Can you drink in Sudan? As a non-Muslim the technical answer to this is that legally you are allowed to drink in Sudan, but the reality is a little less simple.
To read if it safe to travel to Sudan click here.
History of alcohol in Sudan
The first controls over alcohol in Sudan came about during the era of British control largely at he behest of the muslims population. These mostly were linked to needing licenses to import, or produce alcoholic beverages, but also with regards to their supply.
After independence it was still possible to drink though until the government made the production and sale of alcohol illegal in 1985. This was to continue throughout the period of tough Sharia law and for most intents to the present time.
Unlike in other Muslim countries, such as Iran no provisions or exceptions were made for Christians, which was another factor that in part led to the session of South Sudan.
To read about the South Sudan war of independence click here.
The Sudanese Revolution and drinking
The Sudanese revolution of 2019 ended the thirty year rule of Omar Al-Bashir and his replacement by a “temporary” military regime to pave the way for a civilian government. This came to pass loosely in 2020, before being overthrown in 2021 – which is why there are currently protests in the country.
During the brief civilian period and on the 20th July 2020 Sudan made it legal for non-Muslims to drink alcohol, although for all intents an purposes there does not seem to be any legal production, importation, or sale of liquor within the country.
Non-alcoholic beer in Sudan
Weirdly and much like in other Muslim states where booze is illegal there is a thriving non-alcoholic beer scene, with German style zero percent brews, as well as a locally produced malt strawberry beer type thing, which was as bizarre as it was interesting.
Aside from the boozless beers, there is a great soft-drink scene of locally produced stuff, as well as the now pervasive sight of Coke, Fanta and Sprite, something rarely scene before the 2019 revolution.
To read about drinking in Iran click here.
On the grey end of the spectrum there is also what is known as Sudanese whisky, which comes in a clear bottle and from what I am told smells a bit like ethanol and is we guess derived from dates. Not exactly readily available, but again and much like in other Muslim countries there if you look hard enough.
Can you drink in Sudan 2023?
With the military and civilian governments pretty much flip-flopping, it is very hard to say what might happen next in the country, but if the Muslim, Christian expat communities that I spoke to are anything to go by then further liberalisation in Sudan is both wanted and indeed expected.
Don’t expect Sudan to suddenly become Dubai, but drinking in Sudan, at least for non-Muslims should become a little easier.
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