Egypt

Embassies

embassies
Greece

(http://www.hellas.org.eg/) - 18, Aisha El Taymouria Garden City, Cairo, Tel: +20-2-7950443 Fax: +20-2-7963903 gremb.cai@mfa.gr

embassies
American

(http://cairo.usembassy.gov/) - 8 Kamal El Din Salah St., Garden City, Cairo, Egypt. Tel: +20 2 797-3300, consularcairo@state.gov

embassies
Bangladesh
18 Hayeet El Tadrees Street, P. O. Box 12311, Giza, Cairo
+20 2 3748 1796/58
embassies
British

(http://ukinegypt.fco.gov.uk/) - 7 Ahmed Ragheb Street, Garden City, Cairo +20 2 2791 6000 24 hour service 365 days per year, Fax: +20 2 2791 6132,information.cairo@fco.gov.uk

embassies
Canadian

(http://www.dfait-maeci.gc...) - 26 Kamel El Shenaway Street, Garden City, Cairo Tel: +20 2 791-8700, cairo@international.gc.ca

embassies
Chile

(http://chileabroad.gov.cl...) - Nº1 Saleh Ayoub Suite 31, Zamalek, Cairo. Tel: +20 2 27358711 +20 2 27358446 Fax: +20 2 27355716

embassies
German

(http://www.kairo.diplo.de...) - 2, Sh. Berlin off Sh. Hassan Sabri Zamalek / Cairo, Tel: + 20 2 739-9600 Fax: +2 2 736-0530, germemb@tedata.net.eg

embassies
Australian

(http://www.embassy.gov.au...) - World Trade Centre 11th Floor, Corniche El Nil, Boulac Code No. 11111, Cairo , Egypt Phone +20 2 575 0444, Fax +20 2 578 1638, cairo.austremb@dfat.gov.au

embassies
Indian

(http://www.indembcairo.com/) - 5 Aziz Abaza St., Zamalek, Cairo Tel: 2736-3051, 2735-6053, 2736-0052 Intl. Dial Code is +20 2, Fax: +20 02 2736-4038, embassy@indembcairo.com

embassies
Italian

(http://www.italembassy.org.eg/) - 15, Abdel Rahman Fahmy Str., Garden City, Cairo Tel: +20 02 7943194 - 7943195 - 7940658, Fax: +20 02 7940657, ambasciata.cairo@esteri.it

embassies
Netherlands

(http://egypt.nlembassy.org/) - 18, Hassan Sabri Street, Zamalek, Cairo, Opening hours Embassy Sunday - Thursday 08:00 - 16:00 - Consular section Sunday - Thursday 09:00 - 12:00 - Visa section appointments only. Tel +20 2 2739 5500, Fax +20 2 2736 5249 E-Mail kai@minbuza.nl

embassies
New Zealand

(http://www.nzembassy.com/egypt) - Level 8, North Tower, Nile City Towers, 2005c Corniche El Nil, Ramlet Beaulac, Cairo, Opening hours Embassy Sunday - Sunday -Thur sday 0900-1500 - Emergency consular assistance for New Zealanders is available after hours. Tel: +20 2 2461 6000, Fax: +20 2 2461 6099, E-Mail mailto:enquiries@nzembassy.org.eg

embassies
Norwegian

(http://www.norway-egypt.org/) - 8 El Gezirah Street., Zamalek, Cairo, Opening Hours Su-Th: 08:30 - 15:30 Tlf: +20 2 27358046 / 2735 3340 / 2736 3955, Fax: +2 02 2737 0709, emb.cairo@mfa.no

embassies
Spanish

41, Ismail Mohamed.-Zamalek, Cairo. Phone: 735 58 13, 735 64 37, 735 36 52 and 735 64 62. embespeg@mail.mae.es

sun

Wear sunscreen, wear a sturdy hat and bring good sunglasses - it's bright out there!

