kassala

is the capital of the state of Kassala in eastern Sudan. Built on the banks of the Gash River, it is a market town and is famous for its fruit gardens. Many of its inhabitants are from the Hadendoa group, with others being of Rashaida origin. It was formerly a railroad hub, however, as of 2006 there was no operational railway station in Kassala and much of the track leading to and from the town has been salvaged or fallen into disrepair. Kassala’s location along the main Khartoum-Port Sudan highway makes it an important trade center.

Kassala is a Sudanese favourite for honeymooning couples as the Taka Mountains are a backdrop, where springs a sacred well – said to enhance fertility. The city is also famous for its multi-ethnic market. For just over the mountains is Eritrea; and across the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia.

Population: 419,030

 

The Sudanese pound is the currency of Sudan, which is divided into 100 piastres. Credit cards and travellers cheques are useless and there are no ATMs accepting foreign cards; bring all the money you might need in cash.

 

 

Weather

Kassala is considered to have a desert climate. There is virtually no rainfall all year long in Kassala. The average annual temperature is 29.2 °C in Kassala. The rainfall here averages 264 mm.

Language


Arabic, English

Health and security


It is advised against all travel to the Sudanese border with Eritrea in the Red Sea State. Although the situation is calm at present it has been subject to instability and could deteriorate rapidly. If you’re travelling by road in Kassala State, you should keep to the major roads especially near the Eritrean border where people trafficking groups are believed to operate.
Travel to eastern Sudan, particularly the major cities, is currently possible but foreign nationals need to get a permit. People trafficking is widespread in the area.

Kassala is not a great place to fall sick, There is no shortage of hospitals in town, although facilities are somewhat basic. For simple things like diarrhoea or colds, head to a pharmacy (saydaliya), as the pharmacists are used to dealing with these problems and should have the pills to solve them. Pills in Sudan are often handed out without directions, so double check the dosage before leaving.

If you are seriously sick, ask someone to take you to a hospital (mustashfa) or a clinic (mustawsaf), where you can have blood tests. Malaria is common in Kassala, and thus easily diagnosed…often the first thing they will do is give you a malaria test. Drugs like chloroquine are widely available in the pharmacy, although anti-malarial tablets are not generally taken by locals. Doxycycline can be found, but most pharmacists are mystified as to what you want with it! Dysentary is another common problem, again easily diagnosed and solved.

Medical attention is not free in Sudan, expect to pay heavily for treatment. Clinics are often cheaper than hospitals, which are in turn cheaper than going to see a private doctor.

Culture


Kassala is a mixture of great nature, and a fantastic market, that brings you back in time more than most markets, as it is not traditional, and dingy. The products sold here are primarily fruits, the juiciest and most tasteful of Sudan. And the local handicrafts have a most distinct style, and is generally of a good quality, not just good artistry. The atmosphere of Kassala is easygoing, and the tourist accommodations easy to come across. Kassala has a surprise to many foreigners; a lot of Sudanese tourists, where the majority seems to be newly wedded couples.

Transport

The only way to get around Kassala, if you don’t want to walk, is by a motley assortment of local buses, collectively known as muwaasilaat (transport). The important bus routes to know are Khatmiya (to get to old Khatmiya and the mountains), Banat (for the Gash River, University HQ, Sikka Hadeed and Souq Gharb el-Gash) and the special buses for Sawagis Janubiyya and Shamaliyya. Buses to Souq ash-Sha’abi, the long-distance bus station, start running about 6am. All buses run from the central bus station, an unmissable jumble of traders, juice stall and makeshift buses. Buses can be flagged down anywhere on their route,

Activities

Kassala University

Kassala University

Souq Kassala

Souq Kassala

Taka Mountains

Taka Mountains

Khatmiyya   Mosque

Khatmiyya Mosque

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