Land Area : Approximately 1,001,450 km², but only 5% is cultivated and populated. The rest is all desert.
Population : 77.5 million (est. July 2005). 99 % are descendants of ancient Egyptians, Berbers and Bedouins. Most of the popluation is concentrated in the Nile Valley and the Delta with the Berbers and Bedouins living in the oases west of the Nile and in the Sinai peninsula.
4 h 30 from Paris to Cairo
4 h from London to Cairo
8 h from New York to Cairo
Arabic. English is widely spoken in touristic areas and sometimes French or other European languages.
Visas and Documents
Passports are required. They must be valid for 6 months after your return. Also be sure you have enough empty pages for the visa and entry and departure stamps.
All foreign visiters (except citizens of Malta or Arab countries) must purchase a visa stamp at the Cairo airport for 15 USD. This single-entry visa is valid for 3 months. (If you are visiting the southern part of Sinai, arriving at the Taba border or the Sharm El Sheikh airport, visas are for free.)
Islam is the predominant religion of Egypt. 90 % of Egypt's population is Sunni. About 9 % are Coptic Christians.
Egypt's currency is the Egyptian pound (LE). Money can be changed officially at American Express and Thomas Cook offices, foreign exchange bureaus and some larger hotels. Major credit cards can be widely used to take money from ATM machines, for incidentals at hotels and on cruises, and for purchases in large cities and touristic areas. To facilitate currency exchange, use traveller's checks, Euros or US dollars. As a general rule, banks are open from 9 am - 2 pm everyday except Friday, which is equivalent to our Sunday. So, pay attention, government offices will also be closed on Friday.
Alexandria and the Northern Coast have a Mediterranean climate, while Cairo has a semi-arid climate and the south of Egypt has an arid climate (Luxor, Aswan, the Red Sea).
The best months for visiting the country are November through February. The weather is agreeable throughout the country and ideal for taking a Lake Nasser or Nile cruise in order to visit the Pharaonic ruins. The days are hot and sunny (but not too, 15 - 25 C) and the nights are cool.
Summer is stifling in Cairo and scorching in Upper Egypt (where the air is especially dry). This makes the heat almost bearable. However, it is definitely not advised for people who are sensitive to the heat. It can sometimes reach more than 50 C in the Valley of the Kings.
For a stay on the Red Sea Coast, choose sometime during June through September. The water temperature fluctuates between 24 and 28 C and the air temperature between 30 and 40 C.
Avoid March and April, the months of "khamsin" or sand storms, strong, hot winds with sand and dust.
Egyptian Embassies Abroad :
Embassy : 1 Darwin Ave, Yarralumla Canberra, ACT 2600
Tel : (06) 273-4437/8
Consulates : 9th floor, 124 Exhibition St, Melbourne, Vic 3000
Tel : (03) 9654-8869/8634
335 New South Head Rd, Double Bay Sydney, NSW 2028
Tel : (02) 9362-3483
Embassy : 454 Laurier Ave East, Ottawa, Ontario KIN 6R3
Tel : (613) 234-4931/35/58
Consulate : 1 Place Sainte Marie, 2617 Montreal, Quebec H3B 4S3
Tel : (514) 866-8455
Embassy : 26 South St, Mayfair London W1Y 6DD
Tel : (0171) 499-2401
Consulate : 2 Lowndes St, London SW1
Tel : (0171) 235-9777/9719
Embassy : 3521 International Court NW, Washington DC 20008
Tel : (202) 232- 5400, 224- 5131
Consulates : 1110 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10022
Tel : (212) 759-7120/1/2
3001 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94115
Tel : (415) 346-9700/2
1990 Post Oak Blvd - Suite 2180, Houston, TX 77056
Tel : (713) 961-4915/6
500 N Michigan Ave - Suite 1900, Chicago, IL 60611
Tel : (312) 828-9162/64/67
Egyptian Tourism Office (Alexandria)
19 Sharia Morsi Badr, El Attarine, Alexandria
Tel : (20 3) 496 09 57/393 27 12/393 88 37
Fax : (20 3) 393 12 91
Egyptian Tourism Office (Cairo)
5 Sharia Adly, Downtown, Cairo
Tel : (20 2) 391 34 54
World Trade Center, 11th floor, 1191 Corniche el-Nil, Cairo
Tel : (02) 575-0444
Fax : (02) 578-1638
3rd floor, 4 Sharia Kobra, Garden City, Cairo
Tel : (02) 354-3110
UK Embassy : 7 Sharia Ahmed Ragheb, Garden City, Cairo
Tel : (02) 354-0850
Consulate : 3 Sharia Mena, Rushdy, Alexandria
Tel : (03) 546-7001/2
USA Embassy: 5 Sharia Latin America, Garden City, Cairo
Tel : (02) 355-7371
Consulate : Unit 64904, 110 Tariq al-Hurriya, Alexandria
Tel : (03) 482-1911
There are no required vaccines for travel to Egypt. However, the vaccinations listed below should be considered. Most travellers from Western countries will have been immunised against various diseases during chilhood but booster shots may be recommended. Plan ahead and seek medical advice at least 6 weeks prior to your departure.
Vaccinations to consider
Tetanus and Diptheria - Boosters are necessary every 10 years.
Polio - A booster is required every 10 years. It is a serious disease and prevalent in many Middle Eastern countries.
Meninogococcal Meningitis - Vaccination is recommended for those planning to stay for three months or more in Egypt.
Malaria - Recommended if you are travelling to the oases or the Delta where the mosquitoes are particularly virulent from June to October.
Travellers sufering from asthma should be aware that Cairo is very polluted and dusty. Bring antidiarrhea medicine, sun block, sunglasses, a hat, and a scarf (for air conditioned hotels and boats). Tap water in Cairo is generally safe to drink and heavily chlorinated. But elsewhere in Egypt, bottled water is recommended. Avoid eating raw vegetables and peel fruits before eating them.
Card phones are used in Egypt. Cards can be purchased in small kiosks where snacks and drinks are sold.
To call Egypt from abroad dial 00 + 20 (country code) + city code (Cairo : 2, Alexandria : 3, Luxor : 95, Aswan : 97) + telephone number.
From Egypt to another country 00 + your country code + area code + telephone number.