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Egypt

Visa Requirements:

Visa on arrival

Languages Spoken:

Arabic

Currency Used:

Egyptian Pound

General Information

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba to the east, the Red Sea to the east and south, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, and across from the Sinai Peninsula lies Saudi Arabia, although Jordan and Saudi Arabia do not share a land border with Egypt.

Egypt emerged as one of the world's first nation states in the tenth millennium BC. Considered a cradle of civilisation, Ancient Egypt saw some of the earliest developments of writing, agriculture, urbanisation, organised religion and central government. Iconic monuments such as the Giza Necropolis and its Great Sphinx, as well the ruins of Memphis, Thebes, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings, reflect this legacy and remain a significant focus of scientific and popular interest. Egypt's long and rich cultural heritage is an integral part of its national identity, which has endured, and often assimilated, various foreign influences, including Greek, Persian, Roman, Arab, Ottoman, and European. Egypt was an early and important centre of Christianity, but was largely Islamised in the seventh century and remains a predominantly Muslim country, albeit with a significant Christian minority.

Egypt

Places To Go

Egypt brings out our inner explorers with its millennia-old pyramids and tombs. It dates to the time of the pharaohs, and it is the link between northeast Africa and the Middle East. The capital, Cairo, is home to many important landmarks like Muhammad Ali Mosque and the Egyptian Museum. Stop by Luxor and visit the Valley of the Kings where Tutankhamun’s tomb was found. Hop on a Nile boat and take in the view at twilight. You cannot miss seeing one of the waterside temples like Dendara or Edfu. Watch the sunset at the coast along the Red Sea or the sunrise between the stunning shapes of the White Desert. Both option will leave you breathless and in love with Egypt’s landscapes.

Luxor

A monumental number of archaeological relics from ancient Egypt remain evident in Luxor, the former capital of the New Kingdom. Once known as Thebes, the city straddles the banks of the Nile River and features an intriguing blend of modern buildings intertwined with ruins of temples and tombs from antiquity. Besides exploring a treasure trove of historic remnants and artifacts, your Luxor itinerary can include cruising on the Nile, haggling with vendors in one of the traditional souks, or checking out the local cuisine, especially hailed for its vegetarian dishes.

City of Peace

An enviable location on the southern end of the Sinai Peninsula and year-round warm weather boost tourism in Sharm El Sheikh and make it one of Egypt's premier travel destinations. Overlooking the Gulf of Aqaba, the resort town boasts some of the world's best diving and snorkeling, as the balmy waters of the Red Sea reveal a colorful world teeming with tropical fish and coral reefs. On a holiday in Sharm El Sheikh, you can spend your days lazing on the warm sand or by the hotel pool--keep the nights reserved for the cafes and nightclubs that light up the downtown area. If you tire of the resort lifestyle, day trip opportunities abound in Sharm El Sheikh, from tours of Mount Sinai or Luxor, to quad biking in the desert and explorations of various dive sites.

City of a Thousand Minarets

More than 20 million people call Cairo their home and, as soon as you set foot in the sprawling metropolis, it's evident they make it crowded and chaotic, but also exuberant and charming. You won't lack for places to visit in Cairo, partly due to the sheer vastness of Africa's largest city, and partly because it harbors a rich heritage and a plethora of historic relics. Millennia of different rulers, cultures, and religions left their mark on Egypt's capital, leaving it with a bountiful tapestry of mosques, lavish palaces, sacred tombs, and ancient artifacts. If delving into Cairo's tumultuous past leaves you feeling overwhelmed, retire to a quiet coffeehouse or a charming hole-in-the-wall restaurant to gather your impressions and take in the buzzing ambience.

Dahab

Formerly a remote Bedouin village, Dahab now enjoys the status of a resort town and scuba diving heaven. The village caters to budget travelers and boasts a laidback atmosphere, offering experiences that range from diving and lounging on the sandy Red Sea coast, to desert excursions and trips to Mount Sinai. A holiday in Dahab remains a good choice for backpackers, beach lovers, adventure sports enthusiasts, and families with kids.

