Egypt, the legendary country of the pharaohs is the first tourist destination in Africa and Egypt has a thousand faces and a thousand exciting ways to go through it like the Nile , the great African river, Luxor, Karnak, Gizeh, the Valley of the Kings, Abu Simbel , Thebes, Abu Simbel , the capital Cairo, (full of animation and museums , the oldest Christian monastery and the mosques ), Alexandria, which was the most beautiful city of the Mediterranean. But in addition, Egypt is its desert and its oases, and the coast of the Red Sea, destiny of divers and lovers of the fauna and Egypt is also the Suez Canal and the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt has many historic monuments turned to UNESCO heritage .
Geography of Egypt
Egypt locates in North Africa and Southwest Asia, with the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea on its shorelines. The total area: about1,001,449 square kilometers of land. Westward Egypt stands Libya, southward is Sudan, and eastward locates Gaza Strip and Israel. Egypt is divided into 26 governorates the major ones of them are Alexandria, Cairo, Port Said and Suez Canal. The major Physical Regions in Egypt are :
-Nile Valley and Delta: It represents the most important cultivable part and the most crowded region of the total area of Egypt since it covers only about 5.5% of the land and inhabited by about 99% of the population. The Nile Valley and the Delta are the outcome of the Nile River that flows from the southward borders with Sudan to the Mediterranean Sea, and stretches to cover 1,600 kilometers through out Egypt. It is the main source of water and the prominent reason that enabled ancient Egyptians in forming their Great Civilization in the past and is still helping Egyptians today in regaining their ancient glory and heritage. The construction of the dams in Egypt including the High Dam and Aswan Dam played a great role in saving the Nile river water and boosting agriculture in Egypt.
-Western Desert or Libyan Desert: Covers approximately 700, kilometers and is famous for the Great Sand Sea that extends from Siwa Oasis to Jilf El Kabir. Among the major governorates of Egypt that can be regarded as a part of this desert: Marsa Matruh, El Wadi El Gadid of the New Valley. There are also some major oasis in this desert including Siwa Oasis, El Kharga, El Dakhla, El Frafera, and El Faiyum Oasis.
-Eastern Desert or Arabian Desert: Cover about 220,000 square kilometers of land and the most distinguishing feature of this part of Egypt is the Red Sea hills, and sharply cut Wadis, and the major governorate in this Area is El Ghardaqah.
-Sinai Peninsula: Extends for about 61, 100 square kilometers, and is divided into: North Sinai with El Arish as its capital, and South Sinai with El Tur as its Capital. The most prominent features of this area are the Red Sea Hills with its red color and Mount Catherine that is regarded as the highest mountain in the area. In addition to that there are other areas in Sinai Peninsula including the limestone Plateau and the sandy coastal plain that traverses from the Suez Canal till Gaza Strip.
Demographics in Egypt
According to July 2007 surveys, Egypt is regarded as the third most populous country in Africa, since its population reaches about 80,335,036 and the ratio of population growth is 1.721%. In addition to the great population of Egypt, there is also a huge number of immigrants who move to it, for leading a better life on the land of the Nile River and the fertile Delta. There is also a huge number of immigrants who move to Egypt as an asylum including Palestinians, and Iraqi and their number is approximately 500,000 and 3 million. The majority of the inhabitants carry the Egyptian nationality, while only about 1% of the inhabitants are Nubian, Bedouin, and some French, Italian, Greek people. The majority of the Egyptians are Muslims while about 10 % are Christians, and Coptic Orthodox. The major part of the population live in the major governorates on either sides of the Nile including Cairo, Giza and also in Alexandria and Suez Canal.
Arabic is the official language of the state used by almost all the inhabitants. The Egyptian slang is also preferable slang for almost all the Arabic speakers because it can be easily learnt by foreigners and understood by the speakers of all the other Arabic slang. Moreover, most of the Egyptians are bilingual or multilingual, thus no language problems may hinder the visitors of Egypt from interacting with Egyptian people or asking them for help.
Religons in Modern Egypt
Islam is the official religion in modern Egypt since it entered it in 461 on the hands of Amr Ibn El As and about 90 % of the inhabitants are Muslims. In spite of that there are other religions in Egypt including the Christian Orthodox whose total number reaches about 3 million people. In addition to that there are about 7 million Coptic and one million of other Greek Orthodox and other minute number of Jewish people. In spite the existence of different religions in Egypt, all the Egyptians enjoy national unity. This may be attributed to the indiscrimination between the two sects to the extent that the Muslims celebrate the feast day of Christians in 7th of March, and the Christians celebrate the feasts of Muslims as well. Religion plays a great role in the life of Egyptians and affects greatly on their traditions and costumes nowadays.
