The largest country in all of Africa, and the largest country in the Arab world, Sudan is also one of Africa's least visited countries. Located in northeastern Africa, Sudan is divided by the Nile, the world’s longest river. The Sudanese have a history going back into antiquity and much of this is mingled with Egyptian history since the two were politically united over several periods in history. After Sudan gained its independence from the UK in 1956, it went through a 17-year civil war, sadly followed by religious, ethnic and economic conflicts between those in the north, mainly Muslim, and those in the south, mainly Christian. When Africa was carved up by the European colonial map makers, they inconceivably included all into the one country of Sudan the northern Muslim people whose history and culture are similar to that of the Egyptians, and the mainly Christian people and pagan Bantus in the south, people who are similar to those in sub-Saharan Africa. The people of the north and south, in other words, could not be more different. This conflict led to another civil war in the early 80s. Today, the country has made great economic strides with its oil and petroleum wealth, but troubles still reign since strict shariah law is practiced in the Islamic north while the much more liberal south wants independence.
Even though all Sudan's conflicts have made much of the country off limits to visitors, it's still possible to travel in the northeast and in some of southern Sudan. The northern deserts contain pyramids and various ancient sites—not as spectacular as those found in Egypt, but at least not anywhere near as crowded with tourists. This in itself is a major bonus, the eerie feeling of being all alone among ancient pyramids. The towns too are almost tourist-free and perhaps because of this, the people are famously welcoming, generous, and friendly to visitors. The people are known to have tremendous respect for others and honesty is highly valued, making theft a very rare happening. Begging is unknown outside of Khartoum. The main hassles travelers encounter are the same ones they encounter in the rest of Africa: red tape bureaucracy.
Khartoum, one of this part of Africa's more modern cities, stands where the two Niles meet. Although some may think of it only as a dusty, polluted, traffic-filled stopover on their way to someplace more exciting, the city is actually steeped in culture. It also happens to be one of Africa's safest cities. Kassala, Sudan is the capital of the Kassala region, and is one of the most visited places in the country. Bahr el Ghazal is also one of the regions of Sudan, and is one of the interesting places to see in the country. Right at the centre of Sudan is the Nuba Mountains where Nuba people live in a very remote area. Visiting this area needs some effort but it is worth visiting to see this culture by joining a tour to this area.
Warning: Security in Sudan is not at all stable, especially in and surrounding Darfur. Check government travel warnings before going.
Read on Egypt travel guide.