Kūstī, Sudan

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Kūstī, Sudan

Region: White Nile State

Geographic Coordinates: 13.166700, 32.666700
Climate: Hot and dry with a rainy season from June to September.
Population: 345068
Language: Arabic

Kūstī is a small city situated on the eastern bank of the White Nile River in the White Nile state of Sudan. It has a rich cultural heritage dating back to ancient times and is one of the oldest cities in Sudan. The city’s name comes from an Arabic word meaning to stop, As it was once a major stopping point for caravans traveling through Africa. The Kūstī Fort is one of several historical landmarks found in the city. It was built during the 19th century by Egyptian rulers who sought to control trade routes along the Nile.

The fort served as a military base and prison during British colonial rule and now serves as a museum showcasing artifacts from Kūstī’s history. Visitors can also enjoy exploring Kūstī’s vibrant marketplaces, Where locals sell everything from spices and textiles to handmade crafts and pottery. Traditional Sudanese cuisine can be sampled at local restaurants or street vendors selling dishes such as ful medames (a bean stew) or kisra (a type of bread). One unique feature of Kūstī is its annual wrestling festival, Known locally as Gadamay.

This event brings together wrestlers from across Sudan and other African countries for competitions that can last up to several days. Despite challenges such as poverty and lack of infrastructure, Efforts are being made to improve conditions in Kūstī through initiatives such as microfinance programs aimed at supporting small businesses. Overall, Kūstī offers visitors an opportunity to explore Sudan’s fascinating past while experiencing its vibrant present-day culture firsthand. With friendly locals eager to share their traditions with outsiders, It continues to attract travelers seeking authentic experiences off the beaten path.

Important Landmarks

  • Kūstī, also known as Al Qadarif, is a city located in eastern Sudan that is not widely recognized as a popular tourist destination.
  • Nevertheless, there are several notable landmarks and attractions worth visiting in the city and its surrounding areas.
  • These include:
    • The Kassala Mountains National Park, which is situated approximately 100 km east of Kūstī and boasts stunning mountainscapes and diverse wildlife.
    • The Al-Qadarif Museum to learn about local history and culture.
    • Taka Lake for picturesque views located about 30 km north of Kūstī.
  • For Muslims interested in religious pilgrimage sites, there are numerous Sufi shrines found throughout Kūstī that hold significant cultural value.
  • If shopping is more your style, vibrant markets offer visitors an opportunity to purchase locally made crafts, produce or other goods.
  • While it may not be on many travelers’ radar yet due to its lack of well-known tourist attractions within the city itself; adventurous travelers exploring eastern Sudan could consider making a stop in Kūstī due to its proximity to natural areas like the aforementioned Kassala Mountains National Park.

  • Primary Industries

    1. Kūstī, Sudan is mainly an agricultural city with farming and livestock production as the main industries.
    2. The city also has a small manufacturing sector that produces goods like textiles, leather products, and food processing.
    3. Furthermore, Kūstī acts as a transportation hub for goods moving between Sudan and neighboring countries.

    Noteable History

    1. Mahdist War: During the Mahdist War (1881-1899), Kūstī became a major hub of resistance where Sudanese rebels led by Muhammad Ahmad defeated British forces in multiple battles.
    2. Khalifa Abdullahi: After Muhammad Ahmad’s death in 1885, his successor Khalifa Abdullahi established his capital in Kūstī and ruled over much of Sudan until he was defeated by British forces in 1898.
    3. Sufism: Kūstī is renowned for its strong Sufi tradition, which has played an integral role in shaping the city’s culture and identity.
    4. Mahmoud Mohamed Taha: Mahmoud Mohamed Taha was a prominent Sudanese religious thinker who lived in Kūstī for many years before being executed by the government for heresy in 1985.
    5. Nile River trade: For centuries, Kūstī has been an essential center of trade along the Nile River, linking southern Sudan to Egypt and other regions beyond.
    6. Nubian culture: The city is also home to numerous Nubian people who have their own distinct cultural traditions that have been preserved through music, dance, and other art forms.
    7. Blue Nile Dam dispute: In recent times, Ethiopia’s construction of a large dam on the Blue Nile river upstream from Kūstī has sparked controversy between Ethiopia and downstream countries like Sudan with Kusti at its center.

