Young Pioneer Tours

Is Sudan safe for female travellers? 5 tips for sole women tourists

Is Sudan safe for female travellers? In short, yes it is very safe for women to travel to Sudan touristically, Sudan is though a relatively conservative Muslim country, so there are still some cultural norms that need to be adhered to.

To read about if Sudan is safe click here.

What do the advisories say?

Many countries have until recently advised against all travel to Sudan, partly due to the protests against the government, although most now simply advise against travel to certain parts of the country. 

As always check with people like the UKFCO for their rather than our take on things.

You can check the UKFCO website here

What is the situation for females in Sudan?

As a country still based largely on Sharia law sex outside of marriage is illegal and women make up a disproportionately low percentage of the workforce of Sudan. In fact the only women you will generally see working tend to be selling tea, or street food.

Most women wear a headscarf, but not the full burca, although some do wear this. As a foreigner you are expected to wear either on a daily basis.

Prostitution in Sudan

Prostitution in Sudan is almost unheard off, although there are areas known for street walkers in Khartoum. These areas should be avoided in general, but particularly by foreigners. Many of the prostitutes in Khartoum tend to be foreigners, so merely being on these streets could lead to problems.

Going to hotels other than your own should also be avoided, particularly with someone of the opposite sex as this can also fall foul of the law. 

Is Sudan safe for female travellers – war zones

Outside of Khartoum and the safe areas of Sudan, particularly the war zones things are much different and safety of travel needs to be looked at from a more general, rather than a female point of view. 

Is Sudan Safe for female travellers –  5 Top Tips

So, while the overall situation for most of Sudan is women friendly for travellers, there are still some tips, particularly for female solo travellers in Sudan that will make your life easier.

Dress conservatively in Sudan

While women are not required to wear a hijab, or the like you should still follow cultural norms. Generally speaking arms and legs should be covered and you will need a headscarf if you plan to visit a mosque. When you are in the desert, things can be a bit more relaxed.

Men and women do not generally shake hands

Generally speaking men and women do not shake hands, with a simple nod and a smile being enough from an etiquette point of view. 

Men and women tend to stay separately

When you visit places such as a Nubian house, or local house you will notice that the women do not “hang out”with you. Women tend to have different quarters and even their own bathrooms in Sudanese houses. If you ask it is possible to go and speak to the women yourselves.

To read about a Nubian house click here

Not everywhere is open to women

Some places within Sudan are more conservative than others, such as Abu Hamad in the north of the country. There are places such as tea houses (where we watched the football) that are technically open to women, but in reality none are inside. In cases like this seek the advice of local guides before entry.

Can trans-women travel to Sudan?

With homosexuality being illegal in Sudan the issue of trans-eights is far from the agenda of the country, with women rights in general arguably lagging behind many states within the region.

With regards to trans-women who wish to travel to Sudan we suggest getting in touch with us, so that we can discuss the logistics in more detail. 

Like always, and as a female, the mission is to continue breaking down barriers and opening up more opportunities for women to see places deemed “impossible”. We would love to see you on our Sudan tour, to learn more please click here

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