Marsa Alam

The opening of an international airport and subsequent development of hotels and resorts boosted tourism in Marsa Alam, a town on Egypt's Red Sea coast known for its world-class diving spots. While the town itself lacks historical and cultural attractions, it boasts scenic beaches that reveal a vibrant underwater world. On a scuba diving holiday in Marsa Alam, you're likely to encounter exotic marine life, from schools of tropical fish to octopuses, dugongs, and sea turtles. Things to do in Marsa Alam include activities like boating, kitesurfing, and swimming with dolphins.

Mediterranean's Bride

Known for its turbulent and eventful past, the port city of Alexandria retains a historic charm and atmosphere, boasting thousands of years of Egypt's cultural heritage. Founded by Alexander the Great, the city saw the rise and fall of many empires and thrived during the Hellenistic and Roman civilizations, as well as the Byzantine era and the Islamic conquest of Egypt. Although its legendary lighthouse and the Great Library no longer stand, you'll discover an abundance of ancient ruins, landmark buildings, and relics on your tour of Alexandria. You can experience the city ambience on a walk along the sweeping waterfront promenade, touring its museums and galleries, or just people watching from a cafe.

Red Sea and Sinai

The Red Sea Riviera mainly consists of popular resort cities scattered along the shoreline, which offer excellent conditions for a laidback, entertaining holiday. An abundance of both natural and archaeological landmarks--including national parks, ancient Egyptian tombs, structures, and monuments--makes a vacation in Red Sea and Sinai an unforgettable experience for history buffs, photographers, and families with kids. Your Red Sea and Sinai itinerary can also incorporate diving excursions, visits to traditional bazaars and mosques, and an exploration of the area's Ibiza-like nightlife.

Nile River Valley

Nile River Valley represents one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, which supported human life as early as 5500 BCE. A tour of Nile River Valley includes visiting some of Egypt's best preserved ancient tombs, temples, and cities, as well as observing both the barren deserts and the fertile fields of corn, sugar cane, sesame, and alfalfa. Boats regularly cruise the waterway and visitors can choose between short trips to get a sense of the river's importance and magnitude, and weeklong excursions designed to provide a deeper insight into the country's history, topography, and cultural heritage.

Egypt

Climate

Most of Egypt's rain falls in the winter months. South of Cairo, rainfall averages only around 2 to 5 mm (0.1 to 0.2 in) per year and at intervals of many years. On a very thin strip of the northern coast the rainfall can be as high as 410 mm (16.1 in), mostly between October and March. Snow falls on Sinai's mountains and some of the north coastal cities such as Damietta, Baltim and Sidi Barrani, and rarely in Alexandria. A very small amount of snow fell on Cairo on 13 December 2013, the first time in many decades. Frost is also known in mid-Sinai and mid-Egypt. Egypt is the driest and the sunniest country in the world, and most of its land surface is desert.

Egypt has an unusually hot, sunny and dry climate. Average high temperatures are high in the north but very to extremely high in the rest of the country during summer. The cooler Mediterranean winds consistently blow over the northern sea coast, which helps to get more moderated temperatures, especially at the height of the summertime. The Khamaeen is a hot, dry wind that originates from the vast deserts in the south and blows in the spring or in the early summer.

It bringing scorching sand and dust particles, and usually brings daytime temperatures over 40 °C (104 °F) and sometimes over 50 °C (122 °F) more in the interior, while the relative humidity can drop to 5% or even less. The absolute highest temperatures in Egypt occur when the Khamaseen blows. The weather is always sunny and clear in Egypt, especially in cities such as Aswan, Luxor and Asyut. It is one of the least cloudy and least rainy regions on Earth.

Prior to the construction of the Aswan Dam, the Nile flooded annually (colloquially The Gift of the Nile) replenishing Egypt's soil. This gave Egypt a consistent harvest throughout the years.

The potential rise in sea levels due to global arming could threaten Egypt's densely populated coastal strip and have grave consequences for the country's economy, agriculture and industry. Combined with growing demographic pressures, a significant rise in sea levels could turn millions of Egyptians into environmental refugees by the end of the 21st century, according to some climate experts.