Scams and hassleTravelers often complain about being hassled and attempts at scamming while in Egypt. While irritating, most of this is pretty harmless stuff, like attempting to lure you into a local papyrus or perfume shop.Typically, you will be approached by a person speaking fluent English who will strike up a conversation under social pretenses. He and it will always be a he will then attempt to get you to come along for a cup of tea or similar at his favourite most-paying souvenir shop. This could also happen outside museums etc. where the scammer will try to make you believe the "museum is closed" or similar.Hassling, while rarely dangerous, could be annoying, especially in the main tourist areas. There is no way to avoid this, but a polite la shukran no thanks or halass enough helps a lot. Apart from that, try to take hassling with a smile. If you let yourself be bugged by everyone trying to sell you something, your holiday won't be a very happy one.You'll typically also get the "do you remember me? I work in your hotel and saw you this morning" scam as well at which point the guy will try to lead you to a shop or restaurant where he can get a commission. Best to reply that he is mistaken and you are not staying there or just arrive today then walk away.A recent one that is popping up as touts are getting more creative is that they'll ask you go give money into a donation box in a mosque claiming that it will help the neighborhood that recently had an earthquake. He will even tell you not to give money to people but only the donation box - SCAM! Potentially more annoying are taxi drivers or others getting a commission fee to lead you to their hotel of choice, of course paying commission fees for each guest they receive. Firmly stand your ground on this. If they insist, just ask to be dropped off at a street or landmark close to the place you are heading to. This scam is especially common among taxi drivers from the airport.

Egypt is a safe and friendly country to travel. Egyptians on the whole are very friendly - if you are in need of assistance they will generally try to help you as much as they are able.As of 2015, Egypt received 23.8 million visitors.

Egyptian men will make compliments to women; do not take offense if they do this to you. Men shouldn't be worried, either; if they do this to your partner/daughter, it will be nothing more than a compliment, and hopefully won't go any further than that. If it does, don't be afraid to confront them sternly with the look of death at having insulted your wife/daughter. Most will giggle and walk away rather than get into a fight penalty for injuring a tourist is pretty astounding.

If you are a woman traveling alone or with another woman, be warned that some men will touch you or grab you anywhere on the body, whether you are negotiating with them or simply walking down the street. Dressing modestly will not deter them. Getting upset at them for touching you will be met with amusement by them and any onlookers, both male and female. The best way to avoid this is wear a wedding band and don't be too friendly. If a man grabs you inappropriately, do not be afraid to slap him and yell at him for his indecency/lack of shame. The penalty for harming a tourist is quite severe.

laundry

There are some ways to get your laundry done in the desert:

By far the easiest, most practical - and not at all expensive - is to arrange for your hotel to have your washing done for you. By prior arrangement, clothes left on the bed or handed in at reception will be returned to you by evening freshly laundered and pressed.

Determined self-helpers can persist with hand-washing or finding one of the many "hole-in-the-wall" laundries where the staff will wash and press your clothes manually - a fascinating process in itself! Just be aware that your clothes will probably smell of cigarette smoke when returned...

Cairo possesses a few basic Western-style laundromats in areas where foreigners and tourists reside - they are virtually nonexistent elsewhere in the country. Some hotels in tourist towns like Luxor and Dahab offer a washing machine service in a back room - the machines are usually primitive affairs and you'll be left with the task of wringing and ironing your clothes yourself.

Even in Cairo, dryers are extremely rare, but they aren't exactly necessary: The combination of the Egyptian climate and a clothesline will do the job. Don't hang any white fabrics up outside, the dust will turn them yellow.

talk

The official language of Egypt is Standard Arabic. It is taught in schools and thus spoken by nearly everyone, with the exception of a small minority, mainly uneducated individuals, Bedouin, and desert dwellers. Standard Arabic is the Arabic used in official forms such as television, newspapers, government speeches, and teaching and educational institutions. It is the only common form that is understood by all the different countries of the Arab world except Western Sahara, Mauritania and Chad.

However, the native language in most of the country and the national lingua franca is Egyptian Arabic, one of the numerous mostly mutually unintelligible local dialects of Arabic. Although each country in the Arab world has its own dialects, Egyptian Arabic has the highest number of native speakers and is in fact also known as a second language by many Arabs especially in the neighbouring countries, due to the popularity of Egyptian cinema and media in the Middle East.

As Egypt was a British colony until 1952, most educated locals learn English at school. Travellers are unlikely to encounter difficulties finding someone who speaks English, especially in the cities and tourist centres. In fact, English and French are taught as second languages in all public Egyptian schools, although people who go to these schools might be able to speak the language with varying degrees, depending on their education and socio-economic class the higher having more language skills.

Among the educated class, older people over 40 will generally be more fluent in French, as French was the dominant language of education in the past before English became dominant. This however, is becoming more exceptional as there are more young people going to French schools than before, so there are a number of young people who speak French as well besides English. There are also a few German schools where students are taught everything in German and following the German curriculum as well.

The most other common languages are Italian, Spanish, and Russian due to the high number of tourists who come from Europe speaking these languages.

Following usual rules of politeness, instead of simply starting a conversation with someone in English, ask "Do you speak English?". All the better if you can do it in Egyptian Arabic: betekkallem ’engelīzi? addressing a male or betekkallemi ’engelīzi? addressing a female.Also "eeeekalaam?" -That's how Egyptians say "what's up?"

