Wadi Halfa

Historically, Wadi Halfa was Nubia’s most important trading point, being the gateway between Egypt and Sudan. Today the city’s buildings are immaculate, surrounded by the golden dunes of the Nubian Desert. It is the stereotypical border town, small and full of paperwork, hassle, and dirt.

 

The town is actually the new Wadi Halfa; the original Wadi Halfa was submerged when the Aswan High Dam created Lake Nasser in 1971. Sudan’s military dictatorship forcibly removed the approximately 50,000 inhabitants of the area from their lands and relocated to the desert, where many died of malaria and other diseases. A few Wadi Halfans, however, remain along the Nile, the river that built their ancestors’ identities as fishermen and river traders, building new settlements several times and finally settling on the current location when the flooding stopped. Seasonal flooding still occurs.

Travelers may wish to visit the ancient archaeological sites of Nubia before they, too, are submerged by a series of dams under construction which threaten Nubia’s remaining pyramids, which predate those of Egypt.