Egypt

General Information

Land Area : Approximately 1,001,450 km², but only 5% is cultivated and populated. The rest is all desert.
Population : 82.5 million (est. 2011). 99 % are descendants of ancient Egyptians, Berbers and Bedouins. Most of the population is concentrated in the big cities (Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, Aswan), in the Nile Valley and in the Delta with the Berbers and Bedouins living in the oases west of the Nile and in the Sinai peninsula.

Flight Length

4 h 30 from Paris to Cairo

4 h from London to Cairo

8 h from New York to Cairo

Language

Arabic. English is widely spoken in touristic areas and sometimes French or other European languages.

Visas and Documents

Passports requires minimum validity of 6 months at the date of entry in Egypt. Be sure to have enough empty pages for the entry visa and stamps.

Excepting few Europeans and non-Europeans Countries that require pre-issued visa from the Egyptian Consulates - to be double-checked before traveling - all foreign visitors can purchase a visa stamp at Cairo airport for 15 USD valid for 3 months. If you are visiting the southern part of Sinai, arriving at the Taba border or at the Sharm El Sheikh airport, visas are for free.

Religion

Islam is the predominant religion of Egypt. 90 % of Egypt's population is Sunni. About 9 % are Coptic Christians.

Money

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, carry Euro and US Dollars with you. As a general rule, banks are open from 9 am - 2 pm everyday except Friday, which is equivalent to our Sunday. Government offices are closed on Friday.

Climate

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 sunny but not too hot, 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 from June to September. The water temperature fluctuates between 24 and 28 C and the air temperature between 30 and 40 C.

Useful Addresses

Egyptian Embassies Abroad : find more on http://www.touregypt.net/usconsulates.htm

Australia
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

Canada
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

UK
Embassy : 26 South St, Mayfair London W1Y 6DD
Tel : (0171) 499-2401
Consulate : 2 Lowndes St, London SW1
Tel : (0171) 235-9777/9719

USA
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

In Egypt

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

Australian Embassy
World Trade Center, 11th floor, 1191 Corniche el-Nil, Cairo
Tel : (02) 575-0444
Fax : (02) 578-1638

Canadian Embassy
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

Health

There are no vaccines required to travel to Egypt. Most travellers from Western countries 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.

General Information

Travellers suffering 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 conditioning in hotels and boats. Tap water in Cairo is generally safe to drink and heavily chlorinated. But bottled water is usually recommended all over. Avoid eating raw vegetables and peel fruits before eating them.

Telephone

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.