Wadi Halfa

Travel Guide Africa Sudan Wadi Halfa



Wadi Halfa is a town on the shores of Lake Nasser in the north of Sudan, and marks the point of entry into Sudan for those coming in from Egypt. It is surrounded by the dunes of the Nubian Desert, the eastern edge of the Sahara, and has a population of around 15,000.

Historically, Wadi Halfa was Nubia's most important trading point, being the gateway between Egypt and Sudan. Today the city's buildings are immaculate, surrounded by the golden dunes of the Nubian Desert. It is the stereotypical border town, small and full of paperwork, hassle, and dirt.

The town is actually the new Wadi Halfa; the original Wadi Halfa was submerged when the Aswan High Dam created Lake Nasser in 1971. Sudan's military dictatorship forcibly removed the approximately 50,000 inhabitants of the area from their lands and relocated to the desert, where many died of malaria and other diseases. A few Wadi Halfans, however, remain along the Nile, the river that built their ancestors' identities as fishermen and river traders, building new settlements several times and finally settling on the current location when the flooding stopped. Seasonal flooding still occurs.

Travelers may wish to visit the ancient archaeological sites of Nubia before they, too, are submerged by a series of dams under construction which threaten Nubia's remaining pyramids, which predate those of Egypt.




Wadi Halfa has a hot desert climate typical of the Nubian Desert. Wadi Halfa receives each year the highest mean amount of bright sunshine, with an extreme value of 4,300 hours which is equal to 97–98 % of possible sunshine.[In addition to this, the town receives a mean annual amount of rainfall of 0.5 mm and many years usually pass without any rainfall falling on the ground.

Wadi Halfa experiences long, hot summers and short, warm winters. The annual mean temperature is about 27 °C. From May to September, inclusively, the averages highs exceed 40 °C. The annual mean rate of potential evaporation is also among the highest found throughout the world, with as much as 5,930 mm.



Getting There

By Plane

As of now there are no regular flights to the small Wadi Halfa Airport (IATA: WHF), however Sudan Airways have services from time to time.

By Train

Timed with the ferry (see below) is the recently re-started weekly over-night train from Khartoum via Atbara, it was suspended until April 2013 but is now back on track. Journey time is 48 hours and a 1st class ticket costs 100 Sudanese pounds.

By Road

The road crossing from Egypt periodically closes, and there's no public transport. From Khartoum there's a fast A/C bus making the journey, in the best case, in around ten hours. Also, boxes (Toyota Hiluxes) are readily available for rental.

By Boat

Most people arrive in Wadi Half by the weekly ferry from Aswan across Lake Nasser in Egypt. South-bound departures are on Mondays and north-bound on Wedesdays. The ferry docks at the Customs and Immigration terminal five kilometres outside city centre. A sand track leads from the terminal to town, and several vehicles wait at the terminal, touting for business. It is also possible to walk or take a bicycle into town.



Getting Around

Wadi Halfa is a relatively small town and can be easily explored on foot. Another option is to borrow a donkey, which is the transport of choice for many Wadi Halfans.




Almost all the eateries are based around the main square and most offer a choice of "fuul" (beans) with bread or fried Nile perch with bread. Many of the restaurants and shops only open for the two days after the ferry arrives.




Alcohol is illegal in Sudan. All of the eateries around the main square serve tea, and Wadi Halfans, Egyptian tradesmen and tourists tend to gather there for a few cups to watch the world go by.




For most of the year, there are several hotels in Wadi Halfa, although sometimes thay may close for repairs. All are similar, offering string beds, bucket showers, mud floors, a courtyard and clean rooms. Many have no signs so ask around.



Keep Connected


See also International Telephone Calls

Sudan's international direct dialling code is 249.

Prepaid mobile phone packages are easily available in Sudan. The two telecommunications companies in Sudan are ZAIN (Tel: +249 91 230000) and MTN (Tel: +249 92-1111111). Zain has a cheaper prepaid package (SDG10) than Mtn (SDG20).


Sudanese postal services tend to be slow, cheap and fairly reliable. Your post will eventually arrive in the country of destination.


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This is version 3. Last edited at 8:06 on Jul 12, 17 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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