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.