Sorry to start yet another thread on this ferry, there are so many of them I did not know where to put this ;-)
I typed this out to put on our website, I might as well put it here too.
The Wadi Halfa Ferry
- Ferry leaves every Monday (except holidays) and every second Friday (this is new as of 2008).
- Barge leaves on the same day as the ferry.
- Ferry takes about 17hours (leaves evening-ish, arrives noon-ish)
- Barge takes 2 days. It does not have a radar and because of that does not sail at night.
- Price for a car is 2452EP
- Price per person 2nd class: 262EP, 1st class (cabin with bunkbeds): 450EP (these are the new prices as of Jan 1 2008)
- Staying on the barge with the car seems to be out of the question. We tried really hard. Only with a special reason you are allowed on (having dogs in the car, needing special medication (you would need proof of that),... ). It used to be easier in the other direction, but this too seems to be no longer allowed.
- In Aswan you can stay at Adam’s home: N 24° 10,161 E 32° 51,977. 40EP/car
- In Wadi Halfa the best of the hotels seems to be Deffintoad. N 21° 48,021 E 31° 20,955 per person 7 Sudanese Pound.
1) Check with Dragoman (overland company with big trucks) if they are crossing in the same period as you are. They only go a few times a year (in winter) but they rent an entire barge and sub-rent any place available for much better prices then you would get from the ferry company. They also schedule their private barge to leave on a convenient day so that waiting time in Wadi Halfa is kept to a minimum. Schedules on their website Adventure Travel, Adventure Holidays, Overland Travel with Dragoman
(or Adventure Travel, Adventure Holidays, Overland Travel with Dragoman
2) If not, you will have to book yourself. Best to call in advance to Mr. Saleh. 018-31 60 926. He speaks English and is generally helpful although his moods can change. Try to arrange a spot on a barge and if you want a 1st class cabin, it is best to reserve this in advance too.
3) Once you have a date, try to be in Aswan 1 day before the barge leaves to do the paperwork. It does not hurt to go and say hello to Mr. Saleh, this will keep him in a good mood. Passenger tickets are only sold two days in advance. Ticket for the car can only be issued once you have returned your numberplates at the police. Mr Saleh has an office in town: N 24° 05,054 E 32° 54,585 next to the tourist office in a dirty “mall”
4) Note on returning the plates: you will effectively drive around Aswan without Egyptian License plates, although illegal this should cause you no problems. But I would not advice you to travel outside Aswan.
5) Returning the plates: before the traffic police will accept your plates, you need proof that you did not make any traffic violations (and pay for them if you have). You obtain this from “the court”. N 24° 03,747 E 32° 53,257. Drive south on the Corniche, follow the turn around the Nubian Museum and turn left at the “COOP” (blue sign) petrol station. Follow right and then left. Outside “the court” (just an appartment block like the others) will be a guy selling papers. Ask for “Bara Edzim” (phonetic). He will ask for your car license (the little plastic card) and fill in the form. Pay him 1EP for the form. Across the street you need to copy front and back of your car license (0,50EP for both). Then go inside the building. Second floor on the right and hand in the form, your car license and the copies. This will take a few minutes and they will give you another paper in return. No costs.
6) Take this paper to Traffic police together with your number plates. N 24° 05,054 E 32° 54,585 . This building is a bit hectic, with lots of people queueing. Just take a booth without a queue and hand them your plates and the piece of paper. This is where it pays to be a foreigner as you can skip the queues. After a few minutes you get another piece of paper. No costs.
7) Take this paper to Mr. Saleh so he can sell you a ticket for the car. Don’t loose the paper, you’ll need it in the port.
8) On the day of departure Mr. Saleh will ask you to be there at 8 or 9 AM. This is ridiculously early as the boat will not leave before 5PM. But this being Egypt, customs and immigration only work until noon, so you have to get stamped out before noon.
9) In the port you will normally get assistance of Ahmed or one of his collegues. They work for the Nile River Transportation company and do not need to be payed. They will show you to Immigration (get a form, fill it in, buy a stamp 1,5EP) and customs (pay 22EP at a cashier, NOT 25EP as they will demand first, get carnet stamped). They will do a quick check of the chassis number.
