Egypt

Map of Egypt

Events in Egypt

Event Occurs Description
Ramses II Birth 22 February annually The celebration of Ramses II birth takes place each year at Abu Simbel
International Song Festival August annually
International Folklore Dance Festival August annually The International Folklore Dance Festival takes place each August in Ismailiya
Nile Festival August annually Giza Nile Festival
World Alexandria Festival Every 2 years in September
Luxor National Day November annually
Coronation of Ramses II 22 October annually
In addition to the National, religious and cultural festivals Egyptians celebrate a plethora of local festivals, centred around saints, called moulids. These are often visible as celebrations at a mosque with street ‘parties’ or with parade and religious services.

Plugs and Electric in Egypt

Electricity

Voltage

230V

Frequency

50Hz

Plug

Round 2-pin plug. This type of plug is very common in most “universal” adaptor sets.

Flights in Egypt

The national carrier, Egyptair, operate flights between Cairo and other major cities in Egypt. Prices are comparatively low compared with European airlines, however flights need to be booked well in advance, especially so at busy times of the year or on routes popular amongst visitors such as Cairo/Luxor/Aswan or Hurghada/Cairo. Aswan / Abu Simbel return is always busy and you should book at the earliest opportunity.

Egyptair flights in Egypt

www.egyptair.com

The national carrier, Egyptair, operate flights between Cairo and other major cities in Egypt. Prices are comparatively low compared with European airlines, however flights need to be booked well in advance, especially so at busy times of the year or on routes popular amongst visitors such as Cairo/Luxor/Aswan or Hurghada/Cairo. Aswan / Abu Simbel return is always busy and you should book at the earliest opportunity.

Flights from the UK to Egypt

Egyptair and British Airways both operate a non-stop daily flight between London Heathrow and Cairo, a flight of around 41/2 to 5 hours. Egyptair also operate a weekly flight between London Heathrow and Luxor whilst charter operators such as First Choice and Mytravel Airways fly between London and Luxor, Hurghada, and Sharm el Sheikh. Flights between regional airports are operated by Egypt Air. No low-cost carriers operate at the moment to Egypt.

Egyptair flights from United Kingdom to Egypt

www.egyptair.com

Egyptair operate 1 non-stop flight daily between London Heathrow and Cairo.

4hrs 30mins – 5hrs

British Airways flights from United Kingdom to Egypt

www.ba.com

British Airways operate 1 non-stop flight daily between London Heathrow and Cairo.

4hrs 30mins – 5hrs

Swiss Air flights from United Kingdom to Egypt

www.swiss.com

Swiss International Airlines fly 5 times per week to Cairo via Zurich.

Turkish Airlines flights from United Kingdom to Egypt

www.thy.com

Turkish Airlines fly daily to Cairo via Istanbul.

Egypt Culture and Traditions

Egypt is a traditional Muslim country, where visitors who respect local traditions are warmly welcomed and will experience the genuine hospitality of its people. Respect for these traditions should be shown when visiting places of worship (both mosques and churches) by dressing respectfully with both sexes covering bare arms and legs and with women covering their heads.

Whilst the visitor will see female tourists wearing shorts and strappy tops this is tolerated as a Western trait, rather than being acceptable (except at the beach where such attire is fine). A longer skirt and tee-shirt is a better choice for women; this is especially true if travelling in the Sinai (away from the beach) and in the Western Desert oases – both areas with strong traditions. Men can wear shorts and a tee-shirt, but will be welcomed in more traditional areas of their legs are covered.

Weather in Egypt

Egypt is a hot desert country with little rainfall at any time of the year. Summers are hot with temperatures reaching 35°c and higher in Cairo with Luxor and Aswan reaching the low 40’s. Spring, autumn and winter are cooler with temperatures ranging between 26°c and 33°c with spring and autumn the best times to travel. Winter nights (November to February) can be very cold in the Western Desert, along the Nile and in the Sinai (with snow and frost on the summit of Mt Sinai common) with temperatures falling to 4°c. Rain, such as it is, falls in short, sharp showers generally in December and January.

Seasonality

Egypt is almost a year-round destination with only the summer months of June to August being quiet. Each season has something to offer – spring, early summer and autumn in the Sinai for diving and snorkelling, winter for sightseeing in the Nile Valley, spring and autumn for the Western Desert and felucca trips on the Nile. Easter and Christmas/New Year are extremely busy – avoid these times if possible for fewer crowds and lower prices.

Best Time to Visit Egypt

To get the most out of your next adventure it makes sense to consider some of the very local factors that combine to make up what you feel is the best time to travel to a destination. Many of these factors are very personal – some people prefer to travel when the weather is not too hot, or sites too crowded – others prefer to travel when a traditional local event is taking place. Taking into account the dates of public holidays can also make sense as these may have an impact on opening times of attractions, shops and restaurants, or might affect public transport or other services. Conversely public holidays can be a time of great local festivities and celebrations providing a feast of local expressionism and culture.

