Egypt Tips – including Wadi Halfa Ferry

Some points about Egypt….

1) Essam at Landrover in Cairo is the man to visit should you have any problems with your vehicle – / 015 412 523  At the time of writing this, the mechanics are based out of Cairo on the Ismalia road (about 1 hour out of the centre of Cairo)

2) There is a parts shop in the centre of downtown Cairo on Fahmy Street a 2 minute walk from Tahir Square – Essam knows where it is exactly

Getting the Aswan / Wadi Half Ferry

1) At the time of writing this (Nov 2009) the only way you can get from Egypt in to Sudan overland is by the Aswan/Wadi Halfa ferry.  We have heard that there is a tarmac road the whole way which trucks take, but at the moment it isn’t open to foreigners – hopefully this will change soon.

2) You have to make a booking for both your car and yourself on the ferry in advance – FYI – the cars travel separately on a pontoon that arrives later than the passenger ferry.

3) I would strongly recommend phoning Mr.Saleh from the Nile River Navigation Company about 1 week in advance to reserve a spot for the car (and a 1st class cabin if you want one)  His number is 0020 183 160 926

4) Once you have confirmed over the phone you still need to be there a few days before to sort out all the paperwork.  You can arrive on the Saturday and do it all if you are in a rush, but if not I think it helps to visit Mr.Saleh on the Thursday or Friday before to say hi.

5) At the time of writing this the ferry only goes once a week on a Monday

6) When you come to buy your ticket, you need to go through the formalities with the traffic police and hand back your plates before Mr Saleh will sell you a ticket.  We found him quite helpful though in telling us what needed to be done.  There are two buildings you need to visit.  The first is the Traffic Court, where you hand over your temporary Egyptian licence and passport.  They will confirm whether you have any traffic violations against you.  Once you are given a clean bill of health they give you a small slip of paper.  You need to take this, plus your Egyptian license plates which you got at the border to the traffic police.  This building is about 2 miles from the court so you cant really walk it.

7) Once at the traffic police you hand over the plates, license and slip from the court.  After a lot of paper shuffling they give you another single piece of A4 paper to take back to Mr.Saleh.  Keep this paper safe as  you need it at the port too.  Once that is all done, its back to the ferry office to buy the ticket.  Then you are done for this part.

8) When you get to the port you need to go through customs and get the carnet stamped.  You will also need the bit of paper you were given at the Traffic Police.  it is at this point that you also buy your car ticket for the barge.  We paid 2000 Egyptian pounds for the car.

9) After this you rock up at the barge and wait…..and wait some more, until they decide to load you on.  Sometimes they load the cars the day before, but we did it on the same day that the ferry left.  Once the car is loaded on you can get on the separate passenger ferry which leaves around 5pm (although for us it was delayed until 7pm).

10) Once on the boat you need to get an immigration form for Sudan.  You fill this in and take it, along with your passport, to a cabin next to the first class restaurant.  Here they take your temperature, along with your passport and paperwork – you wont get this back until the next day.

11) When the ferry lands Sudanese customs will come onboard.  Before leaving the ship you must go see them, fill in another form, have an interview and get back your passport.  You can then leave the ship.

12) Once in Wadi Halfa you also need to register (don’t wait until Khatoum as you need to do this within 3 days of arriving).  This involves filling in many forms, visiting and revisiting offices, paying around 60 Sudanese pounds per person and getting a stamp in your passport.  It is all done at the registration office in town (not hard to find, just ask anyone) and takes about 1 hour.

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