Safari in Sudan
Dinder National Park is the biggest nature reserve in North Sudan, covering 10,000 km2. In the past, its rich variety of fauna put it right up there with other famous parks in Africa, but now, sadly, a great deal of the wildlife has been killed by poachers or refugees trying to escape the war in neighbouring countries.
Elephants and other big game are extinct in the park. The animals you are most likely to see include baboons, deer, ostriches, warthogs and a startlingly-large number of bird species. There are a few lions in the park, too, so with luck you may see one of those.
The park has three areas that are open for safari, including four water holes where you have a better chance of spotting lions. Three safaris should be enough to cover all the areas in the park that are accessible to the public.
You can usually arrange with the safari lodge when you wish to go on a safari, but it is strongly advisable to start very early in the morning (before 7 am) or early in the evening (just after 5 pm). This is when the day is cooler, and you are more likely to see the animals coming down to the waterside to drink. Other times may be suggested — either by the safari lodge or by the Wildlife Police — but you should be prepared to use your own initiative and arrange to go out when you feel conditions are best for seeing the wildlife.
To visit the park, you will need to have your own vehicle. If you want to fully enjoy the safari, go in a pick-up truck. This might be a little more uncomfortable, but it will allow you to stand up outside during the safari.
A travel permit is required for the park. You can obtain one for free from the Ministry of Tourism on Mashtal Street in Khartoum.
When to go
The park is open for visitors from December until the beginning of June, depending on the start and end of the rainy season (the park is extremely difficult to get to when it rains). The best time to visit the park is at the start of the season, since this is when vegetation is at its greenest.
How to get there
Dinder Park is located 600 km from Khartoum, and takes between 10 and 12 hours to reach by car. It is fairly straightforward to get to Dinder Village by car from Khartoum. Take the road as far as Wad Medani. From there, head for Sennar, then Sinja and, finally, Dinder Village.
Dinder Village lies on the outskirts of the reserve, but, even from here, it takes a minimum of four hours before you get within sight of the park. A four-wheel-drive, or off-road vehicle, is essential for this leg of the journey.
There are no signs between Dinder Village and Dinder Park. Once you arrive in Dinder Village, you must report to the headquarters of the Wildlife Police. They will check your documents and escort you to the park.
The road from Dinder Village to Dinder Park is particularly interesting. You will pass several small villages, where you can buy basic items. The Dinder River crosses some of these villages, creating some spectacular scenery.