Summer in Egypt, May to
September, is hot and dry and tends to get extremely humid in the Delta
and along the Mediterranean Coast. Recently, Cairo has been exceptionally
humid with August seeing the highest humidity levels across the country.
Winter months, November to March, see mostly sunny days and cool nights,
with many light rain showers. Snowfall occurs in most places between October
and April so warm clothing is advised.
|Climate in the desert regions
sees enormous variations with a noticeable difference during the hours
of day and night. In winter, the temperature in the desert can be as low
as 0°C with cold winds sweeping in. It is common for desert areas to
receive rain once every few years.
Khamasin, as the locals call
it, is also known as the sandstorm season occurring between March and April.
Generally, the season is only about 5 days between but the sandstorms are
notorious and visitors are advised to stay away from the country during
Banks are open from 8am-2pm
from Sundays to Thursdays.
The currency in Egypt is
the Egyptian pound (EGP). The Egyptian Pound is divided into 100 piastres.
Coins, which are not used often, are available in: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and
25 piastres, while banknotes come in 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pounds.
Travellers can exchange
money on arrival at Cairo International Airport, where there is a bank,
several ATMs and a 24-hour bureaux de change. All large towns in Egypt
provide bank branches, most with currency exchange services. ATMs are plentiful,
especially in the capital of Cairo, and accept a variety of credit cards.
Most shopping areas and business districts also provide cash machines.
Credit cards are accepted in most large establishments. The importing and
exporting of local money is restricted to 100 Egyptian pounds for non-residents.
Foreign currency importation is not limited, while exportation of foreign
currency is allowed up to the amount declared upon arrival.
Visitors can import up to
200g of tobacco, up to 1 litre of alcoholic beverages, 1 litre of eau de
cologne and goods for consumption not exceeding the value of 100 pounds.
All cash, jewellery, cameras, travellers' cheques and electronic devices
may have to be claimed in the Customs Declaration Form D that is given
to some arriving visitors. Banned and restricted items include: books,
movies, and printed material of a pornographic nature; devices that could
be used for illegal activities and explosives
220V/50Hz Europe/UK plug
Visitors travelling to Egypt
will need to present a legitimate Yellow Fever inoculation certificate
when arriving from an infected area; this does not apply to transit passengers
or infants under the age of one. It is recommended for visitors to be vaccinated
against Hepatitis A, polio, tetanus, typhoid and rabies before entering
Egypt as well as taking malaria tablets.
Health care in Egypt
is limited, though specialised professionals from the west are available
in the larger cities. A list of English-speaking physicians and hospitals
can be found at international Embassies in Cairo. Alexandria, Cairo and
Sharm El Sheikh provide the best medical facilities, while many other areas
are lacking. Visitors are suggested to apply for medical insurance before
leaving their country.
Beware of unpeeled
fruits, undercooked meats, ice cubes and other possible untreated products.
Visitors are encouraged to drink bottled water and to eat at ‘tourist'
restaurants, where food is thoroughly cooked. Beaches are mostly unpolluted,
though those who decide to take a dip in the Nile or one of Egypt's canals
will do so in untreated water and are therefore exposing themselves to
the danger of bacterial infections and other parasitic diseases.
Arab International Hospital
Tareek El Nasr, Nasr City: 402-4838 / 261-6089
The official language of
Egypt is Arabic. English and French are understood in the larger cities.
Valuables such as jewellery,
cash and electronic items should not be left unattended in public, or in
hotel rooms that don't provide safety facilities.
Women who travel alone are
at risk of sexual harassment and verbal abuse. Clothing should be modest,
with cleavage, arm and leg exposure kept to a minimum. Unwanted attention,
such as groping and sexual proposals, can arise from provocative outfits.
There are security concerns
regarding western and Israeli travellers, since they have been targeted
in the past by terrorist and extremist groups. Foreigners are advised to
travel in small groups in order to avoid drawing unnecessary attention.