    Museums and Things To See

    1. Kosti Museum: The museum showcases the history of the city and its surroundings.
    2. Al-Mogran Family Park: A family-friendly park with various activities for children and adults.
    3. Wad Madani Cultural Center: A center for arts and culture featuring exhibitions, performances, workshops, and events.
    4. Al Kabir Mosque: One of the oldest mosques in Sudan with intricate architectural designs.
    5. White Nile Bridge: A landmark bridge that connects Kosti to Khartoum across the White Nile River.
    6. Sennar Dam: A hydroelectric dam located near Kosti that provides electricity to the region.
    7. Jebel Marra Mountains: Located about 200 km from Kosti, these mountains offer breathtaking views and hiking opportunities.
    8. Jabal Qeili National Park: A wildlife reserve located near Kosti with diverse flora and fauna species to observe.
    9. Tuti Island: An island situated in between Khartoum and Omdurman where visitors can enjoy boat rides along the river or visit local markets for souvenirs or food items.
    10. National Museum of Sudan (Khartoum): Although not located in Kūstī itself but nearby Khartoum city (about 160km), this museum displays artifacts from ancient civilizations such as Nubia, Kushite Kingdoms as well as Islamic art collections worth visiting if you have time during your stay in Sudan.

    Cultural Events

    1. The Moulid Festival: This religious festival honors the birth of Prophet Muhammad with prayer, processions, and feasting.
    2. The Sufi Festival: This festival celebrates the spiritual practices of the Sufi order through music, dance, and poetry.
    3. The Nubian Festival: Traditional dances, music performances, and food are featured in this celebration of Nubian culture.
    4. The Kūstī International Documentary Film Festival: Local and international documentary films on social issues are showcased at this event.
    5. The Sudanese Women’s Arts Festival: Women’s art contributions are highlighted through paintings, sculptures, literature works among other forms of art.

    Please note that these examples may not be comprehensive as there could be additional cultural events or festivals held throughout the year based on factors such as religion or ethnicity etc.


    • 1. Ful medames – a dish made of fava beans, served with bread and salad
    • 2. Asida – a porridge-like dish made from sorghum flour
    • 3. Grilled meat dishes such as shawarma and kebab
    • 4. Al-Masry Restaurant – a popular restaurant serving traditional Sudanese cuisine including ful medames and grilled meats.
    • 5. Al-Rawabi Restaurant – another popular restaurant known for its grilled meats and Middle Eastern dishes.
    • 6. Abu Khair Restaurant – famous for its seafood dishes such as fish tagine.
    • 7. Al-Madina Restaurant – serves traditional Sudanese food like asida with different stews.

    Note: It is important to note that due to the ongoing political situation in Sudan, it is recommended to check the current safety situation before travelling to Kūstī or any other part of the country.

    Parks and Recreation

    1. Kosti Public Park – This park is located near the Nile River and offers a peaceful atmosphere for visitors to relax and enjoy nature.
    2. Al-Nilain Club – This sports club offers various recreational activities such as swimming, tennis, basketball, and soccer.
    3. The Blue Nile Sailing Club – This club provides opportunities for sailing enthusiasts to sail on the Blue Nile River.
    4. Kosti Zoo – This small zoo features a variety of animals such as monkeys, crocodiles, birds and other wildlife species.
    5. Fishing in the Nile River – The Nile River is known for its rich fish population which makes it an ideal spot for fishing enthusiasts.

    It’s important to note that due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions or other factors some of these parks or activities may be closed or limited at this time. It’s recommended to check with local authorities before planning any visitation or activity in Kūstī, Sudan.


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