Wednesday 18 December 2013

Locations of some birding sites around Khartoum

Recently, I said I would make up some maps for a birder, Jan from South Africa, who is visiting Khartoum while I am away in the UK for a couple of weeks. I then thought it would be a good idea to post them on the blog to help others who do not know of these locations. I hope they are useful.

Tuti Island
This is probably the best known site in Khartoum. It is best during migration, but a good place to visit any time of year as it provides good lush habitat right in the middle of the three main cities of Khartoum, Bahri and Omdurman. It is an island lying right where the White Nile joins with the Blue Nile to make The Nile. You access it from Khartoum in the south, from a bridge beside the Corinthia Hotel. Google Earth shows a circuit road going right around the west side of the island. I have normally driven further north on the road marked, but it is very difficult to explain this route as it is complex. Note that the circuit road would be flooded in the wet season. Hopefully the map is enough to help you find it.

Tuti Island

Sunt Forest
Another well-known location in the middle of Khartoum is the Sunt Forest. This site is located on the White Nile close to Tuti Island and is best accessed from that direction - at least the part that I know. Note that the forest is flooded throughout the wet season and is only accessable from about October. The forest itself can be quite good for birding, but the best area for birds is the pools that form as the Nile falls. There are also many birds on the Nile as well as on the thin island, Um Sheguira, that lies about 100m out. Although the site is right beside a major road, it cannot, to my knowledge, be accessed from that side. Instead you should access it from the north as shown on the map. As you approach the junction you need to take the underpass under the main road, then as you drive around the slip road onto the main road you will see a gap in the wall on your right. Turn right here and double back, following a dirt road down to the banks of the White Nile and a picnic area that attracts lots of people at weekends. Drive slowly round the slip road as the right turn is not obvious.

Sunt Forest

Khartoum Sewage Treatment works
I was recently shown this site in the south of Khartoum by Marwa and there is some good birding to be had. There is easy access without permission. It might be possible to access from anywhere, but I am always wary of birding in areas with lots of people, so I like to do my birding from the section separating the two main areas of pools (which are actually separated into 4 pools that can be viewed separately). Follow the road as shown on the map, then turn left on a dirt track towards the main buildings of the treatment works. Just as you reach the main entrance, turn left and it will take you to a dirt track between the two main pools. You do not need 4-wheel drive.

Location of Khartoum Sewage works

Access to Khartoum Sewage Works

Soba Hospital sewage pools
Another location that I have visited frequently is the small sewage pools near Soba Hospital. This is not a major birding site, but worth visiting for an hour or so if you are close. Take the Wad Medani Road from the southern end of Khartoum. Turn left when you reach a big advertising board (you will be passing Fenti Golf Course on your right, which is behind a mound, but you will see the big floodlights). After a few hundred meters the road bends to the right and after another 200m you will see the pools (or rather the reeds that fringe the pools) on your right.

Location of Soba Hospital sewage pools

Route to Soba Hospital sewage pools

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Talk on Tuesday 10th by leading Sudanese ornithologist

I teach at Khartoum International Community School (KICS) and the school regularly invites outside speakers to talk to the students and wider community. Next week we are excited to have Dr Elsadig Awad Bashir giving a KICS Community Lecture entitled 'Empowering Children on Aspects of the Environment'. He worked for the Sudanese government for 15 years studying the effects of crop damage by birds. He then worked for UNDP and FAO in various countries throughout Africa and Asia, before settling in Qatar, where he is director of Qatar Birds Project, Chairman of Qatar Bird Club and coordinator of the Hima Fund which provides funds to support Important Bird Areas in the Middle East.

It is open to the general public and free of charge, but we need to know in advance who is coming. If you are interested, please send me an e-mail ( and I will you add you to the list. I will be able to send you directions to the school if needed. The school is located in the south of Khartoum near the southern end of Road 60 (Bashir El Nefeidi St.). I hope that some of you can come.

Tuesday 3 December 2013

A brief return visit to Khartoum Sewage Works

Yesterday I popped in after work to have a quick look at the birds at the Khartoum Sewage Treatment site. I was mainly interested in checking on the duck resembling a Cape Teal that I had seen previously. There were plenty of Gargany and, as mentioned in the edit to my previous post, this is probably the species I had confused with Cape Teal due to the bill appearing red in the photo. There was a similar selection of birds, with the addition of a female Southern Pochard. All my previous sightings have been males, making me wonder if they were the only birds to venture this far north. Another good sighting was a Long-legged Buzzard. They are supposedly fairly common around Khartoum, but this was my first sighting in the area.

Long-legged Buzzard, Khartoum Sewage Works 2nd December 2013

Female Southern Pochard, Khartoum Sewage Works 2nd December 2013