Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

BOAT EGYPT TO SUDAN
BOAT EGYPT TO SUDAN

Some journeys stay permanently in our minds. No matter how many years more you accumulate on the road, specific adventures stay in our memory as the best travel experiences.

I love to travel by boat. It doesn’t matter if traveling in the Amazing River, exploring the Galapagos, or an expedition to Antarctica. All of my previous boat trips were unforgettable. Going from Egypt to Sudan by boat holds a significant place in my most important personal journeys.

Crossing from Egypt to Sudan can be done on a regular bus trip. But there were times that you couldn’t just take a bus ride and travel all the way from Egypt to Sudan.

Consequently, the longer, and more expensive boat trip from Egypt to Sudan is becoming neglected by local people, and probably in the near future, this journey will be gone forever.

Perfectly knowing that I could cross the border from Egypt to Sudan overland, I still decided to make the legendary trip up the Nile River from Aswan to Wadi Halfa.


Boat vs. Bus


BOAT EGYPT SUDAN
Egypt to Sudan by boat
  1. By boat: Weekly departures. Price about 29 Euros (port entrance fee + boat ticket). The duration of the trip is around 20 hours. You make the passport formalities and get stamped at Aswan port for Egypt and on the boat for Sudan.
  2. By bus: Daily buses. Price about 19 Euros (bus + ferry boat). The duration of the trip is around 14 hours. You make the passport formalities and get stamped at the border of Egypt and furthermore ahead in Sudan.

Sudan visa in Aswan


A tourist visa is required to enter Sudan for most nationalities. The most complex issue about this journey is conciliating the moment you get your Sudanese visa with the weekly boat departure. This means that depending on the day you get your visa, you might need to stay in Aswan for a couple of days before you embark.

Also, the exact day of departure always changes. My boat departed on a Wednesday, but usually, it used to leave every Thursday. Nowadays it seems to be leaving every Sunday. So I stayed four nights in Aswan before being able to go to Sudan.

I delivered all the necessary documents to the Sudanese Consulate in Aswan on Monday at 9 am. I got my visa on Wednesday.

Don’t forget to bring:

  • Your passport:
  • A copy of your passport;
  • A copy of your Egyptian visa;
  • 2 passport-sized photos;
  • $50 USD (It seems the visa price increased to $150 USD).

Boat leaving & Closed consulate


Now, the two tricky things were that I got my visa on the same day the boat was leaving, and, the day that the consulate was closed. The friendly lady at the consulate guaranteed that although the office would be closed, I was going to get my visa.

When I got there on Wednesday morning the guard just told me to go away because the consulate was closed. I was able to explain my situation and trying to be as friendly and convincing as possible, he went inside to ask if there was any visa waiting to be picked up. I got my passport and the Sudan visa sticker and I was ready to leave.

Since it was on the way, and I still had a couple of hours, I profited to visit Philae Island before heading to the port. It was nice to return to Philae after a decade of absence when I was in Egypt back in 2008.


The trip


The boat trip from Aswan to Wadi Halfa was amazing and memorable. I arrived at Aswan Port around 12 pm, and the boat left around 3 pm. You need time to fill up some papers with the police, go thru passport formalities and getting yourself a boat ticket to Sudan.

Although I had my place in the lower deck, I decided to make my trip in the upper open deck of the boat. I even slept outside, as many local people did also. Around 5:30 am we reached the Great Temple of Abu Simbel.

People on the boat are very friendly and curious. Most locals want to take selfies with foreigners and you’re often offered tea and cookies. The boat reached Wadi Halfa at 10:00 the next day. On the boat, there was also a foreign solo traveler, on her way to Sudan.

