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- Climate - Health - Currency - Visas - Weights & Measures - Electricity - Communications - Etiquette - Transport - Tours - Hotels - Restaurants - Museums and Art Gallaries -


In general, Egypt is a hot, arid country. However, the climate of the Nile Delta and the valley of Upper Egypt are different. The Delta is more moderate with summer temperatures averaging 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit and high humidity near the Mediterranean coast. The average annual rainfall is eight inches which falls mostly in winter when it is cooler. The rest of the country is characteristic of a desert climate with hot summer temperatures ranging from 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit. Winters are warm at 65 degrees Fahrenheit, but evenings are cold. Also, dry sand winds sometimes blow in from the desert, especially in spring.
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No vaccinations are necessary for entry into Egypt unless a traveler has been in an infected area prior to arrival. In this case inoculations against cholera and yellow fever are essential. Relevant information must be displayed on an International Vaccination Certificate.
Despite tap water in Cairo being drinkable and safe, tourists are still recommended to drink bottled water. People are advised to check that the bottle is sealed correctly.
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The Egyptian pound (LE) or ginih is the local currency. It is broken up into 100 piasters (PT) or irsch. The bills are marked in English on one side and Arabic on the other, and only colors and numerals separate the different denominations, eg: LE1, brown; LE5, blue; LE10, red and LE20, green. In August 1991, the exchange rate was LE3.30 to 1 US$.
Money transfers from banks abroad are now possible, or alternatively, you can send a draft check by courier or express mail.
Currency regulations are strict and must be adhered to. All foreign money must be declared on arrival into the country. Official bank receipts for currency changed in Egypt have to be produced. Credit cards and travelers' cheques are honored in most hotels, restaurants and tourist shops.
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All travelers to Egypt need both a valid passport and visa. Although visas may be obtained at Cairo airport, Alexandria or Taba, it is recommended that they should be applied for beforehand. Visas can be obtained from any Egyptian Consulate, but fees differ from place to place. They are only valid for up to one month, but can be extended. It is essential that all tourists register with the local police within seven days of arrival. There is no airport departure tax as it is incorporated into the price of the air ticket.
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Weights and measurements are generally metric with the exception of the feddan and its sub-divisions: kadah, rob, keila and ardeb. Each sub-division represents a different weight depending on the material, e.g: the approximate weight of the ardeb is as follows: wheat, 331.5lbs; beans, 342.6lbs; barley, 265.2lbs; maize, 309.4lbs. Unless one is planning on buying land or growing crops, these need not be used.
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The electricity and voltage in Egypt follows the British system of 220v apart from sections of the Garden City in Cairo. Two-pronged European plugs can fit into the sockets, but American appliances will need adapters.
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The telephone system in Egypt has recently been completely overhauled, considerably improving telecommunications in the area. As a result, numbers have been changed from six to seven digits. In Cairo, if the number you want has six digits, add the prefix 2. The country calling code is 20-2. Telephones are available in all hotels, airports, railway stations, public buildings and telephone offices. Most convenient for travelers without access to a hotel is the telephone office which handles all different types of calls and is identified by a sign showing a telephone dial. A local call costs 10 piasters and pay phones only accept aluminium piaster pieces. International and long-distance calls can either be billed through AT&T or through an international line. It is not possible to call long-distance on a pay phone nor is it possible to call collect.
Most major hotels in Cairo have telex and fax facilities and the approximate cost is LE3-5 (Egyptian pounds) per minute. Telegrams can also be sent from any major hotel at a cost of about 50 piasters per word. The main government telegraph, telex and telephone complex can be found in the Cairo central railway station.
Poste restante is not the most reliable way of receiving mail and it is recommended to accept it through a hotel, or, for members only, American Express. The US Embassy no longer accepts mail for traveling Americans. There are post offices throughout Cairo but the central post office is in Attaba Square and is open from 8am to 7pm daily, except Fridays.
The BBC World Service, Voice of America and other international broadcasting networks can be picked up on shortwave radio sets in Egypt. Additionally, Radio Cairo on FM95 broadcasts daily news at 0730, 1430 and 2000 in English. This is alternated with broadcasts in French, Greek, Armenian and German.
Foreign newspapers are available in Egypt including the International Herald Tribune, The Guardian, The London Times and The Wall Street Journal, however, they usually appear two to four days late. The North African edition of Time and Newsweek are only available a week after the publication date. Local newspapers are no longer censored and are useful for information on cultural entertainment around Cairo.
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As guests in Egypt, tourists should always bear in mind that they are in a Muslim country. Islam is the national religion and it is therefore appropriate to administer discretion wherever possible. Devout Muslims do not use drugs, eat pork, cook with animal fats or drink alcohol. Nevertheless, they do not object to foreigners doing so. Be tactful and indulge moderately.
Men must tread carefully when striking up conversation with unknown Muslim women. It is a serious breach of etiquette and can cause unnecessary bitterness.
Mosques are a popular tourist attraction and visitors should never forget to remove their shoes before entering one.
It is customary among Egyptians to always refuse the first invitation. It is recommended that tourists should do the same. If the offer is genuine, it will be extended again and it is then polite to accept.
The Cairenes, as the locals are known, are generally extremely hospitable and generous. They are warm-natured and easily amused. Bear in mind that pick-pocketing is common despite Cairo being one of the safest cities in the world: just keep your eye on your wallet and your wits about you, and you should be easily charmed by the local denizens.
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Both cruisers and long-distance ferries connect Egypt with Europe. Car ferries run from Crete and Piraeus in Greece, as well as from Venice in Italy and dock in Alexandria. The journey takes up to three days with many scheduled runs in a month. Passenger ships that visit Egypt use Alexandria and Port Said on the Mediterranean or Suez on the Red Sea.
Rather than the traditional ferry, Cairo offers its visitors the river taxi. The blue, glass-topped boats run from Maspero Station through to University Bridge, Manial, Rhoda, Giza and Old Cairo.
The following ferry and shipping services travel to Egypt:

