Egypt brings out our inner explorers with its millennia-old pyramids and tombs. It dates to the time of the pharaohs, and it is the link between northeast Africa and the Middle East. The capital, Cairo, is home to many important landmarks like Muhammad Ali Mosque and the Egyptian Museum.
Stop by Luxor and visit the Valley of the Kings where Tutankhamun’s tomb was found. Hop on a Nile boat and take in the view at twilight. You cannot miss seeing one of the waterside temples like Dendara or Edfu. Watch the sunset at the coast along the Red Sea or the sunrise between the stunning shapes of the White Desert. Both option will leave you breathless and in love with Egypt’s landscapes.
As most countries, there are areas that are recommended to avoid. Egypt can be safe as long as you use common sense and take advice from authorities, hotels and tour operators. It is important to follow the news on television and radio closely.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against all but essential travel to certain regions shown on the map below. Cairo, Alexandria, the tourist areas along the Nile river, and the Red Sea resorts of Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada are considered safe according to the FCO.
Egypt is an Islamic country, so, as you would in any other country, it is important to respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to avoid offending other cultures or religious beliefs. Dress modestly; women should cover their legs and upper arms, and men should cover their chests. Public displays of affection are frowned upon.
Make sure you always have an ID on you, a photocopy of your passport and any other identification in case of loss or seizure.
Crime and Scams
Most of the crimes and scams against foreigners are crimes of opportunity. These semi-professional thieves target unaware travelers in tourist areas and restaurants. There are not many reports of violence, but this does not mean that they do not happen, so be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings at all times.
Accidental spills are also a popular method used to distract the victims. If anyone spills something on you, step away and be alert.
There are reports of assaults in taxis and on microbuses, so take extra care when traveling alone. If you decide to take a microbus, avoid being the last passenger left on the bus.
Accidents are common due to the poor road conditions and the non-enforcement of traffic laws.
Between March and May, sand and dust storms are common. If a natural disaster occurs, make sure you follow the advice of local authorties. You can find more information on natural disasters on the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.
Terrorist attacks are likely in Egypt. The main threat comes from extremists linked to Daesh-Sinai. Egyptian authorities have increased security presence throughout the country. There are extra measures in place at popular tourist areas and worship places. However, remain alert at all times, especially at crowded places, tourist sites, religious locations, and around government buildings and security checkpoints.
Important New Laws
Drones are strictly prohibited in Egypt, including small civilian drones for personal or touristic purposes.
The situation in Egypt is unpredictable, but security has increased ever since. There is a special police force to assist tourists. They wear a distinctive arm band saying “Tourism and Antiquities Police,” and they can be found in hotels and at tourist sites. As long as common sense is used and travellers remain alert, Egypt can be an exciting country to explore.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: HIGH
Pickpocket and bag and purse snatching are common in tourist locations and on the metro. Remain vigilant for thieves that use different strategies to rob you.
MUGGING & KIDNAPPING RISK: MEDIUM
There is a threat of kidnapping in remote desert areas. However, they should not be a big concern in major cities. Most kidnappings are within the Egyptian community and their targets tend to be affluent people, or they are used to settle a dispute among neighbors, rivals, or tribes.
Carjackings usually target sports utility vehicles. Muggers are usually armed and use different tactics to stop the vehicle. If you find yourself in this situation, do not resist; usually, the criminals are after the car and will not harm you if they are successful.
SCAMS RISK: HIGH
As in any other country, taxi drivers will try to take advantage of travelers by overcharging them. Most of the taxis do not have a meter, so be prepared to negotiate your fare before you get in the taxi and tell your driver you want to be dropped off at the main gate.
If you are walking to a museum, there is a very high chance that you will get stopped by someone telling you that the museum is closed or that there is a protest, and they will invite you into their shop to have tea while you wait. They will then pressure you into buying something from their shop.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM
Road conditions are poor and drivers usually do not follow traffic regulations. Trains are usually safe between Alexandria and Cairo. Avoid microbuses if you can as there have been assault reports.
NATURAL RISKS: MEDIUM
Egypt is located in a seismic zone; the last major earthquake was in 1996. The country also has some sand and dust storms between the months of March and May.
TERRORISM RISK: HIGH
Terrorist attacks are likely in Egypt. The main threat comes from extremists linked to Daesh-Sinai. Remain vigilant and take advice from authorities, hotels and tour operators. It is important to follow the news on television and radio closely.
WOMEN TRAVELER RISK: HIGH
Many women travel safely without any issues. However, if you are traveling alone, it is important to exercise particular care in crowds, on public transportation, in rural areas, and in isolated sections. There have been reports of women been assaulted in taxis and while in public areas. Avoid isolated locations and traveling alone after dark. Women may get some unwanted attention from men. Wear clothes that cover your arms, legs, and chest in order to blend in.
Most countries will need to have a visa to enter Egypt. You can obtain a renewable single-entry 30-day tourist visa on arrival at the airport for $25 USD fee. You can also obtain your visa from an Egyptian embassy or consulate before arrival to avoid any long wait and the possibility of being refused entry. www.doyouneedvisa.com is a useful website that can help you know if you need a visa or not based on your nationality and the country you’re visiting.
Some of the international airports in Egypt are: Cairo International Airport, Alexandria International Airport, Marsa Matrouh International Airport, Aswan International Airport, Sohag International Airport, Assiut International Airport, Marsa Alam International Airport, Hurghada International Airport, Sharm El Sheikh International Airport, El Arish International Airport, and Taba International Airport. If you’re looking for cheap flight deals, you can find some on JetRadar