Bus is by far the widest used form of transport in Sudan. A variety of vehicle types operate a comprehensive, though unpredicatble, network of services between most urban centres in the country. Minibuses serve neighbouring towns; colourful converted trucks cope with the demands of desert tracks in the north; luxury coach-style buses serve major routes such as Khartoum to Port Sudan. Slower mid-sized buses operate a slower service, whilst local ‘Boksi’ – Toyota Hilux pick-ups – are very common in the north, frighteningly fast and pretty uncomfortable over longer distances.
Taxis can be hired in most mid-sized towns, though prices will immediately be higher for non-Sudanese travellers.
Unless you’ll be living for a period of time in Sudan, or are very experienced in driving in off-beat African nations, self-drive touring for western travellers is not a usual way to travel. Cars can be hired in Khartoum, though they are expensive. If planning to head out of the city, cars will be provided with a driver, in which case you may as well seek expert advice from an experienced local tour operator.
Driving is on the right in Sudan. The country is enormous and few paved roads exist. Where they do, travel is fairly quick. Most roads, though, are dirt/sand tracks of very variable quality. GPS is extremely useful if planning to drive across country here.
The Sudanese railway system was, up until the time of independence, one of the most extensive and most efficient railways on the continent. The Sudan Railways Corporation service is now very limited after years of under-funding and neglect. Trains are slow, often overcrowded, have three classes and a restaurant car, and sometimes sleeper carriages. The 36-hour Wadi Halfa to Khartoum trip (or vice-versa) is a classic journey, particularly when combined with the ferry across Lake Nasser into Egypt.
The Nile in Sudan does not have the same high level of river transport as Egypt – not even close in fact! Where Egypt has floating cruise boat hotels and feluccas, Sudan has battered and bustling old local ferries filled with camels and goats, and a handful of vehicles. The weekly ferry journey between Wadi Halfa and Aswan, across Lake Nasser, is certainly a memorable experience and worth the effort for those with time and stamina.
Motor-rickshaws may be more suitable for shorter distances, whilst in small towns and villages, donkey carts are common.