Sudan is a one-of-a-kind African destination, and naturally, you might have pondered whether visiting it is viable. Despite its poor infrastructure, ongoing conflict, and lack of mainstream tourist sites, Sudan still has attractions and natural beauty that make it worth the trip.
Still, one wonders what it is in particular that makes this African country attractive to travelers? Even more so, what’s the best time to visit Sudan.
After all, every piece of advice is appreciated, considering that we’re talking about one of the hottest countries in the world! Find out all you need to know about Sudan in our detailed guide.
We’ll help you find the best months to head to this country, as well as provide you with useful travel tips and some FAQs and answers. We’re ready to dive in — are you?
The Best Time to Visit Sudan in 2023
The best time to visit Sudan is in the December–February period. The weather’s still very hot — there’s no running away from that in Sudan.
However, at least it’s more bearable than some other months, as you’ll see in a minute. Also, the risks of sandstorms are lesser at this time. To truly explore Sudan in the best way possible, we suggest following one of the best-known routes.
Start from the north (the Egyptian border and Wadi Halfa), then to the south (The Ethiopia border and Sawakin), making several stops along the Red Sea, as that’s the main reason why travelers head to Sudan in the first place, and finally the border with Eritrea.
To make the most out of your Red Sea visit, consider engaging in some of the following water-based activities: scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, waterskiing, jet skiing, and joining speed boat tours.
For a more authentic stay, consider heading to the Khartoum camel market — not only will you get a view of these humped fellas, but you’ll also see how business is traditionally conducted.
If you visit in December, make sure to join the local Christmas celebrations.
While Christians are a minority in Sudan, the country has officially recognized Christmas as a public holiday, allowing people to engage in Christmas-related festivities without any restrictions or discrimination.
Celebrated on January 1st every year, Sudan’s Independence Day commemorates the country’s independence from British rule by people taking part in special events and rallies. Then on January 8, there’s also Coptic Christmas, recognizing the day Jesus was born.
Cheapest Time to Visit Sudan
The cheapest time to visit Sudan is in September. It’s when airfare tickets are the most affordable, and accommodation is cheap, hence why budget travelers decide to give this African country a chance.
If you visit Sudan around this time, get ready for Mawlid an-Nabi, The Prophet’s Birthday.
A national holiday, this event celebrates the birth of Prophet Muhammad. Expect carnivals, public lectures, stories about Muhammad’s life, sweets, and plenty of food stalls.
Least Busy Time to Visit Sudan
The least busy time to head to Sudan is in the September–November period.
Tourism is slower than unusual, making these three months appealing to visitors who wish to experience Sudan in a secluded manner. That said, discussing the least busy time to head to Sudan is somewhat difficult, as the country never gets extremely crowded.
Chances are you won’t come across plenty of visitors at the sites you might be visiting, and queues will be practically non-existent.
September sees the opening of the so-called Khartoum Horse Club, with weekly racing meetings taking place. While making bets is out of the question, you can still enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, music, and snacks. If you visit Sudan in October, head to the Sufi Holiya Festival.
Commemorating the death of a saint, the festival starts with a parade and finishes with an all-night festivity during which revelers dance around and sing songs.
Worst Time to Visit Sudan
The worst time to find yourself in Sudan is anytime from May through August. Ever wondered what being inside a cauldron is like? If you head to Sudan in this period, you might as well find out!
These months have a UV index of 12, with May being the hottest month of the year. As if the intense heat wasn’t enough, the rainfall at this time may cause the Nile to begin filling its floodplains, resulting in problems with transportation.
In fact, this is such a problematic period that most companies might avoid providing tours at this time altogether, leaving travelers with very few choices (if any).
Also, if scuba diving is on your list, note that the diving conditions aren’t ideal in July or August, and many operators close because the heat at this time is too much to put up with.
When it comes to events during this time, Eid al-Adha stands out. Denoting a “festival of the sacrifice,” this event is the most significant Muslim holiday.
People are expected to sacrifice an animal, but many locals can’t afford such a religious undertaking and end up celebrating this day with their families instead.
Finally, we’d like to stress that for a country such as Sudan, it’s somewhat difficult to discuss the best/worst months to visit/do something, especially if we consider that the climate is our main criterion, as the country is truly hot throughout the entire year.
What we’ve managed to base our claims on, however, are minimal temperature fluctuations and, of course, past travelers’ experiences and recommendations.
