Foreign travel advice

Sudan

Important Coronavirus (COVID-19) travel

Follow current COVID-19 rules where you live: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

To prevent new COVID variants from entering the UK, you should not travel to amber or red list countries.

To understand the risks in a country follow FCDO Travel Advice.

When you return, follow the rules to enter the UK from abroad (except from Ireland).

Safety and security

Crime

The level of street crime in Khartoum and other major Sudanese cities, with the exception of Darfur, is low but increasing. Incidents of mobile phone and bag-snatching (including drive-by bag snatching by thieves on motorbikes), aggressive begging (including attempts to open the doors of stationary vehicles), petty theft and burglaries do occur. Remain alert and take sensible precautions to protect yourself and your belongings. Take care not to leave valuable items on display in your car while travelling and keep doors locked and windows closed at all times. If you’re stopped, you should avoid confrontation.

Political situation

Following months of political uncertainty, civil disobedience and incidents of lethal violence against peaceful protestors, Omar al-Bashir was removed as President in April 2019. A civilian-led transitional government is now in place, and Sudan is in a period of transition towards elections in in 2023.

The transitional governance arrangements have brought relative calm across Sudan, though there have been protests (primarily around fuel shortages and wheat prices). Further protests cannot be ruled out. You should keep away from any demonstrations, monitor local media and follow advice of authorities.

Telecommunications

Voice, SMS and data services, including access to social media sites, are available on most mobile phones. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are not available to download in Sudan.

Local travel

The FCDO advise against all travel to the Darfur states, the Abyei Region, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, the southern area of West Kordofan state (that was previously part of South Kordofan), within 50km of the border with South Sudan in White Nile and Sennar states, and within 200km of the border with Libya.

The FCDO advise against all but essential travel within 100km of the border with Egypt in areas west of the Nile Valley, within 20km of the border with Eritrea, within 20km of the border with Ethiopia and to areas of North Kordofan and West Kordofan states south of the Kost-El Obeid-En Nahud road.

States of emergency, which give the authorities greater powers of arrest, are introduced by the Government from time to time. You should seek local advice before travelling. There have been reports of arbitrary detentions in different parts of the country, including in Khartoum and including of foreign nationals. Take great care around any areas which may be sensitive to the government, including military installations, border areas and camps for internally displaced persons. Don’t take photographs in these areas.

Permits are no longer officially required to travel outside of Khartoum for the purpose of tourism. Travel outside of Khartoum for any other purpose must be checked with the Aliens Department at the Ministry of Interior.

If you’re planning to travel outside of Khartoum, make sure you carry enough fuel for your journey or are confident you will be able to refuel en route, as there have been sporadic acute fuel shortages both within the Khartoum and across the country.

Khartoum

Fuel shortages have, at times, led to long queues at petrol stations and reduced public transport options in Khartoum. There have been ad hoc peaceful protests across the city linked to the fuel shortage and wheat prices and also around issues of transitional justice. Sporadic unofficial roadblocks linked to protests can appear in parts of the city with little or no warning. If you encounter a roadblock, remain calm and seek an alternative route. Do not attempt to force your way through it.

Darfur States

The FCDO advise against all travel to the 5 Darfur states (Central Darfur, East Darfur, North Darfur, West Darfur and South Darfur). Reports of protests, armed response and armed clashes in several parts of Darfur are frequent.

The security situation in Darfur is volatile and unstable. Banditry and lawlessness are widespread, and there are frequent violent confrontations between rebel and government forces, between tribes and over economic resources (land, gold), as well as continuing anti-government protests. There are tensions within camps for internally displaced people, which have sometimes resulted in violence and fatalities. Armed robbery and break-ins of guesthouses and other buildings have been reported.

Humanitarian workers and UN/international staff are possible targets of attack or for kidnap, and have been caught up in cross-fire and violent incidents. A number of aid workers and peacekeepers have been killed in recent years.

There is a high threat of kidnapping. Kidnappings can be for financial or political gain, and can be motivated by criminality or terrorism. There have been a number of kidnappings, including of British nationals and other westerners. Kidnap groups view those engaged in humanitarian aid work or journalism as legitimate targets.

