Travel to Khartoum – Colourful Sudanese Capital
Khartoum is the capital of Sudan and the seat of government, located where the White Nile and Blue Nile Rivers merge. The city of Khartoum is composed of three areas: Khartoum proper; North Khartoum, primarily an industrial area; and Omdurman, once the capital of the Mahdist government. It is a fascinating city and worthy of at least a couple of days to take in all the major attractions it has to offer.
Excavations have revealed that Khartoum dates back to ancient pre-historic ages. Modern Khartoum is stated to have begun when Sheikh Arabab al Agayed inhabited Khartoum in the 17th century. At that time large numbers of his disciples and followers began to gather around him, two of the most prominent being Sheikh Hamad Wad Um Marioum and Sheikh Khogali. These two are reputed to have been the founders of Khartoum North.
By 1825, Khartoum had become the capital for the first time under the Turko-Egyptian rule. The Mahdi captured Khartoum in 1885, and moved the capital to Omdurman. When the Mahdi’s rule was brought to an end in 1898, Khartoum was once again made the capital. Lord Kitchener, the Governor General, became actively involved in its planning and besides building large ornate structures, he laid out the streets of Khartoum in the shape of the British flag.
The Confluence of the Nile is one of Africa’s geographical highlights, the two rivers are usually distinctly different in colour due to the silt and you can watch these as they mix together. There are several museums in Khartoum that are worth a visit, most notably the National Museum housing UNESCO saved artifacts dating back up to 4,000 years.
For a chance to see the local boat builders at work visit the west bank of the Nile River, cross the bridge into Omdurman and pass under the bridge from North Khartoum, there you should see piles of wood and boats being built on the shore. You will also pass by the mud fortifications still left from the Battle of Kerari.
If you want to go boating on the Nile, check the Sailing Club on Nile Avenue or the larger hotels for planned excursions. The Nile River is high during July and August, and it is not a good idea to go boating during that season. However, when the river is too low, it is not advisable to go out in a boat either, you may get stuck in the mud!
There are many eateries in the city ranging from basic fayre to luxury restaurants, serving Sudanese, western and Indian meals.
Taxis are plentiful in Khartoum, the cardinal rule is to negotiate a fare before setting off for your destination – often not an easy task as most taxi drivers speak little English.
- Wander through the authentic souks of Omdurman, smell the spices and haggle for a keepsake.
- Witness the meeting place of the Blue and White Nile Rivers as they begin their final journey north as one.
- Visit Khartoum’s Archaeological Museum and see some of the remarkable ancient relics unearthed and relocated.