In the southern parts of the country, such as Luxor and Aswan, the local language is called Sa'idi Arabic, and is different from the standard Egyptian Arabic spoken in the north of the country. There are also people Black Africans in the far south speaking the totally different Nubian language. However, basically all people can speak Egyptian Arabic and in the cities also often standard Arabic and English.

Bedouins of Siwa and the western deserts of Egypt speak a language called Berber, also called Siwi, which is an unwritten language unique to them that only they can speak. These people are bilingual in Egyptian Arabic.

The Bedouin tribes of other areas of Egypt have their own dialect of Arabic, which would not be normally understood by the ordinary urban Egyptian, but again these people will be bilingual in the Egyptian dialect.

Contrary to the belief of some people, nobody speaks or understands Hieroglyphs the ancient Egyptian language of the Pharaohs except those who studied Egyptology or work in the field of archaeology or give museum tour guides.

See Also: Egyptian Arabic Phrasebook

respect

Keep in mind that most Egyptian workers expect tips after performing a service, known as Baksheesh. This can be expected for something as little as pressing the button in the elevator. Many workers will even ask you to tip them before you get a chance. The typical tip for minor services is 50pt to 1 LE. Due to the general shortage of small change, you may be forced to give 5 LE to do simple things like use the bathroom. Just understand that this is part of the culture.

Do not photograph people without their permission, and in areas frequented by tourists do not be surprised if a bit of baksheesh is requested. If you're male, don't be surprised if another male holds your hand or forearm or engages in some form of bodily contact - there's no taboo against men holding hands and unlike in the West, this behavior is not associated with homosexuality. In general, Egyptians are a lot more comfortable with less personal space than are most Westerners; however, pairs of Westerners should be cautious in engaging in same-sex contact. Normal contact is quite acceptable shaking hands, pats on the shoulder, etc. but holding hands could be mistaken in Westerners as a sign of homosexuality, which is quite taboo in Egypt. Smoking is very common and cigarettes are very cheap in Egypt.

Gamal Abdul Nasser, the second President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, and many others are considered national heroes in Egypt; you should say absolutely nothing that could be perceived as offensive or derogatory regarding him. Tread carefully around such topics and let others guide the openness of the discussion. Many Egyptians have a different interpretation concerning ambiguous expresions such as freedom of speech and democracy. Likewise, don't bring up politics and other delicate issues impulsively. It is advisable not to discuss Israel even if tempted; do not speak loudly about it as it may attract unwanted attention, even if you are only talking about it as a travel destination.

Never discuss religion from an atheistic or similar point of view. Even highly educated Egyptians who studied abroad won't appreciate it and doors will close for you. Also be aware that the Islamic "call to prayer" happens five times daily and can be heard loudly almost anywhere you go. Just understand that most Egyptians are used to it and enjoy it as part of the cultural experience.

Take great care if you choose to drink, especially if you're from countries where heavy drinking is accepted. Even if you are used to it, you can't estimate the effects of the climate, even at night. The impact drunk people have on Egyptians is quite large and very negative. The best plan is just to abstain or limit yourself to one drink per meal while in Egypt; it will be cheaper too.

Do not elicit any conversations about politics, but don't be afraid to partake if a local you are speaking with typically a middle-class and well educated shopkeeper begins a rant about his hatred for the current administration for whom they blame, rightly or wrongly, for the drop in tourism and economic loss. This will be a common theme that you'll find many of the friendly locals go into, but certainly you don't want to be seen as a foreigner coming in to insult their government with knowledge of only what you hear in the media.

dress

Egyptians are generally a conservative people and most are religious and dress very conservatively. Although they accommodate foreigners being dressed a lot more skimpily, it is prudent not dress provocatively, if only to avoid having people stare at you. It is best to wear pants or jeans instead of shorts as only tourists wear these. In modern nightclubs, restaurants, hotels and bars in Cairo, Alexandria and other tourist destinations you'll find the dress code to be much less restrictive. Official or social functions and smart restaurants usually require more formal wear.

At the Giza Pyramids and other such places during the hot summer months, short sleeve tops and even sleeveless tops are acceptable for women especially when traveling with a tour group. Though you should carry a scarf or something to cover up more while traveling to/from the tourist destination. Also, it's perfectly acceptable for women to wear sandals during the summer, and you will even see some women with the hijab who have sandals on.

