Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan, where the two Niles meet; is a confluence of Arab and African culture. The main language spoken in Khartoum is Arabic, although other dialects and tribal languages are spoken.
Khartoum is situated in the Northern part of the country and its weather can be characterized as very hot and dry. There is a rainy season during the summer, when the humidity increases slightly. Winter – if we can call it that – is during the months of November – March, during which time the weather can be very pleasant. You will need to bring lightweight jackets for early morning and late evenings when the weather can be cooler. Khartoum is also famous for its sandstorms or “haboubs”, which can be frequent particularly during the summer months.
Khartoum has some cultural entertainment, such as the Nuba wrestling and whirling dervishes dancing and is a friendly and safe city, were lasting friendships can be formed with locals and expatriates alike.
If you are the adventurous type and enjoy camping and deep sea diving, Sudan has a lot to offer; vast expanse of deserts and a comparatively virgin coral reef off the Red Sea coast. Nile boat trips are particularly pleasing around sunset time.
Khartoum is also only a few hours flight away to Nairobi, Dubai, Cairo and Addis.
"Bringing a tween to Khartoum was one of the worries we mulled upon, what was there for him to do? There are no cinemas or play arenas. There aren’t much options, but surprisingly Thor has adjusted very well. He has enjoyed the play-dates and birthday parties he has attended, where he has actually PLAYED outdoors and had conversations with friends. My family enjoys exploring whatever country we are in. Annette has always been interested in Egyptian and Nubian history, seeing the Nubian pyramids was a thrill I had to grant her. We look forward to more road trips in this fascinating country."
My husband and I came to Khartoum with our 2-year-old (at the time) daughter from the US, having never lived abroad before. We have not had any doubt that this was a great decision for our family. The Sudanese are very family-oriented and friendly. Pre COVID-19-on our shopping trips our daughter would receive numerous high-fives and cheek pinches from people and she would often get a toy or candy to take home as well. Now with COVID-19 only one of us goes out to shop so she can stay home/be safe. But even with COVID-19, we feel very safe being here with our family. This also extends to the quality of care and safety we have at school, especially for our daughter. All caregivers/teachers/TA’s are exceptional, definitely have a clear passion for caring for young children. They continue to help our little girl adjust to new environments (including last year's big adjustment/transition) and this year's transition into a more structured classroom.
I have enjoyed many evening visits to the antique section of the Omdurman market and from time to time dropped in at Souq Arabi for morning coffee and legamat (local fritters). For general shopping, the markets in Shabi and Bahri are great. Since the revolution, more entrepreneurs and artisans have been appearing at craft markets such as the one Jazz Café puts on from time to time. The contemporary art scene in Khartoum is amazing and I have been to many exhibitions; some of the most memorable at the French Institute. Recently they put on a fantastic show featuring woman’s art. KICS is also an enthusiastic patron of the Arts. Last year they honoured the Prince Claus Laureate Prize winner and Sudanese painter, Kamala Ibrahim Ishag. This was to recognize her life-long contribution to contemporary culture. It was a beautiful evening of accolades ending with an amazing exhibition of her work. Similar events are happening at KICS throughout the year.
Tuti Island is also a great place to visit. You can drive to the North end of the island for a morning of bird watching. Friends and I have also parked our car on the city side of the bridge and walked over. There are food and coffee vendors around in the evening and many people gather near the bridge or on the beach.
Of course, the weather here means evenings and early mornings are the best time to be out and about.
For us leisure time is very much spending time with family and friends, neither is in short supply living in Khartoum. Our close proximity to school and our workloads makes family time more prevalent, something that was a huge decision maker in our choice to come to Khartoum. The KICS community is simply wonderful and we have already created strong and personal bonds with others that we spend ample time with. Beyond that it is always great to use the school facilities, mainly the pool, as a great, fun, and relaxing activity.
I was wondering if I would find enough to keep me busy outside of school, and I have been pleasantly surprised! I have found an activity to do every day afterschool ranging from yoga and mindfulness, yogalates and step class, to horse riding. The school has a beautiful pool, tennis courts, and well-equipped fitness room for our use and golf is also an excellent option at the nearby club.
I have discovered Khartoum to have a dynamic expat community with so many dinners and events that I cannot attend as many as I would like to. Overall my transition has been much easier than I expected with a great balance of school activities, non-school activities and social time. There has been no shortage of things to do.
"Most of every basic necessity is available in Khartoum, even if they are relatively pricey. But like most international workers know, we should bring what we might not need, but must have, when we do need it. Basic medicines, fill out your prescriptions (if any) abroad, preferred toiletry brands and the like. You may want to consider bringing what you deem as a basic appliance in your home country, being Asians, we brought a rice cooker and a bread maker."
As an international teacher it is always comforting to carry a little bit of home wherever you go. Sudan has been no different. In terms of food supplies, there is a variety of things. You can always find whatever you need here, or at least a good substitute. I do pack a few favorites from home like spices and sauces. The houses we get are equipped to match our furniture needs, there was no need to bring anything.
In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how much you bring you will always wish you had brought more. But the good news here is, there are local places to obtain similar items you may need as well as the opportunity to obtain items you may need while traveling. Fill every space in your suitcase and bring whatever it is even if you are second guessing it. That being said things we would absolutely recommend bringing are similar to others recommendations: clothing and shoes, hygiene products, electronics/accessories, etc. If there is a particular food you cannot live without, bring it; we already plan to bring parmesan cheese the next time we travel back to Sudan.