Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 14 January 2020, 11:23 NZDT
  • Still current at: 18 January 2020

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Do not travel

Do not travel to the Darfur region, the Red Sea state border with Eritrea, the Abyei region, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, areas of Northern Kordofan and White Nile states south of the Kosti-El Obeid-En Nahud road, or within 50 kilometres of the border with Libya, due to the threat of armed conflict and terrorism and the high level of violent crime, including kidnapping. 

Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel to Sudan due to the threat of terrorism, kidnapping, violent crime, and the potential for violent civil unrest.  

New Zealanders in Sudan should ensure they have appropriate security measures in place including a contingency plan for departure should a sudden deterioration in the security situation occur. New Zealanders in the capital Khartoum should exercise caution if travelling around the city and avoid travel at night. Travel outside Khartoum requires a permit from local authorities. If you intend travelling outside the capital, you should ensure appropriate personal security protection measures are in place and keep a low profile. 

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There is a general threat of terrorism in Sudan, including in Khartoum. Terrorist attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by westerners. Possible targets include commercial and public areas such as airports, oil and gas industry installations, hotels, clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, markets,  tourist areas and government buildings.  

Civil unrest/political tension
Protests and demonstrations are common in Sudan and occur at short notice,  particularly in Khartoum and other major cities. These are sometimes in response to international developments and may be directed against foreigners or foreign interests.   

New Zealanders in Sudan are advised to monitor local media for developments and avoid all demonstrations, protests and large public gatherings as they have the potential to turn violent. Violent clashes resulting in deaths can occur between security forces and protestors. You should adhere to any curfews put in place by local authorities.

There is a threat of kidnapping throughout Sudan, including in Khartoum. The threat is highest in the Darfur region and southern parts of the country. Foreigners, including humanitarian workers, have been targeted previously. 

Southern and Eastern Sudan
The security situation in southern Sudan remains fragile since the secession of South Sudan and has the potential to deteriorate with little warning. The border remains disputed in some places and border areas are dangerous.

The Abyei region is claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan. Despite the presence of a peacekeeping force, the situation remains unpredictable and marked by occasional violent skirmishes. Since the outbreak of violence in South Sudan, there has been an increase in displaced persons entering Sudan.

There has been continued conflict in states bordering South Sudan, between the Sudanese military and rebel forces. This violence has resulted in deaths and mass displacement of people, particularly in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. There have been attacks on foreign workers and civilians in these areas risk being caught in the violence.

The security situation near the Eritrean border has been volatile in the past, and could still deteriorate rapidly.

Western Sudan and Darfur
The security situation in these areas remains volatile and unstable. Banditry and lawlessness are prevalent. There is ongoing widespread unrest and violence between armed groups and government forces. There are a large number of internally-displaced persons (IDPs) in Western Sudan and Darfur and tensions can be high in IDP camps.

The risk to foreigners posed by ongoing conflict and the environment of lawlessness is extremely high. A number of aid workers and peacekeepers have been killed or caught in cross-fire. There is a high level of violent crime in Darfur and aid workers and expatriates are commonly targeted for kidnapping.

Border regions with Libya are known to be used as a transit point for extremists and for smuggling of people and goods.

Landmines and unexploded ordnance left over from past conflicts remain a serious risk in many areas outside main cities. The eastern and southern Kordofan states are particularly affected, as are border areas with Eritrea.

Piracy is an ongoing problem in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Mariners are advised to take appropriate security precautions. For further information, see the weekly piracy reports issued by the International Maritime Bureau.

Photography without a permit in Sudan is illegal. Taking photographs without a permit will immediately attract suspicion, and could lead to detention. Even with a permit, it is illegal to take photos of airports, military areas, bridges, drainage stations, broadcast stations, public utilities, slum areas or beggars.

General travel advice
As there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in Sudan, the ability of the government to assist New Zealand citizens is severely limited. We offer advice to New Zealanders about contingency planning that travellers to Sudan should consider.

New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social traditions in Sudan to avoid offending local sensitivities. Modesty and discretion should be exercised in both dress and behaviour. Photo identification should be carried at all times.

New Zealanders travelling or living in Sudan should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air. 

New Zealanders in Sudan are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

See our regional advice for Africa

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