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... Gedrof Saa'd the joyful -, they call it. A Paradise with thunderbolts and lightning flashes, they describe it. Green ever green in the Autumn. Golden yellow in the Summer, and between them grey and blue.

The word Gedarif ( Gadaref, El Gadarif, Qadarif ) is deprived from the Arabic phrase All Gada-Ye-rif , meaning: he who had finished selling or buying should leave. The word was latter converted to Al-Gadarif *English version Gedaref. The story of the name begins when Arab nomad tribes zooming the area of Butanah plains in the Mid-east of the Sudan, chose the place where the city is built as a market place to exchange their commercial commodities with Indigenous people. When the sun sets, a herald used to call on the people (AIli- Gada-ye-rif .Alli -Gada-ye-rif); asking every one who has finished his deal in the market should leave so that the market could be closed in time.

Soon al-Gada-ye-rif market place developed into a village; then a town with dwellers planting its fertile soil with sorghum, sesame, peanuts and vegetables. Its green plains during the rainy seasons attracted many nomad herds and peasants from neighbouring areas.

Another story attribute the name to Saad, a merchant who founded the town. He was an Egyptian Coptic as some claimed

According to Holt and Daly, the leading tribe of the Southern Butana , the Shukriyya, camel-owing nomads were living and ruling the grain-producing rain lands of Gadarif or Qadarif, where a tribal market developed. This place, originally called Suq Abu Sinn (Abu Sinns Market) has taken over the name Qadarif, anglicized as Gedaref.

The written history of the city dates back to the 16th century when the Scottish explorer James Bruce passed through it in 1772 on his way to the sources of the Blue Nile in Abyssinia (Ethiopia).He called it Teawa. ( Tewawa nowadays is a name given to a hill lies west to the town ) He wrote about its sheikh whose name was Fidele as a vassal subordinate to the King of Sennar.

The road to Gedarif


Gedarif down town

During the Turkish rule Al-Gedarif became an administrative unit with a strong military garrison. The Mahdiya state preserved this statute and the city was used as a base to conquer other places in the area and neighbouring countries.

The geographical feature of the city is marked by a group of hills surrounding it. That why some people think that its name is driven from the Arabic word equivalent to mountain ranges.

The climate is hot rainy in the summer. The rainy season extends to four months with an average of annual rainfall of 700 to 900 mm.

The City is divided administratively and socially into Diems or districts. The famous deims are: Deim Bakur, Deim El Nur, salamt al Bey, Al- midan, Deim Abbas,Deim Saukin, Deim Saad.

The Greater Gedaref area includes many rural districts and villages such as Um Shagara, Al-Sufi Al-Bashir, Al-Sufi Al-Azraq, Abbayo. In 1994 Gedarif became the capital of Al-Qadarif State which includes Gedarif city, Faw, Gallabat, and Fashaga areas.

Gedaref is a trade center of grains and a well-known agriculture area where a Mechanized Scheme of Agriculture has been introduced since 1954. Machines carry out all stages of cultivating. 70% of the total mechanized farming in the Sudan is carried out in Gedaref. The aim of the Mechanized Farming is to develop areas. Many individual farms grew suddenly and scattred over the whole area surrounding Gedarif such as Um-seinat, Al-Ghadambliya etc.

The city is linked with Khartoum through Wad Medani by a net of roads, rail road, and seasonal direct roads. Gedarif is about 410 km. far from Khartoum. It is also linked to Port Sudan with roads and rail road through Kassela at a distance of about 200 klm. There are also roads to the Galabat at the edge of the boundary with Ethiopia connecting Gedarif with the Ethiopian city of Gonder and from there to Addis Abeba. The city has also an air port at al-azaza area ( its international air port code is GSU).

