Egypt is bounded to the north by the Mediterranean, to the south by Sudan, to the west by Libya and to the east by the Red Sea and Israel. The River Nile divides the country unevenly in two, while the Suez Canal provides a third division with the Sinai Peninsula.
The best season is winder (Oct – May) when temperatures in Cairo are comfortable during the day and cool or even cold at night. Weather in Upper Egypt is comfortably warm. During summer (Jun – Sep), Cairo is hot and dry and Upper Egypt extremely hot. The Red Sea coast is hot & dry, with rain mostly in winter and mild wind throughout the year. Egypt is an all year-round destination.
Egyptian Pound (EGP)
Arabic is the official language. English is widely spoken and understood.
South African passport holders require a visa for Egypt
WHAT THINGS COST *
Bottled Water USD 2.00
Can of Coke – at hotel USD 3.00
Bottle of local beer – at hotel USD 6.00
Take-away lunch USD 8.00
Dinner in restaurant USD 15.00
20 Minute taxi journey USD 10.00
* Purchase price will vary depending on point of sale.
Below are a few hints, which may help you when planning for your trip to Egypt.
For South African passport holders, a visa is required to enter Egypt. This visa must be obtained prior to departure from South Africa.
Light weights in summer (April – October) and medium weights for winter (end October – beginning April). You will require some warm clothing for Winter as Egypt can get very cold.Bring a light jacket for cool evenings even in summer. Comfortable shoes are a must, preferably with rubber soles. Egypt is a Muslim country, and tourists should dress conservatively, particular when visiting Mosques and holy places.
As a norm the weather is dry, sunny and warm to hot most of the year with very little rainfall. The winter temperatures are similar to a European Spring. June, July, August and September are hot, but the evenings can still be refreshingly cool.
We recommend that you bring some kind of washing soap to do your hand washing of clothes. It is also a good idea to bring a blow-up hanger, or some other light hanger, as not all hotel hangers can be removed from the cupboards, for hanging wet washing on. Remember to bring suntan lotion, and we also recommend that you bring a sun-hat. Mosquitoes can be a nuisance, and a mosquito repellent may come in handy. We also advise you to take tissues and wet wipes.
Egypthas the same voltage as South Africa (220V). The majority of electrical sockets take a two-prong plug. An adaptor- set (multi plug) is recommended.
Only drink bottled water, which is readily available and cheap. Make sure that the bottle has been properly sealed before you buy it. It is also recommended that you brush your teeth in bottled water. Before drinking fruit juice, establish that it is made from fresh fruit and not from concentrate to which tap water has been added. Ice-cubes in drinks are a no – no, instruct waiters not to put ice cubes into your drinks. Always wash and peel fruits. Food is safe as long as you eat in an International hotel, Nile Cruiser or a restaurant that caters for tourists. Beware of eating food bought from street vendors. The notorious “tummy bug” which sometimes plagues travellers to Egypt can also be eliminated if you avoid sudden temperature changes such as returning from a hot day’s sightseeing and immediately going into a fiercely air-conditioned room. Instead, remain in the shade and drink tepid or warm drinks, until your body temperature has had time to regulate itself. As a precaution we recommend you bring with you “Pectrolyte” which seems effective against minor stomach-upsets.
The official currency of Egypt is the pound (“LE”), which is divided into 100 piastres. Your travel allowance should be taken in U.S. dollars. Please ensure that you have some small US dollar notes available ( eg $ 1 – $ 5 – $ 10).
Money can be changed at Bureau de Change offices, banks and in hotels, the rate seems to be fairly standardised everywhere. Always try to keep some small change, LE 0.50 and LE 1.- bills, these are used for “baksheesh” and means you will not have to tip more than you are prepared to do for incidentals. Please note that you are not likely to be able to sell your Egyptian pounds once back in South Africa, so keep this in mind when changing money close to your return date.
Some passengers have reported difficulties using American Express and Diners Cards to pay for their meals etc. in their hotels. These credit cards are not as widely accepted as Visa and Mastercards. Please bear in mind that Travellers Cheques cannot be cashed on board the Nile cruiser.
Tipping in Egypt is often referred to as “baksheesh”. It is more than just a reward for extending a service, it is a way of life, and “baksheesh” is given to door-men in hotels, waiters in restaurants, taxi drivers etc, in fact to anyone extending a service. At times this expectation becomes tiring and avoiding eye contact may be a good way to avoid some of the pressure for Baksheesh. Tipping to guides, drivers, transfer personnel and hotel / Nile Cruise staff is customary. Hotel porters should receive a small tip (approximately US$1-) for carrying your luggage. Guides and drivers should receive a gratuity, as should the transfer representative who will assist with check-in at hotels, reconfirmation of your air-tickets and other practical details provided their services have lived up to your expectations.
Many of our clients ask us for recommended rates, so here is a guideline which you are free to follow or not, as you please:
Passengers not on group tours:
Guide: US$ 4.- per passenger per day for a full day’s services
Driver: US$ 2 – per passenger per day for full day’s services.
Office / transfer representative: US$ 2 – per passenger per day.
Nile Cruise staff: US$ 5.- per passenger per day whilst on cruise.
Hotel staff: Usually 10 % of restaurant/room service bill.
Passengers on group tours:
For passengers travelling as part of a group, please note that the cost of tipping must be collected before departure and distributed accordingly in Egypt.
Egypt is full of opportunities for great photography. It can sometimes be a bit tricky taking photos of people, so it is always better to ask first. Expect to be asked for “baksheesh” if you have taken photos of the locals.
FLIGHTS – RECONFIRMATION
If you are flying Egypt Air, please note that it is a “dry” airline, i.e. no alcohol is served on board. Please remember that it is essential to re-confirm your return flight latest 72 hours prior to departure. Failure to do so may result on your booking being cancelled, and all costs relating to this will be for your own account.
All hotels provide some kind of breakfast, even though you may have to check out from your hotel before the dining room opens in the mornings. Please check with hotel reception what arrangements your hotel makes for passengers with early departures.
A suggestion from several passengers: If you enjoy your tea/coffee, take a small immersion heater (plus international adaptor set to make sure the electrical plug will fit), a mug, tea/coffee bags, sugar and milk powder/Cremora. Ordering coffee/tea from room service is expensive!
Please note that coffee/tea is only served free of charge with breakfast, if your tour includes other meals, tea / coffee will be charged extra!