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The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 4/16/2004 2:22 AM

Sudan, a vast, sun-baked land, gained independence in 1956, following the end of the Anglo-Egyptian condominium. It is the largest country in all Africa, stretching almost one million square miles. Superimposed over a map of the U.S., Sudan would reach from the Canadian border to Houston, and from eastern Utah to St. Louis. To the north are the Libyan and Nubian Deserts. In mid-country, a band of rocky semi-desert reaches from the Chad border eastward to encompass the range of arid mountains along the Red Sea coast and the Ethiopian border. The southern half consists of savanna and swampland grading into semitropical forests along the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda borders. Although arable, fertile land is available (37 %), but little (1.5 %) is cultivated because of inadequate irrigation. In the past, the U.S. was involved in many projects to improve water usage and agricultural methods through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), but these programs were cut when the military took over the civilian government in 1989.

Through these diverse regions flow the White and Blue Niles, which converge at Khartoum. The Nile system, with its major tributaries-the Bahr al Ghazal, Sobat, and Atbara-is the primary water supply for northeastern Africa. Most cultivation in the north of Sudan depends on these rivers, but farther south, rainfall is sufficient for cultivation and grazing.

The river is navigable only in certain areas. The Bahr al-Arab, flowing west to east, forms a natural frontier. Another, more formidable obstacle to the south is the Sudd, an immense 12,000 square miles of swamp floating vegetation into which the White Nile expands before reverting to river again. Over great distances, only a few paved roads, a limited rail line, and unreliable air service connect broadly scattered towns and settlements.

Khartoum is usually hot and dusty. During May, June, and July, daily high temperatures average around 100 F or higher, with frequent dust storms called "haboobs." July, August, and part of September are not as hot, with rare but heavy rainstorms (average 8 inches yearly) and continuing haboobs. From November until April, daily temperatures range around 95 F; nights, around 70 F, are pleasant. Cool weather at night and in the early mornings sometimes requires light sweaters or blankets.

Population Last Updated: 4/16/2004 2:28 AM

Sudan bridges Arab and African cultures. Its approximately 30 million people are from as many as 500 different ethnic groups, cultures, and creeds. About 70% are Moslem and 30% are Christian or animistic. Among the northern groups are the Hadendowa, Bisharin, and Beni Amer of the Red Sea hills; the Nubian tribes of the northern Nile Valley; a conglomeration of "Arab" tribes occupying the central belt; the Kababish and other nomadic tribes west of the Nile; and descendants of earlier peoples, such as Nuba, Fur, and Ingessana. Although some still speak their own Hamitic, Semitic, or other ancient languages, the common language of northern Sudan is Arabic. Many local dialects are spoken.

Southern Sudan was isolated from early external influences by climate and geography. It is inhabited by African ethnic groups that speak over 100 separate languages and dialects classified as Sudanic, Nioltic, and Nile Hamitic. The Dinkas, with a population around two million, constitute the largest southern tribe. Other tribal groups include the Nuer, Shilluk, and Azande.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 4/16/2004 2:31 AM

The North and South of Sudan have been at war since 1983. An earlier civil war lasted until 1972 when both sides agreed to end hostilities in accordance with the Addis Ababa Accord, brokered in large part by Ethiopiaís Haile Selassie. In April1985, as a result of overwhelming popular unrest, President Nimeiryís military dictatorship was overthrown by General Sowar al Dahab. After a transitional period, Sudan held its first free elections in 17 years in 1986. Although the civil war prevented elections in 37 of 68 southern constituencies, a Parliament was elected and a democratic government was installed. Six of 40 parties from a broad political spectrum participated in Sadiq Al-Mahdiís coalition government until June 30, 1989, when General Omar Hassan Ahmed Al Bashier headed a military coup, which overthrew the government. Bashier dissolved the Parliament and suspended activities of all political parties. Over time, the government has infiltrated virtually all aspects of civil society and social life. Islamic Sharia law is in effect, although the government does not usually enforce the stricter punishments.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 4/16/2004 2:35 AM

In 1991, the Bashier government changed Sudanís compulsory education from 12 to 11 years by combining six years of primary and three years of intermediate education into eight years of basic education. The three years of secondary education remained unchanged. Literacy and school attendance rates are difficult to calculate for many reasons, not the least of which is the continuing civil war in the south and hostilities in the west. However, estimates are 20% and 50% respectively, although the government claims higher figures. Instruction through high school is in Arabic, although a few private schools do provide some instruction in English. The curriculum is Koran-based. The University of Khartoum, with approximately 27,000 students and 914 teaching staff, is the center of Khartoumís intellectual life. Even here, including in technical and scientific faculties, Arabic has replaced English as the primary language of instruction. English, however, continues to be used in many private Sudanese universities.

In addition to the University of Khartoum, there are 25 government universities throughout the country with over 125,000 students and 3,000 teaching staff. Private universities and technical colleges number 23 with some 38,000 students and over 400 teaching staff. Al Nilein University (or University of Two Niles), formerly the University of Cairo, is located in Khartoum; the Islamic University and the Ahfad College for Women operate in Omdurman-adjacent to Khartoum. The University of Juba has moved to Khartoum due to the war. Other universities include Upper Nile University in Malakal, Bahr al Ghazal University in Wau, the University of Gezira in Wad Medani and Kordofan University in El-Obeid. The French and German Cultural Centers offer language classes and cultural events. Arabic classes are available outside the Embassy.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 4/16/2004 2:40 AM

Long the countryís major economic activities, agriculture and livestock have been replaced in recent years by petroleum development. Estimates vary but oil reserves total at least 250 million barrels. A pioneer in Sudanís petroleum industry, Chevron sold its last oil concessions to a private Sudanese corporation in 1992. American participation is now prohibited by U.S. legislation. Foreign investment is now led by China and Malaysiaís Petronas. In addition to oil, Sudanís natural resources include gold, iron ore, copper, and chrome. Although Sudan is believed to possess other minerals, including zinc, iron, and uranium, mining is still insignificant.

Agriculture still provides a large part of the countryís export income. Cotton is the leading cash crop, followed by sorghum, groundnuts, sesame, and gum arabic. Fruits and vegetables are grown for local consumption. Limited industry processes agriculture produce. Sudan also remains Africaís livestock exporter, however the countryís once flourishing textile and tanning industries have ceased to exist.

