Getting there: Sudan Airways flies weekly from Heathrow to Khartoum. Through a discount agent, you'll pay around pounds 500 return. Cheaper and more frequent connections may be available on Ethiopian Airways via Addis Ababa, on Egyptair via Cairo, and on Lufthansa via Frankfurt.

Medical precautions: hazards in Sudan are extensive. Consult a specialist in travellers' health, such as MASTA (09068 224100, a premium-rate number) or Nomad (0181-889 7014).

The Foreign Office says:

"Visitors are advised to keep in touch with general developments in the Middle East. Any increase in regional tension might affect travel advice. Sudan is one of a number of countries where we believe there is an increased threat to British interests from global terrorism. The security situation in southern Sudan and the Nuba mountains remains unstable due to the civil war. Factional fighting in Western Upper Nile (Unity State) has escalated.

"Visitors should avoid the Ethiopian and Eritrean borders, including the Kassala area, as they are insecure due to increased military activity. There is also a risk from anti-personnel landmines.

"Banditry and tribal clashes continue in Darfur. Only those engaged in essential relief work should visit these areas. The Wadi Halfa border crossing between Egypt and Sudan is open. Visitors should not attempt to cross any other land borders."