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Book a flight to Khartoum with Qatar Airways and you’ll be introduced to a city that is the classic example of modern life in ancient surroundings. The city’s skyline now glitters with glamorous glass buildings and sparkles with light. While it may be home to Ancient Egyptian temples and historic palaces, 21st Century Khartoum is as much for those who want to enjoy the present as for those fascinated by the past.
Booking a break here will not only introduce you to this great city, but allow you to explore some of the secrets of Sudan.
No trip to Khartoum would be complete without visiting pyramids. Meroë, the remains of an ancient city, boast around 200 of these structures. It’s one thing to see them on TV or in books, but it’s only when you see them in the flesh that you’re suddenly aware of just how impressive they are. For those who want the full experience, there are camping trips available led by local guides. There’s nothing quite like watching the sunset over these extraordinary monuments.
Most of Khartoum’s attractions are linked to the past, such as Mahdi’s Tomb and the Palace Museum. However, if you travel to Khartoum to see history in action, then head to Omdurman to see the traditional Nuba Wrestlers in action. While you’re there, pay a visit to the Hamed el-Nil Mosque, where you’ll see the sensational spectacle of Sufi dervishes whipping themselves and spectators up into a colourful, whirling frenzy.
You can’t take a trip to Khartoum and miss visiting the Nile. Not only is it the lifeblood of the city, but it’s also far more beautiful than you might expect. There are plenty of boat cruises available. However, if you’re feeling up to it, you can hire your own boat from places such as the Marin Water Sports Club. This is popular, so you’ll need to book in advance.
If you’d like to appreciate the local plant life, you can’t get much better than a visit to the Aswan Botanical Gardens on Kitchener Island. In fact, the Gardens are the island and you can book a trip in a felucca – a traditional, wide sailing boat – to take you across the Nile. While motorboats and cruises can be fun, this method of transport is a must for any trip to Khartoum. Just remember to take mosquito repellent!
On your trip to Khartoum, it’ll be virtually impossible to not find yourself at a souk, bazaar or other street market. Amongst the silks, leather and spices, you’ll no doubt find street vendors selling food. The rule here is to be careful. While the lamb and beef are excellent and you may find yourself tempted by traditional kebabs, be wary of eating anything uncooked (such as salad) during your trip to Khartoum.
As far as restaurants go, Khartoum has a fantastic selection, offering food from across the globe. From traditional Sudanese food, through to international cuisine such as Indian and even fast food outlets, there's something for everyone here. Most restaurants serve a variety of local dishes including shawarmas, kebabs, grilled chicken and lamb stews, all accompanied by plenty of bread.
For an outdoor shopping experience in Khartoum, head to the Omdurman Souk. Your best bet is to get there early; around 9am, as it fills up fast and bargains go faster. Haggling or bargaining is de rigueur, but never haggle unless you’re going to buy and make sure it’s as good-natured as possible. At Omdurman Souk, most people come for the ebony wood carvings, gold and silver jewellery and the clay coffee pots – although there is much more to be found, including traditional, handmade goods, which are a trademark of this vibrant city.
However, if you’d rather go shopping more conventionally, then head out to the Afra Mall.
Flights to Khartoum will land at Khartoum International Airport, where there will be plenty of taxis waiting. A word of advice: agree your taxi fare before you get in or you may find yourself paying over the odds.
Visa restrictions for entry into the country will depend on your country of origin, length of stay and whether your trip is for business or pleasure. So before you fly to Khartoum please check the visa and passport requirements.
Currency: Sudanese Pound (SDG)
Voltage: 230 V 50 Hz
Plugs: Type C / D
Language: Arabic / English
International dialing code: +249