Young Pioneer Tours just returned from our yearly yang to the Republic of Sudan, a place currently going through a lot of turmoil, protests and in parts war, so the question is, is it safe to travel to Sudan?
To read about if it is safe to travel to South Sudan click here.
What do governments warnings say about the safety of travel to Sudan?
So, first of we start with our little caveat! YPT travel to as we like to say “places your moth would rather you stayed away from”, but this can also mean places that are often deemed dangerous.
We as a company therefore offer articles like this as our opinion of the situation on the ground, we do not say that our advice is better than that of governments for example. We therefore ways suggest checking multiple sources (not just one government advisory) before deciding on if you should travel.
With regards to the safety of travel to Sudan, the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UKFCO) until recently advised against all but essential travel to the Republic of Sudan. This has since been changed to any travel to within 20km of Bir Tawil (which we will get to later), the disputed Hala’ib Triangle, much of Darfur and the border areas between Eritrea, Libya and parts of the border with South Sudan.
You can see the UKFCO website here
We obviously have our own take on these things.
Is it safe to travel to Sudan – background to the current problems
The main elephant in the room about whether it is safe to travel to Sudan is with regards to the current protests against the military government, as well as the various coups that have taken place, almost on a yearly basis.
For some background in 2019 the more than 30 rule of OmarAl-Bashir was ended following protests and a military led coup that was theoretically going to lead to democratic elections. Many people died during this revolution and it was to come just before our 2019 trip to both Sudan and Bir Tawil.
To read the strange tale of Bir Tawil click here.
There was briefly to by a hybrid military/civilian government, but this was ended by another coup in 2021, which again saw bloodshed. This was to lead us to have to cancel our tour that year.
Our reasons for cancelling were multifaceted, but were mainly due to us not being able to contact our local partners and the violence that was happening in the country. Despite this though tour groups indeed returned and followed us, but we feel at least that at the time we had made the right choice.
On the anniversary of the last coup, as in October of 2022 protests again erupted, which again brought up the question of if it is safe to travel to Sudan, with us and our local partners deciding that indeed it was safe to travel.
Traveling to Sudan during protests
When it comes to safety any country that is going through turmoil and, or protests obviously has al element of danger to it, but at least in the case of Sudan the protests have tended to be peaceful and organised.
This has meant that from a tourist perspective we have been able to avoid them, even changing routes where necessary and of covers not taking photos, or getting involved.
This is not just a question of safety to travel to Sudan, but literally anywhere that we go. to. No matter whether you agree with the protestors of any country as a foreigner it is incredibly important not to get involved in order not to endanger yourself. or other members of the group. We do not offer war tourism, nor do we advocate joining our tours to spread a political message, no matter how righteous your aims are.
So, is it safe to travel to Sudan during the protests? In our opinion, yes it is, so long as you take due diligence and do not get involved.
Should said situation change, we would thus change our policy accordingly, as we have done in the past.
Is it safe to travel to Sudan everywhere?
Can you travel everywhere in Sudan? The short share answer is no, you cannot. There are still large swathes of Sudan that are literally at war, as well as some very hairy border regions.
This does not mean that everywhere is impossible to travel to, such as Darfur, or Bir Tawil for example, but again it does mean YPT for example analysing the safety situation and consulting with our local partners.
Is it safe to travel to Bir Tawil?
It is not safe to travel to Bir Tawil independently from either the Egyptian, or Sudanese sides of the border and travel here requires the explicit approval of the Ababda tribe.
Bir Tawil is often described as uninhabited, it is not, but it does fall outside of of both Egypt and Sudan and should you pop-up here you cannot trey one either country o bail you out if you get into trouble.
To read our book about travel to Bir Tawil click here.
Is it safe to travel to Sudan – Petty crime
Khartoum and most of the cities that we visit are extremely safe, particularly by the standards of neighbouring countries. And while violent crime against foreigners is
virtually unheard of, one should always be careful about petty crime.
Do not flash around cash in Sudan, nor expensive goods, or the like and do not go walking down dark alleys at night by yourself. Overall good old fashioned common sense should prevail!
Is it safe to camp in Sudan?
Camping in the desert is one of the coolest and best things you can do in Sudan. Generally speaking it is considered very safe to camp in Sudan, with us always following the advice of our local guides, as well as usually taking a desert guide with us.
The main things to remember when camping in the desert are which animals to look out far and that you have enough gas and water, rather than being fearful of bandits and the like!
Is it safe to travel to Sudan for women?
Sudan is actually an externally safe place to travel for women, at least within the regions that YPT take you to. We are not including the areas that are currently at war.
Walking the streets in Khartoum at night for example has been described by female friends of mine from countries such as Ghana and Kenya as far safer than their own nations.
We have taken many women to Sudan and have the found them to have been treated with the utmost respect and have not had any fears for their safety.
Is it safe for gay people to travel to Sudan?
Sudan is for the most part a staunchly Islamic country, although with a big Christian minority. Still regardless of the religion of people homosexuality is illegal and something that the country is far from open about.
Overall public displays of affection should be avoided be they straight, or gay and the conservativeness of the country should be respected. Still with that being said, it is a male dominated society, so men holding hands, or sharing a room is not considered an issue.
Trans rights are a different thing and the overall issue is not well understood in the country, with YPT advising our trans guests to seek our advice before travel.
Can you travel independently to Sudan?
Can you travel independently in Sudan? The short answer to this is that no you cannot.
Sudan is for all intends still a very bureaucratic military regime and permissions are needed to go anywhere and do anything. This though does not mean that you cannot do an independent tour to Sudan, but you will need to go through a company such as ourselves to get the right permissions, as fellas hire a guide and a driver.
To read about independent tours to Sudan click here.
Overall though it is safe to travel to the vast majority of Sudan and not only will you be greeted by amazing history and scenery, but also some of the most welcoming people on the planet.