Egypt is a magnificent country with countless legacies behind it which form its present. Most of the country is covered by desert, so the small part which isnt, the valley of the Nile River, is where a striking 95% of the population have settled. The capital, Cairo, is a city which is overwhelming due to its enormity and chaotic feel. The outstanding pyramids and temples of Cairo will take your breath away. It was not until the late 18th century, when Napoleon invaded Egypt, that the fascinating artefacts of the Egyptians were discovered and the world began to be aware of the treasures of this far away land.
- Currency: Egyptian Pound = 100 piastres
- Time Zone: GMT + 2
- Language: Arabic. English and French are widely spoken
- Telephone Services: Country Code + 20
- Emergency Numbers: Not Present
You can expect hot and arid weather during the summer months and dry, cold winters. Strong dusty winds blow from the Sahara in April.
Things to see and do
The capital city, Cairo is one of the most distinctive cities in the world and is the most convenient base for seeing the Great Pyramids. Within Cairo you will find plenty of hakers eager to sell you transport to Giza, only 20 minutes from the city which where you will find these spectacular testaments to a formerly great civilization. While in Cairo, and after visiting the pyramids, it is worth spending a day or two exploring the rest of the city. Coptic Cairo is the oldest part of the city and is where you will find what remains of the Fortress of Babylon. The last two remaining towers are the highlight of this site although the museum just at the base of them is worth a look for its collection of religious artifacts and art. Other sites in Cairo include the Al-Azhar Mosque, the Mosque of Qaitbey and the Citadel.
In the past Luxor, which situated on the River Nile, was the Egyptian stronghold, a centre of emense power. Luxor is where Tutankhamun's burial chamber lies, in the Valley of the Kings. A walk in Luxor is a walk through history as you are met with unique and wonderful statues, temples and carvings everywhere you go. The main attraction is the Temples of Karnack which were built during Theban times as centres of worship. Also worth looking at are the Luxor temple which was built by Amenhotp III and the Colossi of Memnon.
Alexandria, the second largest egyptian city, is the main port of Egypt and is situted in the north-west of the Nile delta. There are beautiful white sandy beaches and captivating scenery strethching for 140 km along the Mediterranean Sea. Abu-Qir Suburb is one of the most peaceful beaches and is well-known for fishing and delicious seafood restaurants. This area also offers the opportunity to see many Greek and Roman monuments.
There are daily flights connecting Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel and Hurghada run by Egypt Air. For information and flight times you can visit their website. Air Sinai also offers flights connecting Cairo to places all over egypt.
When you are travelling in egypt a Nile cruise is recommended and the traditional Nile sailing boats, known as feluccas, can be hired by the hour. There are also numerous Nile cruises running between Luxor and Aswan, and between Cairo and Aswan which last for anything up to two weeks. It is recommended to contact a tour operator and book a complete package.
There is an extensive railway network in Egypt controlled by Egyptian State Railways who can be contacted on (02) 574 9474 or 575 3555. The network covers the whole country and connects all main cities with a high standard of service. If you want to take advantage of the overnight train services then it is necessary to book one week in advance through a travel agent or through Abela Egypt.
The national bus network covers the Nile Valley and coastal routes.
Due to the importance of tourism in Egypt there is ample accommodation services and variety in the vacinity of all well-known attractions and large cities. As a budget traveller you will be interested to know that there are 15 Youth hostels in Egypt and they are located in popular tourist destinations. For more information contact the Egyptian Youth Hostels Association at firstname.lastname@example.org . Another option which will not break the bank is to stay in campsites, however there are only a few official campsites across the country. If you would like to make your way through the desert wilderness then you can book these trips through local tour operators but it is very advisable to contact the local tourist offices for exact details as it can be dangerous to go on one of these camping excursions with an unexperienced guide. The tourist office in Cairo can be reached on ((2) 391 3454) or you can also get advice from the tourist office at Cairo International Airport.
It is very important that you have full medical insurance for your trip to Egypt as there are quite a few health risks. You should be aware that you may be at risk from Malaria and Yellow Fever. If you travel through an area infected with Yellow Fever you are required to have a Vaccination certificate, so you should check with the Embassy which areas are considered infected. You should therefore get Polio and Typhoid Vaccinations before your departure. Other health risks include Rabies and Bilharzia.
Egypt Air flight information
Abela Egypt train services