10) Wait for the barge to be loaded and you to drive on. Try to have your car on the barge last with as little as possible of other stuff after it. This will speed up the unloading in Sudan. Take your Carnet and all other documents with you on the ferry! Also take a passphoto for registration in Sudan.
11) Board the ferry... A word on the ferry: First class cabins are small with bunk beds but ok. Toilets for first and second class are seperate and not too great. Second class passengers are not allowed into First class, but westerners seem to be excempt of this rule. You can buy food and drinks in the dining room. Included in your ticket is 1 meal. Meals cost 10EP, Tea 1EP, soft drinks 2EP. They seem to make special efforts for Western passengers. We got a pretty decent meal (macaroni with cheese) which the locals did not get. If you are in second class you can try sleeping in the dining room (warm in winter). We slept on the deck which is crowded but ok. Can be very cold in winter. After you board the ferry you will be asked to fill in a form for Sudanese immigration and hand in your passport. You will get it back the next day.
12) You should normally arrive in Wadi Halfa before noon the next day. Once docked, it takes another hour before you can leave the ship as Sudanese immigration is done on the ship. All non-sudanese/egyptian passengers are ‘interviewed’ by a guy from immigration and given the necessary stamps and forms. In the port you pass trough customs (they don’t check) and then you are free. A shared taxi to town should cost 2 Sudanese Pound. You will have to bargain hard to get this price though.
13) At this time you will normally also meet Magdi, or Mahid, or one of his cousins/uncles. They do not really ask if they can help you with the paperwork, they just start with it. Negotiate a price first if you want them to help you. 15US$/car is commonly paid, they ask for more at first. They can only do the paperwork (stamping carnet, ...), they have no (or little) influence in the actual unloading process, which is your biggest problem at that moment.
14) You should register your passport in Wadi Halfa. You get a sticker. It is no longer required to register again in Khartoum. Fill in 1 form and 1 passphoto. It used to be 34US$, but prices have gone up since they do a “double registration” (no longer required in Khartoum). We paid 50US$, but could not verify if this was the correct amount. One big disadvantage of using a fixer.
15) The barge with cars normally arrives the next day around noon. Most common problem is the unloading. They either dock the barge in a way that it is impossible to unload cars. Or they want to unload the rest of the barge first. Etc... In any case, it might take another day just to get your car off. Be insistent but polite to get things moving. If things are not working out, it might help to contact somebody from the Nile River Ferry company (Mr.Saleh?) as they actually pay for the entire unloading proces and want to keep their customers happy. For your information, the port closes at 6PM. It opens around 9AM.
16) Once you get the car off, customs is a formality. They stamp the carnet (with the help of a form Mahid/Magdi gives you) and check chassis numbers. You pay 16 Sudanese Pound customs tax and 25 Sudanese pounds port tax for cars up to 2 tons, 30 Sudanese pounds for cars up to 3 tons (and, etc...). A “local tax” does not exist and you should not pay it, nor any other “taxes”!
17) Enjoy wonderful Sudan!
A note on the fixer (Magdi/Mahid, ..) at the Sudanese side: Although they are friendly people, we regret using them. They did a good job indeed on getting the carnet stamped and they did the passport registration for us. But this seems to be nothing we couldn’t have done ourselves. On top, they were very vague about any costs involved. Since you have a day of waiting to do in Wadi Halfa, you might as well do the paperwork yourself. This is ofcourse easy to say for us... we did not do it ourselves ;-)
The only problem you might have is with a “bill of lading” (they do not use this term) that you might(!) need to get your car cleared from the port.
When we had problems with our barge bein docked on the wrong place, they could (and wouldn’t) do anything to solve this (“it is not our job!”).
I presume going in the opposite direction is pretty much the same. Do note that in that direction the ferry can leave before the barge is fully loaded. And thus you would have to leave your car keys behind for somebody else to drive it on. In this case I would recommend you use the Magdi guy. The ferry and the barge itself will not be as crowded, so you should be more comfortable.
More of this here: Radio Baobab » Informationsheet per country
(click on Egypt)
Hope this helps...