Egypt is one of Africa’s major tourist destinations with the main drawcards being the Red Sea, Egyptology and the Nile. The Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx and the Valley of the Kings need no introduction in the world of antiquity, the sun-soaked beaches of the Red Sea with their scuba diving are a massive attraction to those from colder climes, and a cruise on the Nile floods back memories of Cleopatra.
Aside from these famous attractions, this desert country houses ancient ruins and mystical Oases and in Cairo ancient cultures remain, blending with the very modern. Egypt offers so much more than its world-famous pyramids. Visitors can enjoy desert trekking, scuba diving, golfing, fishing, bird watching or floating along the Red Sea.
The Center for Disease Control maintains an excellent source of health information for travelers.
Electrical sockets (outlets) in Egypt are one of the two European standard electrical socket types: The "Type C" Europlug and the "Type E" and "Type F" Schuko. If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into. If it's crucial to be able to plug in no matter what, bring an adapter for both types.
Electrical sockets (outlets) in Egypt usually supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need.
But travel plug adapters do not change the voltage, so the electricity coming through the adapter will still be the same 220-240 volts the socket is supplying. If your appliances are not compatible with 220-240 volt electrical output, a voltage converter will be necessary.
Egyptian Pound or ginee (LE; symbol E£) = 100 piastres. Notes are in denominations of E£200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 1, 50 piastres and 25 piastres. Coins are in denominations of 25, 20, 10 and 5 piastres.
British pounds sterling, Euros and the US Dollar are accepted everywhere although change may be given in Egyptian pounds.
The import and export of local currency is limited to E£5,000. The import and export of foreign currency is limited to US$10,000 or equivalent.
The Egyptian pound is available outside Egypt and you can change money before you leave for your trip. Alternatively, 24-hour currency exchange is available at Cairo airport. It is worth exchanging at least a small amount for incidentals during your first day or two in Egypt. Keep small denomination notes for taxis fares as drivers rarely seem to have any change, and for tips, known as baksheesh, which are a way of life in Egypt.
Banking hours: Sun-Thurs 08h30-14h00. Bureaux de change are generally also open in the evening 18h00-21h00.
American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa credit cards are widely accepted in all but the smallest hotels and restaurants throughout the country, except in the Western oases. It is wise to keep your credit card in view when you make purchases or pay a restaurant bill, and to keep receipts for checking exchange rates and charges on your statement.
ATMS can be found in all major towns and cities.
Travellers cheques are becoming less useful now that international ATMs are prevalent throughout the country. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars, Euros or Pounds Sterling. You will need to show your passport when you change traveller’s cheques.
Currency exchange is also available at banks, official bureaux de change outlets and most hotels. Banks often have better exchange rates than bureaux de change or hotels. All common international currencies are accepted. It is wise to divide your currency between you if there is more than one person in your party and keep it secure to guard against theft. It is advisable to take only what you will need for a day’s excursion and keep the remainder of your money in your hotel safe.
With the small exception of its strip of Mediterranean coastline, the whole of Egypt has an arid desert climate. Throughout Egypt, days are commonly warm or hot, and nights are cool. Egypt has only two seasons: a mild winter from November to April and a hot summer from May to October. Egypt receives fewer than eighty millimeters of precipitation annually in most areas. Most rain falls along the coast, but even the wettest area (around Alexandria), receives only about 200 millimeters of precipitation per year. The best time to travel to Egypt is during the winter, between December and February, when temperatures range between 20 to 26 degrees Celsius (68 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit).
What you wear will depend a little on whether you are staying solely in the tourist beach resorts, or exploring the wider country. However always remember it is a Muslim country so you should respect their conservative values at all times. Local people like to dress up in the evening, so if you're going out to dinner it's a great opportunity to dress with more care than usual. Also on cruise boats it's nice to have something smart to wear in the evening. Egypt is a Muslim country, and although its cities are modern and local women may wear make-up now, they always dress conservatively.
Egyptians find it very inappropriate to reveal even the slightest amount of stomach or hips, so short tops, short skirts or shorts, or tight clothes should be avoided completely when away from tourist hotels. Cotton or other natural fiber long-sleeved shirts or t-shirts, worn with long pants or ankle length skirts are a good choice, and keep your shoulders covered too. Keep clothing loose - it will keep you cooler and you'll get less unwanted attention. Although the dress code is more relaxed in hotels and tourist resorts like Sharm el Sheikh, you will find that you will get more respect if you dress modestly - a pashmina or wrap can be useful for times when you need to cover up.