Things to Consider
Sudan isn’t your ordinary destination, and every piece of advice counts — here are our two cents:
- Sudan has a tropical climate. It’s not uncommon for summer temperatures to exceed 100°F in desert regions. Sudan’s capital city, Khartoum, has an average yearly temperature of 80°F.
- Ensure all your vaccinations are up to date.
- The country’s local currency is SDG, the Sudanese Pound. Exporting it is illegal, and you can’t exchange it outside the country anyway. Also, the country has a cash-only policy. Debit/credit cards aren’t accepted, even in major hotels, so make sure you bring enough money with you. ATMs accept just local cards.
- Although Sudan is an extremely hot country, if you spend a night in the desert, note that it can get quite cold, so pack accordingly.
- While tipping isn’t mandatory in Sudan, it’s a nice way to show your appreciation for the service you received.
- If you visit the country during Ramadan, note that many points of interest may be closed — the ones that are open could very well have restricted work hours. Restaurants open only after sunset. Also, many tour operators and expats take their annual vacation at this time, so think twice before heading to Sudan during this period.
- You need a permit to take photos. Yes, that’s right — don’t just take photos whenever you feel like it. As tourism isn’t that mainstream in Sudan, taking random photos at times feels like invading the locals’ privacy. Also, even when you obtain a permit, you’re prohibited from taking photos of the following: bridges, military areas, broadcast stations, beggars, slum areas, and public utilities.
- Same-sex activity is considered illegal in Sudan and, in extreme cases, may even result in imprisonment.
- Drugs and alcohol are also illegal. That said, non-Muslims are allowed to drink, but not in the presence of other Muslims.
- The CDC recommends that travelers take prescription medicine for malaria. Also be sure to only drink bottled water.
- Dress in a more conservative way, as Sudan is a Muslim country. Women should wear headscarves and clothes that cover their legs and arms.
- Don’t show any photos of prophet Muhhamad or speak the name in vain.
- Medical facilities are very basic, so if you need serious medical assistance, you may need to get help outside the country.
- Be sure to get travel insurance. Not sure if you need it? Read our guide on when to buy it and when to skip it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are 5 interesting facts about Sudan?
1. Sudan has more pyramids than Egypt (we were shocked too!).
2. Although Sudan is bordered by countries on the west, north, south, and east, it’s not a landlocked country.
3. While Sudan has two official languages (Arabic and English), the number of indigenous languages is alleged to be 114, with more than 500 accents in the entire country.
4. The word Sudan comes from an Arabic term meaning “land of Black people.”
5. Before flowing to Egypt, The Nile Rover forms in Sudan.
What food is eaten in Sudan?
Popular Sudanese dishes include:
1. Foul medames
2. Asseeda with mullah
What do they drink in Sudan?
Top Sudanese drinks include Vimto, Karkadeh, Stima, non-alcoholic beer, Sudanese tea, Vimo, and Sudanese Coke.
Is Sudan safe to visit right now?
In all honestly, Sudan isn’t the safest destination to head to right now. The US State Department has issued a “Do Not Travel Level 4” advisory due to “armed conflict, civil unrest, crime, terrorism, and kidnapping.”
That said, if you do decide to visit Sudan, take extreme caution and stay alert. Don’t wander on your own, and stick to designated routes and areas. Also, make sure someone always knows about your whereabouts.
Can you go to Sudan without a visa?
If you’re American, you need to get a visa from the Sudanese embassy before your arrival in Sudan.
Over to You — Book Your Trip Today!
|👍 Best Time to Visit||December to February|
|💲 Cheapest Time to Visit||September|
|🗓️ Least Busy Time to Visit||September to November|
|👎 Worst Time to Visit||May to August|
The best time to visit Sudan is in the December–February period. It’s still hot, as it is throughout the entire year, but the temperatures are at least more bearable. There are fewer sandstorms too.
The cheapest time to visit Sudan is in September. Budget-conscious folks should look for airfare deals and better lodging options during this month.
The least busy time to head to Sudan is in the September–November period. While Sudan never gets as busy or crowded as other major destinations, these months are much slower with tourists than in general.
The worst time to head to Sudan is anytime from May through August. It’s scorchingly hot, and the overall weather situation simply prevents your Sudanese getaway from being enjoyable the way it could be.
Not to mention that the Nile River may also fill its floodplains too. All in all, you should visit Sudan if you’re ready for a different kind of adventure, different from any other typical African getaway you may have had thus far.
If this sounds like you, you already know the best time to visit Sudan — what’s left now it’s for you to book your trip and begin planning your Sudanese itinerary in greater detail. Have fun!