Egypt is a country located in the northeastern corner of Africa and its capital city is Cairo. It is bordered by Libya to the west, the Sudan in the South and the Gaza strip and Israel in the east. Egypt has coastlines on the Mediterranean Sea, the Nile River and the Red Sea. Its topography consists of mainly of desert plateau but the eastern part is cut by the Nile River valley.
Egypt’s total area of 386,662 square miles or about 1 million square kilometers, making it the 30th largest country in the world. The highest point in Egypt is Mount Catherine about 2,629m tall, located in Sinai Peninsula and lowest point is the Qattara Depression about 133m below sea level. Egypt is dived into two sections: The Upper Egypt in the south and the Lower Egypt in the north. These sections were named according how the Nile River flows from south to north until it reaches the Mediterranean Sea.
As the world’s longest river, the Nile cuts through an incredible 6680km of Africa as it winds its way north towards the Mediterranean Sea. The Nile River was critical to the development of the ancient Egypt. In addition to Egypt, it runs through or along the border of other African countries such as Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, and South Sudan. It has two main sources: Lake Victoria in Uganda, out of which flows the White Nile; and Lake Tana in the Ethiopian highlands, from which the Blue Nile emerges. For thousands of years the river has provided a source of irrigation to transform the dry area around into lush agricultural land. Ancient Egyptians developed irrigation methods to increase the amount of land they could use for crops and support a thriving population. Beans, cotton, wheat, and flax were important and abundant crops that could be easily stored and traded.
The Nile River delta was also an ideal growing location for the papyrus plant. Ancient Egyptians used the papyrus plant in many ways, such as making cloth, boxes, and rope, but by far its most important use was in making paper. Besides using the river's natural resources for themselves and trading them with others.
Egypt is the most populous country in the entire Middle East, with around 100 million people (as of February 2020) 95 percent of the Egyptians live along the banks of Nile River. About 90 percent of Egyptians are Muslims and about 10 percent of Egyptians are Copts, one of the oldest branches of Christian religion. Arabic is the official language. Professionals who work in the tourism sector are accustomed to visitors who do not speak Arabic, and they will speak enough English and other languages such as Spanish, German, French and Italian to fulfill the needs of most travelers.
Best Time to Visit
Egypt is a year round destination but during summer time (June to August) the weather can be very hot especially in the southern part of the country such as Luxor and Aswan. The best time to visit Egypt is during September to April. Christmas, New Year and Easter are also considered peak season, so make sure you better book or plan your visit ahead of time.
In general, modest dressing is highly recommended when visiting Egypt. Inside mosques women will be asked to cover their hair and perhaps their arms and legs. The best is to avoid shorts and mini-skirts.
In winter: you will be needing a jacket, sweater or warm clothing. You may also bring a raincoat or umbrella if you will be visiting the Mediterranean coast.
In summer: bring lighter or summer clothes, sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat or large scarf to protect your head from the heat of the sun of from the dust.
Regardless of the season, you must wear a sturdy and comfortable shoes during your tour and must avoid wearing flip-flops and heels.
Health & Safety
Travelers should make sure their health insurance plan covers them when travelling outside of their home or residence country. Travelers should carry prescription medication in original packaging along with your doctor’s prescription. In Egypt, emergency and intensive care facilities are limited. Most Nile cruise boats do not have ship’s doctor but some employ a medical practitioner.
Tourists should be alert to being overcharged for various services and for being victimized in scams common to tourist destinations. Tourists should expect to encounter aggressive vendors at Egypt’s shops in urban areas, as well as at many temples and archaeological sites. Some will offer “free” gifts to tourists which, once accepted, lead to demands for money. Most sites have especially designated tourist police who can assist in uncomfortable situations.
Tap water in some locations are not potable. It is best to drink bottled water or water that has been boiled and filtered. Bringing sunblock cream/lotion and mosquito repellant are essential as well.
The Egyptian ambulance service hotline is 123.
The official currency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound, or “Geneh” in Arabic, and commonly abbreviated as LE. Credit cards are widely used in Egypt at some hotels, shops, restaurants, and cafes. Most stores in markets like Khan El Khalili and the Luxor touristic market accept credit cards. The most common types of credit cards used in Egypt are Visa, Master Card, and American Express.
