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These points are for your general information while visiting Egypt. We hope this will be of assistance to you in planning your visit to Egypt.

It is said that travelling broadens the mind – it is true as long as you travel with an open mind. Nothing is ever the same as it is at home – so expect something very different with Egypt – or for that matter in most countries. This is why we travel – to see and experience different customs, people, places, food and cultures. Relax, smile, and enjoy all that Egypt offers. The order of visits and events listed in your itinerary may be changed due to a variety of considerations, including opening times, road congestion, other groups, etc. Be flexible, - don’t worry - you won’t miss a thing – you will see everything.

Egypt is a desert country, consequently temperatures generally tend to be high. Due to the proximity of the desert there is little humidity. Being in the northern hemisphere the summer months are June, July and August, which is low season in Egypt. The high season is during the cooler months and particularly the winter period - December, January and February. A rough guide of temperatures are as follows:

Sharm El-Sheikh

In the evenings formal dress does not normally apply. It is customary for men to wear long trousers, and an open-necked shirt. Ladies would dress comfortably in hotels and on cruisers. A jacket and tie for gentlemen is essential if a visit to the Cairo Opera House is contemplated. During the winter months light woollens are useful as well as a light anorak or wind-jacket at some of the sites during the winter months - it can be windy at the Giza Pyramids.

Shorts for men and women are suitable a lot of the time when visiting temples, tombs and ancient sites in Upper Egypt (the south) - but modest dress is necessary for visiting mosques and covered shoulders would be respectful. Low-necked dresses are unsuitable on these visits – pants are OK for ladies. Shorts for men would not be appropriate attire when visiting mosques. The key-word is modesty.

Firm shoes are advisable for visiting tombs, temples and ancient sites. Light shoes or trainers can be suitable; sandals are fine, though it is advantageous to have closed footwear, not open toes, due to the sand at some sites. While visiting the pyramids, sturdy shoes and jeans or shorts are preferable. Be sure to wear long pants if your plans include a camel ride.

A sun-hat, swimwear - for those who like to swim - there are swimming pools on Nile cruisers and at hotels.

There is usually a “Gallabiya Night” on Nile cruisers when everyone dresses Egyptian style. Gallabiyas can be purchased very cheaply in the markets.

FOOD is mostly western in style in the hotels and the cruisers, but the "Pharaoh's Revenge" might make its presence felt. For the more adventurous, there is a variety of restaurants and cuisines in Cairo. Tap water and unpeeled fruit should be avoided at all times. Bottled mineral water in one and a half litres or half litre quantities is readily available cheaply in plastic bottles (make sure the seal is unbroken) and is useful to have with you when visiting sites - particularly Saqqara (visited from Cairo), Queen Hatshepsut's Temple at Deir El Bahri, the Valley of the Kings and other West Bank sites, (visited from Luxor).

Excellent medical care is available in Cairo. Health care in Upper Egypt may not meet European standards, though doctors and pharmacies are available at main towns. Sometimes there is a Ship’s Doctor on board cruisers.  A course of pro-biotic might be considered prior to travel and taken during your stay in Egypt.

If there is any doubt about your health status, it is recommended that you check with your physician.

An adequate supply of any personal medications should be packed. Any prescription medications should always be kept in your hand-luggage when travelling by air, or from centre to centre, in case of loss or delay. It is also advisable to bring medication in case it might be needed for the treatment of diarrhoea. A good sun-block lotion or cream is necessary when out in the sun.

Also, you might consider taking a small first-aid kit comprising plasters, antiseptic ointment, eye-drops, Aspirin or something similar. Pharmacies are not always readily available. It is advisable always to carry tissues with you - also “Wet Wipes” can be useful.

The current is 220v, AC, 50 Hz. Plugs and sockets are round, 2 pronged - European type.

Photo opportunities abound in Egypt, so have plenty of memory. This is a land filled with wonderful sites, beautiful skies, and faces that you will want to remember. Photos can be taken at most outdoor sites at no charge. Camera fees vary and details are posted at ticket kiosks. Photography is now possible in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, but photographs are not allowed in the tombs at the Valley of the Kings also not in the Valley itself. Flash photography is rarely allowed in interiors due to damage to pigments. Don’t risk using your flash, as your photographs can be deleted and you could lose precious photos from sites you may never visit again. Please be familiar with how to disengage the flash on your camera. Video cameras can be used at most outdoor sites. No video is allowed in the Valley of the Kings or at the Aswan High Dam.

ALCOHOL is not always available in Egypt as it is a Moslem country. However, most hotels, cruise ships and restaurants serve alcoholic drinks. Beer is the popular alcoholic drink, spirits are expensive, and Egyptian wine improves with the second glass! Tourists are permitted to take 1 litre of liquor per person into Egypt. Be warned - alcoholic drinks are not served on EgyptAir flights, but they are not averse to you providing your own, so please do. EgyptAir does provide mixers.

Spare batteries and battery chargers for any battery operated equipment should be included in your luggage. Spare spectacles or contact lenses might be useful, as well as sun-glasses.

It can be useful to photostat the important pages of your passport and pack separately - as with your traveller's cheque receipt and cheque numbers. Please note that the original traveller cheque receipts sometimes need to be shown when cashing traveller cheques. Bring your receipts with you but do not keep them with your traveller cheques.