Travellers have marvelled at
Egypt’s archaeological wonders for centuries, ever since the ancient Greeks
visited the magnificent pyramids. Today, its wonders attract millions to
the pyramids, temples, and great monuments of the Nile Valley, as well
as the stunning dive resorts of the Red Sea. The mighty Nile pours life
into the country. Whether you are cruising its waters on a luxurious craft
or traditional felucca, life on the Nile is a constant visual feast. Step
into the cities and your senses are engulfed by exotic sights, sounds and
smells. Wherever you go, Egypt is sure to amaze you!
Customs and beliefs are
dominated by Islam influence. Egyptians tend to be friendly and hospitable
and mutual respect is expected from travellers. Visitors should respect
Islam; other religions are accepted but should not be paraded.
Handshakes are the regular
way of greeting. It is not unusual for males to hold hands. This behaviour
is not associated with homosexual acts and is just seen as a friendly gesture.
Personal space is not as important to Egyptians, as they often stand close
when conversing. Public displays of affection are frowned upon, regardless
of the couple's status. Holding hands is as far as public physical contact
Egyptians are a conservative
group of people. Though they are accepting of foreigners dress sense, it
would be best to dress like a local and cover up, as more respect will
be given. Women especially should dress conservatively, especially when
entering religious buildings. Formal dress may be required at some functions
During the month of Ramadan,
eating, drinking and smoking in public should be discreet, since it is
forbidden by Muslim culture. Smoking is very common during the rest of
The country code for Egypt
is +202. Internet providers, as well as internet cafés, can be found
in the capital of Cairo and in Egypt's larger towns and cities. Large hotels
and establishments often provide high-speed internet access. Coffee shops,
restaurants, hotel lobbies and other various locations offer free wireless
internet access. It is common for visitors to enter a coffee shop with
their laptop and browse online for free.
Visa and Passports
Tourist visas are available
to those from Libya or any other country excluding Arab countries. A passport
with a validity of six months minimum is required to obtain a tourist visa.
Any Egyptian consulate around the world can supply you with a tourist visa.
The price of a Visa depends on the holder's country of origin. Details
and requirements regarding different nationalities can be found at Egyptian
consulates. Multiple entry visas allow up to three visits to Egypt.
When arriving from certain
countries, visas fees can be paid on arrival at the airport. All
visitors entering Egypt are required to register with police authorities
within a week of arrival. Hotels and tour operators often take care of
this, though it is advised to double-check as there is a fine for not registering.
Tax and Tipping
Tipping in Egypt is known
as Backshish and is a common reward for services provided. Public restrooms
tend to be staffed; therefore the attendants expect a tip. In some places,
tissue is exchanged for a small price. Acts of kindness, such as helping
people exit vehicles or carry baggage, are often scams that lead to locals
hassling till money is paid. Be prepared to hand out a pound or two when
using public facilities, as locals can get aggressive with money matters.
Professional services, such
as translators and tour guides, should be given a tip of around 20 percent,
while 10 to 15 percent is accepted by restaurants and taxis. Service charge
is added in most restaurants and hotels, though five percent is normally
given as a direct tip to the waiter.
Egypt A pyramid
at night in the sound and light shows
Taxi From the Airport
All airports in Egypt have
a taxi service to city centers, operated on a flat fee basis (ask your
airlines). In Cairo transport includes limousine, taxi, and bus. Curbside
limousine service is offered by Misr Limousine (tel: 259-9381).
Official Cairo taxis are
predominantly black and white and Alexandria taxis are black and orange.
There are also Peugeot taxis in a variety of colors and sizes, but they
all have an emblem and number painted on the driver's door. Fees are the
same as the limousine service.
The Airport Bus Service
operates from Terminal 1. The bus leaves when full and stops at Midan Tahrir
in downtown Cairo, in Mohandeseen, and along Pyramids Road in Giza. There
are also regular city buses but they are not recommended for they are often
too crowded for foreigners.
Best known for its archaeological
appeal, Egypt boasts temples, mummies, hieroglyphics and pyramids, which
attract millions of travellers annually. Less popular attractions such
as old churches, mosques and monasteries display Egypt's heritage of Islam
and Coptic Christianity. Egypt is also the centre of the Arab world and
has been an important factor in political situations; playing a crucial
role in the Middle East Peace Process.
