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-   -   howto: Aswan to wadi halfa ferry (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/sub-saharan-africa/howto-aswan-wadi-halfa-ferry-32630)

2cvfred 26 Jan 2008 08:16

howto: Aswan to wadi halfa ferry
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

General information:

- 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...

uk_vette 22 Feb 2008 21:03

Well 2CVFRED !

That was fantastic reading.

Great write - up

I have saved this thread and will definatley print it out for use on our trip.

I suppose on a southward bound trip to Cape Town, then the next big stop would be Khartoum ?

Now, Uganda or Kenya ?

That is the question.

Surfer 27 Feb 2008 08:20

It is the ,most amazing place i have been to in Africa. Absolutely incredible. then cross lake tanzania on the ferry to Tanzania:) Quite an experience!!!!

good luck

Niallo 27 Feb 2008 14:25

Nice one 2cvFred
Good work there 2CV Fred

I'm heading that way very shortly and your write up will come in very handy

Keep between the ditches - if you can find a ditch....


Bumbleboy 4 Apr 2009 16:56

Wadi Halfa to Aswan
Yet another request for latest on the ferry. Going the other way.. North. When does the ferry leave Wadi? Is it every Wednesday? Anyone know latest prices for bikes and passengers?


quastdog 5 Apr 2009 10:22


Originally Posted by Bumbleboy (Post 236398)
Yet another request for latest on the ferry. Going the other way.. North. When does the ferry leave Wadi? Is it every Wednesday? Anyone know latest prices for bikes and passengers?


Yes, leaves on Wednesday's. You need to be there at least the day before to sort out arrangements. I did this bit a couple months ago.

When you get into town - just follow the main road through town till it ends. You'll be facing the "hotels" available in town. Also there's a man in an office there that helps do the arrangements. You'll likely need him, since you need to get on the ferry on Wednesday, your bike won't get loaded on a barge until Thursday (or even Friday as the case with mine). You'll have to trust someone to see that this happens, and you can trust him. (don't have his name in front of me now).

Bumbleboy 7 Apr 2009 18:01

Thanks, so not much has changed then.. good.
Anybody with an idea what the cost is now? Last I had was about 70USD for the bike and 40 USD per person...

ALLTHEWAYDOWN 3 May 2009 15:23

Aswan..wadi Halfa Ferry..
Just seen on this Side: SUDANEWS.NET coastal road(red sea) construction soudan side completed..

uk_vette 4 May 2009 21:02


Originally Posted by ALLTHEWAYDOWN (Post 240313)
Just seen on this Side: SUDANEWS.NET coastal road(red sea) construction soudan side completed..

From where to where ?


OrangeDub 5 May 2009 23:13

ALLTHEWAYDOWN must refer to the following link:
Work in coastal road linking Sudan and Egypt completed

From an older article in googles cache:

Date: Dec 28, 2007
Latest developments of the road project linking Egyptian borders to Port Sudan City were discussed when the Minister of Investment, Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin met representatives of the Holding Company for Building and Construction. The meeting was attended by chairman of the company, Eng. Ahmed El Sayed and representatives of El Nasr General Contracting Company (Hassan Allam).

The road is 280 kilometers long and 12.5 meters wide and costs USD 88 million equally financed by the Egyptian and Sudanese governments.

The project is being implemented by an Egyptian-Sudanese consortium that consists of Hassan Allam company from the Egyptian side and Kasr Al Lolo' Company and Hegleg Company from the Sudanese Side. The Egyptian side has finalized its part consisting of 140 kilometers starting from the Egyptian borders.

The project represents the first land road between Egypt and Sudan and is an extension of the coastal road on the Red Sea from Suez to the Egyptian borders. It facilitates movement of citizens and commodity between the two countries.

On the other hand, progress of the Upper Egypt- Red Sea Road was reviewed by representatives of Hassan Allam Company and the Roads and Bridges Authority. The development in the three sectors (Assuit, Sohag and Safaga) since last April was covered.

The new road is 349.47 kilometers in addition to links of 15.7 kilometers at the entrance of Sohag and Al Kawthar district bringing the total length to about 365 kilometers and width to 12 meters. The site includes 600 engineers and technicians as well as 377 equipments.

The cadastral survey and design of Sohag sector have been finished for 117 kilometers. Designs have been approved by the Roads and Bridges Authority. The cadastral survey and design of the links of Sohag entrance and Al Kawthar district sector have been finished and approved for 15.7 kilometers.

The cadastral survey and design of 45 kilometers of Assiut sector (total 113 kilometers) have been finished and approved. The remaining distance is being designed in preparation for approval by the Roads and Bridges Authority.

The cadastral survey and design of 80 kilometers of Safaga sector (total 119 kilometers) have been finished and approved. The remaining distance is being designed in preparation for approval by the Roads and Bridges Authority.

As for the executive situation of the project in different sectors, the dust body has been finalized including works of digging, filling and rock explosion for links at the entrance of Sohag for 4.5 kilometers and the entrance of Al Kawthar district for 11,2 kilometers. Some 14 kilometers out of 64.75 kilometers in Sohag sector (1) has been finalized and 33 kilometers out of 52.6 kilometers in Sohag sector (2) has been finalized.

The dust body of Assiut sector has been finalized for 45 kilometers out of 113 kilometers, while 35 kilometers out of 119 kilometers of Safaga sector has been finalized.
Dr. Mohieldin urged to complete the stages of work in order to finalize this vital role before its deadline in September 2009. He stated that he will visit the road works in Sohag and Assiut next January.

uk_vette 12 Jul 2010 00:03

Just a bump, to see if there is any developments on this proposed road ?


*Touring Ted* 1 Oct 2010 09:03

Anyone know if this info is still upto date, going south ????

waztafel 1 Oct 2010 10:05

Has anyone tried this road?

zimbabalooba 18 Nov 2010 23:19

any news on this road? Did it happen?

amiller2 20 Jan 2012 11:00

Road border - egypt to sudan
egyptian tourist info in london 0207 493 5283 is worth speaking to

they were a little unsure of if you could do this or not

firstly they said the border opens and closes depending on what is happening in sudan

i then questioned which border they meant. either the coast road to port sudan or the abu simbel road

again, they seemed like the only route to sudan was to fly or the ferry ( oh joy)

i've done it once, and driving would make life alot easier. make a change to go by boat hey!!

any news would be apreciated if any changes

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