We arrived to Wadi Halfa around noon, but it took another hour before we left the ferry. We were not in hurry and that was mistake(!), but we totaly didn’t know what to do next and where to go. When we got off and we basically saw nothing…. the lake and sand.. lots of sand, some chairs set under sort of a tent and barrel with drinking water. We couldn’t find the other ovelanders as well. Nevertheless, someone nice man informed us that to get to Immigration and Customs buildings we could take a free bus. So we did it.
At the Immigration Hall they checked our bags (even food bags) and our passports, but no one could tell us more about the barge and cars. We knew that we would not get more info that day so we took a taxi (2 Sudanese Pounds) to the town to find some place to sleep…
Wadi Halfa – hmm..a really small town, which is actually busy only when ferry from/to Egipt is around. Otherwise it looks like abandoned, sleepy and dusty town from “Wild West”.
Now: It is important to get out from the ferry asap as later you will get problem to find a place to stay for a night. Everywhere we asked, there was nothing available. We somehow found a room in the cheapest hotel in Wadi Halfa. The Deffintoad hotel looked more like a jail and rooms like prison cells, but it was nice to lie down anyway. Of course there was no water in the bathroom – if I can call those “chambers” like that (We for some reasons didn’t take our own photos of that hotel – but we “borrowed” them from other overlander’s blogs.
Because we were so exhausted, we just went to sleep and slept till the evening. When we got up we walked around the town and bought some cold water and soft drinks. When we got back to the hotel, we got surprised. There was not any more rooms available so they solved that problem by adding more and more beds in the hall, which was actually outside (Sleeping in the open air)
Next morning, we were woken up by our missing overlanders Terri and Johnny and their fixer – Mazar Mahir. They found us, as Mazar told them that the Deffintoad hotel is very often taken by Polish people…Anyway Terri said that barge with our cars was coming that day in the afternoon, but firstly we needed to register our passports in ALIEN REGISTRATION OFFICE. They gave us directions and we went there.
Alien Registraion Office is located on the main street (green building). The entire registration took us an hour or two. We needed to fill special form, left many signatures and one photocopy each. We paid 50 USD each and we finaly had stickers in our passports. The whole procedure in Alien Registraion Office we managed to do witout the fixer.
After registration, we took a TUK TUK and went to the port as Rusty was already there. At the harbour we were told that we would not manage to do all customs witout a fixer as they would not to talk with us. We sort of got forced to cooperate with Mazar, who it seemed didn’t like Charlie.
Once the barge is docked, you will get problems with unloading your car from it. Sometimes they dock in a way than driving off from the barge is impossible. Anyway, in 2 hours and we figured it out how to unload Rusty and Terri’s and Jonny’s car (We build ramps from whatever we found nearby:D)
We needed to agree with Mazar that we would pay him 30 USD per car. I think that 30 USD included not only our fixer fee but also customs tax and port tax – however I don’t remeber. I also think that we might have paid less to Mazar than Terri and Johhny as he never went with us to Alien Registration Office. We thought that we would leave the port the same day, but Mazar told us that customs officer was too tired as he had long day and we must come back next day to finish clearing customs (Normally the port opens at 9Am and closes at 6PM, but due to Ramadan they had different opening hours). We were off back to the town. It was much less people so we could find a better hotel (Cleopatra Hotel) and we took a 4 beds room with Terri and Johnny we shared 60SP between ourselves. In the evening we went together for a dinner and all us ordered fried goat with bread.
Next day, we came back again to the port and this time custom officer came and checked firstly our chassis number and then our car. Charlie opened the back door, the guy had an quick look on our stuff, but to be honest he was more interested in photos we had on the Rusty’s ceiling that what we had inside. The whole procedure took him not even 10 minutes…
Few more things and we were back on the road again……