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Climate - Sudan

Temperature, rainfall, prevailing weather conditions, when to go, what to pack

United States version (°F - inches - feet). See also the metric version (°C - mm - meters)

Flag - Sudan

Map - Sudan

In Sudan the climate is desert in the north and on the coast of the Red Sea, while it becomes semi-desert or semi-arid in the south, which is affected by the summer monsoon.

On the coast of the Red Sea, winter is pleasantly warm, with highs around 77/80 °F, while summer is hot and humid, with a combination of heat and humidity which is hard to bear.
Here are the average temperatures of Port Sudan.
Port Sudan average temperatures
Port Sudan J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°F) 67 66 67 71 76 79 83 84 81 78 75 70
Max (°F) 80 80 83 89 96 101 105 105 100 93 88 83

The rains, poor, occur mostly between October and January, because in autumn and winter the prevailing north-east currents discharge a bit of humidity on the coast after passing over the sea. In Port Sudan, only 4.2 inches of rain per year fall, with a maximum of 2 inches in November, while in Suakin, more to the south, 4.7 in of rain per year fall, so the rainfall is desert-like, although sometimes along the coast intense downpours or thunderstorms may occur, so that an entire month's rainfall may fall in a few hours.
Here is the average precipitation in Port Sudan.
Average precipitation Port Sudan
Port Sudan J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (in) 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.4 0.1 0.0 0.5 2.0 1.0 4.3
Days 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 4 3 12

The sea is warm all year round, and in summer, when it exceeds 85 °F, it becomes one of the warmest seas in the world.
Sea temperature Port Sudan
Port Sudan J F M A M J J A S O N D
Sea (°F) 79 79 79 81 84 86 88 88 88 88 86 82

The coast can be considered a world apart, both for the higher moisture and the rainfall pattern, which is different than in the rest of the country.
The inland areas of Sudan are desert in the north, and progressively rainier as you move south, with rains in the summer season.

Ancient pyramids in Meroe

In the north, occupied by a portion of the Sahara desert (whose part east of the Nile is called Nubian Desert, while the western part is called Libyan Desert), the climate is desert, and in particular the northernmost area, near the border with Egypt, is one of the driest and sunniest in the world. The Nubian desert is particularly desolate, devoid of oasis and therefore of settlements, of course outside the banks of the Nile, where the remains of ancient Egyptian and Nubian civilizations are found, as well as more recent settlements. Winter temperatures are pleasantly warm by day and cool at night, even cold at times, especially in the far north, where it can occasionally drop to around freezing. The rest of the year is rather hot, with highs around 105 °F from May to October, but with records of 122/125 °F. The wind can raise sandstorms at any time of the year.
Wadi Halfa average temperatures
Wadi Halfa J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°F) 45 46 54 61 70 73 73 73 72 66 57 48
Max (°F) 73 79 88 97 104 106 106 104 100 97 86 77

Already at the latitude of the Bayuda Desert, in the "S" described by the course of the Nile, during summer there is a slight increase in humidity, a decrease in temperature, and a few rare downpours in July and August, brought by the last offshoots of the summer monsoon.
A few hundred miles to the south, we find the capital Khartoum (Al Khurtum), located at 1,300 feet above sea level, where the White Nile and the Blue Nile meet. With an average annual temperature of 86 °F, Khartoum is one of the hottest capitals in the world. In winter it's hot: highs are around 87 °F even in January, but sometimes it can get cold at night, in fact the cold record is only 34 °F; in spring the temperatures increase rapidly, so that they reach 105 °F already in April; in April and May sometimes the temperature have reached of 117 °F.
Here are the average temperatures.
Khartoum average temperatures
Khartoum J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°F) 60 62 69 75 81 82 79 78 79 79 70 63
Max (°F) 87 91 98 105 107 106 101 100 102 103 95 89

In July and August, under the influence of the monsoon, which brings a bit of rain, the temperature decreases slightly, but it remains very high, around 100/101 °F, and then between October and November, at the end of the monsoon, it increases slightly again, rising to 102/103 °F. The annual precipitation in the capital is very low, and amounts to 6 in, including 2.8 inches in August. Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation Khartoum
Khartoum J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (in) 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.3 2.0 2.8 1.0 0.2 0.0 0.0 6.4
Days 0 0 0 0 1 1 5 7 3 1 0 0 18

Haboob, a sand storm which advances like a wall, and then greatly reduces visibility.

Haboob in Khartoum

In the Western Darfur region, lies Jebel Marra, a mountain range with volcanic craters occupied by lakes, such as Deriba Caldera, about 10,000 feet high. Here the climate is temperate because of the altitude, and the landscape is greener than the surrounding areas, because the rains are more abundant, i.e. at the level of the southernmost areas.

Continuing south, the annual rainfall increases gradually, until it reaches 27.5 inches in the southern part. Almost all of Sudan is practically arid or semi-arid, because the greener area, geographically and culturally different, has been separated in 2011, giving birth to South Sudan. Anyway, in the southern part, eg in the Nuba Mountains, the rainy season is quite long (from May to October, but especially from June to September) and intense, so that it gives rise to a savannah-type environment. The climate in the Nuba Mountains, but also in the south-east, in the Dinder National Park, despite the altitude of around 1,600 feet, is hot even during winters, with highs above 85 °F, followed by springs with 105 °F and more, by muggy and rainy summers, and then by autumns which become torrid again.
Here are the average temperatures of Nyala, in South Darfur, at 2,100 feet above sea level.
Nyala average temperatures
Nyala J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°F) 59 63 68 72 73 73 72 70 70 70 66 61
Max (°F) 88 91 97 100 100 97 90 88 91 95 91 88

Here, 17 inches of rain per year fall, including more than 4 inches in July and August. Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation Nyala
Nyala J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (in) 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.7 2.0 4.9 5.6 3.0 0.8 0.0 0.0 16.9
Days 0 0 1 1 3 6 10 13 6 2 0 0 42

When to go

The best time to travel to Sudan is winter, and in particular the months of December and January. The weather is nice everywhere, except on the coast of the Red Sea, where there can be a bit of cloudiness and some showers, it's hot in the south and east, but generally cool at night, while in the north it can get cold at night. In February, the temperature begins to rise across the country, and in the south, where it was already intense, it becomes quite torrid.

What to pack

In winter: light-colored clothing, light and long shirt and pants of natural fibers (cotton, linen), especially in the south where it is hot even in winter; turban for the desert and the wind from the desert, sunglasses (even graduated instead of contact lenses), a jacket and a sweater for the evening, desert boots or sandals. For the Red Sea coast, light clothing, a sweatshirt for the evening, raincoat or umbrella; equipment for snorkeling. For the reef, equipment for snorkeling, water shoes or rubber soled shoes.

In summer: for the inland areas: lightweight clothes, long and made of natural fabric (cotton or linen), desert turban; possibly a sweater and sleeping bag for overnight stays outdoors. For the south, light clothes, light raincoat or umbrella for the rains, light sweatshirt. For the Red Sea coast, lightweight clothes; for the reef, equipment for snorkeling, water shoes or rubber soled shoes. For women, it is best to avoid shorts and miniskirts.

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Central African Republic
Saudi Arabia
South Sudan

Metric version (°C)
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