Don’t forget:

  • Get to Aswan beforehand;
  • You need to know the exact day the boat leaves;
  • You need 2 to 7 days to get your Visa issued;
  • It seems the visa price went up. It might now cost $150 USD;
  • Be friendly at the consulate;
  • Some times people are refused visa processing in Aswan and have to go to Cairo;
  • Get to the port a few hours in advance;
  • People are very friendly and most want to take selfies with you. Be patient and kind;
  • Very easy passport formalities and Egypt departure stamp at Aswan port;
  • Very easy passport formalities and Sudan arrival stamp inside the boat. You have to deliver your passport and they will give it back to you when arriving at Wadi Halfa. Confirm your stamp before you go out of the boat.

Personal insight: Some people find it strange how I got my Sudan visa in 48 hours. First of all, I go by speaking Arabic. Secondly, I see reports of people going to the consulate, being arrogant and demanding a visa. Well, things don’t work that way. Reasonably, the service they provide will most likely depend on the way you approach people and how friendly you are. Your issue will be resolved as their personal goal and as a favor rather than a service. Thirdly, if you cause a good impression, people will be honored to make your situation happen. Concluding that, If you boss around being rude and demanding things, you will probably be sent to Cairo embassy.


Step by Step from Aswan to Wadi Halfa


Time

Description

Photo

9:00

Aswan hotel check-out. I stayed for 4 nights for free at Hapi Hotel.

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

9:07

Arrival to Sudanese Consulate. The office was closed so I had to convince the guard to go inside and pick up my visa.

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

09:45

Receiving the visa to Sudan

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

09:50

Taxi to Philae

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

10:09

Buying Philae Temple ticket

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

10:26

Boat to Philae Island

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

10:35

Arrival to Philae Island

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

10:40

The main temple of Philae

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

11:00

Departure from Philae Island

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

11:09

Taxi to Aswan Port

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

11:38

Arrival to the port. This is a very busy place so there’s a ticket fee to go inside

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

11:59

Filling up the departure immigration card. There’s a departure tax payment for stamping the passport

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

12:06

Buying the boat ticket

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

12:10

Entering the boat

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

Watching the cargo go inside the boat

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

15:30

Departure from Aswan

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

16:30

Nile section with unusual serene water

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

16:50

Filling up the entrance immigration paper at the Sudanese police office. They keep passports from all passengers

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

17:30

Sand storm. Everyone had to go inside.

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

18:40

Sunset

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

04:25

Sunrise. Many people sleeping on the deck.

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

05:24

The sight of the Great Temple of Abu Simbel.

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

05:48

Tea and cookies for breakfast

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

09:20

The first sight of Wadi Halfa. Desert landscape.

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

09:25

Arrival to Wadi Halfa port. The boat stayed for a few minutes so that everyone fills up the travel permits.

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

09:31

Filling up travel permit paper. I got my passport back.

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

10:00

First steps out of the boat

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

10:15

Customs formalities and luggage check

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

10:30

Hitchhiking on the back of a pick-up truck all the way to Wadi Halfa

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

10:40

Arrival to Wadi Halfa center

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

10:45

Filling up papers at the foreigner’s registration office. This is a very complex process so be patient

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

12:05

Finishing police registration

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

12:08

Buying a Sudanese Internet SIM card from ZAIN company

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

12:17

Eating at a local restaurant. I got a very tasty bowl of the local foul.

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

13:20

Hotel check-in costing 1.25€ for the night. Later in the day I changed the hotel and paid 2€ for better conditions.

Egypt to Sudan by Boat » 19 hours from Aswan to Wadi Halfa

Expenses


ProductPrice
Taxi from Aswan to Port via Philae143 EGP
Philae Island entrance ticket60 EGP
Boat to Philae Island round-trip 104 EGP
Aswan Port entrance fee40 EGP
Sudan boat ticket250 EGP
Aswan Port police passport stamp2 EGP
Water inside the boat5 EGP
Breakfast inside the boat tea & cookies10 EGP
Wadi Halfa foreigners registration$30 USD
Wadi Halfa Hotel (not used)25 SDG (1.25€)
Wadi Halfa Hotel40 SDG (2€)