Despite Sudanís physical advantages, it is among the worldís poorest countries, with a per capita income of about $250 a year. The Sudanese economy suffers from high inflation and low output. Labor shortages have developed because skilled workers have emigrated to better job prospects abroad. Like many developing countries, Sudanís infrastructure has gaps: transportation, especially outside Khartoum, is difficult and impedes development; power blackouts are frequent and telephone service is irregular. Certain essential commodities, like gasoline, are occasionally scarce. The results of the governmentís ambitious economic reform programs have been disappointing, in part because of declining foreign assistance levels. Current external assistance is almost entirely humanitarian relief, due to U.S. economic and other sanctions imposed due to Sudanís support for global terrorist activities.


Automobiles Last Updated: 4/16/2004 2:43 AM

In June 2003, U.S. Mission Khartoum became a one-year tour of duty post. Official travel orders for assigned personnel currently do not authorize shipment of privately owned vehicles (POVs) for one-year assignments. However, local purchase of a POV is permitted and it is the employeeís responsibility and personal expense to ship the locally purchased POV out of Sudan or sell it at the end of their assignment. With public transportation and taxis both inadequate and unsafe, the Mission provides for all employeesí official and personal transportation needs. Please consult with the General Services Officer concerning current policies. If you plan to request permission to drive yourself (in official vehicle) at any time, you will need a valid drivers license and two passport-size photographs to obtain the mandatory Sudanese drivers license. Licenses are issued free to diplomatic personnel; non-diplomatic personnel pay approximately 20,000 Sudanese Dinars (US$ 77.00).

Local Transportation Last Updated: 4/16/2004 2:50 AM

Local buses are rarely used by foreigners. Taxis are easy to find downtown, but cannot be called by telephone. Most Sudanese white-collar workers use taxis, frequently in groups. Taxis are not readily available after dark in residential areas. Most taxi drivers do not speak English and drive vehicles in questionable state of repair. Daytime rates are reasonable; they usually double at night. Rates are at least double for foreigners.

Regional Transportation Last Updated: 4/16/2004 2:53 AM

Sudanís regional transportation system seriously impedes its economic development. Paved, all-weather roads connect Khartoum with Port Sudan via Kassala, and with Kosti and Sennar. The drive between Khartoum and Port Sudan takes approximately 12 hours, excluding stops. There are few amenities along the route. Although fuel can usually be found in the larger cities, all necessities, including plenty of food and water, first aid and toilet supplies, and essential spare parts should be carried in the vehicle. Travel elsewhere by car is difficult, even with four-wheel drive vehicles. In the rainy season, travel in the southern regions is virtually impossible. At the present time, travel to the south is restricted due to the civil war. Because of the danger of breakdown, you should travel any lengthy journey with at least another four-wheel drive vehicle. Although there is scheduled air and rail service between Khartoum and major Sudanese cities like Port Sudan, El Obeid and El Fasher, service is sometimes irregular. Travel is restricted in particular areas in the east and especially in the west in Darfur.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 4/16/2004 7:11 AM

The telephone system is overloaded in Khartoum and inadequate beyond. Most Mission personnel now have home telephones and all personnel are provided cellular phones. The RSO operates radio networks. USAID also maintains a short wave radio network. The motor pool operates a cellular phone communications network.

The Embassy began operating a comprehensive communications network including VSAT, IVG, and Opennet Plus in September 2003.

International calls can be placed through Embassy switchboard (during working hours) or by cellular phone with little difficulty. Sample rates per minute are as follows:

USA/Canada - SD 280 (US$1.08) Europe - SD 240 (US$.92) Egypt/Gulf countries - SD 190 (US$.73 East Africa - SD 280 (US$1.08) Other African countries - SD 400 (US$1.54) Australia - SD 460 (US$1.77)

Commercial communications facilities, including Internet access are available at the Hilton, Meridien and the Acropole Hotels.

Internet Last Updated: 4/16/2004 3:23 AM

There are numerous Internet and Cyber Cafes throughout Khartoum. However, due to the panoply of sanctions imposed on Khartoum, browsers are obsolete and cannot be updated as they connect through Sudanese commercial facilities. Many Internet activities such as on line banking and other commercial transactions are currently prohibited. The Hilton, Meridien and Acropole Hotels offer commercial Internet access. U.S. Mission employees have desktop access to the Internet through Opennet Plus in their offices.

Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 4/16/2004 3:29 AM

The Mission receives mail, both personal and official, through the diplomatic pouch about once a week on average, and international mail. The pouch address for official mail is:

Name of Section/Person American Embassy Khartoum 2200 Khartoum PL Washington, DC 20521-2200

Personal mail should be addressed as follows:

(Name) 2200 Khartoum PL Dulles, VA 20189-2200

Please consult current Department regulations regarding pouch restrictions and size limitations. Contract personnel, including PSCs/PSAs should consult the terms of their contracts regarding pouch privileges. Private individuals, voluntary organizations and other NGOs do not have pouch privileges and should not have international mail sent through the Mission.

The Missionís address for international mail is:

(Name or office as appropriate) United States Embassy P.O. Box 699 Khartoum, Sudan

Radio and TV Last Updated: 4/16/2004 3:31 AM

Local television stations are Sudan TV, Blue Nile Channel and Khartoum State Channel. Virtually all programs are in Arabic. In addition, South African cable is available. The number of channels depends on various commercial packages, but include English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Turkish broadcasts from around the world and Arabic and English broadcasts from several Middle Eastern countries including Egypt and Dubai. Channels include CNN, BBC World and History Channel International. Popular American shows include American Dreams, West Wing, Law and Order, Oprah, Home Improvement, Friends and The Guardian.

There are several local AM and FM radio stations. BBC, DW (Deutsche-Welle) and Monte Carlo are available on FM.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 4/16/2004 3:34 AM

The Sudan News Agency (SUNA) publishes a daily news roundup in English with both national and international news. The Khartoum Monitor is one of a few daily English language newspapers; Sudanow is a monthly English publication. There are several other government and privately owned papers in Arabic. The Acropole Hotel maintains a small stock of mostly local interest books and pamphlets in English. There are also several stationery and bookstores throughout the city and in the major hotels, but virtually all publications are in Arabic.