ADRIATIC LINES: 5 World Trade Center, New York; Sealink UK Ltd, Victoria Station, P O Box 29, London SW1; Castro and Co, 12 Talaat Harb St, Cairo.

DANISH SEAWAYS: 199 Regent Street, London W1.

BLACK SEA SHIPPING CO (Russian Agents): CTC Lines, 1-3 Lower Regent Street, London SW1.

THE EGYPTIAN NAVIGATION CO: 1 El Hurreya Ave, Alexandria.

MISR EDCO SHIPPING CO: Menatours, 14 Talaat Harb St, Cairo.

SAUDI MARITIME TRANSPORT CO: 2 Tulumbat St, Garden City, Cairo.


The majority of international airlines fly into Cairo, Egypt's main link to Europe, Asia and Africa. British Airways, TWA and Egyptair all have daily flights and there are non-stop flights from most African, Asian and European cities. Transport to downtown Cairo is by airport bus, public bus or taxi. Airport buses leave every 20 minutes stopping at the Meridien Hotels, the Nile Hilton and the Ramses Hilton. Public bus #400 will also go to the city center. Taxis are plentiful but it is essential to bargain, or even better, fix a price before leaving the airport. There is also a limousine service called LimoMisr which consists of a fleet of Mercedes Benzes. Fixed prices are the norm and simply ask for the going rate.

The following international airlines serve Egypt:

AIR FRANCE: 2 Talaat Harb Square,Cairo (743 300).
AIR INDIA: 1 Talaat Harb Square, Cairo (754 864; 754 873).
ALITALIA: Nile Hilton Hotel, Cairo (740 984/7).
BRITISH AIRWAYS: 1 Abdel Salam Aref St, Tahrir Square, Cairo (777 045).
CATHAY PACIFIC: 26 Mahmoud Bassiouni St, Cairo (758 939).
EGYPTAIR: 16 Adly St, Cairo (920 999); 12 Kasr El Nil, Cairo (759 806); Nile Sheraton Hotel (985 408); Heliopolis (668 552); Airport (454 049/4); Zamalek (412 027).
EL AL AIRLINES: 5 El Makrizi St, Zamalek (411 429).
IBERIA: 15 Tahrir Square (749 955; 749716).
JAPAN AIRLINES: Nile Hilton Hotel, Cairo (740 845).
KLM ROYA DUTCH AIRLINES: 11 Kasr El Nil, Cairo (740 999).
LUFTHANSA GERMAN AIRLINES: 9 Talaat Harb St, Cairo (750 366).
SINGAPORE AIRLINES: Nile Hilton Hotel, Corniche El Nil (762 702).
SWISSAIR: 22 Kasr Nil St, Cairo (757 955).
UNITED AIRLINES: 16 Adly St, Cairo (938 964).


Tourists can enter the country either through Europe or Sudan by rail. From Europe, tourists under 26 can purchase discount tickets through BIGE which are available through Eurotrain or, alternatively, Eurail passes are also recommended. Keep in mind that despite the tickets covering some ferry connections, sleeping accommodation on both trains and ferries will be extra. From Africa there is a train from Khartoum to Wadi Halfa which is not particularly reliable nor comfortable. This connects with a steamer boat across Lake Nasser.


There are two bus systems in Cairo: the minibuses which are reliable and uncrowded as they do not permit standing passengers, and the public buses which are numbered in Arabic, overcrowded and not for the weak or faint-hearted. The main station for the white and orange mini buses is in Midan Tahrir where each destination is written in both English and Arabic. The mini buses also stop at designated places.
The public buses, on the other hand, travel only on fixed routes and can prove confusing as seldom do outward or inward routes correspond.
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Tour buses from most agencies in the major hotels are of international standard and are recommended.


A tour around the area should take a couple of hours, but allow more time if wanting to explore the surrounding tombs as well. Service taxis, public mini buses and private taxis all have scheduled routes to Giza. Service taxis run from Mugama's in Tahrir to the base of the plateau. Public minibuses 82 and 83 also leave from the same place and drop tourists at the midan. The pyramids can also be reached by local buses #8, #9, and #900.


