Our budget for 15 days of backpacking in Sudan

20161115 Nuri camels P1360530

We travelled overland from Abu Simbel in Egypt to Khartoum in 15 days / 14 nights in November 2016. Travelling in Northern Sudan may not be easy and comfortable, but it’s rather straightforward and the opportunities for spending money were limited. It was easy to keep the Sudan budget quite low. Altogether we spent a little more than 800 €, not including the bus in and the flight out of Sudan, but including all other fees and visa costs. Nearly half of that amount went directly to the government, covering visa and similar fees and sightseeing. Accommodation, food, and transport on the other hand were almost negligible.

Accomodation

20161110 Sai Island guesthouse P1360215
This was one of the nicer room we had on this trip!

On average we spent 11.65 € per night on accommodation: In many places in the north we paid less than 10 € for a double room, going up to 20-30 € in Khartoum. Some of the cheaper rooms had shared bathrooms, not always running water or no running water at all. Especially in the north the rooms were not very clean or particularly inhabitable. We had brought an inner tent which served as a stand-alone mosquito net with the additional benefit that anything living inside the mattress would stay outside our bed (because we put the mattress on the floor and the tent on top of the mattress). In a few rooms we encountered cockroaches. At Atbara and Khartoum there was a greater choice of accommodation, and some hotels even had some sort of Wifi. Quite often however there were no nicer rooms available, while cheap beds in the courtyard (only an option for men) cost around 2 € per night.

Food

20161118 Atbara Foul Restaurant P1360720

Food was very cheap, but of quite limited variety. Breakfast usually consisted of a falafel sandwich (sometimes with egg) and for dinner we shared a bowl of foul (cooked beans) with fresh flat breads, with additional salad on lucky days. All of that cost us about 2 € at most for the two of us. Add some fruit or yoghurt and the occasional dish at a Lebanese or Ethiopian restaurant, and coffee and bottled water – in total we spent in Sudan less than 7 € per day on food and drink. As the country is ruled by Sharia Law, alcohol is not available at all and thus does not figure in the expenses.

Transport

At the loading area of a small truck

In total we spent 181 € on transport, although public transport is quite cheap in Sudan (but also rare, slow and cramped). The complete trip from Wadi Halfa to Khartoum by bus and minibus with several stops along the way would have cost around 60 € for both of us, including some hitchhiking on the back of pick-up trucks for which we paid a small contribution. Occasionally we walked a few kilometers. Additional costs were 100 € for a 4×4 hire for one day (with driver) to visit the sights of Mussawarat and Naqa, and some boat and tuktuk hires to visit some other out-of-the-way archaeological sights (around 20 €).

Visa

We applied for the Sudan Visa in Aswan in Egypt, apparently one of the easiest and cheapest options to receive a visa, but still it did cost 50 $ per person. In Sudan we had to pay (in Sudanese pounds) an additional fee of 25 € per person for registration and some obscure fee we never figured out what it was for (we got an official receipt, though).

Sightseeing

20161115 Nuri  pyramids P1360532

The biggest chunk (191 €) of our budget were entrance fees to the sights. Even smaller archaeological sights cost 10 $ per person and the three highlights near Khartoum (the Bagrawiah pyramids, Musawarat and Naqa) were 25 $ each, per person. As the sightseeing was the main reason for our visit to Sudan, we did pay the exaggeratedly high entrance fees. We were lucky that there was nobody to collect the fees at some smaller sites in the north, and in some other sites we were able to bargain the price down. The only sightseeing bargain was the splendid National Museum in Khartoum at 0,12 € per person.

Isas delicious pie charts

Compared to an organised tour, travelling independently in Sudan is still quite cheap, even if you include the expensive sightseeing.

sudanpie

11 Comments

  1. Excellent ‘summing up’ as usual. Glad you survived it and experienced the Sudan ambience. Well done.

  2. Great post! We just came back from Iceland, where the prices are extortionate, so everything seems extremely cheap in Sudan in comparison. The price range you give is very surprising though, with food being so cheap and sightseeing so expensive. To be honest, we usually skip sites like this and stick to the natural wonders, simply because museum entrance fees etc. can hike up the price of the trip very quickly.

  3. Well, the sightseeing was our main reason to visit Sudan in the first place, especially with our (professional) interest in Pharaonic Egypt. And to be honest, apart from the historical sights, it’s not a country we would recommend visiting. Desert and beans …

  4. Actually, we hadn’t even thought that far – our intention was to have some sort of tent in case there is no accommodation (and without rain, you don’t need the heavy outer tent). But looking back, those “hotel” rooms are exactly what we would recommend to take a tent for.

  5. Cool storie! I would like to ask a question about the Visa, what documents did you need to get the visa and how long did it take you to get it? I am thinking of going there myself around next week entering from egypt aswell!

  6. We needed just the passport and we had to fill in a form we got at the Sudan embassy. We had to do some copies as well – can’t remember what, but there was a copy shop around the corner. The embassy is not open every day and I think it took them five days to procure the visa. Might be quicker, if you are in a hurry and make it urgent. Have a safe journey and a good time in Sudan!

  7. It is amazing that we have so many countries with unique history to explore. I think Sudan looks interesting. Will Visit if possible someday.

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