The VOA, AP, Reuters, BBC, AFP, and the Italian News Agency maintain offices in either Khartoum or Omdurman with local representatives. The Middle East News Agency and Al Gazira also have local offices, as do Arabic news organizations from Egypt, Qatar and the UAE.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 4/16/2004 3:39 AM

The Embassy Medical Unit is located on the second floor of the chancery building and is equipped to provide treatment of minor ailments or injuries, some routine lab work, immunizations, counseling and referral services. Its staff includes a Post Medical Advisor and a western trained nurse. The Regional Medical Officer for Khartoum is based in Cairo. Some regional support is also given from Addis Ababa and Nairobi. Hospitals in Khartoum are used only as a temporary expedient; serious illness or injury and/or surgical cases are evacuated to civilian hospitals in London. Expectant mothers are evacuated to the U.S. for delivery.

The Medical Unit stocks various prescription drugs and common medicines. Anyone on regular medication must make arrangements for a continuing supply from a reliable source prior to arrival at post. Communicate directly with the Embassy Medical Unit for information concerning local availability of specific drugs. Get the generic name of compound elements of any medication taken regularly as local products are usually of European manufacture.

Some highly trained European dentists practice in Khartoum and use modern dental equipment. It is recommended that all major dental treatment be completed before departing for post. Eyeglasses and contact lenses are available. Remember to bring an extra pair of glasses and your prescription with you.

Community Health Last Updated: 4/16/2004 3:41 AM

Khartoum water is potable when it leaves the processing plant, but the distribution system is subject to contamination.

The extreme heat occurring 9 out of 12 months of the year quickly ferments uncollected garbage dumped on abundant vacant lots. Sewage problems are common in some areas of the city when frequent power outages stop sewage pumps. Lack of toilet facilities, inadequate refrigeration, and poor health standards in food handling and processing make it necessary to use extreme care in preparing food at home and when eating out. During and following the short rainy season, the city is infested with flies, mosquitoes and other insects.

Constant dust plays havoc with sinus and bronchial systems. If you are prone to respiratory disease, dust allergies and hay fever, be aware that this is a hazard in Khartoum. Air humidifiers are recommended in the bedrooms at night because of extremely low humidity.

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 4/16/2004 3:44 AM

Endemic diseases and health hazards in Khartoum and throughout Sudan include malaria, dysentery, parasitic and respiratory infections, hepatitis, rabies, cerebrospinal meningitis and tuberculosis. HIV/AIDS is also a problem in udan. Schistosomiasis (also known as Belharzia) is present in the Blue and White Niles and the main Nile.

Only drink distilled or filtered/boiled drinking water. Drink only pasteurized, fresh milk. Only use local long-life milk if you are sure it has been stored correctly. Meat, chicken and fish should be well cooked. Raw vegetables and fruits should be avoided unless you are sure they have been properly cleaned. Adults should drink 12-16 glasses of water or similar clear liquid (excluding coffee, tea or alcohol) a day to prevent dehydration in the extreme heat and low humidity.

All persons coming to Sudan should begin taking Malaria suppressant tablets two weeks before arrival at post as recommended by the Medical division and continue the program throughout the specified period. Yellow Fever, Rabies, Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid and Hepatitis immunizations, and all necessary childhood immunizations should be completed as much as possible before arrival at post.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 4/16/2004 3:49 AM

As Khartoum is currently an unaccompanied assignment, there are no employment opportunities for spouses, other dependents or significant others. However, once dependents are again permitted at post, there should be several positions available, especially in the Community Liaison Office (CLO) and General Services Office (GSO) Clerical positions should also be available in several Mission offices. Interested and qualified individuals should also contact the Khartoum American School regarding potential employment. Possibilities may also exist with voluntary and other non-government organizations. Employment on the local economy is virtually non-existent, although some multinational organizations may from time to time have specific requirements for which resident expatriates, including diplomatic dependents, may be considered.

American Embassy - Khartoum

Post City Last Updated: 4/16/2004 3:53 AM

Khartoum is northeast of the countryís geographical center, at about 15 degrees north latitude. At the junction of the White and Blue Niles, the area contains a total population of over six million in three cities: Khartoum, Khartoum North, and Omdurman. Khartoum is the busiest and the government center. Most resident Europeans and other expatriates live in the city and its outlying suburbs. Across the Blue Nile from Khartoum is Khartoum North, a traditional city with a growing industrial area. The ancient city of Omdurman, across the White Nile from Khartoum, contains miles of traditional markets, where local artisans make and sell their wares.

Although still dominated by Northerners, Khartoum now has a sizable population of displaced Southerners. Arabic is the common language, but English is usually understood by Sudanese who have completed secondary school. English is used in transacting business with non-Arab foreigners. Minority groups resident in Khartoum include Egyptian, Greek, Lebanese, Italian, West African, and Armenian. Shops and businesses often close between 1:30 pm and 5:30 pm, during the hottest part of the day.

Security Last Updated: 4/26/2004 8:58 AM

The Regional Security Office (RSO) is dedicated to making your tour in Sudan a safe one. While we all face the reality of terrorism, most of us enjoy a normal life in Khartoum.

In the mid-1990's, Embassy Khartoum was evacuated due to serious terrorist threats. Many terrorist organizations are known to have a presence in Sudan. Although Sudan is still considered a critical-threat post for transnational terrorism, a renewed full-time American presence was established in 2002. Since then, post has increased its local guard force manning by over 50%, established an armed police presence, completed technical and physical security upgrades, closed streets surrounding the building, and installed active anti-ram vehicle barricades to control access to the chancery compound area.

Residences are all in compliance with Diplomatic Security physical security standards, with grilled windows, lighting, security doors, safe havens, and a 24-hour guard coverage. Planned security upgrades also call for installation of security alarm systems and shatter-resistant window film.

