Wadi Halfa

21.7931.37Koordinaten: 21 ° 47 'N, 31 ° 22' O

Wadi Halfa (Arabic وادي حلفا Wadi Halfa ) is a city in northern Sudan in the state of al- Schamaliyya on Lake Nubia, the Sudanese part of Lake Nasser. In the port goods are transhipped from Egypt. There is a weekly boat service to Aswan.


For Wadi Halfa 10,658 inhabitants ( 2012 calculation ) can be specified.

For the original Nubian population, a larger number of refugees from South Sudan and the neighboring countries have settled. Some Egyptians working as a trader in the market.


Wadi Halfa or Halfa was for centuries an important trading center and Nilhafen on the northern boundary of the Nubian culture room. The place was about eight kilometers north of the second cataract. Boats that traveled the Nile cataract at Aswan from 1 upwards, put on here before they competed only in high water potential, difficult drive to the south by the rapids.

The transport on the water between the two cataracts remained even after 1884, the continuous connection to the north, as the Egyptian railway was completed to Shellal south of Aswan on 1 cataract. The desert, which flows through the Nile here at around 280 kilometers, crossed by transverse valleys and hills of granite rocks, which stood in opposition to the continuation of the railway line. In the 1870s, the Nile was begun with the construction of a rail line from Wadi Halfa. Initially intended for trade, this railway line was built until the mid-1890s at the time of British rule for military reasons, 54 km far towards Dongola. Terminus of this route, the garrison was in Ambigole. 1896 won the Anglo- Egyptian army at the battle of little south Firket the first victory over the Empire of the Mahdi. This railway line later proved to be of no economic use and was abandoned in 1905.

1885, addressed the British commander Grenfell against the Mahdists an army base in Aswan and an outpost in Wadi Halfa one, from where in 1889 under the command Grenfell repelled the attack of a Madhi troupe and it was defeated at the Battle of Toski. Progress of the Madhisten direction Egypt was stopped with it. During the whole period of their rule over Sudan ( until 1899 ) Wadi Halfa and Suakin on the Red Sea remained under Anglo- British control.

These two places were the starting point for the conquest of the Mahdi Empire. In order to advance from Wadi Halfa, was a more efficient supply of replenishment requirement because, the next place took on the direct route to the south desert camels 13 days to Abu Hamad on the Nile. Beginning of January 1897 started the construction of a railroad, which had reached in October of this year, Abu Hamad and the army Kitchener in April 1898 enabled the victory in the Battle of the Atbara.

Wadi Halfa was in 1900 from the old town and five kilometers to the north the military camp with accommodations, officers' quarters and the railway station. Along the banks of the Nile -maintained parks were created in the vicinity of the administrative seat and the Railroad hotel. A new civilian residential area (British Cantonment ) was located at some distance, and at the opposite western bank of the Nile, the ruins of the ancient Egyptian Buhen were seen. 1907 had the city of 3000 inhabitants. The steamship needed at this time two or four days of Aswan, depending on whether it was anchored at night and made ​​a stop at several locations or through her. The trains were both on Egyptian, as well as on Sudanese territory with dining cars and comfortable compartments, the electric fans had equipped. The journey to Khartoum was given as 27 hours.

During the Second World War, the Royal Air Force of Wadi Halfa flew out inserts. The airfield was used for stopovers on the route from Cairo to Aden or to Nairobi.

In an agreement between the countries concerned ( Nile Water Agreement) Egypt 1959 was the construction of the Aswan High Dam allowed. Because of the flooding, which began prior to the completion of the dam, had 1964 Sudanese side 50,000 people in Wadi Halfa district to be relocated. 40,000 living here Nubians were resettled in the irrigated by the Khashm el- Girba Dam agricultural project of New Halfa in the Butana Steppe. The town of Wadi Halfa at that time had around 20,000 inhabitants and had a neat Nilpromenade, wide avenues and some beautiful multi-storey buildings from the colonial era. The remaining residential buildings were built in the Nubian style of clay, the walls were decorated with paintings. In the surrounding area there was Dattelpalmenwälder and irrigated fields.

At a relocation within the region was not initially intended. A minority of the former inhabitants of the city refused to move project in the New Halfa and remained in temporary accommodation in the vicinity. The military government of General Ibrahim Abbud (up to 1964) tried to move to the move by all services of the state set, and the ship and rail connection was lost population. The remaining inhabitants were forced to organize the necessary infrastructure and the food supply itself.

Only after the reservoir was filled in 1970 up to the maximum height, the new settlement in some 100 meters from the shore could develop slowly. It created a vast residential area and a small market from simple shacks near the train station. By the beginning of the 1970s, improving economic relations between Egypt and Sudan Wadi Halfa regained some importance as a port, trading center for goods and the only border crossing to Egypt. With Chinese support a government ice factory and cold storage for fish were built. 35 fishing boats with 2 tons loading capacity were purchased. From 1973, was operated by private companies fishing. Fish arrived dried and cooled ( under relatively high losses ) around 1000 kilometers to Khartoum. The latest figures from 1979 mention a catch quota of 500 tonnes per year, far back, thus falling short of expectations.

The economic situation Wadi Halfas deteriorated from the mid- 1980s, parallel to the political relations with the northern neighbor. By turning to an Islamic Politics President Numairi Sudan brought into isolation, the participation of the National Islamic Front (NIF ) under Hasan at- Turabi in 1989 brought the transit trade with Egypt completely to a halt. Traders moved away, the hotels were closed and the restaurants were only opened on the date of on or departing train. The city had no prospects and made a dreary impression on travelers. Since the economic boom of the Sudan through the export of crude oil from 1999 and increasingly since a certain political liberalization of 2005, the interest in trade relations with Egypt and on the border town of Wadi Halfa has grown.


In the center of the market the previous flat mud houses are replaced by two-storey building in concrete - brick construction. By construction A compact business district, surrounded by paved main roads and island mountains. Here are some simple hotels and the immigration authority. Two kilometers to the northwest lies the port that has just as little as the train station, halfway between them over Kranverladeeinrichtungen. Also to the northwest lies directly beside a lake district for immigrant from South Sudan black Africans, most of whom are employed as unskilled workers in the harbor.

From the business district, the city stretches about five kilometers east in the other direction along the street by Abri. Halfway here extends a residential area of ​​the Nubian sub- layer and in the far east is separated by a football field, a well-kept residential area for the middle class. The houses are located here within large courtyards with mango trees and date palms behind high walls. Partial tree islands were also planted in the wide streets that are watered daily. More simple residential neighborhood of houses with exposed mud brick stretch across the road between the desert mountains of the northeast.


The state-owned and financed by China fishing project failed because of the insufficient quota, the high energy costs and the lack of readiness of the fishing population not accustomed. Wadi Halfa is located in the driest part of the Nubian desert. Rain often falls several years, 0.5 millimeters in multi -year average for the single month of August rain indicated. The former intensively cultivated fields along the Nile were supplied through channels with Nile water. This country has been flooded by the reservoir. Agriculture has been resumed only in small home gardens, although the water supply would be secured with ground water in the lake. The pure sandy soils lack the fertile Nile mud. In the market a little self- grown vegetables and fruit is available, most of it is drawn from the areas around Abu Hamad and Abri.

Wadi Halfa lives of the freight loading of cargo ships to the web and from the weekly passenger ferry with connections to the train to Khartoum, the need like 100 years ago two days for this route. The two roads to the Atbara and Dongola are paved consistently since 2009. Another economic upturn in the remote town seems certain; already longer existing plans for a road connection to Egypt and thus the expected merchandise trade have failed to date on the political will of the two countries.

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