Sudan is located in the northeast of Africa. It borders Egypt, the Red Sea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Chad and Libya. Sudan used to be the largest country in Africa, though when South Sudan became independent in 2011, it became the third largest African country. Although Sudan is located within the tropics, the weather varies according to region. The north is dry, while the far southwest ranges from wet to dry. The far south has high temperatures throughout the year, while Khartoum has an average temperature of 41ºC in May and June, and lows of 15ºC in January. Northern Sudan has a brief rainy season and is hot all-year-round, with the exception of the winter months (January and February), when precipitation from the Mediterranean brings cool relief.
Sudan is famed for its capital, Khartoum, which has a plethora of worthwhile spots to visit, including the National Museum and top archaeological sites such as Bajrawiya, Naga and Nuri. The pristine waters of the Red Sea’s coastline and the vivid colour of the coral reefs and marine gardens are another reason to visit. Nature lovers take note – Sudan is home to Dinder National Park – one of the vastest in the world and boasting a plethora of exotic animal species. Finally, Jebel Marra is a serene place of beauty, where waterfalls, volcanic lakes and heavenly resorts abound.
The Kushites established the first great empire in Sudan in the 8th century B.C., taking control of powerful countries, including Egypt. This reign lasted until 590 B.C., when the Egyptians took the capital of Kush (Napata) and pushed the Kushites into Meroe. Sudan was one of many small independent kingdoms until the Egyptians conquered the north of the country. In the 19th century A.D., religious leader Muhammad ibn Abdalla led a revolt against the Egyptians and the British (at the time Egypt was under British occupation), though the Sudanese did not become independent until 1956. A civil war between the government and southern dwellers lasted for 17 years, commencing again in 1983. In 2011, Southern Sudanese voted in a referendum, which allowed them to become a separate nation. Sudan continues to be unstable today.
Plant and animal life is sparse in northern desert areas (though acacias, desert shrubs and short grass shrubs can be found) while elephant grass covers the central steppe area. River valleys contain an array of beautiful trees, such as the baobab, acacia and ebony. Most of the wildlife found in the rest of Africa (elephants, monkeys, lions, zebras, cheetahs, rhinoceros, crocodiles, leopards etc.) can also be seen in southern Sudan. Birds and insects also abound. The equatorial areas of Sudan is also rich with animals such as giraffes, monkeys, leopards and elephants. Many dangerous insects such as the mosquito and tsetse fly also call this area home. Rivers and coastal waters of the Red Sea contain many varieties of fish, while date palms can commonly be found on the banks of the Nile.
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