Crime in Khartoum against Americans has been negligible. Our threat rating for crime is medium, although virtually no crimes have been committed against the American diplomatic community in the past year. Other Westerners stationed in Khartoum have been victims of crime; however, using common sense crime prevention measures, such as locking doors, avoiding dark alleys at night and keeping a low profile, go a long way toward keeping you and your valuables safe.

Travel within the Khartoum area is generally safe and unrestricted; however, travel outside Khartoum may be unsafe depending on destination and the current political or conflict status. All personnel wishing to travel outside Khartoum must first consult with the RSO and provide a detailed travel plan and itinerary.

Please note that importation of personal firearms into Sudan can be a complex and difficult issue. Anyone wishing to bring firearms MUST first route their requests through the RSO.

The RSO requires all official Americans to schedule a post-specific security briefing within 24 hours of arrival in Sudan.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 4/16/2004 3:58 AM

The Chancery is in a seven-story office building on Ali Abdul Latif Avenue, roughly four blocks from the Blue Nile. Housed in the Chancery are offices of the Charge, DCM, Political, Economic, Public Diplomacy, Consular, Management, Human Resources, Financial Management, Medical Unit, Regional Security, the Defense Liaison Office (DLO) and Country Coordination Element (CCE). The Consular Officer, resident in Cairo, makes periodic visits to Khartoum. USAID Mission offices are primarily located in a separate building, with a small presence in the Chancery building. The General Services Office is located in a separate compound about a 10-minute drive from the Chancery. Although there are no Marine Guards, Post One is manned 24 hours daily by the Local Guard Force. The Motor Pool Dispatch Office is also manned 24 hours daily. Embassy telephone numbers are 249-183-774700 through 774704. The fax number for the Management Office is 249-183-774137. The Executive Office and USAID fax numbers are 249-183-774613 and 249-183-473091 respectively.

The Embassy follows the Muslim workweek and is open Sunday through Thursday from 0800 - 1630. Offices are closed Friday, Saturday, and for American and Sudanese holidays. Personnel assigned to Khartoum are met and assisted at the airport if the post has been informed of arrival plans. A visa is required prior to arrival, regardless of the type of passport; allow four to six weeks for processing. Visas are issued gratis to Diplomatic and Official passport holders. Visas cannot be issued at Khartoum International Airport. Ensure that passports do not have an Israeli stamp, as this will result in a visa not being issued. If it is not possible to obtain a visa, contact the Travel Office at the Embassy for assistance.

The Charge has authority over and responsibility for all U.S. Government executive branch activities in Sudan, including all military activities and personnel not under the command of a unified or specified commander. Assisted by the DCM, the Charge coordinates all Mission elements. USAID focuses on emergency and humanitarian relief assistance, both food and non-food. The DLO, under the direction of a U.S. Army Colonel, and CCE, under the direction of a Marine Corp Lt. Colonel, provide liaison with both the Sudanese and U.S. military establishments. The Management Office, headed by a resident American Foreign Service officer provides management support to all agencies at post under the International Cooperative Administrative Support Services (ICASS) agreement. This support includes General Services (headed by an American General Services Officer), Human Resources, Financial Management, Medical and Information Management (headed by an American Information Management Officer). The Financial Management, Human Resource and Medical Sections are headed by senior Locally-Engaged Staff under the supervision of the Management Officer. The acting Community Liaison Officer, our locally hired long-term expatriate resident nurse, assists with new arrivals and TDY personnel in post orientation and adjusting to life in Khartoum.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 4/16/2004 4:00 AM

The post makes an effort to assign all employees to permanent quarters immediately upon arrival. If this is not possible, temporary lodging is provided by assignment to U.S. Government-leased quarters. Because hotel living is expensive, hotels are used for temporary lodging only as a last resort. Most restaurants in hotels are adequate but expensive. There is a growing number of good local restaurants available.

Permanent Housing Last Updated: 4/16/2004 4:03 AM

Furnished U.S. Government-leased or owned apartments, houses or townhouses are provided for all personnel. An interagency housing board maintains fair standards for housing and furnishings.

Most housing is convenient to the chancery although not within walking distance. Generators are provided at all residential units to run lights, appliances and at least a minimum number of air-conditioners for bedrooms and living areas. Water tanks and pumps are provided as necessary. 24/7 local guards are assigned to all residential properties.

Residents are responsible for yard maintenance except when the area exceeds 8,000 square feet for single family residences or 16,000 square feet for duplexes. Likewise, when the property includes a pool, maintenance and upkeep are the residentísresponsibility. GSO will assist as appropriate and in accordance with current regulations. Employees assigned permanent housing with a pool who do not wish to use or maintain the pool can request a change in housing assignment or contact GSO to have the pool drained and covered for health and safety reasons.

Questions on housing should be directed to the Housing Board or the General Services Officer.

Furnishings Last Updated: 4/16/2004 4:07 AM

Basic furniture and major appliances (stove, refrigerator, freezer, washer, dryer, vacuum cleaner, microwave, water distillers, television, VCR, and transformers for these appliances) are provided for all government provided housing. Lamps, draperies or other window coverings, some carpets, ironing boards, and some patio furniture are also provided.

Linens, dishes, flatware, kitchen utensils, and small electrical appliances (toaster, iron, mixer, etc.) are not provided. Ship these items and transformers to operate personally owned equipment. Bring personal bric-a-brac and recreational equipment such as a tape deck, compact-disc player, DVD player, a laptop or PC, and a short wave radio to pick up VOA and BBC. A voltage stabilizer to counteract power fluctuations is helpful (see Utilities and Equipment).

When selecting items for shipment to post, consider the climate which, except for a few months of the year, is exceedingly hot and dry; dust is prevalent at all times. USAID and DOD employees should write ahead to confirm furniture items available. Welcome Kits provide necessities for immediate occupancy of quarters pending arrival of your airfreight. For convenience and comfort, time your airfreight arrival to coincide with your arrival. On average, airfreight takes six-eight weeks to arrive at post, based on departure from the east coast.

Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 4/16/2004 4:09 AM

Electric current for all appliances is 240v, 50-cycle, AC. Transformers bring the current down to 110v to accommodate most U.S. manufactured appliances. Electric clocks, unless manufactured to operate on 50 cycles, will not work properly. Convert 60-cycle stereo turntables before shipment. Frequent power fluctuations can damage equipment, so it is highly recommended that you bring a voltage stabilizer.

