Getting around

Travelling in the Sudan is rather problematic. Of course there are tourist groups being taken to the main sites but for the individual traveller there are again and again problems with obtaining permits. These are not easily obtained. Permits must be obtained for every destination one wants to reach. For instance it is easy to obtain a permit to fly from Khartoum to Port Sudan and Suakin but should one want to travel overland the permit would be refused without any reason after one has waited several days hoping to obtain it.

In general one has to have lots of patience and time if one wants to travel in the Sudan. The extraordinary friendliness and helpfulness of the people lets the visitor quickly forget all the bureaucratic problems.

There is a good bus network throughout the country.
When travelling by bus one meets very interesting people and experiences the life of the country.

There is very little literature about travelling in the Sudan and therefore I want to note down my own experiences especially travelling by train from Khartoum to Wadi Halfa. I travelled there in the late Autumn of 2003.

Station in Wadi Halfa

Public bus

Khartum -> Wadi Halfa -> Assuan

(Train / Ferry)

The train runs between the capital Khartoum and Wadi Halfa in the north of the country to the Egyptian border. From there regular ferries take passengers over Lake Nasser to Aswan in Egypt.

It is best to by the ticket for this journey at the North Khartoum railway station. The train leaves from there. The ticket for the boat to Aswan can also be bought there. The price for a first class ticket is about $25. For the connecting travel by boat (incl the cabin) the price is $60.-

It takes about 1 ½ to 2 days to travel the distance of 900km depending on the conditions of the track and the engine. The train leaves once a week on a Monday at 9.30am. Most of the time it is totally overcrowded.

The Ferry sails also only once a week to Aswan. It leaves sometime on a Wednesday. By that time the Express from Khartoum should have arrived.

To travel from Aswan to Khartoum the boat leaves Aswan every Tuesday to link up with the train on Wednesday for the return journey. These times and days are only approx. as things can change quickly. Serious engine trouble, a sandstorm on the way through the desert, flooding of the Nile and……and the time table is not the same anymore.

Train from Khartum to Wadi Halfa

Station in the desert

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