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Khartoum, Sudan

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Khartoum, Sudan's capital city, North Africa

Khartoum, Sudan's capital city, North Africa

© Marco di Lauro/Getty Images
Basic Facts about Khartoum
Khartoum is the capital city of Sudan in North East Africa. Over 1 million people live in Khartoum which is situated at the confluence of the Blue Nile and the White Nile. Khartoum was founded by the Egyptians in 1821 and became the capital of Sudan upon independence from the British in 1956. Khartoum is said to derive its name from the thin spit of land at the convergence of the rivers, which resembles an elephant's trunk (khurtum).

Khartoum is really one of three cities in this area. There's Omdurman to the north-west across the White Nile, North Khartoum (the industrial heartland), and Khartoum itself on the southern bank of the Blue Nile.

The image you see of Khartoum above is not exactly what most of the the city looks like from the ground up. War refugees from Chad, Ethiopia and other neighboring countries have flocked to Khartoum in the past few decades and there are plenty of slums. The odd building shaped like a boat sail is a recent addition to the skyline, it's a five-star hotel financed by the Libyan government. Booming oil revenues are slowly changing the city's landscape as the long civil war between Sudan's North and South ended in 2005.

Travel to Khartoum
Khartoum and indeed Sudan is not a very popular tourist destination to say the least. Recent heavy fighting in Khartoum makes the city less than safe to visit at this time. Those that do make it however, always gush at the friendliness of the local population and hospitality despite the huge amount of poverty.

Attractions include The National Museum of Sudan. Two reconstructed Egyptian Temples can be found in the gardens of the museum, they were salvaged from Nubia after the flooding of Lake Nasser. Sudan is actually home to more ancient pyramids than Egypt.

The market across the river in Omdurman (a larger city than Khartoum) is excellent, the best time to visit is Friday morning. And there's an authentic camel market a few kilometers away.

Sufi dancers, better known as whirling dervishes, perform their magic every Friday outside the Hamed al-Nil tomb in Omdurman (just south of the market). Check out this video to see what it's like.

Khartoum Travel Resources

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