Egypt travel advice

Egypt travel advice


TIPS FROM OUR FRIENDS IN EGYPT

Itinerary tips


Ralph Foulds, from our Egypt holidays supplier, Encounters Travel: “I love Wadi Rayan, a strange freshwater lake formed by the runoff of excess water from irrigation of the Fayoum Oasis area. The lake is bordered by reeds and plants, and along with an adjacent springs oasis is a haven for water birds and other wildlife. It forms a great contrast to the historic sightseeing or Red Sea relaxation you'll have done during the rest of your trip. Do check current travel advice before visiting.”.

Packing tips


Iva Vidovic from our supplier, Memphis Tours: “Due to different customs and tradition, the dress code is generally more conservative in Egypt. When sightseeing it is advisable to wear clothing that covers shoulder and down to the knee in order to respect local customs. The materials should be light and airy. It is advisable to wear comfortable, nonslip shoes as pavements are often uneven and the ground sandy. Some tours also require considerable walking. We advise you pack some warm clothes if you are travelling in the winter time.”

Cultural tips


Iva Vidovic from our leading Egypt holidays supplier, Memphis Tours: “People come to Egypt to get to know Egypt, not to change it. You will gain the most out of your journey with a kind word and a smile. Egyptian people are very emotional, friendly and hospitable; you just have to find the right way to get close to them. Nowadays, life in Egypt is very hard and people are in a constant battle for survival. On the other hand, of course, there are many who live in luxury, therefore the differences in the country’s character are even more noticeable. But regardless of their life style or struggles, there is one thing that is common to all Egyptians – a smile!”
Danniell Saunders, from our supplier, Encounters Travel, shares his Egypt travel advice for responsible travellers:
“Go with an open mind. Egypt is Africa, which is important to remember – the people are so calm and relaxed and friendly that not necessarily everything happens to a rigid timetable or as you would expect. Be inquisitive. Don’t be afraid to ask local people questions – if you have a question about Islam or about what it was like to live during the revolution, ask your guide; they’ll tell you. Another thing to bear in mind is that not all of Egypt is Islamic, we have many guides that are Coptic Christians, which opens a whole new avenue for interesting discussion. Don’t be scared to find out information – you won’t get an angry response and it shows that you’re interested. Egyptians won’t shut you down; they’ll let you have a conversation.”

Food tips


Danniell Saunders, from our supplier, Encounters Travel, shares his top tips: “There are a couple of things that I think people should definitely try when they visit Egypt, but they are often a bit scared to. The first one is shisha – which was originally invented in India – ask your guide to explain what it is and give it a go. Definitely try local foods and snacks too. I always recommend that people try kushari, which is a pasta and lentil based dish that’s virtually free it’s so cheap. You get a bowl with rice, lentils and pasta in it and then they give you chili oil, garlic sauce, béchamel sauce, tomatoes – whatever you prefer flavour-wise and then you just mix it all up and eat it. It’s delicious, filling and very nutritious.”
Iva Vidovic from our supplier, Memphis Tours: “The Arab cuisine is one of the most sophisticated and refined cuisines in the world. It is not just the way of preparing the food, it is an important part of Arab culture because it represents the hospitality and generosity of the people. The hotels and restaurants mostly serve international food but don’t be afraid to try some of the local specialties - trust us, you will not regret it! The most common drink in Egypt is tea – either hibiscus tea (hot or cold) or black tea with fresh mint.”

Accessible tourism


Ahmed Fayez, from our supplier Memphis Tours in Egypt and expert in accessible tourism: “Many tours are accessible these days in Egypt. Boat trips are adapted to disabled passengers with assistance always available. Even the ancient sites in Egypt are now accessible to wheelchairs and walking with just a few limitations at certain sites. The Red Sea resorts also offer a range of activities which disabled clients can also be involved in with diving and snorkelling. Accessible tourism is much higher in demand these days due to disabled people being more adventurous in travelling; therefore adapting to suit their needs has become common place. Therefore, standards have improved greatly over the last 10 years.”

Health & safety


TRAVEL SAFELY IN EGYPT

Health


  • Staying hydrated in Egypt is key. It is not only very hot, it is extremely dry. Drink bottled water only, and make sure the seal isn’t broken. Be wary of fruit juices as they are sometimes mixed with water.
  • Don’t swim in the Nile and be careful walking around barefoot in gardens watered from it, due to the risk of the flatworm parasite, causing schistosomiasis or bilharzia disease.
  • Travellers’ diarrhoea is common in Egypt, sometimes known as Pharaoh’s Revenge. Come prepared with hydration salts and medication.
  • Dial 123 in an emergency. There are some concerns about medical facilities in Egypt. Always have travel insurance and contact them immediately for details of reputable establishment.
  • Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended; we recommend visiting your GP 6-8 weeks before travelling to ensure you are up to date with all routine vaccinations.
  • Always take out comprehensive travel insurance including emergency repatriation, and covering any adventure activities which you may be participating in.

Safety


Since the 2011 Uprising, Egypt still has its moments of turmoil. However, the tourist police are out in force. Tourist buses and taxes travel in convoy on certain roads, for example

Protests, marches and demos happen frequently in Egypt, and often on a Friday. As passionate as you might feel, we recommend that you stay clear of demonstrations as random protests do happen, and water cannons or tear gas, or worse, have been used.

Women should be careful travelling alone at night, although crime rates are relatively low, there have been incidents of violent assault or rape.

Travel to the North Sinai is a definite no no, and the South Sinai the same except for the perimeter around Sharm el Sheik. Beaches and popular tourist places are now protected by security forces.

If you are travelling off road, only go with an experienced local guide.

Ensure that you only dive with a highly reputable diving or adventure travel operator. And that your travel insurance covers all adventure activities.

The economic situation in Egypt is at an all time low as tourism dropped after the 2011 Uprising. As a result, scams and pickpocketers thrive, so be street aware, don’t trust someone offering to take your bags, or looking for your personal details.
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If you'd like to chat about Egypt or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Rosy & team.

Egypt travel advice


TIPS FROM OUR TRAVELLERS IN EGYPT

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travellers are often... other travellers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to. We have selected some of the most useful Egypt travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your holiday - and the space inside your suitcase.
“Have a carefully prepared budget, checking out all the optional activities, before you go. Make sure you're very careful with your packing, think through what you need!” – James Adams

“Prepare yourself for an amazing mix of adventure and antiquities. The political situation in Egypt one month before I departed did not deter me...and don't let it deter you.” – Julie Henry

“Before you leave, ask your tour rep if they plan to take you to any local shops so you can be prepared to bring enough cash or your credit card with you. There was a carpet workshop we didn’t know we would be taken to and were a bit unprepared for financially.” – Aileen Cornelio

“Tipping is important in Egypt. It's not obligatory but strongly recommended. It's like a "thank you" in Western countries – you never need to say thank you, but it's impolite if you don't. It’s important to find out whom you should give tips to and how much you should give, but don't be scared about the issue.” – Boris Schaeling

“Ensure you spend at least 2 hours in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo – it needs that amount of time as a minimum. Also, add on an optional additional excursion to visit the wonderful mosques of old Cairo and the Citadel. Finally, the museum of antiquities in Luxor is definitely worth a visit, as is Karnak at night.” – Lekha Klouda

Photo credits: [Cultural tip - Iva Vidovic : Igor M] [Itinerary tip: Mohammed Moussa] [Food tips: Vyacheslav Argenberg] [Accessible Tourism: zolakoma] [Feluca trip : Clarence] [Wraps/pashminas: Soumyadeep Paul]

Written by: Polly Humphris and Catherine Mack
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