Plastic bags from a bank are useful for keeping different currencies separate whilst travelling. Laundry facilities are available in all hotels and cruisers. Mooring for the Nile cruisers is beyond our control and it can happen that cruisers have a berthing position beyond the centre of any town.

Binoculars are useful for observing the wonderful bird-life and scenery during Nile cruises.

A small shoulder bag is useful to accommodate the recommended bottle of water, tissues, camera, notebook, sun block, incidental purchases, etcetera, and other personal items when visiting sites.

Visas are issued free of charge by the Egyptian authorities for SA passport holders. Other national passport holders can check with Egypt Today CC. Visas for SA passport holders must be obtained in advance of your departure for Cairo. EgyptAir will not accept SA citizens as passengers without a visa. Please note that all passports must be valid for 6 months beyond the date of your arrival in Egypt. There is a handling fee for visas arranged by Egypt Today CC. See further notes below.

In Egypt the unit of currency is the Egyptian Pound which comprises 100 Piastres. It is shown as L.E.5 - representing 5 Egyptian pounds. Visitors to Egypt should take some US Dollars in cash. British Pounds and Euros can also be taken. Change bureaus are generally available. All banks and change bureaus throughout Egypt offer a standardised rate, to avoid ‘black marketeering’. Credit cards can be used to obtain cash in some Egyptian banks - but it is a slow process, and bear in mind that banks are only found in main centres. You may find it difficult to exchange money during the cruise portion of your trip, so plan in advance. Banks are available in the towns you will visit, but our schedule may not allow time for exchange.

On Nile cruisers, all extras (drinks, laundry, etcetera) are charged to your account, payable in cash or usually by credit card at the end of the cruise - no cash is taken during cruises. Credit cards can be used at most hotels, restaurants, and shops in Cairo. Small and informal vendors will not be able to accept your cards and will need small denomination Dollars, Pounds Sterling or Egyptian Pounds. It is advisable to maintain a good supply of small denomination bank notes at all times for the inevitable baksheesh and for dealing with merchants who never seem to have change. When settling personal hotel accounts, it sometimes necessary to show your Egyptian bank exchange receipt if paying in Egyptian Pounds.

Bargaining is a way of life in Egypt. Unless you see a "Prices Fixed" sign, you should bargain for all purchases except food items. As a general rule, a 30 to 45 percent reduction from the original price is acceptable. If you set an item down and leave the vendor, you may find that a final price will be lowered. If the shopkeeper does not offer a final price, you can assume that you have bargained as low as he can afford to go. Keep in mind that in small shops or with individual vendors your purchase may mean bread for the shopkeeper’s family that night; it is easy to get carried away with bargaining and forget that 1 Egyptian Pound is only a small amount to you — but could be dinner to someone else.

It is always useful and beneficial to have even a slight knowledge of ancient Egypt. Most guide books obtainable from your local bookseller will give you an outline of the history of pharaonic Egypt and some idea of the ancient religion, associated gods and temples. The names Ramesses, Hatshepsut, Tuthmosis, Amenhotep might not mean much at the moment, but during your visit to Egypt these names will recur and resonate, taking on significance in certain places - plus names like Isis, Osiris, Horus and Amun. It is not essential by any means to have knowledge beforehand, but if you can manage to acquaint yourself with a little familiarity with some pharaohs, gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt, your visit to where history starts will be all the more fascinating and memorable. The more you know the more you will appreciate!

Sometimes your local library will have more books available on Egypt than your local bookshop. Speak to your librarian and bookseller.

Mobile Phones can be used in Egypt. Please check with your Service Provider before leaving South Africa or any other destination. It is possible to receive SMS messages whilst having all voice-calls diverted to your Voicemail or another number. E-Mail and Internet facilities in Egypt are increasing and several Internet Cafés are available in main centres.

Telephone cards and SIM cards with data bundles can be purchased in Egypt.

Fax facilities are available at main hotels and occasionally at independent outlets.

Non-Egyptian visitors arriving in Egypt are required to be in possession of a passport that is valid for at least six months after the date of departure from Egypt.

There are 3 types of Egyptian visa:
1) Tourist Visa: is usually valid for a period not exceeding three months and granted either on a single or multiple entry basis.
2) Entry Visa: is required for any foreigner arriving in Egypt for purposes other than tourism, for example, work, study, etc. The possession of a valid entry visa is needed to complete the residence procedure in Egypt.
3) Transit Visa: transit period at any Major Port of Entry in Egypt.

It should be noted that visa requirements and conditions can change at any time.
For any further information on Egyptian visas, etc., please visit the website


Cairo International Airport
Oruba Road

Telephone: (0)2 914 255
Fax: (0)2 633 2522 or 7132
Flight Information: (0)2 634 8566 (24 hours a day)

The airport is situated in Heliopolis, 22km northeast of central Cairo.

Information and Help Desks
Information desks can be found in Terminal 1 (Old Airport) or Terminal 2 (New Airport). They are located in both the Arrival and Departure halls. There is also one in the transit hall.
There is a shuttle service between the different terminals.

Car Hire
You will find Avis, Budget, Europcar and Hertz.

Airport Facilities
The airport has numerous ATMs and a bank. There is a 24 hour foreign exchange desk in the departure hall of both terminals. A post office is also available all day. There are various places to have a drink or a meal that are open all hours. There are the usual gift shops, clothes shops, bookshops and news agents located throughout both terminals. There is a pharmacy in both departure halls. There is a business centre in Terminal 1 that is connected to the transit hall via escalator.
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