Situated along the White Nile River, Khartoum is Sudan's largest city -- a sprawling metropolis with an intriguing history and diverse culture. This bustling city is home to more than five million inhabitants and attracts thousands of visitors each year due to it's year-round sunny climate and array of attractions and activities. Founded in 1821 by Ibrahim Pasha -- the son of Muhammad Ali Pasha and Egypt's ruler -- the city served as an outpost for the Egyptian Army but swiftly became a thriving hub for trade and commerce. During this period, the region was also renowned for its slave trade.
Today, the wonderful city of Khartoum is a hive of activity and boasts an impressive skyline of state-of-the-art skyscrapers alongside fine restaurants, colourful and flamboyant souqs and a host of interesting historical sites. Witness the amazing Sufi ritual every Friday afternoon as the local Dervishes -- members of the Muslim religious order who have taken vows of austerity and poverty -- march towards the mausoleum brandishing green flags, dancing, clapping and praying. Onlookers are more than welcome to join in the carnival-like celebrations and take photographs.
Things to Do
From wrestling to shopping in one of the many bazaars and souks to fine dining in one of the city's excellent restaurants; Khartoum boasts a myriad of attractions and places of interest for visitors to the area.
For the sports enthusiasts
Marvel at the Nuba Wrestlers every Friday in the city. This ancient sport involves both stick fighting and wrestling. Unlike the western version of the sport, Nuba does not involve pinning or submission and injury is very rare. Thousands of spectators flock to watch the match each week and the event is a firm favourite with tourists.
For the foodies
Dine at Al Housh, a unique restaurant designed to replicate the local markets of the area. Diners select their preferred ingredients from the elaborate stalls and the chef prepares the meal of choice; choose anything from international cuisine to traditional and authentic Sudanese or Lebanese fare.
For the shopaholics
Visit Gamhouia Avenue, the venue for one of the most popular souks in Khartoum. Shoppers will discover a host of products, from animal skins to jewellery, delectable street food to bright and colourful traditional costume. Haggling is the norm here and you can anticipate a number of bargains if you make a little effort.
Calendar of Events
Irrespective of the season, celebration and ritual is part of the Sudanese culture and Khartoum life. In fact, visitors to the area will be treated to a wave of celebrations and festivals during their stay.
Sufi Holiya Festival. Occurring throughout the month of October, the Sufi Holiya festival is a celebration of brotherhood and kinship. Participants celebrate their cultural and ethnic diversity by hugging their neighbours of different faiths and creeds in the street and festival goers entertain one another with song, dance and the singing of hymns.
Khartoum International Music Festival. The Omdurman National Theatre is the venue for the Khartoum International Music Festival which spans eight days in October. The festival features performances by some of Sudan's most prominent musicians and artists and international bands from the U.K., Spain, Germany and France also participate.
Sudan Gala Nights. Occurring in June and spanning 14 days, the Sudan Gala Nights Festival is hosted at the city's Friendship Hall. The event is a celebration of the region's artistic talent and is attended by poets, actors and musicians.