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).

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Africa Travel Information