There are large number of banks and money exchange offices that can change cash as well as checks. Moreover, many touristic shops, restaurants, and bars will actually accept dollars or Euros at rates that are relatively close to the official ones. Make sure you know the current exchange rate of dollars or Euros to Egyptian pounds.
There is a tipping culture in Egypt where local guides, drivers are expecting to be given or to receive a gratuity with grace. If you decide to tip feel free to give what you think your experience was worth or consider if you were provided with great service.
For guides and driver: 10-15 USD per person per day and for restaurants: tip is included in the bill; add 5-10 percent.
Photography is allowed in most of the historical sites and museums in Egypt, but some of them have extra charges for taking in a camera. In the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities and the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, photography is prohibited and visitors are asked to leave their cameras at the reception before entering.
It is illegal to photograph police stations, military barracks, and certain other sensitive public buildings.
Wi-Fi is available at many mid-range and upper range hotels throughout the country. Though sometimes internet connection can be frustratingly slow.
Wi-Fi is not everywhere in Egypt, but there is substantial amount of public places where you can find it.
There are 3 major carriers that provide mobile lines in Egypt: Mobinil, Vodafone Egypt, Etisalat Egypt.
It's not quite as easy as it could be to get a SIM card in Egypt. You have to visit a branch of a mobile provider, show a passport and address and then they will sell you a phone number.
Many Egyptians do not drink alcohol in accordance with Islamic traditions, but locally brewed beer is served in higher-end and tourist-oriented restaurants.
In Red Sea area resorts at Hurghada, El Gouna and Sahl Hasheesh most tourist-oriented restaurants are serving alcoholic drinks.
During the Holy month of Ramadan, it is forbidden to serve and sell alcohol and some restaurants and bars may be closed over the month. Drinking on the street or being drunk on the streets is prohibited.
In Egypt there are three type of climates depending on the locations: Mediterranean climate on the northern coast (9-35°C), desert climate in the inland areas (6-41°C), and last is climate of the coast of Red Sea which is equally desert but a bit milder (13-38°C).
In Egypt, the standard voltage is 220V and the frequency is 50 Hz. There are two associated plug types C and F. Type plug C is the plug that has two round pins, also known as “Euro” plug. The plug type F is the plug which has two round pins with two earth clips on the side.
Hotels’ Check-in / Check-out time and Room Types
The general check-in time in Egypt is 14:00-15:00 and check out time is 12:00. Request for early check in and/or late check-out, depends on the availability of the hotel and it is not guaranteed. Additional charges will be made according to hotel’s rules and policies. Double room, twin bedded and single room are available to most hotels. For triple sharing, it is either double or twin room with 1 extra roll away bed or a sofa bed.
Main airport is Cairo International Airport (IATA code: CAI and ICAO code: HECA) it is located 22 kilometers northeast of the city of Cairo and one of the most important and busiest airports in Africa and Egypt itself.
Approximately 65 airlines transit Cairo Airport, and EgyptAir (Egypt’s state-owned flag carrier) is the main connecting company. Due to its union with the Star Alliance in July 2008, the airport is considered an important distribution center between Africa, the Middle East and Europe. There are 26 airports located in the key cities of Egypt and there are about 13 international airports such as the Luxor, Hurghada, Sharm el-Sheikh and El Nouzha (Alexandria) to name a few.
There are several luxuries air-conditioned day and night trains with sleeping and restaurants cars operating from Alexandria to Cairo to Luxor and Aswan. These overnight trains can be book through your local travel agent or thru online https://www.wataniasleepingtrains.com/
Book a Nile cruise and you just might unravel another layer of the mystery that is Ancient Egypt.
Sailing the Nile along the lush Nile Valley surrounded by sand dunes and sightseeing Ancient Egyptian monuments such as Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple, Kom Ombo and Abu Simbel is tourism at its best. Wake up to the soft light of the morning sun, take in the heat and cool off in the pool on the deck of a cruiser; watch fishermen cast their nets, farmers take to their fields, a flight of birds, and water buffalos staring back at you.
For a softer but still very inspiring cruise experience in Egypt, try the short felucca cruises on the Nile, in Aswan, Luxor or Cairo, or take it to the next level and enjoy an unforgettable night aboard one of the luxurious dinner cruises available in the Egyptian capital.
The cruise categories in Egypt are: 5* Luxury, 5* Luxury Superior and 5* Grand Luxury. Cruise schedules can last 5 days up to 15 days depending on your cruise route.