The Egyptian Pound (EGP) is the official currency for the Arab Republic of Egypt, with every pound consisting of 100 piasters (units of currency). Approximately, one USD equals 18 pounds, while one Euro equals 20 pounds. Usually, there would not be a great difference in money changing between banks and the authorized exchange offices, however, if you pay your hotel bill or your Nile cruise fare with a foreign currency, the exchange rate would be considerably lower, not for your advantage. In large cities' tourist spots, most businesses accept both foreign currencies and credit cards. It is rather impossible, however, to find an ATM or exchange office available or even credit card payment accepted in small towns and villages.
Entry Visa to Egypt
Egypt visa is accessible at your application in the Egyptian consulates which spread all over the world or upon your arrival to Egypt borders. The latter facility, however, is restricted to travelers of some countries. To make sure of the visa application requirements, it is necessary to contact the Egyptian consulate in your country. Citizens from the U.S, the European Union, Japan, most Arab countries and Southern America can get the visa in destination.
Due to new international regulations, the traveler must declare the sum of foreign currencies he has, if exceeding 10000 UDS. Apart from that, entry and exit regulations are quite flexible especially for tourists traveling with tour operators.In spite of being examined and inspected, personal objects, whether used or new, are exempted from all kinds of duties and taxes. On condition they are registered at the traveler's entry, photo or video cameras, typewriters, calculators, radios, laptops, jewelry, and other objects are also exempted from customs duties. Before departure, tourists should submit the original customs declaration to be checked. As long as dedicated to personal use, food, one liter of alcoholic beverages, and medicine are also exempted. Custom duties, however, are imposed on any other excessive amount.
Clothes in Egypt
When it comes to the mode of dressing, Egyptians are fairly conservative. However, unlike in other Islamic countries, in Egypt you may find people dressed in various styles: You can see men dressed in Western-styled suits, jeans, and Egyptian-styled garment. On the other hand, women can be seen putting on Islamic headscarves covering their hair while others wear face-covering veil. In big Egyptian cities, however, women are considered to be more liberal that you can see them dressed in jeans wear without any scarves. It is recommended that you wear comfortable clothing and footwear. Likewise, it is recommended to put on jackets or pullovers during winter nights. As for tourist women, changing the mode of dressing is unnecessary except at entering mosques where it is a must to wear headscarves and other scarves that would cover their shoulders. It is necessary that one takes off their shoes at entering a mosque, therefore, you may want to put on socks under shoes or go barefoot.
Health and Hygiene Tips
A traveler may suffer from gastroenteritis or diarrhea resulting from: hot weather, air conditioning, difference in local hygiene standards from developed countries. To avoid diarrhea and stomach pains, it is recommended to drink mineral water and not to eat fresh vegetable or fruits outside major hotels. However, in case you desire to taste some, it is recommended that you wash them first with mineral water. Toilets are rarely available outside the tourist sites, thus, such a matter is to be taken into consideration. In case you get unclean, it is advisable not to use public toilets and bring towels or handkerchiefs.Remember, it is a nice manner to tip with about one pound for using the water closet.
Travelling with Children
Also Children have the chance to enjoy their time in Egypt, whether by swimming or diving in the beaches' crystal water by visiting the various temples, pyramids, churches, mosques and museums.If having a classic tour visiting monuments, extra caution must be paid during the excursion. When crossing roads in big cities whether traffic lights are absent or in operation, due care must be paid. In order to avoid diarrhea, great care must be taken with food, especially fruits and vegetables which are not cooked.
Discount for Student
Visiting monuments, museums, and tourist attractions as well as using some means of transportation, Students can enjoy a discount up to 50% off. Normally, students can use their school ID and college ID which are often accepted, however, it is more preferable that they get the International Student Identity Card (ISIC).
When to go to Egypt
Egypt is famous for its therapeutic weather since many cities enjoy a healthy climate. Thus most of the European travelers visit it as a health destination and touristic destination as well.
Egypt enjoys a gracefully warm climate through out the year: Sun shines about eight hours a day and rain is scarce. The major change in climate through out the year may be attributed to the difference of temperature and the prevailing wind. During the summer months - June, July, and August - northern wind blowing from Europe brings about a milder weather.
In March and May the weather affects greatly with El Khamasin wind that causing great sandstorms and spread of many diseases among people and animals.
Egyptian deserts have a continental climate. In winter, the temperatures range in winter may be 0° C at night and 15° C-19° C and the rainfall is rare except for Sinai that receives more rains than other desert areas. During the summer, the average temperatures in weather fluctuates between 40° C - 44° C during the day, to 9° C during the night in the deserts.
In coastal cities, the range of temperatures usually varies between 15° in the winter and from 28° C to 32° C in summer. Rains fall rarely through out Egypt but the Northern Coast and Delta receive more rains. Alexandria is one of the major coastal cities that receives the average of 19 cm rainfall yearly, while the upper Egypt cities such as Aswan an average of rains as low as 10 cm yearly.
