Young Pioneer Tours

Traveling to Abu Hamad – Essential 2024 Guide

The northernmost city in Sudan, Abu Hamad is the last real seat of civilisation before you head north to the deserts, Bur Tawil, or the border between Egypt and Sudan. Few people end up in this iff the beaten track destination, but what is u like traveling to Abu Hamad?

To read about North Sudan click here.

What is the story with Abu Hamad?

Located just by the  River Nile Aby Hamad is 345 km from Khartoum, or about 8-12 hours depending multiple factors. It is also about 6-8 hours from Meroe, the main tourist destination in Sudan and the most likely route if you are to end up in the town.

Named after a celebrated Sheikh the town has long been an important one, particularly for trade with Egypt and more lately for its access to the gild mines of the north, which are now a fairly big deal.

Who “owns”Abu Hamad

Officially the town is very much part of Sudan, bit since the coup of 2019 has slowly became a little lawless. The town is home to many senior figures within the Ababda Tribe, who for all intents control Bir Tawil.

Never heard of Bir Tawil? You can read about their strange tale here

This lawlessness has stretched not just from the no mans land of Bir Tawil, but also the whole desert area north of Abu Hamad, which the Ababda claim, along with its mines as their own. And yes they are modern Russian assault rifles that are far better than what the Sudanese military have. This is not a place go exploring alone.

What is there to do in Abu Hamad?

While lacking accent ruins there is still enough to make it worth a stop, particula6y if you are on the way to Bir Tawil, Egypt or the Halaib Triangle.

To read boy the Halaib Triangle click here

The town itself offers at least one OK hotel, some great Abu Hamad street food, as well a great market and a very impressive colonial era train station. Alas for whatever reason they were not keen on photos at te train station, quite who they fear will invade was not forthcoming…..

To read about the Sudan crisis click here

Nightlife wise Abu Hamad does not really have one, although we had at least interesting evening watching the 2023 World Cup in a packed to the rafters tea house. We also found late night places selling ice-cream, pizza and of course my drink love, Vimto! 

Around Abu Hamad 

Leaving Abu Hamad you have a number of options on where to go and what to do. The two most obvious ones are heading to the Egyptian border, or simply indulging in desert camping. The later involves seeing some great train stations in the middle of nowhere that have a real ghostly feel, but also some of the best set gazing I have personally witnessed in my life. 

And of course there is traveling to Bir Tawil, assuming that you have all the right permission. Abu Hamad is about 220 kilometres from Bur Tawil, but involves dome serious desert driveng in your 4X4’s, so can take a while.

To read why Toyota trucks are used in wars lick here.

Visiting Bir Tawil cannot simply be done on a whim though, so permissions can and should be obtained. 

To read our book on Bir Tawil click here

This is also the place that stock up on provisions, with the last settlement other than Abu Hamad being a border village that we nicknamed Mad Max Town, a truly bizarre place.

And that is one guide to Abu Hamad, one of the most remote desert towns there us and the gateway to Bir Tawil.

If you want to see the place for yourself then join our next tour to Bir Tawil. …

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