefs, which are immediately at the coast. They line the entire Sudanese coast, with the exception of the marsas and the Tokar Delta in the south. The fringing reefs are usually 1000 meters wide and could extend up to 3,000 meters. Then there are the barrier reefs, which are generally separated from the coast and the fringing reefs by a ship channel. The barriers range from narrow discontinuous reef walls, only several tens to a few hundred meters wide, to platforms of up to 14 km in width. Finally, there are the atolls, which are reef platforms located farthest offshore, several hundreds of meters to a few kilometers in width and surrounded by waters. Examples of these are the Senganeeb Island and Shia'ab Rumi. All these types of reef provide shelter to a diversity of marine life. They also offer protected areas for snorkelers and shallow-water divers.
One of the most magnificent features of the Red Sea are its beautiful coral reefs. Corals, or more precisely, their skeletons, are the main components of which reefs are built. Coral is an animal, individually called a polyp, which is generally one to a few millimeters in diameter. It looks like a bag with six arms (or multiples of six) and for its protection and support it forms a skeleton of a kind of limestone. These individual skeletons, or corallites, as they are called, are cub or tube shaped. Usually, they live in coral colonies, which may be centimeters to several meters in size. Different kinds of corals occur in different areas of the reef; factors such as waves and light determine the nature of the coral, whether of delicate or solid structure. Thus, the distribution of corals reflects their respective adaptation to the prevailing environmental conditions in various parts of the reef. Aside from corals, other elements are also instrumental in the structure of reefs; for example, worms and calcareous red algae, a form of marine plants.
Surrounding the reefs and complementing them in creating a breath-taking sight, is the wide spectrum of marine life. The Red Sea is famous for its plants and animals, many of which are related to those of the Indian Ocean, but some of which are exclusively found in the Red Sea.
Among the common fish in the Red Sea are the tarpon, giant herring, salmon herring or milkfish, soldier fish, goggle eye and rock cod. There are also more than 320 species of sharks, among them such voracious predators as the tiger shark and hammer shark. It should be noted, however, that unless irritated or attracted by blood, sharks are peaceful animals and, generally speaking, shark attacks along the Red Sea coast are very rare. In addition, several species of whales also find home in the Red Sea, namely the blue whale, a 15-meter-long giant which feeds on plankton, and the killer whale, which poses no threat to humans but scares off sharks. The whale shark, 8 to l0 meters in length, is a jolly, plankton-eating giant that befriends fishermen.
All these characteristics and many others make the Red Sea an attractive location for vacations and relaxation. This is especially true for those who love the sea and enjoy its offerings. Scuba divers, snorkelers, yachting and various water sport enthusiasts will find the Sudanese Red Sea an ideal place for recreation
Stretching from the desert in the north to the Sudano-Guinean savanna in the south and from dense tropical forests in the extreme southwest to the mountainous regions in the east, Sudan is a natural host to an exceptional diversity of wildlife. At least 34 species of antelopes alone have been identified, spread across and reflecting the great variety of habitat. Certain species are confined to specific localized habitats. Others cross great distances, migrating from one area to another each season. Certain regions of the country, such as the vast flood plains of the Nile and the marshlands of the south, are practically inaccessible throughout the year or during a large part of it. It is in these ecosystems that certain species find ideal refuge from man and thrive in great numbers.
Sudan is probably the only country in the world with the greatest variety of big mammals living on land. It should be noted that animal husbandry and stockbreeding are very developed and widespread in Sudan, and can alone ensure the supply of animal proteins both for national consumption and for export needs. It is worth noting that Sudan was one of the first countries in Africa to designate wildlife protection areas as early as the 1930s. In Africa, Sudan has a prominent reputation as the region with most abundant game and thriving wildlife tourism.
Geographically, we can divide the different species of animals that are found in Sudan into:
Sudano-Sahclian and Sudano-Guincan Zones
Among the species that do not remain attached to a particular habitat but are generally found in the Sudano-Sahelian through Sudano-Guinean zones are the hippopotamus, elephant, warthog, hartebeest, buffalo, ostrich, lion, giraffe, leopard, spotted hyena, wild dog, cheetah, black rhinoceros, ant bear and white rhinoceros.
Addax can be found in the desert and arid zones of northern and north-western Sudan. Many of the oryx species have been seen in Sudan for the last 25 years, but it is likely that during certain seasons some of them migrate from Chad, where recent information reports their presence.
Addra gazelle and dorcas gazelle are found in the south of Sudan, east and west of the equator, as well as in the regions of Bahr El Ghazal, El Buheyral, Jonglei and Upper Nile. The highest concentration of the country's antelopes is found in the zones where they have been protected by the inaccessibility of the region. Also zebras, elano, kob and black rhinoceros inhabit these parts. The red flanked duiker remains confined in its habitat in the savanna woodlands of the southwest.
Flooded annually over an area of over 100,000 sq. km., the vast plains of the south shelter great numbers of antelopes that migrate from one area to another. The most numerous single species is the white-eared kob, numbering almost one million. During its annual migration, it joins with thousands of new arrivals from the Serenguiti-Mara ecosystem in Tanzania and Kenya. Large populations of sitatunga, Nile lechwe and buffalo inhabit the marshlands of the south, one of the most extensive swamp networks in Africa, This region hosts the lesser kudu grant gazelles and klipspringer dik dik.
Jebel Mara, a mountainous region in the extreme northwest of the grassland savanna, shelters the greater kudu gazelle. The rivers and swamps in the central and southern parts arc home to the hippopotamus and the Nile crocodile.
The dense and humid forest zone on the Congolese border, with an area of about 4,600 sq. km, shelters a high concentration of bongos, yellow backed duikers, blue duikers, sitatungas, giant forest hogs and chimpanzees. The relatively small forest-covered area of the Imatong Mountains (960 sq. km.) is inhabited by the blue duiker and weyns duiker, as well as by a species of the giant bush bucks.
The Red Sea Hills
Nubbian ibex, erin-ean gazelles and klipspringers are found in the Red Sea hills. The barbary sheep finds home in the desert hills of northern Sudan.
Sudan has six national parks covering a total area of 60.370 sq. km, and 19 game reserves with a total area of 35.500 sq. km. A total area of around 100,000 sq. km. is designated for wildlife protection.