Currency: Sudanese pound (SDG)
Exchange rate: 67.36 SDG per € (December 2020)
Time zone: UTC + 2
Country code (phone): +249
Climate (for capital): Desert climate, subtropical
According to payhelpcenter, the official state religion in Sudan is Islam, which is characterized by its great political and social importance. Although there is constitutional freedom of religion in Sudan, the reality is far removed from it. After the split of South Sudan, the only small Christian population now lives in Khartoum and in the regions bordering on South Sudan, especially in the Nuba Mountains. Both Islamic and Christian followers often mix their beliefs with traditional religious practices.
Sudan can be divided into three areas:
- Muslims (Sunni) approx. 90%
- Christians approx. 5.4%
- Popular religion approx. 2.8%
The majority of the Sudanese population are Sunni Muslims, but many Sudanese are more influenced by the tolerant Sufi philosophies than by the state-mandated Orthodox Islam.
The spread of Christianity in the Nuba Mountains and other peripheral areas can be traced back not only to the influence of Christian missionaries, but also to the residents of these regions, who are discriminated against by Muslims because of their illiteracy and paganism and who are described as “backward” Christianity before Islamization. Culturally, these areas cannot be completely assigned to Christianity, since, for example, polygamy is part of traditional culture here.
Religion as a political instrument or radicalism had spread in Sudan under the influence of Hassan al-Turabi, who died in March 2016, and his National Islamic Front in the 1990’s. However, since the vast majority of Sudanese do not tend to fanaticism, religious disputes have calmed down somewhat in recent years, even after the introduction of Sharia law.
The cult of tsar plays an important role for Sudanese women. Tsar is a ceremony that is only performed by women, for women. The tsar priestess (sheikha) is supposed to pacify evil spirits that haunt women. Women – and men too – believe that certain people are possessed by a demon (tsar) who causes them great discomfort for a lifetime and can only be temporarily appeased by ecstatic dances, gifts and sacrifices.
Since 2016, intensified since December 2018, political decisions by the government, such as the reduction of subsidies, have led to violent protests by the population, which are often violently suppressed. These persist even after Omar al-Bashir was deposed as president and a transitional government was formed.
The current safety instructions from the Federal Foreign Office should be observed. Also, for example, the British government publishes advice on safety in the country. Above all, it is warned against staying near demonstrations, especially in Khartoum. Furthermore, warnings are given against traveling to the regions of the current conflict areas Darfur, Abyei, Blue Nile and South Kordofan. There had been violent clashes with an Islamist group in Dinder National Park. Landmines pose a threat in
Kassala State and the adjacent areas of the other eastern states as well as the long-lasting military conflict in the south of the country. In the current conflict areas of Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan, mine clearance is not yet an option.
The recommendations of the German embassy in Khartoum should also be observed in the context of crisis prevention. For example, Germans who are only staying temporarily in the country should have themselves entered on the Foreign Office’s crisis prevention list at the German embassy. You can register online for this.
The Austrian Foreign Ministry also recommends that Austrians travel to Sudan to register.
Serious assaults on foreigners are very rare. If threatened, the stranger should contact the Sudanese directly and ask for help. In traditional Sudanese culture, the guest is entitled to and offered protection. In terms of crime rates, Khartoum is one of the safest capitals in Africa, even if crime (in particular break-ins in cars and pickpockets) has increased recently, according to the Foreign Office.
Road traffic poses the greatest danger to life and limb in Sudan. The poor road conditions in many places and the rapid increase in traffic cause one of the highest rates of road deaths in the world. In Sudan the probability of dying in a traffic accident is twelve times higher per vehicle than in western countries.
With children in Sudan
Sudanese are very fond of children and parents can establish initial contacts through their children. There are sufficient kindergartens and they are also affiliated with international schools. Tips for nannies and also for domestic staff who are left with childcare should be given by local colleagues and friends.
The country’s international schools are the Khartoum International Community School, the Khartoum American School, and the Unity High School in Khartoum.