Security and Recommendations
Egypt is one of the safest countries in the world. One can stroll in its streets at any time day and night peacefully without fear. Probably, the only two things that might bother you is the importunity of vendors or the curiosity of children.Tourists will see a policeman noticeably present in the tourist sites. In Cairo, policemen are dressed in black in winter and white in summer. In other cities, however, they are dressed in khaki (a dusty yellow color). In tourist places, policemen are dressed in either black or in white (if responsible for protecting the monuments and tourists).
It is recommended that women wear in a decent way to avoid harassment.
Kindly make sure the recommendations on minefields in the Sahara Desert and Sinai are obeyed.
It is recommended that you wear boots so as to avoid snake bites and scorpion stings.
Kindly make sure your luggage is brought in the means of transport you are using especially at leaving the airport, hotel or cruise in order to avoid luggage mess.
Drug possession and trafficking is considered a crime for which one is to be severely punished.
Post and telegraph offices
Post and telegraph offices are open 5 days a week, for limited hours, while some others are open 24/7 and during holidays. For most countries, the postcards and letters' postage are available over 15 grams of weight, with a cost of 1.30 EGP. Often, mails usually take about 5- 10 days to be sent to any foreign country. Stamps are available in the post offices, some souvenir shops, kiosks, and in the reception of the major hotels. The easiest way to be insured your letters are sent is giving them to the hotel receptionist or mailing them in the airport.
Egypt Telephone and Cell Phone Services
In Egypt, the international prefix is +20
All prefixes of fixed telephones and cell phones begin with zero. For example, the number prefix of Cairo is +02). But, to make calls to Egypt from abroad, you dial +20 and remove the zero from the town's number prefix.
At the tourist's arrival, usually their cell phones detect one of the Egyptian local mobile operators (in case they activated the roaming service. If no network operator is available, he is advised to try a manual search to choose any of the local operators.
Internet Access in Egypt
If you take your laptop with you anywhere, be sure you do not forget to take also a power adapter and a plug adapter. In Egypt, the voltage is 220 AC. In most 5-star hotels, however, you can find the voltage of 110 AC and 220 AC.Internet cafes are commonly seen in the Egyptians districts. Cybercafés are some of the ways through which the Egyptian people create a quick secured job. Inside these cybercafés, you may find yourself surrounded by children competing in video games or computer games. In hotels, internet connection is somehow expensive and it may reach $10 per half an hour. In common internet cafés, one hour costs less than 1USD, but in Hurghada, prices are quite higher.
Airlines in Egypt
Egypt is connected with all the major capitals of the world through a network of both the Egyptian airlines and other foreign airlines. The national airline of Egypt is Egypt Air that provides regular domestic flights. Such flights take off from Cairo and land in tourist towns: Alexandria, Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel, Hurghada, Sharm EI-Sheikh, Taba-Kharga, Dakhla, Saint Catherine, Port Said and Mersa Matruh.
Other charter lines, which are operated mostly through travel agents offer some domestic flights mainly to Abu Simbel, Aswan, Luxor, and Sharm El-Sheikh.
Airports in Egypt
First, the following is a list that includes the Egyptian international airports:
- Cairo Airport.
- Alexandria Airport.
- Luxor Airport.
- Hurghada Airport.
- Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport(Ophira International Airport)
-Taba International Airport.
- Airport Saint Catherine.
- Borg El- Arab International Airport.
-Shark El Oweinat International Airport.
Second, the following is a list that includes the Egyptian cities in which there are airfields for domestic flights:
- Marsa Matruh.
- Abu Simbel.
- Shark EI-Oweinat.
- EI-Wadi El-Gedid(New Valley).
- Tor Sina.
Egyptian Maritime Lines
The Egyptian international ports (including Alexandria, Port- Said, Suez, Nuweiba, Safaga, and Damietta) receive ships from Europe. Moreover, there are shipping lines with Jordan and Saudi Arabia, with regular trips between the following ports: • Suez-Aqaba. • Suez-Aqaba-Jeddah. • Safaga-Aqaba-Jeddah. • Sharm EI-Sheikh-Aqaba-Eilat. • Safaga-Dhabba(Saudi Arabia). • Nuweiba-Jeddah-Aqaba. -
There are many steamers that go from Wadi Halfa in the Sudan to Aswan in Egypt. Information is available from the Nile Navigation Company Limited, Ramses Square ( in the train station), and Nile Maritime Agency, 8 Quasr El Nil, both in Cairo; and the Nile Company for River Transport, 7 Atlas Building, Aswan. All arrangements to enter Sudan, including visas, must be made in Cairo. For further information, kindly contact the Authority Wadi El-Nil Navigation: In Aswan, dial: 097/322398 Fax: 097/303801
Egyptian International Motorways
Egypt is linked to some Arab countries through a network of buses. Tourists can travel by motorways to any of the Egyptian land neighbors across the borders at Salloum, Taba, and Rafah. For more information, kindly contact the following companies:
x 1- Al Ittihad Al Arabi Company (Super Jet) The company has international lines departing from Libya to Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Abu-Dhabi, Syria, and Lebanon.
