Best Time to go: October to May
Best For: UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Historical sites, Religious Sites
The world-renowned treasures of this fabled country, from iconic pyramids to medieval bazaars, are sights to behold. The Nile defines Egypt as it inundates the delta in the north, slips by rich suburb and impoverished allotment in the capital Cairo, brings life to the settlements of the Nile Valley and delivers visitors in floating palaces to the great archaeological wonders of the ancient world.
No trip to Egypt is complete without a trip to Cairo`s famous Khan-el Khalili Bazaar where haggling for spices, copper and brass, perfume and trinkets has been refined into an art form.
Plying the river between Luxor and Aswan, and generally lasting around three to five days, a boat trip is the quintessential Nile experience.
Egypt`s six oases in the vast Western Desert offer a fascinating glimpse of Bedouin and Berber life, often with ancient ruins nearby. Don`t miss the White Desert, an area of dazzling white, wind-blown rock forms scattered across the wilderness and never to miss is a camel ride in the desert.
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Capital: Cairo (El Qahira) (CAI)
Currency: Egyptian Pound (EGP)
Language: Arabic (English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish are also widely spoken)
Dialling code from SA: +20
Time Zone: UTC / GMT +2 (same time as South Africa)
Daylight savings time: From May to June and August to September: UTC / GMT +3 (1 hour ahead of South Africa)
Side of the Road: Right
Plugs: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Sockets take the continental European-style two-pin plugs.
Drinking Water: All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated. Milk is unpasteurised. Bottled water is available, but check the seals (a popular scam is to collect empty bottles, fill them with tap water and attempt to reseal them). The water provided in your hotel should be safe to drink.
Health: There are adequate and well-equipped medical facilities in Cairo and Alexandria, however visitors are required to pay for these services. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended. Outside of the main cities, medical facilities are very limited.
Customs: As a predominately Islamic country, dress should always be conservative: women should keep their upper arms and legs covered. When visiting religious buildings, women should also cover their hair. Respect to religious customs should be shown during the month of Ramadan.
Local Offences / Laws: Homosexuality is illegal. Photography of military installations is illegal.
Travel Tips / Warnings: Driving in Egypt can be chaotic. Tourists should carry identification at all times. A fee is applicable when photographing inside the pyramids, tombs and museums. Always ask permission when photographing people, as some traditionally dressed locals demand fees. Avoid political demonstrations. Check the local political situation. Women should take care when travelling alone due to incidents of harassment.
Duty Free: The following items may be imported into Egypt by travellers over 18 without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes or 25 cigars or 200g of tobacco.
• 2L of alcoholic beverages.
Note: You should declare currency over E£500 on arrival.
Prohibited Imports: Drugs, firearms and cotton.
Prohibited Exports: Drugs, firearms and cotton. You may only export small quantities of locally bought gold and silver for personal use. If exporting antiquities over 100 years old, you must obtain a licence.