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About Sudan

Sudan Local Transportation

Roads: Extracts from the Internet: ArabNet WebsiteThere are about 50,000 km (31,080 miles) of roads in the Sudan, but most are unsurfaced dirt tracks which may become completely impassable after heavy rain. Paved highways run between Khartoum - Port Sudan, Atbara, Dongola, and Gedarif.

Buses run between Khartoum, Kassala, Port Sudan, and Gedarif. These boast air-conditioning, comfortable seats and shock absorbers, but most buses are a far cry from this class of transport. The vast majority have wooden bench seats, no shock absorbers and are very crowded and uncomfortable.

Travel by lorry is probably even more unpleasant, as the rear section must be shared with all kinds of cargo and livestock. It is also open to the elements, and is hot and dusty in the extreme. Travel by both bus and lorry is extremely slow, due to the poor condition of the roads and the inevitable breakdowns en route.

A slightly faster way of getting about is by Toyota Hilux pick-ups, known to the locals as 'boxes' (boksi, plural bokasi). These cost a little more than lorries or buses and, although not a great deal more comfortable, they will certainly get you to your destination in a much shorter time. Boxes are mostly used as local transport between villages, but some longer routes are available, notably a trans-desert route from Dongola to Karima and Karima to Atbara.

Many of the locals travel by camel (western and northern Sudan) or donkey (country-wide). Bicycles are rarely seen, due to poor road conditions.

In the larger urban areas - Khartoum,  Omdurman, Kassala and Port Sudan - taxis are available, but fares are erratic, and travelers need to bargain before starting their trip.

Rail: The railway system in the Sudan is extensive, with about 5,500km (3,420 miles) of track linking most of the major towns and cities. It is, however, in a poor state of repair and is currently operating at about one-fifth of its capacity. Most of the railway system dates from Kitchener's offensive against the Mahdi in the 1890s, and is a narrow gauge, single track line. 

There are three classes of travel on the Sudanese railway. First-class compartments carry six passengers, while no limit seems to be fixed on the numbers in second and third classes, so these can be very crowded. Some passengers even ride for free on the carriage roofs. This practice is not recommended, however, as accidents have been known to occur!

Air: The national carrier is the government-owned Sudan Airways. Other airline companies operate on international and local routes.