Wadi Halfa, Sudan


There isn’t much to like about Wadi Halfa. For some reason, I liked it anyway.

Not to say that I’d ever want to spend any significant amount of time here. We got here Monday afternoon and are leaving today (Wednesday) on the ferry around noon. Monday, we just came in town to buy some food, check the internet and look around for a few hours – then we went back outside town and camped for the night. It was our fourth night of camping out under the stars. No tents. Just sleeping on top of a tarp, looking up at a full sky of tiny lights. Not bad.

Yesterday, they had to put the two overland trucks onto the cargo ferry, which leaves a day before the passenger ferry, so we were in town all day and spent the night at the Nile Hotel. It was the same hotel that Michael Palin spent the night (going the other direction) when he was in town on his “Pole to Pole” series. It hasn’t changed much in the fifteen or so years since that was filmed.

There is no overland road that connects Egypt to Sudan; the only way to get between these two countries is to take the ferry between Aswan, Egypt and Wadi Halfa, Sudan, down the length of Lake Nasser. This town is a bit of a transportation bottleneck in the region.

As a result of the ferry, Wadi Halfa is a two-day town. The ferry is the reason for its existence. The original small town that was here was flooded when the Aswan dam was built and this town emerged at the south side of the lake. The ferry arrives here (when its working and on time) from Egypt on Tuesday afternoon and leaves to go back on Wednesday afternoon. The train from Khartoum arrives here on Tuesday afternoon and goes back to Khartoum on Wednesday morning. Therefore, the town has people on Monday and Tuesday. I feel fairly sure that I’d be correct in saying that the other five days of the week that this town could be accurately described as sleepy.

Hell, it’s pretty sleepy even with the influx of people on Monday and Tuesday.

Spending the night at the Nile Hotel, at least in the summertime, was perhaps the most unique night I’ve yet spent in a hotel. In fact, you don’t really sleep in the hotel. The rooms are too hot and stuffy to sleep in, so everyone pulls their beds out to the courtyard area and sleep there. Yet another night sleeping under the stars – though this time, with about 100 other people around.

Once again, pictures are better than my words.

From Wadi Halfa
From Wadi Halfa
From Wadi Halfa

About Michael Hodson

I’m an attorney that took off on my birthday in December of 2008 to circumnavigate the globe without ever getting on an airplane. After 16 months, 6 continents and 44 countries, I made it all the way back home. Right now, I am back on the road writing about it all.