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-   -   Ferry Wadi Halfa (Sudan) to Aswan (Egypt) FULL REVIEW (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/sahara-travel-forum/ferry-wadi-halfa-sudan-aswan-66806)

dstehouwer 16 Oct 2012 07:32

Ferry Wadi Halfa (Sudan) to Aswan (Egypt) FULL REVIEW
FERRY Wadi Halfa (Sudan) to Aswan (Egypt)

We travelled together with two South Africans with a 4x4, while Mirjam and I travel on two motorcycles. Also two other bikers where there.
Prices below are based on that; we left Wadi heading north on the 10th of October 2012.
5,5 Sudaneese pounds is roughly 1 USD
6,0 Egyptian pounds is roughly 1 USD

We quickly bumped into Magdi, a famous guy in the village and a well known fixer.
Nice guy, friendly and professional. Ask around in town and he’ll pop up.

MAGDI BOSHARA phone: 0121730885 or 0905568968 NUBATIA51[AT]yahoo[DOT]com

Hotel: we stayed at the Cancan or something, not bad for 13 USD for a two person room.
Internet: There is one internet café in town, but it is very slow. Skype not possible. 3 pounds an hour.

He charged us:
40 USD per person for the ferry ticket
43 USD per bike for transporting it on a separate barge
10 USD for something at customs
12 USD for something else
30 USD for his services and some minor payments at customs

For the people with the car:
Same as above, excluding the bike fees and fixer fee but extra:
40 USD for his services and some minor payments at customs
6 USD for something else
300 USD for transporting the car on the same barge as above.

We arrived on a Monday, and on Tuesday we had to race to port because all paperwork was ready and customs wanted to check the vehicles. After that, we loaded the bikes on the barge.
We had to pay some people at the barge about 3 USD per person for helping out.
Tuktuk back to town was 6 Sudaneese pounds, and it took 3 people.

The day later we had to load the car, and get ourselves on the ferry.
The captain made trouble and wanted to unload the bikes; he got an offer for a load of camels which was more profitable. We couldn’t load the car in time, Magdi offered to drive the car on after we’ve left.
This felt very bad; we really freaked our but Magdi stayed super professional and in the end he promised us everything would be fine. (Which it did; he did a great job in securing the car on the barge and everything)
Magdi really seems a good guy you can trust and he delivered as promised…. Not easy in this part of the world.
He really guides you all the way onto the boat and makes sure you’re okay.

You can for stuff on board in Sudaneese and Egyptian pounds, but also change USD in the 1st class restaurant.
If you can get a hold of a cabin, you’ll pay around 26USD per person. Only 2p-cabins on board, don’t expect anything fancy or clean. (normally cabins are not available anymore, but you can be lucky with a cancellation)
The thing is built for 250 passengers, but 660 get on…..
Take as little as possible, and keep al valuables with you. It is full of lovely Sudaneese people, but you’ll never know.
Dinner is included in your ticket price, but that is in the 2nd class restaurant. The food seemed okay, but it is crowded there. Get to the 1st class restaurant, where it is nice and quiet and you’ll have to pay 5 pounds to get an upgrade to 1st class food. Nothing fancy, but you do get a spoon with your food then! ;-).
Ask for Achmed; a huge Egyptian who speaks good English and Spanish and is in charge of quality or something; wonderful bloke who will help you out with anything. Say ‘Hi’ to him from us.
During the day everybody is below decks for the aircon, at night the upper decks get crowded and you simply cannot walk there. It does get quite cold, wish we took our mattresses (as you lay on the metal) and sleeping bags. Then you can sleep nicely there, but make sure you don’t need a run to the toilet at night!
In the morning, you go to the same restaurant again for a breakfast (10 pounds) and relax.
Drinks are available on board (2,5 pounds for water or a soda, 2 pounds for coffee/tea) but supplies are limited; stock up on water early in the evening so you’ll have enough for the morning too.
When boarding the boat they’ll take your passport… and amazingly, they’ll find you the next day and give it back to you ~with the entry stamp in it.

