Hamed el-Nil Tomb

Top choice in Khartoum

Every Friday afternoon you can see an incredible Sufi ritual, where a colourful local troupe of whirling dervishes belonging to the Sufi community stirs up the dust in worship of Allah, at this imposing mausoleum located in a large Islamic cemetery. Things start around 4.30pm (5pm in winter), but it doesn't really get going until about 5.30pm and they don't dance during Ramadan. If you're used to the dour colours of Arabian Islam, you'll find the circus-like atmosphere here refreshingly colourful and laid-back – don't miss it!

The ceremony starts with a procession towards the mausoleum, with the dervishes carrying green banners. Some dervishes look like Rastafarians with their dreadlocks. As they parade around a large open space outside the tomb, they chant, pray, bob and clap, accompanied by cymbals and drums, which creates an atmosphere of frenzy. Some of them enter in a trance state. Foreigners are welcome to attend this ritual and take pictures.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Khartoum attractions

1. Omdurman Souq

1.64 MILES

This famous souq – the largest in Sudan – is abuzz with noise, activity and colour, and a couple of hours' exploration is bound to turn up all manner of…

2. Khalifa's House Museum

1.64 MILES

The Mahdi's successor lived across the street, and this 1887 museum showcases the history of the Mahdi era.

3. White Nile Bridge

1.71 MILES

The confluence of the Blue and White Niles, best seen from this bridge, is a languid high point of the world's longest river. You can actually see the…

4. Mahdi's Tomb

1.73 MILES

This rocket-topped tomb is worth making the effort to see. Respectfully dressed foreigners are generally allowed inside. The original was destroyed on…

5. Camel Market


On the far western edge of Khartoum, this market is spectacular, especially on Saturday, but there is no public transport (a taxi will cost at least S£150…

6. National Museum

3.03 MILES

This museum, the best in Sudan, has some breathtaking exhibits. The ground floor covers the rise and fall of the kingdoms of Kerma, Kush and Meroe. There…

7. Coptic Church

3.56 MILES

Khartoum's Coptic minority uses this church off the main drag along the Nile. It's an elegant building, with two imposing bell towers.

8. Al-Kabir Mosque

4.17 MILES

This architecturally impressive mosque is a major landmark in the centre.