Travel Tips to Egypt

Egypt Surface Area

1 050 000 Km² of which about 35 000 Km² are habitable and arable.

Egypt Time Zone

Egypt Standard Time is GMT (UTC) +2
Egypt does observe daylight saving time

Climate

Semi-desert, hot during the day and cool at night. Even in the summer, the heat is bearable because the climate is dry and the nights are always cooler.

Population

85 million, most of which is concentrated in the big cities and along the Nile valley.

Language

The official language is Arabic, the spoken language is Egyptian Arabic (an Arabic dialect) but English and French are also used in big cities, hotels and onboard Nile cruises.

Religion

90% Muslims and 10% Christians who are mainly Coptic Orthodox.
The month of Ramadan is determined according to a lunar calendar. Therefore, its date varies. In 2011; it will start on 1St August and will end on 29th August. Ramadan ends with the small Bairam that lasts three days. During the month of Ramadan, a month of fasting, Muslims take no food, beverage or smoke during the day starting from sunrise till sunset. Visiting hours may be altered during this period but all visits are still scheduled. Also note that during the day, some restaurants may be closed or open solely to foreigners. Do not be surprised if you're refused alcoholic drinks in some coffee shops.

Formalities

A passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of return. An Entry Visa is required. For USA, Canada and EU citizens, the visa can be obtained on arrival in Egypt. Other nationalities should check at the nearest Egyptian Consulate.

Health

There are no mandatory vaccinations. As a precaution, bring with you some medicine for intestinal troubles. It is recommended not to drink any tap water and not to eat any unpeeled fruits

Currency:

Egyptian pound=100 piasters. EGP 1=about € 0.12 or $ 0.16.

Credit cards

Accepted in hotels and some shops. Credit cards are in many cases not accepted onboard boats, or to pay for optional trips. You'll find ATM machines in big cities: fees apply for withdrawals.
Bring Euros or US dollars to change into local currency as per your needs. Euro cheques and traveler's cheques are often refused.

Luggage

Airline companies allow you between 20 & 46Kg. Check with your airline company & do not exceed the limits, or else you may have to pay a hefty fee for extra weight. You can keep a small piece of hand luggage, a camera and video camera in the cabin. Remember to take your gadgets' invoices and do not carry any liquid or cream of more than 100 ml in your hand luggage, or else they'll be confiscated.
Other tips: Remember to carry a small torch and an alarm clock. The voltage is 220 50hz. You can use your mobile phone with great ease.

Clothing

From October to April: spring/autumn garments in Cairo with wool sweaters and a coat for the evenings, lighter garments for Upper Egypt or the Red Sea area. In the Western Desert and Sinai, it's hot during the day and very cool almost cold in the night: it can snow in Sinai in December and January.
April to September: very light garments.
Do not forget comfortable shoes, a hat, sunglasses and a sunscreen lotion.
It's advisable to always wear decent clothing, wherever you are, especially in the case of females. Forget about low cleavage tops as well as shorts and skirts that are extremely short, especially in the city. Opt for slacks/pants or skirts with short sleeve shirts or T-shirts, all made of cotton or linen. You'll feel much more comfortable in them anyway.
To visit religious sites, you'll need to go barefoot, so it is a good idea to take comfortable shoes without laces.
On the eve of the set visit, ask your guide for advice on what to wear.

Photos

Take rechargeable batteries with you for your gadgets. It is sometimes allowed to take pictures in museums but a fee of up to EGP 150 may be charged for video shooting. It is not allowed to take photos or videos inside tombs. Ask your guide to find out if it is allowed to take pictures without incurring any penalties. Always ask permission of whoever you're photographing, especially if it's a woman.

Purchases

The diversity and genius of Egyptian handicraft gives you an unmatched variety of objects and souvenirs of all kinds: papyrus, golden and silver jewelry (a cartouche with your own name engraved on it, key of life, scarabs)

 
 
Bibliography

•           Ancient Egypt by George Hart
•           The Gods of Egypt by Claude Traunecker and David Lorton
•           Egypt and the Nile by Deborah Manley
•           Cairo by Max Rodenbeck
•           Down the Nile : Alone in a Fisherman's Skiff by Rosemary Mahoney National Geographic
•           Traveler Egypt : 2nd edition by Andrew Humphries
•           Travels in Egypt and Nubia by Giovanni Belzon

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