Plus, it has domestic lines departing from Cairo and Alexandria to all the Egyptian spots.
The company's services cover Marsa Matruh, Salloum, Siwa, port-Said, Suez, Ismailia, Red Sea' cities, Sohag, Assiut, Al-Minya, Beni-Suif, Al Fayyum, Zagazig, Damietta, Mansura, and North Sinai town.
The company's offices in Cairo: - Reservations Office and terminal Torgoman (domestic and international) Te1.:02/5798181.
- Reservations Office and terminal Almaza (domestic and international) Tel.: 03/4219092.
- Reservations Office and terminal Abdel Moneim Riyadh. Tel.: 02/5751313.
-The company's offices Alexandria:
- Reservations Office and Rami El-terminal. Tel.: 03/4219092
- Reservations Office and terminal Agami. : Tel.: 03/43366222- Gharb El Delta Company in Egypt
- (AI-Sahm EI-Dahabi: The Golden Arrow):
- Domestic Lines: Cairo -Matruh- Siwa.
- In Alexandria the following cities: Sohag, Assiut, Al-Minya, Beni-Suif, Al-Fayym, Port-Said, Hurghada, Sharm El-Shiekh PS:
- The line Matruh, and El-Sahel El Shamaly in summer only.
- Reservations Office and terminal Giza : Tel.: 5721121.
- Reservations Office and terminal Torgoman : Tel.: 5765582.
- Reservations Office terminal and mills : Tel.: 4141318.
- Reservations Office and terminal Abdel Moneim Riyadh : Tel.: 5799739
3- Shark El Delta Compamy in Egypt
- International lines:
Beni Ghazi (Libya), Tripoli (Libya), Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.
- Domestic Lines: The Southern Sina: El Tor , Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, Saint Catherine, Nouébaa, Taba, The North Sinai, EI-Arish, and EI-Qantarah.
- Office of International Terminal and reserve Sinai (Lines International and The Sinai, South and North) Abbasia Tel.: 4839589.
- Office reserve and terminal Qolaly Tel.: 5766514 (the cities of: Mansurah, Damietta, Zaqaziq, and Ras el-Barr)
- Office reserve and terminal Torgoman. Tel.: 5742814 (the cities of: Suez, Ismailla, Port Said, EI-Arish, Sharm Sheikh).
- Reservations Office and terminal Suez (cities: El-tor , Sharm EI-Sheikh, Dahab, Santa Catalina, Nouébaa, Taba).
4- Upper Egypt For Transport Company The company has lines departing from the governorates of Upper Egypt and Red Sea reaching various places in the country.
-Office of Suez (the cities of: Asuan, Luxor , Beni-Suif, Sohag).
-Office of Alexandria (the cities of: Al Fayyum, Beni-Suif, Minieh, Asyut, Sohag, Safaga).
For more information, kindly contact: - Reservations Office Tagnid (Cairo) Tel.: 2447467 (lines of Upper Egypt and Sinai North and South governorates).
-Office Torgoman Tel.: 5760261 (the cities of: Farafra, Khargah, Dakhlah, Arish, Sharm EI-Sheikh, in addition to the Red Sea).
-Office Abboud Tel.: 4316723 (lines of Upper Egypt governorate).
Railways in Egypt
A highly efficient network of railways in Cairo connects all the Egyptian cities. All trains have luxury cars, first and second class. The Egyptian Railway Organization provides tour operators with tourist wagons. Such wagons are for both in first and second classes (round-trip ticket, and hotel accommodation with tariff reduced). At anytime through the year, you can take the train and enjoy an exciting journey in Cairo, Alexandria, luxor, or Aswan. The Egyptian Railway Organization also offers special discounts for second and third classes, normal wagons, and groups from abroad. There is also a 50% discount for foreign students who come to Egypt; if they submit the appropriate identification. For further information, kindly contact the International Railway: Tel.:025753555- 025749474.
Taxis in Egypt
Taxis are usually the easiest means of transportation in any Egyptian city. In major cities, although most taxis are equipped with taximeter, both the passenger and the taxi driver should set a fare as it changes according to the distance traveled.
Limousine Services in Egypt Limousines (large passenger vehicles driven by a chauffeur)
Tourists can take a rental car or a limousine from the airport to any place in Egypt, according to a fare depending on the distance. Tourists can also phone for a limousine from the hotel where they are hosted. For more information, please contact any of the following offices:
- Limousine Egypt: