Sudan: holidays, climate, national customs
|Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice)
|Islamic New Year
|Day of the popular uprising
|Al-Mowlid Al Nabawi (Prophet’s Birthday)
|May Revolution Day
|Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan)
Source: Countryaah – Sudan Holidays
The dates for the Islamic holidays are calculated according to the lunar calendar and therefore shift every year. During the fasting month of Ramadan, which precedes the feast day Eid-al-Fitr, Muslims do not eat during the day, but only after sunset. Many restaurants are therefore closed during the day. The festivals Eid al-Adha and Eid-al-Fitr last 2-10 days, depending on the region.
The Christians in the country celebrate the Christian festivals.
Due to its immense size, there is no uniform climate in Sudan. It varies within the different areas: north to northwest, northeast, southwest, southern regions and the coastal strip on the Red Sea.
North to Northwest
In this region the winters (November to March) are quite mild with temperatures between 20-27 °C during the day and 6-12 °C at night. However, it gets very warm from April to October. Around this time, daytime temperatures reach around 37-43 °C, sometimes even 50 °C. Even at night it only cools down to 20-26 °C. The humidity is around 30-40% in winter and only around 10-25% in summer. Habubs (dust and sand storms) can occur.
Here, too, there are mild winters (November to March), when the average temperature during the day is no more than 31 °C and at night around 16 ° C. From the end of March, however, temperatures rise to 40-42 °C during the day and remain at around 27 °C at night. In midsummer from July to August, temperatures drop by around 5 °C and rise again to around 40 °C during the day from September to October. Throughout the year the humidity is constant at 10-30%, the precipitation is around 200 mm. Habubs sometimes appear here too.
Winter temperatures rise to around 30 °C during the day and drop to around 14 °C at night. In the spring it gets significantly warmer. Then the temperatures fluctuate between 36-40 °C during the day and between 20-24 °C at night. In summer it gets slightly cooler with average temperatures between 31-33 °C during the day and around 22 °C at night. The annual rainfall here is about 400-500mm; the humidity approx. 70%.
In winter, temperatures can reach 36 °C during the day and stay at 20 °C at night. An 8-month rainy season begins at the end of April and usually lasts until around the beginning of October. During this time the temperatures fluctuate between 30-33 °C during the day and between 21-23 °C at night; the humidity increases up to 70-80%. The annual rainfall is around 700-1100 mm.
Coastline on the Red Sea
The winters are also quite hot here. During the day, temperatures rise to 26-27 °C and drop to around 19 °C at night. In summer they fluctuate around 40 °C during the day and can also reach 47 °C. At night the temperatures drop to 28-30 °C. Here, too, the humidity is quite high in summer, namely 50-70%. The temperature of the Red Sea near the coast is 25-31 °C all year round.
Consideration of religious customs is required. Women in particular should pay attention to decent clothing. But men shouldn’t walk around in shorts either. A headscarf is not required when dealing with Christians. Sudanese women, by and large, dress very conservatively everywhere and cover their heads. Therefore, foreign travelers should do this too – if only as a sign of respect for another culture.
Religious and Everyday Behavior
Showing the soles of your feet is perceived as an offensive gesture. It is also an insulting sign in Sudan to touch the index finger with the thumb and then spread the other three fingers. Foreign men should avoid speaking directly to a Sudanese woman, even if she has started the conversation. It is better to first ask the man who is accompanying the woman for permission to talk to the woman. Physical contact, even in the slightest form, is to be avoided with a woman.
Under no circumstances should one show pictures, statues or the like of Prophet Muhammad. Even if Islam is handled moderately in Sudan, such an act is considered a great insult.
In conversations, Sudanese people should not be asked about their political views unless you know the person well and assume that they are not uncomfortable with such questions. In general, however, a healthy sense of tact is enough to gain positive experience in a country that has had 40 years of brutal civil war behind it.
You should avoid taking pictures of women, people in uniform, beggars or people in refugee camps without their consent. The law even requires an official permit that regulates when and where you can take photos.
During the fasting month of Ramadan, it makes sense to refrain from eating, drinking and smoking in public. It is true that foreigners are not expected to fast too. But it would be tactless to eat, smoke or drink provocatively. Since some people (e.g. with diabetes) are exempt from the fasting regulations, there are cafes or restaurants that are open during the day even during Ramadan. But they are mostly hidden, so you have to ask where one is.
Homosexual acts can be punished with death in Sudan. This is regulated by Sharia, the Islamic law. Although the death penalty is usually imposed “only” after the second or third homosexual act, after the first time you are usually sentenced to prison and several hundred lashes, which are equivalent to the death penalty, because almost no one survives such a thing. Foreigners who commit homosexual acts are likely to get away with a warning if they can show that they really did not know about the ban. Ultimately, however, in most cases they are punished just like Sudanese!
Foreigners are treated like locals in most cases. Prison sentences and lashes – the minimum is 40 lashes – are therefore possible. One should therefore absolutely avoid violating the law in any way. As the distances between the cities and villages in large Sudan are very large and the country suffers from political unrest, it can take a long time before the embassy or your own government can be informed of incidents. In the event of a violation of Sudanese law, however, the embassy will (can) do little.
Alcohol and drugs
The consumption of alcohol or drugs is prohibited.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that SU stands for the nation of Sudan as a two-letter acronym.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Holy mountain Jebel Barkal and archaeological sites of the Napata region
These world heritage sites are located in the Nile Valley about 400 km from the capital Khartoum in Sudan and extend over a length of about 60 km.
The 5 combined sites are:
– the mountain Barkal with pyramids and temple of Amun
– the burial ground of Zuma,
– the pyramids of al-Kurru,
– the pyramids of Nuri and
– the ruins of Sanam.
The cultural heritage includes temples, tombs, pyramids and palaces. The Amun Temple, at the foot of Mount Jebel Barkal, is still venerated as sacred today. A stone pillar protrudes from the mountain; in ancient times it was considered an image of the uraeus snake. These sites were created in the centuries 900-270 BC.
The sites were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2003.
The city of Meroe was in 400 BC. The capital of the kingdom of Kush until approx. 350 AD.
Around 350 AD. the empire that stretched from the bend of the Nile northwest of Shenbi to the mountains of Abyssinia was destroyed. However, it is not known whether Meroe was destroyed at this time.
The royal city was surrounded by a wall behind which palaces and government buildings were suspected. The palaces had Roman baths decorated with sculptures and wall paintings.
Outside the wall stood the temple complex, which had been built in honor and worship of the god Amun. It consists of a large temple surrounded by smaller temples. The city’s necropolis is located just outside. There are numerous pyramids there. The area is about 200 km northeast of the capital Khartoum
The archaeological sites were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2011.
Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National Park
This world heritage consists of two spatially separated areas.
- Sanganeb is an isolated coral reef in the central Red Sea, about 25 km from the coast of Sudan. The marine national park was established in 1990 and covers an area of 26,000 ha = 260 km². You can find three types of shark, dolphins, turtles and of course numerous fish.
- Dungonab Bay and Mukkawar Island are about 125 km north of Port Sudan, also in the Red Sea. It is home to a system of coral reefs, mangrove forests, seagrass patches, and islets and beaches.There is a large colony of seabirds here, as well as marine mammals, sharks, turtles, manta rays and of course many different species of fish.Dungonab Bay is also home to a significant population of manatees worldwide.
Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National Park were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites at the conference in Istanbul on July 17, 2016
Al-Chartum Bahri forms a tri-city with Khartoum and Omdurman. All three places are separated by the confluence of the White and Blue Nile. Al-Chartum Bahri is subdivided by a railway line that runs from north to south. The little worth seeing city offers as one of its few attractions a large cemetery, which spreads in the Hilat Khogali Maghabat Khogali district. Sheikh Khogali bin Abdar-Rahman (died 1743), a Sufi scholar of the Schadhiliyya order, is buried there.
The capital of the state of al-Bahr al-ahmar is also called Port Sudan because it has the country’s only seaport. The ferry to the Saudi Arabian Jeddah, which is mainly used by Mecca pilgrims and migrant workers, also leaves from there. The city extends right on the Red Sea and has a business center dominated by banks and administrative institutions that goes back to the British. Right next to it is the colonial part of the city with its arcades, round arches and two-story buildings.
The capital of Sudan is Khartoum, a Moloch in the state of al-Chartum, in which about 2,200,000 people live. The city is located at the confluence of the White and Blue Nile and, together with Omdurman and Al-Chartum Bahri, forms a tri-city with 8,364,000 residents. The city is the seat of such important educational institutions as the University of Khartoum and the University of Sudan for Science and Technology and has numerous imposing mosques, a Roman Catholic cathedral, the national museum and a botanical garden.
