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Big, dry city

El Obeid is one of the most arid settlements of major size in Sudan, lying out here in the western desert. The area is so dry that today's level of population makes water transports to the city necessary for it to survive. And yet it is one of the largest cities of Sudan. The town's importance comes from being the commercial centre of its region, which, of course, is this arid region, where still some million Sudanese live.
For the traveller, the main attractions of El Obeid is the trade going on. People coming in from places to hard for you to get to, selling things produced under sometimes extreme conditions. Having good time, and wandering around the large market areas of El Obeid is as always highly rewarding. The rule on how to set your mind is simple. You don't have to feel scared, and keep your eyes open for the details. And don't be afraid of actually talking to people, as there are too few tourists coming out here for a hustling culture to have developed.
Of more traditional tourist attractions, a fairly good museum and a big Catholic cathedral, are put in the front line by helpful locals.

Eat and Sleep
OK on food, several places to choose from, but everything is very simple. OK on hotels, but nothing at the upper end.

El Obeid is fairly well connected to other parts of the Sudan, even if the trains no longer run. Buses and lorries will be your choice, and perhaps an air flight if you're lucky.

Going Next
700 km west: El Fasher
700 km northeast: Khartoum
150 km southeast: Nuba Mountains

By Tore Kjeilen