Located in north-eastern Africa,
Egypt borders the Mediterranean and Red Seas, making it an ideal destination
for divers. A variety of activities are available all over the country
such as camel riding, cruising on the Nile and most famously, visiting
the ancient pyramids and tombs. Those with a knack for shopping will enjoy
the many bazaars that Egypt has to offer. Unique souvenirs, scarves, shawls
and ornaments can be found in either local markets or fixed-price stores.
Haggling is common in Egypt, so prepare to bargain.
Egypt's larger cities have wide
selections of hotels to choose from, ranging from guesthouses to five star
hotels. The closer the hotel is to the city centre, the higher the room
rates tend to be. Cairo has the largest variety of hotels to choose from,
though it is suggested to book ahead of time. Famous hotel chains such
as the Hilton and the Sheraton can be found here. More expensive hotels
also offer a full range of facilities, such as swimming pools and food
and beverage opportunities.
Top Things to Do
and hotels can easily be found in Egypt's larger cities, while the outskirts
are slowly developing. Wireless internet is available in most coffee shops
and overseas phone calls can be made for a small fee in most hotels. Local
food is known for having amazing flavours, due to the spices available
from both Africa and Asia, though it is suggested that visitors eat at
more commercial places in order to avoid the risk of contaminated food.
Water should always be from a bottle, as water that has not been purified
is extremely hazardous.
History lovers will enjoy
the museums and monuments all around Egypt's main cities. The Egyptian
Museum is a favourite among travellers with its unique artefacts, such
as the tomb of King Tut and various pieces of extravagant jewellery.
Sunny all year long, Egypt
is best visited during winter, from November to March, as it can be extremely
hot otherwise. Though the weather is ideal for bikinis and shorts, legs,
arms and stomachs should not be inappropriately exposed.
Day trip to Aswan
The Aswan High Dam and the
temple of Philae are Aswan's two biggest attractions. The temple of Philae
is on an island which is only accessible by boat; it's a big hit among
adults and children alike for its fun factor. The Aswan High Dam offers
a breathtaking view of Lake Nassar. Impressive diagrams near the dam describe
how the dam was constructed.
Relax in a café
Throughout your holiday,
you'll find that you are in need of a break from the hustle and bustle
of the busy cities as well as the often draining experience of shopping
in Egypt. Whether it is day or night, traditional cafés offer an
ideal way of unwinding and resting tired feet. Local men can often be seen
enjoying a drink and some animated conversation in one of these cafés
but local women never visit them.
Ride horses and donkeys
around the pyramids
Riding a horse or donkey
is often the most practical and sometimes the only way of exploring the
areas famous for their pyramids. There are no roads in the areas northwest
of the main pyramids and horseback is the ideal way of exploring the desert
freely. Those on horseback are also less likely to be approached by men
posing as guides as well as souvenir sellers.
Ride on the Nile
Whether it's on a river
taxi, felucca or motor launch, a cruise on the Nile is a must for any visitor
to Egypt. Rented by the hour, boat excursions are an enjoyable way to spend
the day, or even just an hour. The felucca is a sailboat and also an incredibly
pleasant way of travelling along the river. The African Queen motor launch
is relaxing with its comfortable cushions and freshly served teas. Popular
destinations to visit while travelling the Nile are the Banana Islands
Visit the Egyptian Museum
One of Egypt's most noted
tourist attractions, the Egyptian Museum, is a large imposing place displaying
a number of Ancient Egypt's artefacts. You don't need to be a frequent
museum-goer to enjoy the delights of the Egyptian Museum; the gold displayed
in the Tutankhamun collection as well as the skeletal faces of unwrapped
mummies are enough to keep most visitors entertained. The Tutankhamun section
is dedicated to King Tut and is filled with treasures found at his tomb
in the Valley of the Kings. King Tut's mummy was mistreated during examination
and was therefore not in a good enough condition to be transported to Cairo.
His throne, bed, coffins, funeral mask, papyrus as well as other objects
are all on display inside the museum.
Watch a local soccer game
They say to truly enjoy
a country; visitors must live like a local. Watching a soccer game on the
West Bank is a fun way to spend the afternoon. You will be surrounded by
locals and an extremely friendly and excited atmosphere. Whatever age or
gender you are, you will be warmly welcomed and might even be invited to
play a game yourself.