Temples of Northern Sudan
Jul 25, 2005

For now, I wanted to share some critical info.  At a later date, I will add more about traveling through Sudan.  If you have questions, let me know!  I'll answer the questions personally and then possibly add the info to the final version of this guide.

Photo Permits: You need a photo permit to take pictures in Sudan, and you can only get these permits in Khartoum.  This presents a real problem for anyone traveling south.  You can get in serious trouble for taking photos without a photo permit, so _be careful_.  If you're only photographing historical sites, and people with their permission, you should be fine. 

Permits for Historical Sites: You also technically need permits to visit any historical sites.  But I can't imagine that anyone will be at any of these sights to check your permits.  I visited only one of the sites in the below brochure.  That was the pyramids at Jebel Al Bakal, just outside of Karima.  No one was there except for a pair of young couples (it seemed like the big date spot).  Certainly no one asked for a permit. 

Meroe: Don't miss Meroe!  It's fantastic.  It doesn't compare with the massive temples of Egypt, but the sense of adventure of getting off a bus in the middle of nowhere and walking through the desert (only 700m) to pyramids, makes the experience very special.  Here you do need a permit, but without one you should be able to just pay the gatekeeper.  You can sleep in the sand beside the pyramids - and I highly recommend it.  I slept terribly as the hard-packed, fine sand was surprisingly uncomfortable, but watching, and walking among, the pyramids before sunrise made it very worthwhile. 

Beware the Sand Flies: These harmless-looking little bugs infest the deserts, villages, and towns surrounding along the Nile.  They bite day and night.  At first, you won't notice the bites, as they don't swell up for 12 hours or so.  But, then they start itching terribly.  The bites last for at least 4 or 5 days, so a couple of bites a day will quickly add up to being covered in bites.  Some people seem to get bitten more than others.  I was rather unhappy with a dozen itchy bites.  I met a girl traveling south who had more than 50 of these bites and was absolutely miserable. 


It's difficult to find good info about sightseeing in Sudan.  The only guide that Lonely Planet current publishes for Sudan is Lonely Planet Africa, which has 12 pages about a country one quarter the size of the United States.  Lonely Planet Sudan/Egypt from 1992 is a much better guide.  The prices have obviously changed drastically, but otherwise it seems that Sudan hasn't changed much in the past decade. 

I missed, or rather skipped, temples because neither the new nor the old Lonely Planet had enough information (often just a sentence or two) to make an educated decision about which ruins were worth seeing.  A picture is worth a thousand words; Eventually, I found a brochure with photos of all of the historical sights in Northern Sudan.  It was too late to be of any use to me, but I wanted to be sure to share it with other travelers as I don't think this info is available anywhere else on the web.

If you're heading through Northern Sudan, you need to print out these pages and take them with you.

P.S.  There may be copyright issues with re-publishing this free brochure.  I'll remove the pages if the copyright holders complain.

Introduction, detailed map

Sai Island, Seddeinga, Abu Fatima

Soleb, Sessibe, Tombos

Kerma, Tabo, El Kawa

Old Dongola

Nuri, Jebel El Barkal

Sanam Abu Dom

El Ghazali, El Kurru

Map of temples in N.  Sudan

Neil - Aug 15, 2005

Hi Adam.  I came across your page while looking up info on Sudan on LP.  Cool.  I had a question about visas.  From your experience would you rather get your Sudan visa in the USA b4 you go or get it at a pit stop (Egypt, Ethio, UAE etc).  Will a letter or letters of invitation from someone already there work in place or be better than the tourist agency?  Thats all the question I have for now.  Thanks.  Take care.  Paz.



There is no consistency as to the requirements for a Sudanese visa.  Every embassy has their own set of requirement.  But, you don't want to try to get it in Ethiopia.

Read this [ journal entry ].


Steffan - Aug 16, 2005

Hey Adam, I know it's too late know but Bradt actually has a guide book for Sudan.  I don't know if it's still published but I found a copy at my local Barnes and Noble.

Jenna - Aug 29, 2005

Hi Adam,

I was in Khartoum in December and took lots of great pictures.  I would be happy to send some to you.

Jenna, UK.

nathan cook - Nov 16, 2005

hi Adam, my girlfriend and i Julia met you in Uganda and then later on in ethiopia in the hostel in addis just wondered if you are still out in Africa or are you heading towards northern europe.we are from England and we went to the coffee ceremony opposite your shitty hotel.hope your well and your laptop is fixed.

mo - Jan 03, 2006

hi!  adam!  i'm glad you're still out there.  i was wondering when you'd pop back up.

happy new year!

i can't wait to hear all about northern africa!  good luck on your way to russia.  i've always wanted to go there.

Elana Swart - Oct 01, 2007

Hi Adam

I am seeking advices about the visa one need for traveling through Sudan.A friend of mine is planning a trip form South Africa,up through the to the north of Africa.He had find out that the visa is only for 1 month and than he will be in Ethiopia.Were is the best to get the visa,he will not be able to get it in South Africa because by the time he reach Sudan it will have been expired.Do you have any advice?

thank you for your time.Have a good day.
Kind regards
Elana Swart


Start by reading this journal entry:


Visa in Africa, and in particular for Sudan, can be totally unpredictable. 

When I was in Ehtiopia it tooks _months_ to get a visa for Sudan.  There was no explanation, and no good reason, it just took forever.

Unfortunately, if he's in a hurry, then his only option might be to fly over Sudan. 


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