Egypt : Travel Information before you go!
Cairo International Airport is 9 miles from the city centre. The transfer via shuttle bus costs less than a pound and by taxi around £6/9pounds.
The Luxor airport is 6 miles from the city, or a 20 min taxi ride (£4/7 per trip).
Past news: Because of attacks committed on the 7th and 30th April 2005 in the tourist districts of Cairo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs recommended that visitors avoid crowds and major sites of interest.
Following the attacks on Taba and Noueiba on 7th October, 2004, the Minister of Foreign Affairs advised travellers to avoid travelling near the Israeli border and the northeastern region of Sinai.
Egyptians have a good sense of humour and are a welcoming and kind people. Thefts and acts of aggression are rare here. Just make sure you always have an eye on your belongings.
Since the November 1997 Hatshepsut Temple terrorist attack in the Theban Necropolis, security measures have been reinforced. The tourist police (they wear a red armband on a black uniform) are present on all the tourist sites, and patrols accompany all bus and private car trips.
Arabic is the official language but English is widely spoken in all the tourist sites.
Required travel documents for
- British passport holders require a visa that you can purchase on arrival at the airport.
- For UK nationals single entry and multiple entry visas cost £15 and £18 respectively and are valid for six months from the date of issue for a maximum stay of 60 days (single entry) and 90 days (multiple entry).
- However, if travelling to Sharm el-Sheikh, Dahab, Neweiba and Taba resorts for a stay inferior to 14 days British passport holders do not require a visa and receive a free entry permission stamp on arrival.
- You must hold a passport valid for at least 6 months from the date you enter Egypt.
For more info on visas and entry requirements check with the Egyptian Embassy in your country of residence
90% of the Egyptian population are Sunni Muslims
The local currency is the Egyptian Pound (EGP). ATM machines are common, particularly in tourist areas. Nevertheless, take caution if withdrawing large sums and do this inside a bank if possible. Banks are generally open from 9.00am to 2.00pm every day except on Fridays, which are the equivalent to our Sundays. Large establishments accept credit card but you are likely to need cash in most places. It is a good idea to bring euros as these are easier to exchange than sterling.
- Flying from one city to another is the most practical way of getting around. However if you pride yourself on being punctual, catching a flight here will only mar your reputation. Tickets can also be fairly expensive.
- Night trains link Cairo and Luxor (9hrs) and Cairo and Aswan (13hrs). The couchettes are comfortable and will set you back around US$53/74 each way which includes breakfast and must be paid for in euros or US dollars. The journey between Cairo and Alexandria lasts about 3hrs and costs about £4 in 2nd class. Book at least two days in advance at the Rameses station Cairo. If travelling to any other city, we strongly advise you take the bus as other train lines are old and battered.
- Buses and microbuses can be taken within cities and to travel between different towns. When it comes to large buses, you will probably find yourself scrambling onto the moving vehicle and precariously hanging out of the doorway as it flies away. The quality of the journey increases with the price of the ticket. Tickets can often be bought at bus stations or even on the bus. However it is preferable to buy your ticket in advance for popular routes. Minibuses are far calmer and tend to only allow passengers to sit.
- Taxis are practical and cheap to get around town. They can be hired for the day (around £18 for a round trip between Cairo and the Pyramids of Giza and Saqqara). Communal taxis regularly drive from one city to another at a fixed rate (around £10 from Cairo to Alexandria or Luxor to Aswan, which is roughly 124 miles in 2-3 hours). However, taxis only leave once full. Expect cut-throat driving tactics and to be squeezed in between other passengers. Air conditioned bus journeys are recommended.
- For taxi, horse and cart and felluca (small boat) journeys always agree on the price before getting in! The same goes for guides.
- It is not recommended to hire a car without a chauffeur: Egyptian driving can be a bit rough and tumble so be sure to hold on! Although we wouldn't recommend it, driving in Egypt would require an international driving licence.
- No vaccine is required, however vaccinations against hepatitis A and B are recommended. Take an antimalarial treatment if you are planning on staying near oases and the Nile Delta, where mosquitoes are particularly virulent, from June to October.
- Medical facilities outside major cities are scarce and basic so make sure you have comprehensive medical insurance. Dial 123 for an ambulance in Egypt.
- Asthmatics be careful: the air in Cairo is dusty and polluted. Be prepared with antidiarrheatic pills, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat and a scarf (boats and hotels are air-conditioned).
- On the premises, follow a few everyday hygiene rules: only drink bottled water, avoid ice cubes and raw vegetables, also make sure you peel fruit.
- A new strain of foot and mouth has recently been detected in the Delta Region affecting sheep and cattle.
Voltage is 220, Plug C. We suggest you bring a universal adapter and converter kit.
About 11 million tourists visited Egypt in 2007.
However these figures dipped significantly following the 2011 Revolution.
Taxes and tips
In Egypt, even the smallest service requires some sort of 'baksheesh' or tip. In general, baksheesh (for temple guardians or luggage porters) are included in cruise and tour prices however, it is custom to leave a tip for tour guides and drivers at the end of the trip. 1 Egyptian pound minimum is the standard tip. A 12% service charge is usually included at restaurants but most people will add a bit more as this 12% may not go to the waiter.
To call Egypt from the UK, dial 00 + 20 (the country code) + the area code (Cairo: 2; Luxor: 95; Aswan: 97, Alexandria: 3) + the number you are trying to reach.
From Egypt to the UK: dial 00 + 44 + the number you are trying to reach
(without the initial 0).