Saqqara is divided into northern and southern halves. Most tourists visit sites in the north. To visit the south, though, requires special permission from the Department of Antiquities. A whole day should be taken to visit Saqqara. The different sights are scattered over an extensive area so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Drinks are available, but food is not. To stay in the area, contact the

Saqqara Palm Club, Saqqara Tourist Rd (018 200 791/921 031).

There are no public transportation facilities, hence the most convenient way to get there is to catch a taxi from Cairo for the day. It is also recommended that you go with a guide if you are planning on seeing the whole area.
Five miles south of Saqqara is Dahshur, part of a military area which can only be visited by special permission that is not easy to obtain. The view from Saqqara is the closest most visitors will get.


Meidum, 40 miles from Cairo, is not on normal tour itineraries and gets little tourist traffic. Therefore, it is not recommended for the casual visitor. Those that decide to go should wear durable shoes, sun protection, and bring water.
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If the main attraction for visiting Egypt is the pyramids, then it would be better to stay in Giza. Some hotels in Giza are: Expensive:

MENA HOUSE OBEROI HOTEL: Pyramid Road, Giza (3877444)

RAMADA: Alexandria Desert Road, Giza (3877700)

SHERATON: Galaa Bridge Square, Giza (3488700)


DELTA PYRAMIDS: King Faisal Street, Giza (3870983)

MOVENPICK JOLIE VILLE: Alexandria Desert Road, Giza (3875977)

OASIS HOTEL: Alexandria Desert Road, Giza (3871777)


AMOUN: Sphinx Square, Mohandessien, Giza (3461434)

CHATEAU DE PYRAMID: Alexandria Desert Road, Giza (3874236)

CONCORDE: 146 Tahir Street, Dokki (708751)

EGYPTIAN YOUTH HOSTEL ASSOCIATION: 7 Shari Abdul Hamid-Said, Cairo (758099)
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All different types of cuisine are available and the price range is just as varied. The hotels generally cater for the more expensive tastes, but along most of the streets, one can find foodstalls which are usually safe to eat from and very reasonable. There are also many medium-priced restaurants serving different types of cuisine, ranging from Indian to French.
CAN ZAMAN: Saqqara Road (538141).
FELFELA CAFE: Alexandria Desert Road (3831117).
FRENCH PASTERY: 197 - 26 July Street, Agouza (3459939).
HAPPY JOE: El Ahram Street (853103).
HORUS: Sphinx Square, Mohandessien (3446956).
MOGHUL ROOM: Mena House Hotel, Pyramid Road (3877444).
PAPION: 34, 35, 36 Tersana Club Enclosure (3422045).
PIZZA HUT: 10 A Hussien Wassef Street, Dokki (3611347).
SUN DAY: 65 Mohi El Din Abu El Ezz (3491157).
VIENA: 37 El Batal Ahmed Abd El Aziz Street, Mohandessien (3466940).
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CENTER FOR ART AND LIFE: Formerly the Manisterli Palace on Rhoda Island, next to the Nilometer (986 931). Open 9am - 2:30pm, except Fri.
Exhibits of Pharaonic art, ceramics, batik, painting, photography, handicrafts, glass, pottery and textiles.
COPTIC MUSEUM: Old Cairo (841 766). Open daily 9am - 4pm except Fri; 9am - 11am and 1pm - 4pm on weekends.
Collection of objects from the Christian era including Coptic textiles.
EGYPTIAN ANTIQUITIES MUSEUM: Found at the north end of Midan Tahrir (754 310). Open Thurs - Sat 9am - 4pm; Fri 9am - 12pm and 2pm - 4pm).
This museum houses some 20,000 Pharaonic works and is the largest collection in the world. It came into existence in 1902, the brainchild of a French archaeologist, Auguste Marriette, who dedicated most of his life to studying Egyptian artefacts.
EGYPTIAN CIVILIZATION MUSEUM: Agricultural Society pavilion in Gezira (805 198). Open daily 9am - 2pm.
A collection of paintings and sculptures of Egypt from the prehistoric periods to modern day.
MANIAL PALACE MUSEUM: Follow the eastern Corniche and shore and it can be found about a kilometer away from the Nilometer. Open 9am - 2pm.
One of Cairo's most beautiful buildings. It includes the Sultan Muhammad Ali's palace, reception rooms, a private mosque and hunting museum. Exceptional Islamic styles and furnishings.
MIITARY MUSEUM: The Citadel (920 955). Open daily 9am - 2pm.
A record of military history of Egypt with displays from both ancient and modern times. Displays include swords, cannons, rifles, equipment and costumes.
WAX MUSEUM: Helwan (385 93).
The museum has a collection of statues made of plaster, depicting the history of Egypt from ancient times.
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Page created by: Anthony C. DiPaolo, M.S.
Osiris Web Design

Revised: November 12, 2009.
Copyright 1997 by Anthony C. DiPaolo, M.S. / Osiris Web Design.