Cairo

Cairo, “The Victorious”, is the capital of Egypt, and it is one of the largest cities in Africa. It is located in the northeast of the country and is the gateway to the Nile delta. Tahrir Square and the Egyptian Museum are the heart of Cairo, but there is more to explore in this colourful city like its resplendent mosques, grand avenues, bazaars, and even 19th century palaces. The Pyramids of Giza are not too far from the city center. They are found in the southwestern edge of Cairo.

SAFETY INDEX

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Warnings & Dangers

Mid Priority-96 OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

The situation in Cairo is unpredictable as there are terrorism threats, but security has increased recently. There have been some attacks in Cairo, but their targets are generally in the government and security sectors. 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.

Mid Priority-96 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.

Mid Priority-96 MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

There is a threat of kidnapping in remote desert areas. However, they should not be a big concern in major cities like Cairo. 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.

Mid Priority-96 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.

Mid Priority-96 TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM

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.

Mid Priority-96 NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

Cairo is located in a seismic zone. The city also has some sand and dust storms between the months of March and May. There are also periodic draughts, flash floods, and landslides. Driving windstorms called khamsin occur in spring.

Mid Priority-96 TERRORISM RISK : HIGH

Terrorist attacks are likely in Cairo. 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.

Mid Priority-96 WOMEN TRAVELERS 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.

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WHAT TO DO?

Cairo is a popular travel destinations in the world, but due to the recent political issues and threat of terrorism, there has been a decline in tourism. Cairo is a fun and interesting city to explore. It is important to take standard precautions as you would in any other city. Remain vigilant, keep an eye on your belongings at all times as petty crime is high in tourist areas, and make sure to follow the media closely and take advice from the authorities.

Downtown Cairo

Also known as the centre of town, Downtown Cairo was built in the mid 19th century as part of Khedive Ismail’s efforts to renovate the metropolis and give it a Parisian touch. Today, the rows of palm trees have mostly disappeared, and you will find yourself in a mix of business district, shopping center, residential area, and… traffic jam. Downtown is marked by Midan Tahrir (Liberation Square); if you can cross this chaotic merry-go-round, you can cross any road in Cairo. One of the most popular things to do in this district is take a stroll from the Islamic Cairo area all the way to Khan al-Khalili and see how the city’s personality changes.

Old Cairo

Old Cairo (Masr al-Qadima) is in the south of the city. Some locals may refer to this district as Fustat (referencing the first Muslim city established in this area); the Amr Ibn al-Aas Mosqe remains here (the oldest mosque in Egypt). Tourists will also call it Coptic Cairo (Christian quarter of Cairo) due to the many churches and other religious buildings in the Religion Section like the Hanging Church and the Church of St. Sergius.

New Cairo

This residential district was planned out in 2001, and it is still expanding. It is cleaner and less chaotic than the rest of Cairo. Most middle and upper class families are moving out there as well as businesses. There are not many touristic attractions in this district, only the Rehab City which is a group of shops, restaurants, and cinemas and the Katameya Heights Golf and Tennis resort.

Giza

Techincally, Giza has a completely different government from Cairo itself, so it is not really a neighbourhood. It stretches from west bank of the Nile towards the Pyramids of Giza. Other sites worth visiting in Giza are the Cairo Zoo, Dr Ragab’s Phaonic Village, and the Museum of Ahmned Shawki.

Useful Information

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.
The currency in Egypt is the Egyptian pound (EGP). Cash machines are common throughout the country. Major hotels will accept credit cards; however, small hotels may take only cash.
Most of Egypt has an arid desert weather. Days are commonly warm or hot, and nights are cool. Expect a mild winter from November to April and a hot summer from May to October.
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
As in any country, we advise travelers to get a travel insurance that covers not only medical problems but also theft and loss of personal items. Learn more on ourtravel insurance page