Women should cover their arms and legs if travelling alone, and covering your hair may help to keep away unwanted attention. Though as a foreigner, you may get plenty of attention no matter what you wear, mainly including people staring at you along with some verbal harassment which you can try to ignore. Egyptian women, even those who wear the full hijab, are often subjected to sexual harassment, including cat calls. You may find that completely covering up does not make a huge difference, with regards to harassment, versus wearing a top with shorter sleeves. In regards to harassment, it's also important how you act. Going out with a group of people is also helpful, and the best thing to do is ignore men who give you unwanted attention. They want to get some reaction out of you. Also, one sign of respect is to use the Arabic greeting, "Asalamualaikum" means "hello, peace be upon you", and the other person should reply "Walaikumasalam" "peace be upon you". That lets the person know you want respect, and nothing else.

contact

Egypt has a reasonably modern telephone service including three GSM mobile service providers. The three mobile phone providers are Mobinil, Vodafone and Etisalat. Principal centers are located at Alexandria, Cairo, Al Mansurah, Ismailia, Suez, and Tanta. Roaming services are provided, although you should check with your service provider. Also, it is possible to purchase tourist mobile phone lines for the duration of your stay, which usually costs around 30 LE.

Internet access is easy to find and cheap. Most cities, such as Cairo and Luxor, and even smaller tourist sites, such as Edfu, boast a plethora of small internet cafés. The price per hour is usually 2-10 LE depending on the location/speed. In addition, an increasing number of coffee shops, restaurants, hotel lobbies and other locations now provide free wireless internet access. Free wi-fi Mobilnil is also available at modern coffee shops such as Cilantro and Costa Coffee, where you obtain access by getting a 2-hour "promotional" card from the waiter, and if you go into almost any McDonald's, you will have access to a free WiFi connection.

political unrest

After a long period of political stability in a dictatorial climate under President Mubarak, Egypt is now politically unrestful. After the riots that led to the dethroning of Mubarak, the Islamic Brotherhood of president Morsi came to power. Egypt steered towards a more Islamitic course, much to the dismay of the Egyptian Army, who claim to protect democracy. After great protests and with help of the army, Morsi and his collegues were put under detention. The following interim-government did not bring stability: more riots, many hundreds of people have been killed. The situation in summer 2013 is worse than ever.

Travellers are advised to stay away from major cities, and stick to the touristresorts on the Red Sea and the Aqaba-gulf. Take a direct plane to one of these resorts, and stay there, do not go about by yourself.

The Sinaï peninsula is also part of the unrest: the resorts are fine, but inland there may be roadblocks from political activists. Former president Mubarak, reportedly gravely ill, is being held in a hospital in the Central Sinaï, and anti-Mubarak activists have set up a cordon sanitaire to prevent Mubarak from being transported abroad. These roadblocks are being populated mostly by the Bedouin themselves.

Though mostly friendly, your safety cannot be guaranteed past these roadblocks. You're on your own; there is no army in the Sinaí to get you out.

This has consequences for excursions to the St. Catherine monastry and the Coloured Canyon. Though still advertised by touroperators, the more reliable operators will refuse to take you there.The political unrest is also causing Bedouïn tribes to renew some animosity, also resulting in roadblocks. Be wise, stick to the resorts and reputable touroperators, and still enjoy your holiday!

fluids

Ensure that you drink plenty of water: Egypt has an extremely dry climate most of the year - a fact aggravated by high temperatures in the summer end of the year - and countless travelers each year experience the discomforts and dangers of dehydration. A sense of thirst is not enough to indicate danger - carry a water bottle and keep drinking! Not needing to urinate for a long period or passing very small amounts of dark yellow urine are signs of incipient dehydration.

Egyptian tap water is generally considered safe by locals, but will often make travellers ill. It is not recommended for regular drinking, especially to very local differences in quality. Bottled mineral waters are widely available -- see Drink:Water section. Beware of the old scam, however, whereby vendors re-sell bottled water bottles, having refilled with another perhaps dubious source.... Always check the seal is unbroken before parting with your money or drinking from it and inform the tourist police if you catch anyone doing this....

Be a little wary with fruit juice, as some sellers may mix it with water. Milk should also be treated carefully as it may not be pasteurized.... Try only to buy milk from reputable shops. Hot beverages like tea and coffee should generally be OK, the water having been boiled in preparation, though it pays to be wary of ice as well.

crime

Pickpocketing is a problem in Egypt's bigger cities, particularly Cairo. Many locals opt not to carry wallets at all, instead keeping their money in a clip in their pocket, and tourists would be wise to adopt this as well. On the upside, violent crime is rare, and you are highly unlikely to physically mugged or robbed. If, however, you do find yourself the victim of crime, you may get the support of local pedestrians by shouting "Harami" Criminal while chasing the person who robbed you.