If you are in Darfur against FCDO advice, you should respect any curfews that are imposed and make sure you are aware of any military operations, conflict and crime patterns. Make sure that you have co-ordinated your movements with UN Security and that all necessary parties have been notified. Anyone seeking entry to the Darfur area, for whatever purpose, must first obtain a special permit from the Sudanese government.

North Kordofan, West Kordofan, White Nile and Sennar States

The FCDO advise against all travel to within 50km of the border with South Sudan in White Nile and Sennar states.

The FCDO advise against all travel to the southern area of West Kordofan state that was formerly part of South Kordofan, as shown on the map.

There is a risk of conflict and violence spreading into White Nile, North Kordofan and Sennar states from neighbouring areas. You should maintain high situational awareness and avoid any areas where conflict is reported.

Sudan-Libya border

The FCDO advise against all travel to within 200km of the border with Libya. There are ongoing media reports of trafficking in people and goods as well as movement of armed militants between the two countries. The FCDO currently advise against all travel to Libya and the border is closed to non-African nationals.

Sudan-Egypt border

The FCDO advise against all but essential travel to within 100km of the border with Egypt in the area west of the Nile Valley.

Hala’ib Triangle and Bir Tawil Trapezoid

The Hala’ib Triangle remains disputed territory between Sudan and Egypt. If you’re in the Hala’ib Triangle and need urgent consular assistance, you should contact the British Embassy Cairo.

Correspondingly, the Bir Tawil Trapezoid remains unclaimed by either Sudan or Egypt. If you’re in this area and need urgent consular assistance, you should contact the British Embassy in the country you last travelled through (either the British Embassy Cairo or the British Embassy Khartoum).

South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Abyei

The FCDO advise against all travel to the Abyei Administrative Area. The security situation there remains tense and unpredictable.

The FCDO advise against all travel to South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, due to continuing internal conflict.

There have been reports of flooding in Blue Nile state and a cholera outbreak. If you are travelling to Blue Nile against FCDO advice you should follow health advice on cholera from NaTHNaC and monitor developments.

Landmines and unexploded ordnance are a threat in areas affected by conflict.

East Sudan: Gedaref, Kassala and Red Sea States

The FCDO advise against all but essential travel to within 20km of the border with Eritrea and the border with Ethiopia. This area does not include the city of Kassala, which is more than 20km from the border.

On 5 November 2020, Sudan closed its border with Ethiopia following armed conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. Sudanese Armed Forces have been deployed along the border in Gedaref and Kassala States and are conducting operations against armed militia elements close to the border. The FCDO advise against all but essential travel to within 20km of Sudan’s border with Ethiopia.

There have also been clashes between tribal groups in Red Sea State that have resulted in a number of fatalities.

If you’re travelling by road in Kassala State, you should keep to the major roads, as people-trafficking groups are believed to operate in some areas.

Local tensions in the Galabat area have previously resulted in the closure of the Metema-Galabat border post at short notice. Take care in these areas and check with local authorities on the latest situation before starting your journey.

Road travel

Road traffic accidents are common in Sudan. There is a high risk of being involved in a traffic accident when using public transport or vehicles for hire such as rickshaws and ‘amjad minivans’.

Road conditions are poor and many roads, even major ones, are not tarred or have potholes. Many roads are unsurfaced. Roads are used by pedestrians, donkey-carts and rickshaws, as well as motor vehicles. At night, there is generally no street lighting and many vehicles have no lights.

If your journey doesn’t follow a major route you should travel with an experienced local guide. Many areas south of Khartoum become inaccessible by road during the rainy season from July to October. The wadis (dry riverbeds) are subject to dangerous flash floods and many are not passable during the rains except on a major road.

You can drive in Sudan using a full UK driving licence for a maximum period of 3 months. You can get a local driving licence from the police traffic department. Although drivers should have a licence and insurance, many do not have these. Make sure you have adequate insurance.

Sudanese law prohibits the use of mobile phones while driving. 

Air travel

Since 2010, all airlines registered in Sudan have been banned from operating in the EU on the basis of safety assessments by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Sea travel

Incidents of piracy have been reported in the Red Sea around the Gulf of Aden. Be vigilant and seek local advice. For more information and advice, see our Piracy and armed robbery at sea page.

If you intend to go ashore along the Red Sea Coast, ensure you have the correct documentation.