The population of Gedaref which was mainly formed of Arab nomad tribes of Shukriya during the early history of city has rapidly changed in the last century. Dwellers who belong to various nationalities had settled in the area along with the indigenous people. Today the mosaic of population includes many Sudanese tribes from different regions as far as, Dar Fur, Kordufan, Southern and Northern Sudan. The Shaighiyas, the Beggaras, the Dinkas, the Fur, the Nubas, the Massalits and many other Sudanese tribes are represented in Gedaref. No other city in The Sudan, with exception of Khartoum and Port Sudan has so many dwellers of Foreign origin among its population, as Gedaref. Kurds, Arminians, Panian of India, Greeks, Egyptian Copts, Ethiopians, Eritrean, Somalis, Nigerians, Chadians, Yemenis, and Italians has been Sudanized since generations and well integrated in the Gedaref's society. The main reason for this gathering of foreign and local groups of people in Gedarif can be attributed to the Agricultural boom that swept the city and turned it to a major center of trade in the area. With the cultivation of sesame seed, sunflower, cotton, peanuts and cereals especially sorghum, Gedaref has become the country's granary.

Education in Gedaref has been far developed in the last decades. The city counts about 73 schools of different levels. With the establishment of Gedaref University the city has accomplished its dream to became an education shrine for the whole area of southeast Sudan.

Boarding schools has been established in the city as early as the sixties to accommodate young villagers and rural areas youth.

In the autumn during the rainy seasons or the Kharief as it locally called there are large pools of water, green meadows with trees of various kinds of acacia. You smell the lovely smell of wet earth mixed with aroma of the spring flowers. Birds sing and enjoy the greenery of Gedarif. They came from far distance in the earth, as far as Siberia in Russia or the Punjab of India. The early advent of the Flamingo flock or the simbirya as it locally called gives the sign of the beginning of the Kharif.

The city is well accommodated with hotels. There are 7 hotels. The biggest Amir Hotel built in 1974 has 24 rooms. Elmotwakil hotel is a 3 star hotel with 66 rooms. ElNakhal.

The Gedaref State Broadcasting was established in 1995 with a frequency of 1485 khrtz . A television station was followed in 1996 with a range of 50 klm only

What to see in Gedarif

Gedaref as a tourist destination can not offer for its visitor golden beaches or diving facilities.You can not find museums or dervish tombs. Yet the town is very fascinating and attractive if you know how to enjoy your stay there, where to go and when. The first tip is to seek for friends. The people, as every where in the Sudan, are friendly, polite and easy-going. They are gentle and approachable. Just look for students, government employees, intellectuals or English speaking young men who can help in finding your way there. You can visit the people in their huts. They may offer you accommodation. You can see and feel local custom. They may arrange a good programme for you to join a wedding celebration for instance. As a guest of honour you shall really enjoy the sincere hospitality of the Gedarifs. You may go with them to their local clubs and watch a soccer match. A journey in the dusty streets of Gedarif may turn to a wonderful experience, where every thing is so exotic so wonderful and so fascinating . A visit to the silo in the skirt of the town is good idea. The Souq of Gedarif is just a souq, like every Sudanese local market. Yet joining friends in a qahwas- caf- (Such as Al Fardoos , Al Amani and Razaz) drinking, chatting, and watching by comers and pedestrians might be a wonderful sight-seen. So it is the people, the friendship with the people which makes Al-Gedarif a very very touristy place which can never be forgotten. JUST TRY IT..
A good time to visit Gedarif may be in November December during the dry winter of the sudan when temperature drops to a comfortable degrees, Towards the end of June the Kharief season begins and the landscape round Gdarif city is almost magically transformed . The dull brown ground is replaced by rolling green carpet of grass and moisty bushes, That is the time when you can enjoy a fantastic stay in Gedarif. Yet you should prepare yourself for the heavy tropical rains and the sticky mud of Gedarif. Mosquitoes my form a hazard.

GRAINS SILO built by the Soviet Russaian in late 1960s

The famous building of Gedaref: The Grains Silo, or "somat al-ghilal, as it is called in Arabic. It lies a few miles in the out-skirt of the City. It is also considered as a sightseen site where students and vistors of the city might visit.

Dura, well known as sorghum is one of the main corps of grain production and export in Gedaref. It is widely consumed in Eastern, central Sudan and in neighbouring countries such as Eritrea, Ethiopia and Chad.

sites related to Gedarif

local map of Gedaref
Towns and Cities of Sudan
Gedarif Digitalcity
Gedarif University



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