There are two fixers we’ve met, Mohamed Abouda and ‘Kamal’.
Kamal is a taxi driver and a bit of a weird guy. He was very eager to do business with us, and got quite angry with us when we chose Mohamed. He kept on chasing us and asking us for business, a bit desperate and not professional at all. We really did not like him and would NEVER work with this guy!
Mohamed is a really professional guy who has a sailing boat business to; he’s used to tourists and knows exactly what you want.
MOHAMED ABOUDA mobile: 012 25111968 or 010 11181151 tel: 097 2301698 or 097 2306568 nilfeluka[AT]hotmail[DOT]com

He took us straight from the boat into the customs office where we had to sign some paper stating we would pay the fees involved in the process. Then he arranged transport (taxi, 15 pounds p.p.) to the hotel (St. George, ‘with the pool on the roof’ for 9 USD p.p.p.n with breakfast and with fast free Wifi in the rooms. Good enough to Skype with video and we’ve uploaded around 1GB per 24 hrs.)
You’ll get your shower and something to eat, relax a bit and Mohamed comes back later or something to discuss the vehicles.
He will answer all your questions, also touristy stuff. He offers to take you on the nile etc. on a sailboat as this is his business too; can’t blame him! ;-)

It took a few days for us to get the vehicles as the barge was delayed a bit…. And the thing is not very fast anyhow. Mohamed calls the captain every day and updates you on the progress.

We got the vehicles off the barge AND out of customs in one day; not bad.
First, you pay Mohamed some money for a lot of small expenses:
- 270 pounds per bike for insurance , document fee for the police, costs of hiring an engineer to check the bikes, and some other small stuff. (FYI: Just the insurance is around 100 pounds per bike, but for a car it is 180 or something)
- 30 pounds per person for the taxi , for the whole day.
- 3 copies of your carnet, 3 of your passport and one of your visa+stamp (free copies in the hotel!)

We drove to some police-thing where he buys some docs, you fill in your name and sign something. Then off to the harbour.
Off the barge was not easy, as the bikes were inside and had to be hauled out of the barge by hand. Took us about an hour, and we tipped the guys 80 pounds for 4 bikes and the car. We thought it was a bit stupid, because 8 people wanted a tip while 3 helped… The captain got a few bucks too, but I forgot how much.

The guy is not the friendliest bloke around, and we named him ‘The Carnet-Sniffer’. When you’re there, you’ll see what we mean :-P.
The engineer comes to your vehicle and checks the VIN number and makes you sign a doc. In the customs office, you sit up straight and answer some questions, give some copies, put a signature down… and wait. You pay 522 pounds to this bloke for the temporary import, and he stamps your Carnet and gives it a validity of ONE MONTH FROM YOUR DATE OF ENTRY according the stamp in your passport.
After this is done, Mohamed leaves to town to buy your insurance and get your licence plates.
When he comes back, you put the plates on and drive out. Mohamed might give the customs guys at the gate a few pounds ‘to speed up the process’ and you’re off!

Back in the hotel, you pay Mohamed ‘whatever you think is reasonable’. He did a great job for us, so we paid him 20USD each for the bikes and 30USD for the car. If you’re by yourself I’d pay a bit more, but with a group with 5 vehicles the process is easier for him too we thought…

Be careful in Egypt, a lot of people try to squeeze cash from you and people are not as nice as in Sudan! You really have to watch yourself and your money. We filled up for 64 pounds, gave 100 and they don’t want to give your change. Just don’t accept it, I got every pound in the end. (6 USD tip is a huge amount in this country, especially when it is not voluntarily!)

Summary of Costs: Person and bike: 140 USD @ Sudan + 165 USD @ Egypt all inclusive besides the hotel and food/drinks.
The Fixers: We can really recommend both Magdi and Mohamed; value for money!
The ferry: an experience of a lifetime! (although, if there would be a road I’d take it!)

Other tips:
For both sides: contact the guys upfront so they’ll know you’re coming.
Be in town a few days before the ferry leaves (Mondays from Aswna, Wednesdays from Wadi Halfa) so your vehicle might leave before you!
Aswan: Mohamed can arrange a BRAND NEW carnet for you for around 500 EURO’s!!!!! Any nationality, no deposits needed! Contact him for further details.
Relax; I was very nervous about the whole thing because we never use fixers at borders and I hate it to give away control. Those guys really helped out!
If you head north: Enjoy your last days in Sudan with the Sudaneese people; you’ll miss them in Egypt!
If you head south: Don’t worry, in Sudan people are fantastic and don’t hassle you all day!

danny_fitz 19 Oct 2012 09:05

A great update, thanks for that, will be transiting through wadi to Aswan next month!!

Richard-NL 19 Oct 2012 10:47

Positive experience are always good for the spirit !!!!:D

dstehouwer 19 Oct 2012 12:57

yeah.... but negative experiences are welcome too!

misterpaul 21 Oct 2012 05:07

We travelled north last year and used Magdi who was great and exactly as described by the op.