All residential units have electric hot water heaters. Water pressure falls during certain hours of the day. Any residential units lacking sufficient water supply or water pressure during certain seasons have reserve water tanks.

Telephone service is not readily available in all areas of the city. Whenever it is, the post makes arrangements with the house or apartment lessor for the initial installation in U.S. Government-leased quarters.

Monthly telephone operating expenses are the responsibility of the occupant.

Food Last Updated: 4/16/2004 4:13 AM

The Embassy currently does not have a commissary. However, most basic items, including many western products, are available locally. More products are becoming available daily. Some items - not all - may be more expensive. Mission personnel can take advantage of the 750-pound consumables shipping allowance currently authorized for post, especially for unusual dietary items, or for goods such as dried pet food, or special brand items you would not consider purchasing locally. Embassy housing is equipped to provide additional refrigerator and freezer storage to accommodate items such as flour which may be included in the consumables shipment. However, flour is now available locally but should be stored in a freezer to prevent insect infestation. Importation, manufacture or consumption of alcohol is prohibited by the Government of Sudan. Do not include liquor, beer, or wine in your consumables shipment.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are sold at open-air markets. Available fruit includes small bananas, grapefruit, limes, oranges, watermelon, and mangoes. Some local supermarkets now import apples, grapes strawberries and avocados all year round, but these items can be expensive. Throughout the year, onions, cucumbers, green peppers, carrots, tomatoes, okra, garlic, and eggplant are available. For a few months such cool season crops as cabbage, potatoes, beets, squash, lettuce, green beans, radishes, peas, and cauliflower appear. Imported vegetables, e.g. broccoli, asparagus and corn are also becoming more available at some of the bigger local supermarkets. Beef, mutton, veal and chicken are available locally, although beef and mutton are frequently found in unfamiliar cuts.

Clothing Last Updated: 4/16/2004 6:21 AM

Clothing is informal; however, Sudanese are conservative in dress. Orders from a U.S. catalog company arrive in five to six weeks, so an entire year's supply of clothing is unnecessary. Clothing is washed more frequently here and therefore wears out faster. Natural fabrics like cotton are recommended since they tend to be cooler, but polyester is suitable for winter. Sweaters and wraps are needed in early mornings and evenings during cool months and a few winter things are necessary if you intend to travel to cooler climates.

Clothing needs in outlying areas are similar to those for personnel stationed in Khartoum, except that personnel anticipating travel to southern regions should include rain gear because of the heavy annual rainfall in that area.

Men Last Updated: 4/16/2004 7:09 AM

For men, work attire consists of simple sport shirts and pants when not involved in official representation. A lightweight suit or sports jacket is appropriate for more formal occasions. Formal evening dress, such as tux, may sometimes be required for official functions. Men should avoid shorts and going shirtless in public. Bring wash-and-wear shirts. Dry cleaning is available locally but can be expensive.

Women Last Updated: 4/16/2004 7:09 AM

Women wear dresses, skirts, and tops or pants in the Embassy or for leisure. In deference to Islamic traditions, women should avoid sundresses, shorts, or tight slacks or blouses in public. For evenings, long skirts or caftans are popular. More formal evening wear is required for special functions. Outdoor entertaining makes flats more comfortable, as high heels sink into lawns, sand and other soft earth.

Children Last Updated: 4/16/2004 4:32 AM

As U.S. Mission Khartoum became an unaccompanied one-year assignment in June 2003, there are no dependent children authorized at post.

Office Attire Last Updated: 4/16/2004 4:33 AM

See descriptions of office attire under clothing for men and women above.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 4/16/2004 4:35 AM

Paper products, limited toiletries, feminine personal supplies, aspirin and other common home medicines, soaps, and general cleaning supplies are available locally although brand names may be unfamiliar to many Americans and many do not meet U.S. specifications. Commodities in short supply or not available include holiday or birthday supplies, stationery and cards. Sports equipment, toys, games, sewing notions, books, records, cassettes, CDs, DVDs, etc. are available locally, but can be of poor quality. Bring favorite brands of toiletries and cosmetics to post, unless you are prepared to switch. Batteries should be included in shipments as many sizes are not always available.

Basic Services Last Updated: 4/16/2004 4:53 AM

Repair services, tailors and seamstresses are available, but of mixed quality. Imported spare parts are often not stocked and are highly priced, if available. Qualified mechanics are difficult to find. Simple shoe repair is available.

Domestic Help Last Updated: 4/16/2004 5:01 AM

Because of the heat and dust, the need for incessant cleaning, washing, and the time consumed by local marketing, domestic help is considered a necessity and not a luxury, especially among those with heavy social responsibilities.

Experienced domestic help is increasingly scarce in Khartoum because of opportunities available in other countries at higher salaries. However, domestic help is available. The CLO can provide general guidelines on hiring domestic help. Based on an April 2004 survey, the following chart represents monthly salary ranges for various domestic positions. All salaries are in Sudanese Dinars (SD). The exchange rate in April 2004 is SD 260 to the U.S. dollar.


Maid 20,000 - 29,000 24,500 Houseboy 20,000 - 29,000 24,500 Nanny 20,000 - 30,000 25,000 Gardener 14,000 - 26,000 20,000 Cook 25,000 - 35,000 30,000

One needs to take into account whether your household staff will be working full time or part time and the size of the house. Overtime pay is expected for evening work. Most domestic workers live in their own homes and come to work before breakfast (0600 to 0630) and leave after lunch (about 1600). If a cook is needed specifically for evening hours, it should be understood when they are hired. More information can be found in the Community Liaison Office at the Embassy.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 4/16/2004 5:07 AM

Islam is the dominant religion in Sudan encompassing 70% of the population. One hears the call to prayer from hundreds of minarets five times a day as Moslems enter mosques for prayers and reaffirmation of their faith.

