KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - Jebel Marra of Darfur, West Sudan, is regarded one of the most charming tourist attraction sites that allures tourists from all over the world to enjoy the fascinating beauty of nature, the temperate climate and the clean environment. Yet, it is ignored as an original and distinguished African-Arab tourist destination that can occupy an international position with a little effort by local and international investors and businessmen.
A native of the region and member of the National Assembly for Jebel Marra Constituency Mohamed Ahmed Mansour al-Shayb, in a chat with SUDANOW Magazine, indicated the huge tourist potential in the Sudan, pointing out the beauty of nature, the ancient civilizations, the cultural and social diversity and the traditional and customs disparities.
All of this could contribute to enhancing the research tourism, employing the modern technology and could thus support the national economy and introduce to the world the Sudan and Jebel Marra region, in particular, Shayb said.
Jebel Marra region, he went on, possesses all tourist attractions in the important fields of agriculture and enjoyable sightseeing of springs, lakes, birds of diverse and rare kinds, beautiful scenery and wildlife of all kinds and mountain-climbing.
With regard to the farming, particularly horticulture, there are numerous kinds of flowers rarely found in the world, with the credited given to the University of Zanligei which has exerted an appreciated effort tending those beautiful rare flowers and making Jebel Marra their original home sown in graded scales and among rocks and of peaks of the mountains, Shayb said.
He pointed to the expansive intertwined forests of pine and moringa and all this is intermingled with an ancient archeological sites and this, added to the tourist dimension, gives the region an international importance.
Jebel Marra is a group of volcanic peaks as high as 3,000 meters spanning the three states of North Darfur, West Darfur and Central Darfur with the latter occupying the largest area of Jebel Marra region, according to the MP.
He named Nertity town as the capital of the region which hosts a big agricultural research center and a fruit nursery. Shayb said the region is famous for variety of fruits that include grapes, fig, peach, pears, oranges and apples besides forest vegetation. It is considered the best area in Sudan for growing wheat, all kinds of citrus fruit, horticultural crops and vegetables and the world's best garlic and spices.
The soil can be cultivated three times (three seasons) a year due to the climate diversity, including the Mediterranean, the moderate and the semi-desert climates while the rains fall in all seasons of the year, permitting the growing of numerous kinds of trees such as citrus trees, apples and intertwined forest trees.
The heavy rains provide a constant water supply for farming, making the soil suitable for growing sorghum, millet and various kinds of fruit, Shayb said.
There are kinds of plants in Jebel Marra region which are rarely found worldwide and, moreover, there are groups of rare and tame animals in Geloul area of thick forests and constant cataracts, Shayb said.
He added that there is also an attractive waterfall in Murtajalu area where there are many species of monkeys, other wild animals and birds; there is the high Sony area where a rest-house is found, then Dhareebah area which hosts Al-Radom National Park where one can find a lot of wild animals and different kinds of birds, though not many tourists have seen it.
There is another reserved park in Wadi Howar with its sulfur and in the vicinity, there is Kindy Lake which is full of all sorts of birds -indigenous and migrants- geese, rabbits and deer that can run at more than 140 km speed of a car.
In Jebel Marra region there is also Wadi Azoom which suits photographers and adventurers of the rugged terrain.
Jebel Marra region is populous with beautiful villages scattered at the top and foot of the mountain. It is odd enough that the animals on the peak never multiply as they are raised only for fattening purposes and therefore the pastoralists keep their livestock in pastures at the foot and in the valleys for reproduction.
The Green Valley is considered the most attractive area to tourists for enjoying the scenery, the moderate climate and the clean environment and the migrant birds.
In that valley there is a lake of a gravitational force over which no bird or man can fly and for this reason numerous birds fell on it. The strange thing about this lake is that it contains water that is fresh, salty, cold and hot at the same time.
Until now, and despite the research and studies by many experts of geology, minerals and earth layers, the nature and structure of Jebel Marra remain obscure.
A characteristic area in the region is Toar, about 160 km away from Kass town where a German company built a road in 1983, that is, 10 years before the government-built Ingaz road, in recognition of the touristic and economic importance of the area.
Yet, the most magnificent and glamorous area in Jebel Marra region is Geloul which is an attractive area that can serve as a retreat for honeymooners and a site for picnics of groups, students and families. In this area and in the middle of the thick forests of moringa, according to Shayb, there is a cataract that sprays its water in the form of showers that fall 100 meters away. What is interesting is the birds dwindling from the moringa trees, each with a nest that is different in shape and color. There is also a rest-house that possesses entertainments that beat boredom.
Shayb wonders why the Sudanese travel to tourist places which are not as beautiful and attractive as this area, suggesting that touristic areas in the Sudan be included in school textbooks as part of civics for pupils and encouragement of internal tourism and entertainment.
Shayb pointed out as also beautiful Sony area, west of the Jebel, which was visited by General Ibrahim Abboud as the first Sudanese President to visit the area after the Independence. In the 1960s, the area was visited by a troupe of tycoon musicians and singers led by late Mohamed Wardy to organize parties for combating thirst in Darfur. Inspired by the beauty of the nature there, poets made poems that are still intoned by such renowned Sudanese singers as Abu Araky al-Bakheit and Khalil Ismail.
"According to what we have mentioned and according to numerous observers, Jebel Marra region provides a tremendous future wealth for the Sudan from the tourist and economic viewpoints," said Member of Parliament.
The region possesses such precious mineral resources as uranium and gold besides natural gas, ground water and other natural resources as well as human, farming, horticultural and forest resources, he said.
European, Arab and local tourists used to visit the 10,000 square-kilometer Jebel Marra region frequently to enjoy its Mediterranean climate and to view the charming sights springs and water flowing from the top of the mountain in addition to the indigenous inhabitants who are competent of taming the nature, like managing to reverse the water-flow from downwards to upwards, employing small graded, spiral streams, according to the Deputy of Jebel Marra Constituency.
He describes life in Jebel Marra region as unsophisticated with the inhabitants relying on nature in obtaining food and water, the fresh air and the springs which are used for treatment of diseases, explaining the fact that an inhabitant of the region lives for more than 140 years in good health, suffering no illness with full eyesight and hearing and normally practicing his job of farming or grazing livestock. That inhabitant regularly has his normal three meals with millet as the staple for the Darfuris, in addition to the plentiful fruits of all sorts.
The farmer in Jebel Marra region has long discovered a queer system of keeping and preserving oranges in the tree without fearing that they would drop down after they ripen. He or she waters the tree by dribbling, a system which has recently been discovered as a way for saving the water irrigation.
The region is inhabited not only by tribes from Darfur but by most tribes of the Sudan with diverse cultures fused in a singular social society, Shayb said, adding that the region contains the graves of the sultans who founded Africa's first Islamic Fur kingdom who used to don the Holy Kaaba and serve the pilgrims in the Holy land and those traveling from West Africa to do their pilgrimage.
MP Shayb has noted that the region can earn a considerable economic revenue if infrastructures are built and tourist services are provided, making use of the natural resources and wildlife.
He added that the resources are available but not yet utilized, particularly the horticultural products and fruits which can satisfy the local consumption, leaving a surplus which can be exported to back up the national economy.
Shayb said the agricultural produce exports earns the country a lot of dearly needed foreign currencies, citing as an example, that a ton of tomatoes is sold for 4,000 US dollars in Europe.
He called upon all people of the Sudan, whether within the country or abroad, and upon the businessmen and investors to join efforts for exploiting the rich natural resources of Jebel Marra region.
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