In Aswan Kamal had been lined up for us by Magdi. He is as described by the op 'a bit weird' but also did a great job for us so don't worry about using him either!

achim-in-jordan 23 Oct 2012 13:20

I just called Salah in Aswan and he said he can no longer make a reservation for the car and that I would have to go to the port straight and reserve for the car through them. He also asked for me as a passenger to just come to Aswan to book the ticket and a cabin. Since I am tight with my schedule, I need to make a reservation beforehand.

Any recent experiences on this? I called Kamal in Aswan and it seems to work - I just don't need any "ma fi mischkella" or "insha'allah" here ...


dstehouwer 23 Oct 2012 18:11

just call Mohamed.

omar mansour 23 Oct 2012 23:55


Originally Posted by achim-in-jordan (Post 397675)
I just called Salah in Aswan and he said he can no longer make a reservation for the car and that I would have to go to the port straight and reserve for the car through them. He also asked for me as a passenger to just come to Aswan to book the ticket and a cabin. Since I am tight with my schedule, I need to make a reservation beforehand.

Any recent experiences on this? I called Kamal in Aswan and it seems to work - I just don't need any "ma fi mischkella" or "insha'allah" here ...


Hi Achim
good luck brother
you can count on Kamal ,yes you will never knows what is going on but he is a good honest man
used hem to ship 13 motorbike before and a car all together and every second i wont to scream what the f---- is going on but he was doing his job
also i used hem in my last trip and will use hem next month too
tell hem that you are my friend i think he will take care more ,hahahah
in Halfa i used and will use Mazar he is super cool
regarding what
i think all of them are desperate to work as the business to them very slow cause not a lot overlander taking the ferry due what is going on in Syria ,Libya and the Italy -Egypt ferry is not working too ,
good luck and please if you need any help let me know
travel safe always

dstehouwer 25 Oct 2012 19:29

@ All: please specify your experiences; prices etc.
If we all just keep saying 'it was okay' we can never compare!

ksarao 21 Dec 2012 19:52


Originally Posted by danny_fitz (Post 397146)
A great update, thanks for that, will be transiting through wadi to Aswan next month!!

We will be heading up to Egypt soon. Right now we're in Kampala, Uganda. Whereabouts are you these days? Already made the trip? If so, how'd it go?
Kanchan & Nick

Road Hog 24 Dec 2012 16:12

Kanchan & Nick
What is your timeline for heading north? I will be in Nairobi in three days, there for maybe three days then I head north also. I am going to send off an email to see if I can get a permit to use the road because I will be short of time. What I have heard is that it cost the same as ferry but will not be such a hassle. Send me a PM if you get a chance.

achim-in-jordan 26 Dec 2012 14:35

Hi Bob,

So far the permit for the new road has been extremely expensive since it has not been opened officially yet. It might become less early 2013 when the road is supposed to open. The rate is only comparable if you put it against the rate for the big barge which you can only rent "exclusively". The "normal" rate for a car is approx. 320 US-Dollar going South and a little less going North.


Endurorally 26 Dec 2012 17:44

Is that 320 dollars the rate for the permit to go by the new road - and which side of the Nile, East or West side?

itchyfeet38 26 Dec 2012 18:40

I think he'll mean the rate for the barge which is 2012 EGP ($325) provided your car is under 5m in length. 3012 EGP if it's 5-6m. In my experience same price applies in both directions (though obviously exchange rates will differ). Prices are published on the Nile Navigation Company website.

Someone who met the overland truck in Aswan reported on another thread here they paid around $3000 to use the road.

The NNC have always tried to persuade foreigners to hire the whole barge. Last year we sublet a space on the barge from an overland truck who had prepaid for the whole barge. They were hoping to sell spots at Wadi Halfa but there were none ... because NNC had run an extra barge the day before to sweep up any business. NNC also managed to put another vehicle on the "exclusively" hired barge and pocket the money for that. However, most peple don't have the time or patience to sit it out and they know that.

achim-in-jordan 26 Dec 2012 19:20

Itchyfeet is right: 325 US-Dollar or 2,012 EGP is the rate for one space for a Jeep on the "normal" barge. And he is also right that the rate is the same in both directions: Mazar Mahir had told us of 1,500 Sudanese Pound which equals about 335 US-Dollar - sorry, my mistake! Just doublechecked the exchange rate.

The new road crossing will be on the Wadi Halfa side. From the Egyptian village (and antique site) of Qustul or Kostal, a ferry will then cross to the Western part of Lake Nasser at Abu Simbel - and vice versa.

The rate for the permit to use the road before it officially opened was indeed - another right one for itchyfeet :thumbup1: - 3,000 US-Dollar, which is roughly what you would have to pay for the "exclusive" big barge that the overland trucks (like Dragoman) use.


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