There are Anglican, Orthodox (Greek, Coptic and Armenian), and Roman Catholic churches as well as the Protestant, non-denominational Khartoum International Church in Khartoum. Some conduct regular church services in English. Consult the Embassy CLO for times of services.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 4/18/2004 5:08 AM Although there are no dependents at post, the Khartoum American School (KAS) continues to operate, serving the international community. The school is located on the southern edge of New Extension in an air-conditioned/air-cooled, eight-building campus built to U.S. standards. It has 14 classrooms, a science laboratory, a computer lab, and art and music rooms. KAS offers a U.S. curriculum taught by a well-qualified staff that maintains U.S. standards. The curriculum consists of various academic subjects, ESL (English as a Second Language) instruction, music, art, and physical education. Foreign language offerings include Arabic and French. There is also a computer specialist and a resource specialist. A good library is served by a trained librarian. A limited supply of paper, notebooks, pencils, pens, colored pencils, colored pens, etc., is available at school. A lunch break is given at midday. All children take at least a quart of water to drink each day, usually utilizing a large, unbreakable thermos (e.g., Playmate Jug). Employees carry these to work as well.

There are no other English language schools in the area that offer a U.S. curriculum. There are secondary-level English language schools in Khartoum (e.g., Unity High School, Sisters School for girls, and Camboni College for boys); however, vacancies are rarely available. The French School might accommodate students reasonably fluent in French, though its current enrollment is small (only about 20 students).

Away From Post Last Updated: 4/16/2004 5:11 AM Most secondary school dependents attend U.S. or European boarding schools. Contact the Management Officer regarding education allowances. There are no boarding facilities are available at KAS.

Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 4/16/2004 5:18 AM

At present, there is no Arabic language program available at post for U.S. personnel. However, at personal expense, Arabic classes may be taken at the Sudan Arabic Institute in the Riyadh section of Khartoum. The University of Khartoum and the African International University offer language instruction in Arabic also.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 4/25/2004 1:30 AM

Located on an attractive site bordering the Blue Nile, the Blue Nile Recreation Site (Rec Site) opened in 1985, but fell into disrepair during the long absence of American personnel from Khartoum. In August 2003, the Mission began some rehabilitation of the site. It is not known at this time when the site will again be fully operational; and for the time being, activities are restricted to social events such as individually sponsored parties.

The Missionís townhouse complex has a swimming pool and tennis courts open to all members of the official community. Although open year round, many members find the pool too cold for swimming between November and January. Most other entertainment is usually in the home.

Sailing is available at the Blue Nile Sailing Club, with an active racing scene involving small dinghies first introduced by the British in 1934 during a sailing season running from November through May.

Khartoum also has an International Club, a private facility unattached to the U.S. Mission. Membership is open to Mission personnel. Club members include expatriates assigned to Sudan as well as Sudanese. The Clubís facilities include a swimming pool, concrete tennis courts, and a snack bar. Other clubs include the Diplomatic Club, the German Club, and the Syrian Club.

Sudanese professional clubs -- civil service, army, engineers, university -- are exclusive, but sports clubs accept those actively interested. The Sudan Lawn Tennis Association is also open for membership and offers both grass and cement courts. Mission personnel who join the private Hilton Hotel Club have access to billiards, sauna, massage, and hard-surface tennis courts with lighting. The Hilton also has a small, well-maintained swimming pool. A bowling facility located at the newly opened Turkish Mall is available to the public at a reasonable cost per game.

Many Embassy personnel join the Khartoum Hash House Harriers on their weekly jaunts. Some staff water ski on the Blue Nile. Spectator sports are limited to soccer, tennis tournaments, occasional horse and camel races, and informal polo matches. Public sports facilities are scarce, and each private national club has its own activities for members only.

Al Mogran Family Park is an amusement park on the point of land where the White and Blue Niles meet. The park has rides, refreshment stands, and a first-aid station. It is operated by the Sudanese Peopleís Armed Forces.

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 4/25/2004 1:28 AM

Khartoum Area: Points of interest in and around Khartoum include the Mahdiís Tomb, Khalifa House and the National Museum housing archeological collections and the Fara frescoes, the Ethnological Museum with a charming display of tribal artifacts, and the Natural History Museumís display of specimens of Sudanís birds and wild game.

Omdurmanís large market area (or "souk") offers local color, an occasional bargain, and the Khalifa Museum. The museum was formerly a residence and now houses relics of the Mahdiya period. On Friday afternoons, whirling dervishes perform near the tomb of a saint. Opposite the zoo is the landing for the Tuti Island Ferry. You can cross to the island for a walk to see its typical rural village and small farms.

Sudan also possesses a multifaceted habitat for bird watching, which is particularly rich during the migratory seasons as birds travel to and fro along the Nile between Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. Jebel Aulia Dam, a one-hour drive from Khartoum (possible in a sedan with high clearance), is a pleasant spot to see a wide variety of water birds. Also at the dam, one can watch Sudanese cast their round nets for fish; fish can be purchased on the spot. A small grass plot is available for picnics. The dam serves as a major crossing of the White Nile where a constant stream of camels, donkeys, sheep and goats with their herders passes by.

Outside Khartoum: Other excursions outside Khartoum are likely to take on the aspects of a picnic or a camping trip by high clearance vehicle fully equipped for the length of the journey. A favorite day or overnight outing is about a two-hour drive north to the Nileís Sixth Cataract in Sabaloka Gorge. Another popular day trip (again with a high clearance vehicle) is to visit the Nubian pyramids followed by the ancient city of Meroe and the temple ruins at Naga and Musawwarat es-Sufra. On a three-day weekend, you can visit the Meroitic ruins near Shendi. A visit to Dinder National Park, a game preserve, takes several days and is rugged. If attempting this last trip, one must be prepared to carry about 90 gallons of fuel. Facilities available to travelers are almost nonexistent outside Khartoum. Ample food, fuel, and water must be carried on trips. Bring camping gear if you enjoy this type of activity. With continual fair skies, people rarely bother with tents, but cots are recommended, as the ground is stony, covered with thorns, and populated by the occasional insect and reptile.

Hunting opportunities range from local bird shooting (sand grouse, dove, water fowl) to big game hunting in the southern parts of Sudan. Hunting requires use of a four-wheel drive vehicle and often a guide. Hunting licenses are required for different types of game (see Firearms and Ammunition).