Egypt

Safety Tips

As most countries, there are areas that are recommended to avoid. Egypt can be safe as long as you use common sense and take advice from authorities, hotels and tour operators. It is important to follow the news on television and radio closely. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against all but essential travel to certain regions shown on the map below. Cairo, Alexandria, the tourist areas along the Nile river, and the Red Sea resorts of Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada are considered safe according to the FCO.  Egypt is an Islamic country, so, as you would in any other country, it is important to respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to avoid offending other cultures or religious beliefs. Dress modestly; women should cover their legs and upper arms, and men should cover their chests. Public displays of affection are frowned upon. Make sure you always have an ID on you, a photocopy of your passport and any other identification in case of loss or seizure.

Crime and Scams

Most of the crimes and scams against foreigners are crimes of opportunity. These semi-professional thieves target unaware travelers in tourist areas and restaurants. There are not many reports of violence, but this does not mean that they do not happen, so be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings at all times. Accidental spills are also a popular method used to distract the victims. If anyone spills something on you, step away and be alert.

Transportation Safety

There are reports of assaults in taxis and on micro buses, so take extra care when traveling alone. If you decide to take a micro bus, avoid being the last passenger left on the bus. Accidents are common due to the poor road conditions and the non-enforcement of traffic laws.

Natural Hazards

Between March and May, sand and dust storms are common. If a natural disaster occurs, make sure you follow the advice of local authorities. You can find more information on natural disasters on the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.

Terrorism

Terrorist attacks are likely in Egypt. The main threat comes from extremists linked to Dash-Sinai. Egyptian authorities have increased security presence throughout the country. There are extra measures in place at popular tourist areas and worship places. However, remain alert at all times, especially at crowded places, tourist sites, religious locations, and around government buildings and security checkpoints.

Important New Laws

Drones are strictly prohibited in Egypt, including small civilian drones for personal or touristic purposes. As of March 2017, UK and US governments put in place new restrictions on carrying electronic devices for passengers travelling from or through Egypt to the UK and US. For more information, please visit the Hand luggage restrictions at UK airports and/or the US Department of Homeland Security website.

Risk ratings

OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
The situation in Egypt is unpredictable, but security has increased ever since. There is a special police force to assist tourists. They wear a distinctive arm band saying “Tourism and Antiquities Police,” and they can be found in hotels and at tourist sites. As long as common sense is used and travellers remain alert, Egypt can be an exciting country to explore.

PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
Pickpocket and bag and purse snatching are common in tourist locations and on the metro. Remain vigilant for thieves that use different strategies to rob you.

MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
There is a threat of kidnapping in remote desert areas. However, they should not be a big concern in major cities. Most kidnappings are within the Egyptian community and their targets tend to be affluent people, or they are used to settle a dispute among neighbors, rivals, or tribes. Carjackings usually target sports utility vehicles. Muggers are usually armed and use different tactics to stop the vehicle. If you find yourself in this situation, do not resist; usually, the criminals are after the car and will not harm you if they are successful.

SCAM RISK : HIGH
As in any other country, taxi drivers will try to take advantage of travelers by overcharging them. Most of the taxis do not have a meter, so be prepared to negotiate your fare before you get in the taxi and tell your driver you want to be dropped off at the main gate. If you are walking to a museum, there is a very high chance that you will get stopped by someone telling you that the museum is closed or that there is a protest, and they will invite you into their shop to have tea while you wait. They will then pressure you into buying something from their shop.

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Road conditions are poor and drivers usually do not follow traffic regulations. Trains are usually safe between Alexandria and Cairo. Avoid microbuses if you can as there have been assault reports.

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Egypt is located in a seismic zone; the last major earthquake was in 1996. The country also has some sand and dust storms between the months of March and May.

TERRORISM RISK : HIGH
Terrorist attacks are likely in Egypt. The main threat comes from extremists linked to Dash-Sinai. Remain vigilant and take advice from authorities, hotels and tour operators. It is important to follow the news on television and radio closely.

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : HIGH
Many women travel safely without any issues. However, if you are traveling alone, it is important to exercise particular care in crowds, on public transportation, in rural areas, and in isolated sections. There have been reports of women been assaulted in taxis and while in public areas. Avoid isolated locations and traveling alone after dark. Women may get some unwanted attention from men. Wear clothes that cover your arms, legs, and chest in order to blend in.