Traveling in Sudan with Absolutely no Money

When crossing the border from Ethiopia to Sudan, I was only carrying a little bit of USD cash and did not know that it would be impossible to get more. After trying countless ATMs, where none were working, I found out that international credit/debit cards are not accepted, due to western sanctions just like in Iran.

After paying 35$ for a compulsory visa registration, a bus ticket to Khartoum, a sim card and some food I was out of money. I was laying in my tent in a hostel garden and decided that I would start selling my laptop, camping gear etc to get money for a visa and bus ticket to Egypt.

The first person I asked the next morning was Kim, a Korean traveler at my hostel who had been traveling for over three years and said “you don’t need money for traveling man!”. “People here in Sudan are so friendly that I never have to pay for anything!”.

In roadside restaurants like these it was easy finding leftover food

I took his tip of telling the hostel owners that I had run out of money, and to my surprise they just said that they fully understood and that I could stay there for free!

A typical Sudanese meal called Acida

Kim went on telling me that the stars always aligned so that he was able to travel for free, and a couple of hours later he was demonstrating this by taking me on a hitchhiking trip to the Meroe Pyramids.

Happy to have made it to the pyramids for free!

We got rides with over 10 trucks and cars, slept one night on top of a load of cement bags and one night on an outdoor bed that locals offered us, we drank the tap water, coffee, tea offered to us and ate mostly (fresh) leftovers that we found in roadside restaurants. Even when we got to the Meroe Pyramids and said that we didn’t have any money, so they let us in for free! (otherwise it is 20$ entry!).

We slept one of the nights on top of the cement bags of the truck that took us back to Khartoum

When we got back to Khartoum I met a Norwegian girl called Theresia who was cycling from South Africa to Norway and said that she had done the same mistake when arriving in Sudan. She advised me to contact my embassy where you can, in emergency situations wire money to withdraw. Walking out of there with cash in hand was quite a relief after being four days without money.

Sudan (together with Iran) has, in my opinion the most friendly people in the World. I do however understand that such hospitality should not be exploited and I aim to give back to make up for all the stuff I have received while being broke here.

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