What life is like in Khartoum for a foreigner?
Lonely Planet describes Sudan as ‘the most friendliest’ country in Africa. I have been in 9 different countries in Africa and I wold have to agree with them. At the time of writing I have been in Khartoum for 2 ½ years and am planning to spend at least another 1 ½ years here.
At first one can find the Sudanese culture quite strange. It has similarities to western culture but in other ways it is totally different. In saying that, it is wonderful. Most people you find are very polite and will do their best to help you, look after you and even strangers will want to buy you a coffee.At times things have happened that has seemed strange to me so I have asked a Sudanese to explain it and they do. To me they want to share, whether it is knowledge, help or directions.
I have felt safe most of the time. Once when I first got here there was someone following me asking for money but that has been it. I have only known of one purse snatching incident and no pick pocketing. I do not say that it does not happen, it maydo, but it is not common.
Yes, there are frustrations, especially when you want something to happen in a hurry because what you think is in a hurry does not match what the Sudanese think is in a hurry. In New Zealand we call it Island time, here it is Africa time. Another thing that can annoy is that you can’t always get food items that you are used to. As many items are imported, you can’t always get them, but you make do.
I could go on for a lot longer about the pros and cons of Khartoum, Sudan,but in brief I have enjoyed my time in this respectful, friendly place and can recommend it to any one of any age who wants an adventure.
Stuart (50s, New Zealand)
If putting the words “Khartoum” and “Social life” together seem like an oxymoron, you may like to re-think!
For the sports minded there are friendly volleyball, soccer, touch rugby teams, yoga and a few social running groups.Something a little quieter more up your alley? How about a weekly movie under the stars at the film club?For a social night out, various embassies host cultural performances, trivia nights, charity dinners and balls from time to time.Khartoum plays host to an international food festival a Sudanese food festival, a European film festival and a festival of the Nile.
For a taste of Sudanese life check out the souks, the Saturday camel market or the African drumming classes. Language courses are an offer too. History buffs will enjoy the small national museum or a trip to the pyramid temples at Meroe. And nothing beats a night camping in the desert under the stars.
As a young very obviously foreign 20 something year old, I feel confident venturing out, traveling around by myself, even at night. Yes you do get a lot attention, but it’s a friendly curiosity or a shouted “Welcome in Sudan!” out of a car window.
Life here, it’s what you make of it and the attitude you bring, but it certainly can be a great adventure if you want it to be.
Sue (New Zealand)