Entry Requirements for Egypt

Entry Warning

The documentation and fee required for obtaining visas varies according to both your nationality and where you are applying from. It is the sole right of each country to determine who is allowed to enter.

Passport

All passports must be valid for six months and have two clear pages free.

Taxes

Some countries may charge an arrival or departure tax which may or may not be included in the price of an airline ticket, or may need to be paid in cash on arrival or departure.

Visa Requirements

Travelling from Requirements
Australia A visa can be purchased on arrival at all international airports and ports for approximately $15 and is valid for stays of up to 30 days; no photograph is required. The visa allows for a single entry.
Canada A visa can be purchased on arrival at all international airports and ports for approximately $15 and is valid for stays of up to 30 days; no photograph is required. The visa allows for a single entry.
Denmark A visa can be purchased on arrival at all international airports and ports for approximately $15 and is valid for stays of up to 30 days; no photograph is required. The visa allows for a single entry.
Ireland A visa can be purchased on arrival at all international airports and ports for approximately $15 and is valid for stays of up to 30 days; no photograph is required. The visa allows for a single entry.
Netherlands A visa can be purchased on arrival at all international airports and ports for approximately $15 and is valid for stays of up to 30 days; no photograph is required. The visa allows for a single entry.
New Zealand A visa can be purchased on arrival at all international airports and ports for approximately $15 and is valid for stays of up to 30 days; no photograph is required. The visa allows for a single entry.
South Africa A visa can be purchased on arrival at all international airports and ports for approximately $15 and is valid for stays of up to 30 days; no photograph is required. The visa allows for a single entry.
United States A visa can be purchased on arrival at all international airports and ports for approximately $15 and is valid for stays of up to 30 days; no photograph is required. The visa allows for a single entry.
United Kingdom A visa can be purchased on arrival at all international airports and ports for approximately $15 and is valid for stays of up to 30 days; no photograph is required. The visa allows for a single entry.

Other Nationalities

Other nationalities should either contact Travcour UK (see below) or their nearest embassy for up-to-date information prior to departure.

Passport & Visa Service

For assistance with obtaining passports and visas UK-based ‘Travcour’ have been offering travellers a comprehensive and reliable travel document service since 1985. www.travour.com

Transport in Egypt

Buses

Long-distance buses connect all main towns along the Nile valley, the Sinai and even the oases of the Western Desert (though these are naturally less frequent than in more populated areas). Vehicle maintenance and driving standards are poor, with speeding common. Smoking is permitted on board and this aspect can be uncomfortable. It is unlikely that because of perceived risks to tourists that you will be allowed to travel by public bus between the towns of Middle Egypt (e.g. between Beni Suef and Luxor); public bus travel is permitted between Luxor and Aswan/return, but you are unlikely to be sold a ticket for intermediate points (e.g. Luxor to Kom Ombo).

Taxis

Private hire taxis are widely available throughout the country’s towns and cities and are a cheap way of getting around; they rarely have meters and you should always agree the price before setting off. Share taxis connect towns and villages and leave on a when-full basis. Vehicle maintenance and driving standards are poor, with speeding common.

Car Hire

Car hire whilst available is not recommended due to the poor driving standards, poor roads and lack of signs in English outside main towns. The large international rental organisations are however represented in Cairo along with smaller privately owned companies. Costs are expensive.

Driving

Driving is on the right-hand side of the road.

Trains

An effective, efficient way of travelling along the Nile valley is to use the Egyptian railway, which has sleeper, first, second and third class accommodation depending on the service taken. Prices are cheap compared with Europe and time-keeping is reasonably good given the distances covered. It is unlikely that because of perceived risks to tourists that you will be allowed to travel by train between the towns of Middle Egypt (e.g. between Beni Suef and Luxor); train travel is permitted between Luxor and Aswan/return, but you are unlikely to be sold a ticket for intermediate points (e.g. Luxor to Kom Ombo).

Boats

Feluccas are a popular way of getting between Aswan and Edfu – a 3-day journey sleeping on the boat’s deck at night. 4 and 3-night stays on cruise boats part of which is spent sailing between Luxor and Aswan (4 nights) or Aswan and Luxor (3 nights) are available (note that not all nights are spent sailing, rather the boat is used as a floating hotel). Typically 2 or 3 days are spent sailing. Ferries criss-cross the Nile at hundreds of points along its length. Ferries also link Sharm el Sheikh with Hurghada but are subject to cancellation in poor weather.

Other

Travellers to Egypt should always bear in mind when planning their itinerary that hiring a guide, driver and car / minibus is an extremely cost and time-effective way of exploring; especially so when time is at a premium. Some sites are off the beaten track and will in any case require such transport to reach them. The authorities in Egypt take the security of their guests seriously and travelling by road between the major towns of the Nile Valley whether in a taxi or private vehicle will generally mean either joining one of the many regular security convoys that operate daily or hiring an armed police officer (done on your behalf by any good local operator).

Translator

Africa Travel Information