Overall, scams are the main concern in Egypt. Be aware that many Egyptians who starts a conversation with you in Cairo and Luxor want your money. There is a very insidious tactic used where they will "befriend" you, take you around, show you things, even bring you back to their place for dinner, and then they will demand money for it. Basically, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Demand prices for absolutely everything, because if you say "I thought it was free!" after the fact you are in for a vicious argument. Some scam at amusement park where they pretend to be your friend by treating you first,then they offer to hold your belongings when you go for a ride only to disappear afterwards.

Unfortunately you cannot trust strangers in Egypt, who are getting more and more desperate since tourism has dropped post-2011. Any of the "I want to practice English", "I work in your hotel, remember me from this morning?", "I am a teacher", "I am getting married soon" cannot be trusted. Even those who ask where you are walking to and claim to know the right direction you should not follow and stick to your map. You're best to ignore them and walk away. If you find yourself caught in a scam, when the time comes that you're asked for money as a "donation", for "guide services", "holding" your luggage, etc. - do not give them any money no matter how desperate they appear, and be sure to tell them directly that you will not give them money because it will otherwise encourage them to continue dishonest/criminal behavior. Make sure they understand exactly this point.

terrorism

Terrorism is a safety concern, and the country's terrorist groups have an unpleasant record of specifically targeting Western tourists and the places they frequent. The latter months of 2010 have seen increased travel warnings in the Sinai as a result of threat attacks, in addition to the large suicide bombing on New Years Eve 2010 in Alexandria that killed over 20 people and which seems to be the continuing of rising tensions in the country. The most infamous attack was the one in 1997 in Luxor, which killed 62 people, but there has also been a series of bombings in the Sinai in 2004-2006 and one largely unsuccessful attempt in Cairo in 2005.

The most recent incident involving British nationals occurred on 24 April 2006 in the resort town of Dahab killing 23 people, and injuring more than 60 including three British nationals. On the evening of 22 February 2009, an explosion occurred near the Al Hussein Mosque in Cairo, killing one French national and injuring others. The Egyptian security forces remain on a very high level of alert.

Realistically speaking, though, the odds of being affected by terrorism are statiscally low and most attacks have only succeeded in killing Egyptians, further increasing the revulsion the vast majority of Egyptians feel for the extremists. The government takes the protection of tourists seriously. For example, if you take a taxi from Cairo to Alexandria, you will be stopped at a checkpoint before leaving Cairo. They will on occasion ask where you are going, and on occasion communicate with the checkpoint at Alexandria to make sure you reach your destination within a certain time period. The same goes for most trips into the desert, particularly in Upper Egypt, which is probably best avoided due to rising religious tensions that seep below the surface and whilst appearing safe has the capacity to erupt without a moments notice. During different branches of your drive, you may be escorted by local police, who will expect some sort of financial payment. They will travel to your destination with you, wait around until you are finished, and usually stay behind at one of the next checkpoints. The best example of this is when you travel from Aswan to Abu Simbel to visit the Temple of Ramses II. An armed tourism police officer will board your tourist bus and escort you until you arrive at Abu Simbel, and after your tour, he will ride on the same bus with you back to Aswan.

There are also many tourism police officers armed with AK-47s riding on camels patrolling the Giza plateau. They are there to ensure the safety of the tourists since the Pyramids are the crown jewels of all the Egyptian antiquities. Some tourists may find it exciting or even amusing to take pictures with these police officers on camel back; however, since they are all on patrol duty, it is not uncommon for them to verbally warn you not to pose next to them in order to take a picture with them.

schistosomiasis

In order to avoid contracting the rightly dreaded schistosomiasis parasite also known as bilharzia, a flatworm that burrows through the skin, do not swim in the Nile or venture into any other Egyptian waterways, even if the locals are doing so. It is also a good idea not to walk in bare feet on freshly-watered lawns for the same reason.

Although the disease takes weeks to months to show its head, it's wise to seek medical attention locally if you think you've been exposed, as they are used to diagnosing and treating it, and it will cost you pennies rather than dollars. Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain and fatigue, making the disease easy to mistake for say the flu or food poisoning, but the flatworm eggs can be identified with a stool test and the disease can usually be cured with a single dose of Praziquantel.

Outbreaks of Avian Influenza Bird Flu in Egypt have led to 23 human fatalities since 2006. The last fatality was in December 2008.