Sudan — Shopping and Leisure
Like in most North African countries, the best places to buy anything are the local markets, called souks. Here, travelers will find every product imaginable, from painstakingly crafted souvenirs to animal skins. There are certain products which are native to Sudan and should therefore not be passed on, such as grass and straw products, carved wooden statues and masks, copper and bras utensils, silver and gold jewelry, and perhaps most popular, semi-precious stones like amber.
Haggling and bargaining are common practice in all markets across Sudan. Travelers should remember to bargain in the spirit of fun as most traders are not intent on ripping customers off. Patrons who bargain politely and with a smile are usually the ones who get the best deals.
There are many popular souks in different regions but there are a few that are more popular than others. These markets include the Omdurman market, Afra Shopping mall in Khartoum, Gamhouria Avenue in Khartoum, and the trendy new Khartoum 2 area.
There are also a few ventures which work toward raising money for good causes. One such venture is the Women’s Co-operative in Khartoum. Local women make traditional handicrafts like crochet garments, local outfits, reed baskets, and crockery made from gourds and calabashes. All of the profits go toward uplifting women in the local communities and thus uplifting the communities as a whole.
Travelers looking for something a bit more refined can always head to the newly developed shopping malls. For a long time, there were no shopping malls in Sudan, only a few grocery stores or niche businesses. Today, however, there are malls like Afra (the first shopping mall in the country) and a few others in the country’s major cities. Travelers should keep in mind that prices are higher in the malls where haggling is not the norm.