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Khartoum is three cities in one. It also the place where the Blue and White Nile meet, though photographing the point of convergence is strictly prohibited. Khartoum is full of oddities such as these and is also agreeably surprising on many levels.
The first is its friendliness. Khartoum has the reputation of being the safest city in Africa (some locals describe it as a ‘place where nothing much happens’) and crime towards foreigners is virtually unheard of. The second is its modernity. We make think of as a great desert trading post but in reality it has the air of a city on the move with high-rise towers and modern amenities between the slums, souks and mosques.Read more
Khartoum, Khartoum North (also called Bahri) and the traditional Muslim stronghold of Omdurman (location of the country’s largest souk) make up Greater Khartoum. The three sections are neatly divided by the rushing torrents of the Blue and White Niles and annexed via well-designed (albeit perpetually traffic clogged) ring roads. The oldest part – Khartoum proper – actually has a very short history. Established as a military outpost in 1821, it prospered in the following decades when many explorers used it as their base. Some of the best colonial architecture can be seen along Nile Street, an attractive, tree-lined boulevard that follows the course of the Blue Nile. The Presidential Palace is here, as is the recently revamped National Museum, which holds some remarkable treasures such as Pharaonic stone carvings and early Christian frescoes. All along the street are makeshift kiosks (in reality battered plastic chairs and milk crates) attended to ladies serving teas and Ethiopian-style coffee – a lovely way to shoot the cool evening air with the locals.