(Republic of the Sudan,
جمهورية السودان, Jumhūrīyat as-Sūdān)
Note: No merchandise offered for sale on this site originated in Sudan
• Location: Northeastern Africa
• Capital: Khartoum
• Language(s): English, Arabic
• Population: 2,505,813 sq km
• Total Area: 44,123,453
• Currency: Sudanese Pound
• Curious Alcohol Fact: The country is governed using the Sharia Law and alcohol is banned. However, you can purchase locally-made brews especially in the southern parts of the country. Fine wines and beers from Europe are scarce.
• Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 2.36 liters
• Most Popular Drink(s): Shay (tea)
In terms of the land area, the Republic of Sudan is the largest country on the continent but that title will go to Algeria when South Sudan officially breaks away from the republic in 2011 after decades of devastating civil wars, the longest-running in Africa. A nation of diverse cultures and outstanding beauty, Sudan has Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Chad, Libya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as neighbors but the most interesting thing is that Sudan is not landlocked. It has a border that opens up to the Red Sea, and in addition to that, the River Nile, the longest in the world, flows across the entire length of the country to enter Egypt in the north.
Although I was impressed with the fact that Nigeria has more than 250 ethnic groups, when I got to Sudan, I was flabbergasted. The nation has close to 600 different ethnic groups and more than 400 languages! Interestingly, most of the Sudanese associate themselves with just two groups –the Arabs and the Christians/animists. The Arabs are found mainly in the north and for a better part of the period since independence, they have been in power, to the dissatisfaction of the southerners who are mainly Christians and traditional worshippers. Although the northern Sudanese are called Arabs, it is important to state that they are quite different from the full-blooded Arabs found in places like Egypt, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates. Sudanese Arabs are dark-skinned but speak the language and have adopted the cultural practices and religion of Arabia.
Eating in a country like Sudan is an interesting activity as you have a variety of delicacies to choose from. Many of the meals are prepared using vegetables, spices and peanuts as ingredients. In spite of the troubles that the country has faced in recent years, one thing that will melt your heart is the incredibly warm welcome that the Sudanese people will give you. They are some of the most hospitable people on the continent and in Sudan, you are free to eat, drink or even sleep in any hut or village you want. Dishes are served with beef and chicken; kebab is common and so is a meal called qalawi, which is made from kidneys of farm animals.
If you are the type that cannot do without drinking a bottle or two of beer, Sudan may not be the country for you. This is because of the simple fact that the country is governed by politicians who implement the Sharia Law strictly and alcohol is banned. However, you may have to console yourself with local alcoholic drinks like the merisa and araki. On the other hand, there is a generous supply of tea and coffee for you.
Story By World By Shotglass
©2013 World By Shotglass. All Rights Reserved
Special thanks to our contributors:
Daniel Krasnopolsky (Woodmere, NY, USA)
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).