In the western part of Sudan, Nyala, the largest city in Sudan, lies outside the capital region. About 566,000 people live there. Quite a few have fled Darfur to Nyala in connection with the war atrocities, where refugee camps have been set up on the outskirts of the city.
With almost 2,400,000 residents, the largest city in Sudan by far is located in the federal state of al-Chartum and, together with Khartoum and Al-Chartum Bahri, forms a tri-city separated by the Nile. If the economy is flourishing in Khartoum, Omdurman is mainly used as a place of residence. Omdurman is something like the religious center of Sudan, because this is where the Islamic University teaches and the various Sufi brotherhoods are active here. In addition, numerous mosques shape the image of the city, the center of which is Suq Omdurman, the largest market in Sudan. The main mosque is also located there.
Other important buildings worth seeing are the white Nilein Mosque, the Coptic Church and the two-tower Khalifa Mosque with its silver dome. The city is surrounded by slum-like residential areas.
Here you can still find evidence of the Christian kingdom of Makuria. The former church was converted into a mosque. Nearby you will find Islamic tombs and the remains of houses and palaces.
Amun Temple in Soleb
The largest temple south of Luxor was built under Amenophis III.
Semna fortress south of the 2nd cataract
Here are also the remains of a small temple dedicated to the god Dedun and the deified Senwosret, which was built under Hatshepsut (pharaoh of the 18th dynasty).
Huge mountains of ruins made of Nile mud bricks are the remains of the capital of the first kingdom of Kush from the 3rd to 2nd millennium BC. Here are the ruins of Defuffa, one of the oldest temples known to man. The necropolis contains over 30,000 graves.
In 2003 archaeologists found seven deliberately destroyed pharaoh statues from the 25th Dynasty in the immediate vicinity. In another archaeological site, remains of a settlement from around 3,000 BC are found. Exposed.
In the necropolis of the old capital of the Meroitic Empire, the more than 20 black sandstone pyramids of the kings can be seen. The remains of the Isis, Amun, Sun and Lion temples bear witness to the former splendor.
The seven temples of the largest ancient site in Sudan were excavated by German archaeologists.
Nile Island Say
On the island to the south of the second Nile cataract, there are numerous archaeological sites that testify to a settlement from the Paleolithic to the Pharaonic times to Ottoman rule.
Pyramids in Kurru
The necropolis of the Kushitic kings shows artistic wall paintings.
The rock tomb of Tanwetamani, decorated in the ancient Egyptian tradition, is worth highlighting.
Pyramid field of Nuri
The largest pyramid in the necropolis of the former royal city was built for the pharaoh Taharka.
The temples built there date from the New Kingdom era
Quarry near Tombos on the 3rd cataract of the Nile
Here is a granite statue of the “black” Pharaoh Taharka (725-664 BC).
Temple of Naga In
addition to the temple of the lion god Apedemak, the so-called Roman kiosk is located here, the southernmost outpost of the Mediterranean antiquity, which combines Egyptian, Hellenistic and Meroitic elements. Apedemak was the Meroite god of war and symbolized as god the destructive and the creative power equally.
Temple of Sedeinga
Among the remains of the in honor of the wife of Pharaoh Amenhotep III. (1403-1354), Teje, built structure there is a column with the head of the goddess of love Hathor.
Here you can see Egyptian rock inscriptions and the statue of Pharaoh Taharka in the former quarry.
Burj Al-Fateh-Hotel in Khartoum
In the center of the Sudanese capital rises with the Burj Al-Fateh a five-star hotel of the highest class. The building, which was built in 2007 on the banks of the Blue Nile and financed by a Libyan state company, opened in 2009. It has 19 floors and is noticeable for its curved oval facade, which is supposed to resemble a dhow in its shape.
The interesting imitation of the famous Burj al-Arab in Dubai is often referred to as the “Khartoum egg” by the people of Khartoum.
Jebel Aulia Dam
Between 1933 and 1937 this dam, located south of Khartoum, was built for irrigation purposes on the White Nile. In the meantime, it is also used to generate electricity with the help of Austrian matrix turbines.
Merowe Dam (also Hamdab High Dam) near Karima
The Merowe Dam, also known as Hamdab High Dam, is located on the Nile and near the city of Karima.
The 9,200 meter long reservoir stretches from the dam near Hamdab to the island of Mograt and has a catchment area of 2.87 million km². It is 67 meters high. The hydropower plant at the foot of the dam doubles the current Sudanese electricity production. In addition, the dammed water should be drained through long channels for agricultural irrigation, which is good.