Sport fishing is possible along either the Nile or at Jebel Aulia Dam on the White Nile. Giant Nile perch are excellent to eat, but are rarely caught from shore. Good tasting and commonly caught from shore are talapia and several varieties of catfish. Tiger fish are good game fish, but they are not edible.

Port Sudan and the Red Sea Coast: The coast is over 700 miles from Khartoum. Port Sudan is an hour away by jet, or less than three hours by propeller plane. The drive to Port Sudan takes about 14 hours; only a high clearance vehicle is recommended for this trip. A small resort at Arusa is north of Port Sudan, and the ancient city of Suakin is 60 kilometers south of Port Sudan. The Red Sea has some of the worldís most beautiful coral. Snorkeling and scuba diving in Port Sudan are popular, and the Port Sudan Hilton provides an excellent base for excursions along the coast. In addition to the Hilton, there is at least one other independent dive center in Port Sudan offering scuba instruction.

Photography: Photography in Sudan requires a special permit, which the post Human Resources office can help you obtain. Caution must be exercised, since many scenes or areas may not be photographed. At times whole groups will insist on posing for you; other times, the presence of your camera will create vigorous disapproval.

R&R: The designated R&R point for personnel assigned to Sudan is London. Personnel also have the option to travel to any location in the U.S. If a U.S. destination is chosen, the traveler must spend at least 50% of his/her leave time in the U.S. Cost constructive travel may be performed to other than the U.S. or London, based on the current full economy round trip fare from Khartoum to London.

Entertainment Last Updated: 4/16/2004 5:34 AM

The British, French, and German cultural centers have libraries, films, and sometimes offer special programs. The German Club offers periodic barbeques to which Embassy U.S. staff can obtain tickets in advance. The British "Pickwick" Club offers weekly TGIT nights, but guests must be sponsored by a member and have name placed on a list. Even then, space at the Pickwick is limited and admission is frequently on a first come, first served basis. There is horse racing at the Khartoum Race Course every Friday at 3:30 p.m. from October 30 to July 30; periodically, camel races are also held at the same race track.

Dining out choices are getting better and more varied at a sustained rate. Choices include restaurants in the larger hotels, Chinese, Korean, Ethiopian, and Indian restaurants as well as a few restaurants serving local cuisine such as chicken dishes and the tasty swarma. The newly built Turkish Mall offers a good Turkish restaurant as well as a food court. Although one will not find the familiar fast food chains in Khartoum, there are several fast food-type restaurants frequented by Embassy personnel: Italy Pizza and Tutti Frutti Ice Cream are among the favorites. Embassy CLO has a list of selected restaurants available to permanently assigned and temporary duty employees.

All personnel should consider sending an ample supply of sports equipment, books, records, CDs, DVDs and tapes.

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 4/16/2004 5:36 AM Entertainment is usually in the home. In addition, different offices often sponsor happy hours, barbeques, or parties at the Rec Site or the Townhouses. The International Volunteer Welfare Group (IVWG) membership is open to Embassy personnel. They meet monthly to raise funds for Sudanese charities and hold monthly programs on Sudanese culture.

International Contacts Last Updated: 4/16/2004 5:38 AM Although private clubs are strongly divided by nationality and other factors, it is possible to mix internationally. Social activities, such as tennis, bridge, Hash runs, bingo, and sports provide contacts in the local and international communities. For those interested in singing, the Khartoum Singers is an informal group that performs at Christmas and at a few private functions. The Sudanese Archeological Society. supported by the German and British Cultural Centers and the University of Khartoum, arranges regular tours of sites and lectures for its members.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 4/16/2004 5:41 AM

Official representational responsibilities are significant for the Charge and certain officers of the Embassy. Men wear business suits and women wear cocktail dresses or long skirts to most receptions and dinners.

During hotter months, conservative casual wear is acceptable for men (see Clothing). Most receptions and many dinners are outdoor events, with more social functions occurring in the winter season, when evenings are cooler. Many Sudanese and members of the diplomatic corps leave for extended vacations June through August. Functions given by the Sudanese Government normally do not include spouses. However, it is customary to invite Sudanese spouses to American-sponsored functions.

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 4/16/2004 5:42 AM

In conducting business in Sudan, it is important to remember the conservative religious nature of the Moslem country.

Special Information Last Updated: 4/16/2004 6:06 AM

For club applications, visas, licenses, identification, and other needs, photographs are necessary. Employees should have at least 20 passport-size pictures. They may be in color or black and white. Officers also need a good supply of business cards. A supply of informals is also very helpful for use as thank you notes and invitations. Printing is available in Khartoum. Consult with the Management Office or your sponsor regarding proper wording of cards.

Post Orientation Program: Currently, there is no formal post orientation program. However, there is an active sponsorship program for new arrivals. Additionally, new employees are required to follow check-in procedures to receive appropriate briefings by various Embassy officials. Mission personnel can also take advantage of periodic orientation lectures covering Sudanese history, politics, culture, etc., and other culture-related CLO activities.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 4/16/2004 5:47 AM

Personnel travel to Khartoum by air. American carriers do not operate to Sudan. Standard routing from the U.S. to Khartoum is through Frankfurt, with a stop, but no plane change, in Cairo. British Airways recently began service from London to Khartoum with a stop in Amman. Another routing to Khartoum is through Nairobi. Standard routing from the U.S. to Nairobi is through Amsterdam. There are daily direct flights from Nairobi to Khartoum except Mondays. In all cases, employees choosing not to take a rest stop will be authorized business class travel. Cable your arrival information as early as possible to ensure being met and assisted through immigration and customs at the airport. Employees transiting Kenya should make arrangements directly with the relevant offices in Nairobi.

The post supplies Welcome Kits to new arrivals. Your unaccompanied airfreight should include some dishes, cooking utensils, flatware, and linens (see Housing). Send advance telegraphic notification to post for your various shipments. Include date shipped, name of shipping firm or airline, bill of lading or airway bill number, and total number of pieces in each shipment. This will ensure prompt clearance on arrival in Khartoum. Official freight shipments should be routed by U.S. Despatch Agents if transiting or originating in the U.S. If traveling from another post, contact your GSO to determine most advantageous shipping route.