-Sight-seeing tours are operated and led by a local guides and/or local drivers.
-We encourage clients to buy handmade artifacts from the local producers like papyrus, carpets and gold and silver souvenirs.
-Local guide and tour operators are not allowed to smoke during work.
-We support eco-tourism and do our best to deal with ecologically friendly hotels and resorts in Dahab, Marsa Alam, Sinai and Bahariya Oasis. Staying at eco-lodge that are owned, constructed and managed by the local people is a good option to meet adventurous people and the like.
-Enjoy at least one wildlife excursion, whether bird watching on the Nile or snorkeling in the Red Sea. The value you place on the environment you are sightseeing stimulates a local interest for protection, conservation and education.
-Utilize local transportation such as buses and trains for your sightseeing tour. A hot air balloon over Luxor, a felucca boat journey down the Nile, or a camel ride in the desert is a wonderful way to have a unique and low-impact experience. Keep in mind, a slower journey will have a lower impact, and is much more relaxing.
Israel is situated at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. The country is divided into four regions: the coastal plain, the central hills, the Great Rift Valley and the Negev Desert. It is border on the north by Lebanon, on the northeast by Syria, on the east and southeast by Jordan, on the southwest by Egypt and on the west by the Mediterranean Sea. Israel has an area of about 8,550 square miles or 22,145 square kilometers. The Highest point is the Mount Hermon about 2,814 meters or 9,232 feet tall, and can be found in the Golan Heights and the lowest point of Israel is the Dead Sea about 399 below sea level.
Best Time to Visit
Israel can be visited all-year round. The season of spring (April-May) and autumn (September-October) are the best time to visit Israel, where the temperature is around 15°-20°C and the weather is mild and pleasant throughout the country. Although spring and autumn months are the recommended time to travel there are also factors you have to consider. September and October are the busiest months in the Jewish calendar, with Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). Many tourists travel to Israel during the month of April due to Passover (Pessach) and Easter. Dates of these holidays may vary from year to year and it’s best to avoid these traveling on these dates. Prices are very expensive during these dates.
In summer, June-August, the average temperature is over 30°-40°C most especially in the south and Negev Desert area. The winter months of November to March are the coldest with occasional snowfall in the northern part, Golan Heights and in Jerusalem. Expect heavy rainfall on coastal areas during this time too.
In general, casual clothing is suitable when travelling to Israel. Jeans, T-shirts, comfortable and sturdy walking shoes are ideal in most of the sites. In winter: It is best to pack warm sweater or coat, jacket, long sleeves shirts, scarves and gloves. Bring also with you an umbrella or rain coat, winter boots or rain boots as heavy rains might occur.
In summer: Lightweight shirts, jeans, maxi dresses or skirt are suitable when travelling during summer in Israel. Do also bring with you sun screen lotion/cream, hat/cap, lightweight scarf and sunglasses. If you’re visiting Dead Sea and Eilat, you must pack with you a swimwear. When visiting religious sites such as mosque, synagogue, church or even the Wailing Wall, always remember to cover up your chest, shoulders, elbows and knees. Avoid wearing sleeveless shirts, ripped jeans, short skirts and shorts. If visiting Jewish religious sites, men should cover their heads with a kippah. It is usually marked with a sign when men must cover their heads, most notably at the Western Wall.
Health & Safety
Take in to consideration of availing a travel insurance including a medical coverage when travelling abroad. You can check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior you travel abroad or depart in your residence country. Israel has one of the most technologically advanced and highest-quality healthcare systems in the world. Hospitals in Israel are equipped with modern facilities and high-quality medical technology. Medical personnel are very well-trained. Doctors mostly speaks in English. Some areas in Israel can be very hot and dry, most especially during summer, please be reminded to always keep yourself hydrated. Here are some lists of contact in case of emergency,
Medical/Ambulance - 101, Police - 100 and Fire and rescue - 102.
The currency in Israel is the New Israeli Shekel or NIS. Israeli bank notes come in four denominations: 20, 50, 100 and 200 NIS and coins come in five denominations: 10, 5 and 1 NIS; 50 agurot and 10 agurot. These banknotes have braille on them so the blind can easily identify them. All of the major credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted and can be used to withdraw funds from ATMs with your pin code.
Tipping is not expected but it is increasingly common in Israel.
