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Whirling Dervishes of Omdurman

We had a late start at our camping ground in Khartoum. Actually the plan was to directly drive over to the hotel and check in as early as possible. This was not possible before 11am that’s why we took lots of time to have breakfast at the camping ground. Since we don’t eat out of the truck while staying in hotels we had to finish all food in the trucks fridge which added an interesting variety of food to our breakfast table.

We checked in to the Khartoum Plaza Hotel a four star hotel in downtown Khartoum. The hotel is under Chinese management and quite nice. Compared to all Sudanese hotels we experienced so far this hotel seems pure luxury even when there is hair of previous guests floating around the bed and between the order of a coke in the hotel’s restaurant and the actual delivery at the table lies 1 hour and 20 minutes waiting time. But we’re in Africa and therefore we have all the time in the world…

After a few relaxing hours in the hotel, I washed all my cloth and hung it up all over the hotel room. In the afternoon we booked a minibus which was supposed to bring us to a woodcraft market some of my fellow travellers wanted to visit and afterwards to a performance of the Whirling Dervishes of Omdurman. However, the minibus driver mixed something up and instead of driving us to the woodcraft market we ended up in the market for white household goods such as refrigerators. Since this was not the market we intended to visit and there was also a traffic jam close by we quickly re-routed the minibus driver directly to the dervishes. Here we experienced another miscommunication because we were supposed to watch some kind of show with an admission of 55 SDP (16 USD) but we ended up at a real dance and prayer of some dervishes around a tiny mosque in a suburb of Omdurman. Actually, I didn’t know what to expect from the show but the real thing seemed to be way more interesting and cool also because we and 5-7 other people were the only tourists there.

The dervishes represent the mystical site of Islam also known as Sufism. Every Friday they are dancing in Omdurman to the beats of a drum until they fall in trance. This is very interesting to watch since the eyes of the dervishes look like they went crazy. There is also a mystical smell in the air and it seems that nobody is able to resist the beat of the drum. The dervishes dancing lasted from 5pm to 6:30pm when they started their prayer and we left the scene.

My roommate Michelle and I had dinner at the hotel’s restaurant which was a bit more pricy compared to local food (5 USD for a pizza) but really worth it.