Unaccompanied airfreight should contain all the items that you need during your one year tour. Airfreight bill of lading should read:

U.S. Ambassador (Your initials ONLY) U.S. Embassy Via ELSO, Antwerp Khartoum, Sudan Africa

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 4/16/2004 5:49 AM

Diplomatic personnel and all USAID employees (including contractors) are entitled to duty-free privileges during their assignment in Sudan. The Sudanese Government allows other personnel free entry only of initial shipments of household and personal effects. Importing foreign currency is not quantitatively restricted, but is closely monitored by the Sudanese Government.

Passage Last Updated: 4/16/2004 5:50 AM

It takes four to six weeks to obtain an entry visa. If you are unable to obtain a visa for some unavoidable reason, immediately inform post for assistance. Visas are not issued at Khartoum International Airport. Although presentation of up-to-date immunization records is no longer routinely required upon arrival in Sudan, travelers should have them available.

Pets Last Updated: 4/16/2004 5:52 AM

Careful consideration should be made before bringing a pet to Sudan. Owners should keep in mind the extreme heat and possibilities of disease. Though death/illness of pets does not happen often, a few very unfortunate incidents have occurred. Many people choose to adopt animals found in Khartoum, such as dogs, cats, even rabbits. Veterinary care is available in Khartoum for treatment or inoculation.

You may bring animals into Sudan with the correct import permit. If you plan to bring or ship pets, inform the General Services Officer in advance of your arrival and/or the petís arrival, and fax copies of the animalís health and rabies inoculation certificates issued by a registered veterinarian as well as a description of the animal. Advance notice will permit time to obtain the permit license and to arrange for a Sudanese Government veterinarian to be on hand when the pet arrives to expedite its clearance into the country. You should hand-carry original documents relating to your pet with you as well as attach documents to the animalís shipping container. Sudanese embassies and consulates can also issue pet import permits. Pets arriving without a permit are subject to quarantine and possible extermination.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 4/16/2004 5:53 AM

All personnel must have the approval of the Charge and an import license before shipping guns or ammunition. Include the make, model, serial number, and bore as well as the kind, caliber, and exact number of rounds of ammunition. Types and quantities of firearms are specified by the Sudanese Government, and licensing is sometimes tedious. Before shipping arms or ammunition, inform the Regional Security Officer of your intention to ship such items.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 4/16/2004 5:55 AM

Most transactions are conducted in local currency, although U.S. dollars may be used in hotels. The rate of exchange as of April 2004 is 260 Sudanese dinars (SD) to the dollar. Sudan is a mostly cash economy; credit cards and personal checks are not accepted due to U.S. Government sanctions. Assigned personnel may cash personal checks with the Embassy cashier for dollars or local currency as appropriate. A U.S. checking account and a supply of personal checks are essential. Due to U.S. economic sanctions, on line banking is not possible from Khartoum. However, this option became available to employees from their workstations when Opennet Plus was made operational.

The metric system of weights and measures is used. The local weight unit is the kilogram, equivalent to 2.2 pounds. Some commodities are sold not by weight, but by bulk measured in standard, graduated measures.

Sudan is eight hours ahead of the U.S. Eastern Standard Time zone. When Daylight Savings Time is in effect, Sudan is seven hours ahead.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 4/16/2004 5:58 AM

Restrictions: U.S. Government employees are not subject to Sudanese income tax or property tax laws. Taxes are paid on some locally made items. A 10% value added tax (VAT) and a 5% "residence fee" are added to hotel bills. Selling personal property valued at more than $250 requires written approval of the Management Officer. Normally such sales are authorized only when an employee is completing a tour of duty.

Facilities: Accommodation exchange is arranged at post for American employees and official visitors. Bring a supply of personal checks from U.S. Bank. All hotel accommodations must be paid for in hard currency cash or travelers checks. However, the Embassy has an arrangement with the Hilton Hotel to allow visitors to pay bills in Sudanese Dinars. A letter signed by the Management Officer is required at time of check out and settlement of bill. Sudanese Dinars are obtained at the Embassy cashier. Personal credit cards cannot be used in Sudan due to U.S. Government sanctions.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 4/16/2004 5:59 AM

The following titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Area Handbook for the Democratic Republic of the Sudan. U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1973.

Bechtold, Peter. Politics in the Sudan, Parliamentary & Military Rule in an Emerging African Nation. Praeger: New York, 1976.

Churchill, Winston S. The River War. Worldwide Press: Holicong, PA.

Collins, Robert O. Egypt and the Sudan. Prentice-Hall: 1962.

The South Sudan (1883-1898). Yale University Press: New Haven, 1962.

The South Sudan (1898-1918). Yale University Press: New Haven, 1962.

Hassan, Yousif Fadl. The Arabs and the Sudan. Khartoum University Press: 1973.

Holt, P.M. and H.W. Daly. The History of the Sudan from the Coming of Islam to the Present Day. (3rd edition) Weiderfield & Nicholson: London, 1979.

Mahgoub, Mohamed Ahmed. Democracy on Trial, Reflections on Arab and African Politics. Andre Deutsch: London, 1974.

Morehead, Alan. The Blue Nile. New England Library: London, reprinted 1980.

Morehead, Alan. The White Nile. Penguin Books: London, reprinted 1973.

Scroggins, Debra. Emmaís War. Vintage Books: 2002.

Sylvester, Anthony. Sudan Under Nimeiri.

Taylor, Bayard. A Journey to Central Africa (reprint of 1854 edition). Negro University Press: New York, 1970.

Trimingham, J.S. Islam in the Sudan. Oxford University Press: London, 1949.

Wingate, Reginald. Wingate of the Sudan (reprint of 1955 edition). Greenwood Press: Westport, Conn., 1975.

Local Holidays Last Updated: 4/16/2004 6:01 AM

Please note that several local holidays last more than one day. Dates based on the Moslem calendar vary and are not predictable, since some are based upon moon sightings. Official local holidays observed by the Mission are:

Eid al Fitr (two days) variable (follows Ramadan) Eastern Easter variable Sham Al Naseen variable Eid Al Adha variable Islamic New Year variable Prophet Mohamedís Birthday May 1 National Salvation Revolution June 30 Israa Wal Mií Raaj September 12

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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