For local guide and drivers: On average, 10-20 NIS or $3-5 USD per person per day is the minimum, however if you think you were provided with a good quality of service, a more generous tip is most likely appreciated.
For Restaurants: Waiters will expect a tip, 10-15% of your bill depending on how good the service and how much you ordered.
For taxi drivers: They generally do not expect to be tipped, but you can round off your fare.
For Hotels: 10-20 NIS or $3-5 USD for good housekeeping.
Photography is allowed in most of the historical sites and museums in Israel. It is advisable to be sensitive when taking photos of Muslims and Orthodox Jewish areas. Do not take photos of police or military personnel and/or stations and installations.
Communications and Internet Access
The international dialing code for Israel is +972. Israel is technologically advanced country. Wi-Fi is available in most cafeterias, restaurant, malls, airport and hotels and are usually free, though sometimes you have to ask for the password. Tel Aviv offers a citywide free Wi-Fi network which provides more than 80 free Internet “hot spots” across the city. Wi-Fi is also available on many intercity buses and train, though it is rather slow.
Alcohol and Smoking
Alcohol is forbidden following the traditions of Islam and it is certainly not available in Arabic communities and West Bank. Alcoholic drinks are only available at some hotels for tourists. When purchasing alcoholic drinks, proof of age is required and requested at bars, nightclubs and restaurants. Smoking in all public places such as restaurants, trains, buses, and taxis is against the law.
In Israel, the standard voltage is 230V and the frequency is 50 Hz. There are three associated plug types C, H and M. Type plug C is the plug that has two round pins, also known as “Euro” plug. Plug type H has three pins in a triangular shape and type M has three round pins.
Check-in / Check-out time at Hotels and Room Types
The general check-in time in Israel is 14:00-15:00 and check out time is 12:00. Request for early check-in and/or late check-out, depends on the availability of the hotel and it is not guaranteed. Additional charges will be made according to hotel’s rules and policies. Double room, twin bedded and single room are available to most hotels. For triple sharing, it is either double or twin room with 1 extra roll away bed or a sofa bed.
Ben Gurion Airport (IATA code: TLV and ICAO code: LLBG) is the main international airport in Israel. It is located 20 km south of Tel Aviv and about 45 km from Jerusalem. Tel Aviv airport is considered one of the best airports in Middle East because of its high level security and amazing passenger service. Located in the southern part of the country and about 18 km from Eilat, Ramon airport is the second biggest airport in Israel. It handles the domestic operations Tel Aviv and Haifa.
Holidays in Israel
Holocaust Memorial Day
Yom HaShoah is often known as Holocaust Remembrance Day and an occasion to commemorate the lives and heroism of the six million Jewish people who died in the Holocaust between 1933 and 1945. It usually falls in late April or early May. The law prohibits places of public entertainment from being open on the evening before until the day of Yom HaShoah.
Israel Independence Day
Israeli Independence day also called Yom Haatzmaut, commemorates the declaration of independence in Israel in 1948. It is considered an official national holiday of the state and the only official non-working day in Israel. It usually celebrated in late April or early May in the Hebrew calendar.
Rosh Hashanah or the Jewish New Year is observed the first and second day of the seventh month of the Jewish religious year, Tishri. In western calendar it falls usually during September or early October and this holiday lasts for about 2 days (48 hours). The celebrations continue for ten days of repentance, culminating on Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. In the Old Testament in the book of Leviticus and Numbers, it is known as Feast of the Trumpets.
Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. As a tourist it is advisable not to travel on this day as all malls, restaurants, cultural sites, museum and land borders are closed. Both public and private transportations and tours are not allowed and roads will be empty.
Some tourists cross the border early and take their time to travel to Petra or Wadi Rum during Yom Kippur.
-Sight-seeing tours are operated and led by a local guides and/or local drivers.
-Be sensitive in discussing politics and religion. It is better to do research or some readings prior you travel in Israel and other Palestinian territories.
-Always follow security warning from the authorities. Always best to carry with you your passport as ID.
-Be mindful and respectful when talking about the Holocaust and never make jokes about it.
-Israel is a hot country, most especially during summer time, it is important to keep yourself hydrated all the time. It is not necessary to buy bottled water as tap water is safe in Israel. Do not do hiking in the height of summer heat.
-When hiking at off beaten paths such as the Golan Heights, it is advisable to hire an expert guide, better yet a local guide licensed by the Israel Ministry of Tourism.