The Merowe Dam, which is financed by Arab and Chinese banks, has also attracted a lot of criticism, as 30,000 people have already had to be relocated from the Nile Valley to the Nubian Desert before the rising water of the reservoir. Many dispossessed have been left without compensation and are now homeless. In addition, some archaeological sites have already been flooded.
Presidential Palace of Khartoum
The seat of government of the Sudanese President is located in Khartoum on the banks of the Blue Nile.
It is surrounded by a 7 hectare garden, which is architecturally limited to the outside by several smaller buildings. Until the end of the 19th century, the governor’s palace of the Pasha of Sudan stood on the site where the present palace rises.
However, this was demolished to provide building material for the new capital Omdurman. Today’s presidential palace goes back to the building activities of the British. It inspires with a late Victorian figure and its oriental arcade arches.
Stade Port Sudan
The stadium Situated in Bur Sudan extends in the center of the port city on the Red Sea. It is used by the football clubs al-Hilal al-Sahel, al-Merreikh al-Thagher and Hay al-Arab. Overall, the sports facility can accommodate up to 7,000 spectators.
The multi-purpose stadium of the Sudanese capital can be found in the center of Khartoum, opposite the University of Science and Technology. It is used in particular for soccer games that can be attended by up to 15,000 spectators.
National Museum in Khartoum
This is where the most important finds from the archaeological sites of Sudan as well as some of the temples and statues saved from the floods of Lake Nasser are stored. In addition to the important exhibits from ancient Egyptian, Kushitic and Nubian times, frescoes from the 11th and 12th centuries can be seen from the Byzantine Faras, which was saved from the Nile flooding.
The National Museum thus contains the largest and most important collection on the history of Sudan.
Khalifa House in Omdurman
Near the Nilein Mosque in the Sudanese city of Omdurman, the Khalifa House is a museum that shows exhibits that document the occupation period and the events surrounding the Mahdi uprising. But one of the oldest automobiles in the world can also be seen.
Ash Shahid Mosque in Khartoum
The so-called “Martyrs Mosque ” is located at the confluence of the Blue and White Nile about 200 meters from the Hilton Hotel. The third largest Islamic church in Khartoum after the Great Mosque and the Faruq Mosque is characterized by two minarets, each 64 meters high and eight meters in front of the mosque.
Faruq Mosque in Khartoum
Khartoum’s second largest mosque rises in the city’s business center and is said to go back to the Islamic scholar Ahmed bin Ali Aon bin Amer (1600-1691), whose building was expanded in 1829 by Khurschid Pasha.
Today’s mosque, however, is a child of 1947.
It is named after the Egyptian King Faruq, who commissioned the new building.
Great Mosque of Khartoum
The largest mosque in Khartoum is a Friday mosque located in Suq Arabi, the market district and business center of the Sudanese capital. It was built under the Turkish rule. It was designed in the Egyptian style and furnished for up to 10,000 people.
The two minarets to the southwest are also modeled on the Egyptians and are divided into three parts. Women are not allowed to enter the mosque; they are only allowed to pray in a low building that was built within the fenced off mosque grounds.
The mosque also has an institute for Islamic studies.
Khalifa Mosque in Omdurman
The imposing two-tower Khalifa Mosque stands in a large square that is ideal for gatherings. The silver dome is particularly striking. The tomb of the Mahdi belongs to the mosque and is housed in a yellow, cube-shaped dome building.
Right next to it is the Khalifa House, a museum whose exhibits are dedicated to the Mahdi uprising and the occupation by the British.
Nilein Mosque in Omdurman
The modern, white “Mosque of the Two Niles” is defined by a prism-shaped dome and is considered the symbol of the city of Omdurman.
All Saints Cathedral of Khartoum
The Anglican All Saints Cathedral in Khartoum rises near the airport of the Sudanese capital.
The Old All Saints Cathedral was confiscated by the government at the time in 1971 because it was located near the presidential palace. The government has determined the current location for the New Cathedral, construction of which began in 1979.
It was inaugurated in 1983.
Church of the Khartoum International Church (KIC) in Khartoum
The church of the Khartoum International Church, located in the Amarat district, is not a sight of the city, but is a place of interesting services held in English. The parish consists mainly of white people who live and work in Khartoum.
