Port Sudan, Sudan

Photo: Sudan Red Sea Resort
Photo: Sudan Red Sea Resort

There are lots of ways to divide Africa. Some people distinguish the countries by their bordering body of water: the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Indian Ocean. Others think about the countries’ landscapes: deserts, savannas, mountains, and islands. But you’ve always separated them by your willingness to travel there. Morocco, Tanzania, and South Africa—been there. Namibia and Madagascar—wish listed. Ethiopia and Tunisia—hopefully some day. And then, there are the places about which you’ve never even dreamed. Whether it’s because of civil wars, ethnic cleansing, slavery, or any other horrible thing, countries like Sudan remain unexplored.

Sudan has long been associated with conflict. The Christian south and the Muslim north battled over just about everything. But in 2011, the third-largest country in Africa finally divided into Sudan and South Sudan. The split didn’t immediately alleviated all the tension. No one really expected it would. But for the first time in a long time, there is hope for eventual peace.

There’s also hope for eventual tourism. Especially along the Red Sea. Port Sudan, on the northeastern coast, was founded when the British linked the Nile River to the Red Sea by rail in 1909. It became the largest port in the country. A boardwalk overlooking the port is lined with cafés and ice cream shops. Women in colorful clothing sell tea and seashell jewelry. Men sell strongly scented ground coffee in the souk. Rickshaws are the easiest way to get around. While just outside of the city, the snorkeling and the scuba diving are amazing.

The Sudan Red Sea Resort is located about 30 kilometers north of Port Sudan. Red mountains are behind the resort. Camels graze in the plains around it. Caspian and Saunder’s terns fly overhead. While the Red Sea’s clear water is right in front of it. The eco camp sits on a coral rock plateau. Its simple wooden bungalows have locally made furniture and porches with sea views. Plus, the smell of chicken kapsa floats off the restaurant’s terrace.

Nearby, thousands of barracudas, as well as a few grey reef sharks, swim in Sha’ab Rumi. Yellow angelfish dart among the colorful coral at the Abu Adila reef. The Blue Bell and the Umbria wrecks attract shoals of bigeye trevallies, snappers, and groupers. While Sanganeb National Park, Sudan’s first national park, is a pristine atoll filled with sea urchins, sea turtles, manta rays, whitetip reef sharks, and hammerhead sharks. The only thing it isn’t filled with is tourists. At least for now. One day, you might dream of visiting Sudan’s Red Sea coast.

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