Ababda people

The Ababde or Ababda are a sub-tribe of the Beja. They live as nomads in the Eastern Desert of Upper Egypt between the Nile and the Red Sea, in the area between Kosseir in the north and the southern boundary of Egypt, including the Gebel Elba National Park, and in Nubia in northern Sudan. You feel akin to Bisharin the next.

Their language is the Beja language ( Bedawi ), in addition they also use the Arabic language. A traditional and often used musical instrument of Ababde is the five-string tamboura.

The Ababde are usually dark-skinned and have black, but mostly not frizzy, but rather curly hair. They should be descendants of the ancient Troglodytes and Blemmyes and were formerly among other things worked as a caravan leader. Many of them served during the Mahdi uprising (1881-1899) at the Anglo- Egyptian forces. The number of Ababde was estimated about 1888 to about 40,000 people. Current figures are not known.


  • Ababde. In: Meyers Lexicon. 4th edition. Volume 1, Bibliographical Institute, Leipzig 1885-1892, p 12