Egypt is a large country in the north-eastern corner of Africa with Libya to the west, Sudan to the south, and Isreal, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to the east. The main population is found around water: The Nile River delta running south (Aswan) to north (Alexandria) dividing the country in two, the Red Sea to the east and the Mediterranean on the north. The rest of the country is dessert.

Great Pyramid in Cairo

Visa Requirements

A tourist visa is required to visit Egypt which can be purchased on arrival or in advance via the Egyptian government Egypt e-Visa Portal though, in practice, ours barely warranted a glance when presented to the immigration officer on arrival at Hurghada.



The weather is generally sunny and warm all year around though the summer, running from April-May to October-November is excessively hot (40 Celsius or more) while winter is a more temperate 15-20 Celsius. The country is mostly dessert after all but the water does temper the climate somewhat. In winter nearer to the Mediterranean it can occasionally rain.

Hassle Evaluation

Hawkers Attaching Themselves to a Cruise Boat

Hassle from local people trying to sell things is obviously centred around historic or famous sites where there is often a small collection of stalls selling souvenirs. Being firm and saying no generally works and they will most often not push too hard. Be aware that children will often be asking for money for goods or photos. Begging is generally non-existent but can be seen in major cities.


Cairo Airport

There are airports throughout the country and the distances can be quite large. Trains operate north and south along the Nile while motorways connect the major cities. Driving is not really recommended as drivers are a bit lax in regards to rules of the road with frequent excessive speeding, undertaking, overtaking, and lane straddling though roads are generally quite good. Local people travel by “bush taxis” which are small vans that offer a set fee to travel to specific locations with stops and pick ups anywhere along the route.

Tuk Tuk


Major tourist areas and cities will have a range of modern accommodation including most modern, major hotel chains. Most hotels will have walls and entrance gates with security as well as airport-style scanners at the entrance.

Personal Security


As Egypt is a Muslim country security is generally quite good particularly with the crack down by police after tourist attacks a few years ago. Expect frequent checkpoints with armed police and army personnel (lots of guns, fancy cars or military vehicles).


Nile River

Generally there are little health concerns travelling to Egypt with the hot, dry climate reducing any risk of malaria or yellow fever. Do consult government travel advise though before travelling.

Utility Infrastructure

Electricity and water is generally available in all major towns or cities. In the rural areas electricity is non-existent and water is provided by wells.

Mobile Phone Coverage

As might be expected, mobile phone coverage is good along the Nile and in major cities though note that most carriers do not provide (free) roaming in the country so you may want to pick up a local SIM for any longer visits.


Egyptian 200 Pound Note

The unit of currency is the Egyptian Pound (EGP or “LE” locally) which is divided into 100 piastres though these are never seen since the value of the pound is so small. Often in tourist areas people will accept Euros or Pounds, preferably in bill format or single Euro/Pound coins. The smallest note is 10 LE but with inflation the way it is, larger bills are frequently used with Egyptian coins never really seen.

Most shops do not take credit/debit cards except for hotels, larger shops/businesses, and tourist shops. Bank machines are located throughout the country which all tend to have English interfaces (be sure to select the language before you use).

What to See

Well, what can I say? Lots. Of course, most people will visit to see the works of the ancient Egyptians such as the pyramids and temples which are easily accessed though a guide is most definitely recommended in order to not only explain what you are seeing but also to allow you to more easily navigate the security and entrance ticket bureaucracy.

In the extreme north of the country you have the city of Alexandria which in ancient times was where the famous Alexandria Library has been brought back to life and the “Lighthouse of Alexandria” was located. A few hours drive south is the capital city of Cairo where you will find the famous The Egyptian Museum in Cairo and the Giza Plateau with the sphinx and pyramids. In the southern part of the country is the city of Luxor, home of both the Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple with Valley of the Kings and “Valley of the Queens” on the opposite side of the Nile. In the far south of the country is the town of Aswan, home of the famous Aswan Dam and Philea Temple Complex with Temples of Abu Simbel further south on the border of Sudan with the famous temples to Ramses II and his favourite wife, Nefertari.

Nile Cruise

The quintessential way to see Egypt is to take a cruise on the Nile River. This is a great idea, but here are a few things you should be aware of:

  • Cruises generally only operate in the middle/south of the country between Aswan and Luxor. They used to operate from Cairo but this is no longer the case.
  • If you are looking at a “felucca” cruise be aware that these unpowered boats generally travel along the Nile towed behind a rather smelly tugboat. They are quite small so very few people onboard.
  • There are quite a number of cruise boats operating on the Nile River so be aware that tourist sites will be crowded with cruise boats and it is rare on the river that you will not see another cruise boat, often six or seven.
  • It is common to have local people attaching their small boats to the side of the cruise boats to sell souvenirs. Boat captains are, understandably, not very sympathetic to these people.
  • The quality of cruise boats can vary hugely so be sure you know exactly what boat you have and the facilities it offers. For example, do not assume Wi-Fi.

Our Cruise Boat - Sultan Hussan

Further Information