Roman Catholic Cathedral of Khartoum (also St. Matthew Cathedral)
The Roman Catholic St. Matthew Cathedral is the episcopal church of the Archdiocese of Khartoum.
It was built in 1908 on the banks of the Blue Nile and goes back to a previous building that was destroyed in 1885 during the Mahdist uprising. The church is dominated by a free-standing bell tower.
Incidentally, the patron of the neo-Romanesque church was none other than the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I.
Ahfad University for Women in Omdurman
The privately operated Ahfad University for women in Omdurman is open to female students only. It was launched in 1966 with the aim of achieving equality and improving educational opportunities for women. The university, which is currently attended by around 5,000 female students, maintains an annual summer school with the Humboldt University and the Free University of Berlin and a regular exchange program.
Juba National University in Juba
Despite the name, the Juba National University is not in Juba, but in Khartoum. It is currently the only university in Sudan where English is the language of instruction.
Her name refers to the fact that she used to be in Juba but was moved to Khartoum for security reasons. It is mostly attended by students from southern Sudan. Due to the autonomy of South Sudan and the recent referendum on the final separation from North Sudan, the university is about to move to Juba, the capital of the new Republic of South Sudan.
Red Sea University (Jameat Al Bahar Al Ahmar) in Bur Sudan
The Red Sea University was founded in 1994. You can find them in the commercial center of Bur Sudan. The university, which is one of the only two higher education institutions in eastern Sudan, specializes in engineering and marine research.
University of Khartoum
The largest and most important university in Sudan with around 16,800 students rises on the Blue Nile and dates back to 1902. It is divided into 23 different faculties and institutions. The central campus is located in the center of Khartoum, while the medical campus is in the south and the agronomy and veterinary medicine campus is in Shambat, i.e. in the north of Khartoum. The education and training campus is in Omdurman.
University of Sudan for Science and Technology in Khartoum
The scientifically and technologically oriented university emerged in 1990 from the Khartoum Polytechnic. Today it is said to be the largest Sudanese institution for research and technology.
National parks, natural beauties
Boma National Park
In the Sudanese state of Junqali the Boma National Park was created in 1979, the borders of which were finally fixed in 1981. In the 22,800 km² park, two thirds of which is flat grassland and is cut through by mountains and numerous rivers, live among other things antelopes and gazelles.
Dinder National Park
Dinder National Park is located in the east of Sudan on the border with Ethiopia. It was founded in 1935, still under the Egyptian-British, and expanded in 1983 to an area of approx. 10,000 km². The park takes its name from the river Dinder of the same name, which rises in Ethiopia and only has seasonal water. The Rahad forms the northern boundary of the park.
The park is located in different ecological zones – most of which are savannah and tree savannah areas. Also worth mentioning are the so-called Mayas – depressions or river banks that carry water well into the dry season. They are of great importance for the supply of the animals with water and grass.
There is still a rich flora and fauna here, including buffalo, elephants, lions, baboons, various species of gazelle and many species of birds. However, the park is faced with a number of problems, such as the pastures for the animals and the areas for the fields, so that parts of the park are repeatedly used for this.
Radom National Park
The 12,510 km² Radom National Park is located in the south of Sudan and is controversial between Sudan and South Sudan. Last but not least, it is a playground for criminal gangs. The northern and southern borders of the park are formed by the Adda and Umblasha rivers. Rivers, streams and pools permanently filled with water cover a large part of the park, which is considered a forested savannah. Around 90% is scrubland while the rest is forest.
Suakin Archipelago National Park
The approximately 1,500 km² Suakin Archipelago National Park comprises a group of islands found in the Red Sea.
The park is a marine reserve with an important marine flora and fauna.
The region is a popular diving spot.
South of the city of Kadugli, in the Sudanese province of Janub Kurdufan, the Abiad Lake extends, a 30 km² large body of water that lies at an altitude of 450 meters and is surrounded by forest savannah. A 5,000 km² area around the lake was even proposed as a bird sanctuary.
This is where the Bisharin nomads live with their herds of sheep and goats.
Dorca gazelles can be observed here on special animals.
The Sudd Wetlands are an approximately 57,000 km² large swamp area, which is formed by the White Nile. The region is the largest freshwater wetland in the Nile Basin. You can find aquatic plants such as reeds, water hyacinths, papyrus, thickets and grasses. Crocodiles and hippos live in the relatively shallow water. The region is also important for animals like antelopes and black cranes – to name just a few.