-Local products especially Dead Sea products are very popular souvenirs or gifts. Supporting such products is also a way to help Israeli and Palestinian locals.
-When travelling to Red Sea and doing water activities such as scuba diving, book with diving company that has responsible tourism credentials.
Jordan is a small country, but offers a wide range of landscapes and travel experiences. The Jordanian people are in general welcoming and hospitable. The territory of present-day Jordan was originally inhabited by numerous civilizations like the Nabataeans, Romans, Greeks, Assyrians, Crusaders, Mamluks and Ottoman Turks. Their marks can be seen in ancient ruins and architecture. In May 1946 Transjordan became independent from the British Mandate. 4 years later is was renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. In 1953 Hussein Ibn Talal became king until his death in 1999. His son King Abdullah II rules since then the parliamentary monarchy. The country has an estimated population of 10 million; the capital is Amman. Official language is Arabic, English is widely spoken. The time zone is GMT+2 and in summer GMT+3.
Jordan shares borders with Israel, the West Bank, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The Dead Sea is with 420 meters below sea level the lowest point on earth; the highest point in Jordan is Jabal Umm Al Dami in Wadi Rum with 1,854 meters. A narrow access to the Red Sea in the south exists through Aqaba. The three main areas are the Jordan Valley, the Mountain Heights Plateau and the Eastern desert. You find here a wide range of environments, deserts, mountains, fertile valleys and a small coastline.
Best Time to Visit
Most pleasant time to travel is in spring (mid March to May) and autumn (September to November). Summer is dry with a Mediterranean climate. But it can be very warm at the Dead Sea, in Wadi Rum and Aqaba. In turn, Dead Sea and Aqaba offer pleasant stays in winter time. In the rest of the country weather is cool with occasional rain, in areas on high altitudes like Dana and Petra snowfall might occur. Jordan celebrates Ramadan. You need to consider that in this period outside touristic areas not all restaurants and shops are open during daylight.
Jordan is a Muslim country and the dress code is conservative. For men and women it is recommended to cover knees and shoulders, avoid tight fitting clothes and cleavage. Non-Muslims are allowed to visit the King Abdullah Mosque in Amman, women need to cover the hair when doing so. Beachwear is only accepted at hotel pools and beaches. Lightweight clothes are recommended for the period May to September. Still pack a sweater or jacket, the nights are rather cool. Warm clothes are especially recommended for mid of December until February. Please check the weather a week or two before your holiday to pack appropriately.
Health & Safety
Jordan has in general a good health care system, with the best hospitals located in Amman. Most medical professionals have been trained abroad and speak English. The tap water is not safe to drink and heavily chlorinated. Stick to bottled water and avoid ice cubes in drinks. Ensure meat and fish are well cooked, avoid raw vegetables and peel fruits. For safety information please check the advisory of your government.
Currency and Money
The currency is the Jordanian Dinar, abbreviation is JOD or JD. Notes are available in denominations of 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 JD. Coins are in use for ½ and ¼ JD , 10, 5 and 1 piasters. Major credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants and larger shops. Make sure you carry some cash with you as smaller shops may not accept credit cards. ATMs can be found in most of the larger towns. In rural and remote areas like Wadi Rum have cash on hand. Foreign currencies can be exchanged easily in exchange shops or banks.
Jordan has a tipping culture. Hotels and restaurants add a surcharge that is included in bills, which is usually 10%. Rounding up bills and leaving spare change is a good idea when dining in smaller restaurants and when using taxis. Drivers and guides are expecting tips, the amount is up to the traveler.
Do not take photographs of individuals without their permission. Drones and telescopes are not permitted to bring into Jordan. It is forbidden to take pictures of military facilities and borders.
Internet can usually be accessed from hotels. Expect reduced access in villages and remote areas. For example, camps located deeper in the desert of Wadi Rum have no internet access.
Alcohol can be bought in liquor stores, most of them you find in Amman and Aqaba. Respect the local culture and do not consume alcohol in public places. Many hotels and restaurants serve alcohol, but not all though. Adults are allowed to bring one litre of alcohol into the country.
To support local economies we encourage you to visit local restaurants and wherever possible stay at locally run hotels. Do not enter homes or tents without being invited. Some areas are restricted to women only. Remove all litter when leaving a picnic site.