Founded in the 19th centuary by slavetraders as a zariba, a small fortified base, it grew into an administrative centre during British rule. The city is not dominated by a single ethic group; instead, its position as a commercial hub has drawn many different peoples from around the country. Over the last two decades, Wau has nearly doubled in size, from 84,000 in 1993 to 151,000 today.
Temperatures stay in the mid-30s °C during most of the year. The dry season lasts from November to March, while the summer months see an increase in rainfall.
Flights are handled by Wau Airport (WUU IATA), a small airport with a single un-paved runway northeast of city centre. The national carrier Southern Sudan Airlines  [dead link] is planning on starting services from Juba.
Wau is also the terminus of the narrow gauge railway from Khartoum, however due to the newly independence of South Sudan all trains have stopped running and there are no news on when they will resume.
Several roads intersect here, A43 connects with Juba and Rumbek while A44 runs southwest towards Tumbura near the border with Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of the Congo. B41 heads northwest towards Raga and ultimately Nyala. Notice that all roads are in poor condition and can sometimes be nothing more than a dirt track. Driving with regular cars is very unadvisable.
Wau has few attractions to see, wild hippos in the Jur river is however quite a sight and can be seen at times.
- 1 Saint Mary Cathedral. A large impressive catholic church.
- 1 Wau Stadium.
Hotels are generally expensive and often aimed at government officials and members of NGOs.
- South Sudan Hotel (Northern part of town, along A43 towards the airport), ☎ . From US$120 per night.
- Wau Regency Hotel, ☎ . Prices starting at US$150.
- [dead link] Wau River Lodge, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Along the Jur river and refurbished, all rooms have air-conditioning and en suite bathrooms. The manager of the on-site restaurant is a Swede which according to rumours has the widest assortment of liquor in the country. Offers airport shuttle. Due to the ongoing conflict in South Sudan, Wau River Lodge is closed for the foreseeable future. Single US$95 BB.