Quick Facts

Full country name: Arab Republic of Egypt

Area: 1,001,449 sq km (622,272 sq mi)

Population: 69.5 million

Capital City: Cairo

People: Berbers, Bedouins and Nubians

Language: Arabic

Religion: 94% Islam, 6% Christian

Government: Republic

GDP: US$247 billion

GDP per head: US$3600

Annual Growth: 5%

Inflation: 3%

Major Industries: Oil & gas, metals, tourism, agriculture (especially cotton) and Suez Canal revenues

Major trading partners: USA, EU, Middle East

  • Country: United Arab Emirates
  • Area: 83,600 km2
  • Population:7.2 million
  • Capital City: Abu Dhabi
  • People: 16.6% Emirati, 23% Other Arabs and Iranian, 60.5% South Asian, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese, Filipino, Thai, Westerners
  • Language: Arabic
  • Religion: Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Sikhism
  • Government: Constitutional federationof absolute monarchieswith an executivepresident elected by Emir Council amongst themselves
  • President: Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
  • GDP: $257.736 billion
  • GDP per head: $49,499Annual Growth: 3.3%Inflation: 1.9%
  • Major Industries: Petroleum and petrochemicals, fishing,aluminium, cement, fertilizers, commercial ship repair, construction materials, some boat building,handicrafts, textiles.
  • Major trading partners: Japan 17.1%, India 13.6%, Iran 6.9%,South Korea 6.1%, Thailand 5.1%
  • Time Zone:GMT/UTC plus 4 hours


The Islamic (or Hejira) calendar is a full 11 days shorter than the Gregorian (western) calendar, so public holidays and festivals fall 11 days earlier each year. Ras as-Sana is the celebration of the new Islamic year, and Moulid an-Nabi celebrates the Prophet Mohammed's birthday around May. These celebrations include parades in the city streets, with lights, feasts, drummers and special sweets. Ramadan is celebrated during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar (presently around November).


Egyptian Pound Well-known brands of travelers' cheques will be honored everywhere, although having travelers' cheques in US dollars or UK pounds will prove the most hassle-free. American Express, Visa, MasterCard, JCB and Eurocards are accepted at various stores and hotels displaying the appropriate signage. Bargaining is a part of life in Egypt and virtually everything is open to negotiation. This includes your room for the night, your lunchtime roadside snack and the felucca you ride down the Nile in.

Beaten Track:

Dakhla Oasis This oasis is centered around the towns of Mut and Al-Qasr and is nearly 200 km from Kharga Oasis and more than 250 km from Farafra Oasis. Mut is a labyrinth of old laneways and mud-brick houses clinging to the slopes of the hill. Atop the hill are the remains of an old citadel that once was the town proper. Al-Qasr is an ancient little town with much of its traditional architecture still intact. The medieval atmosphere is accentuated by the narrow covered streets and the animals that roam through them. Many of the houses and buildings have lintels above their front doorways inscribed with the builder's name, the home-owner's name, the date and a passage of the Quran. Marsa Alam Marsa Alam is a fishing village on Egypt's Red Sea coast 132 km from Al-Quseir. It sits on the T-junction between the Red Sea coast road and the road from Edfu, 230 km inland on the banks of the Nile. There's really not much here besides an odd-looking shopping arcade, a school and a telephone office. Swimming and snorkeling in the area is magnificent, but you have to be careful - much of this southern coastal region is mined and sometimes there's nothing to indicate the danger.


The Nile and Egyptian history flow together. The river's fertile banks gave birth to the world's first nation state and a powerful civilization that invented writing and erected the first stone monuments. The river has been the source of economic, social, political and religious life since the area was first settled. Around 5000 years ago the independent riverfront states were unified under the rule of Menes, giving rise to the first dynasty of pharaohs. The pharaohs were considered divine and they ruled over a highly stratified society. The first pyramid was built in the 27th century BC; over the next 500 years the monuments grew increasingly grander. Monarchical power was at its greatest during the 4th dynasty when Khufu, Khafre and Mycerinus built the Great Pyramids of Giza. Through the 6th and 7th dynasties power was diffused and small principalities began to appear. A second capital at Heracleopolis (near present-day Beni Suef) was established and Egypt plunged into civil war. An independent kingdom was established at Thebes (present-day Luxor) and, under Montuhotep II, Egypt again came under control of a single pharaoh. From 1550 to 1069 BC, the New Kingdom bloomed under rulers such as Tuthmosis I, the first pharaoh to be entombed in the Valley of the Kings; his daughter Hatshepsut, one of Egypt's few female pharaohs; and Tuthmosis III, Egypt's greatest conqueror, who expanded the empire into western Asia. Amenhotep IV renounced the teachings of the priesthood and took on the title of Akhenaten in honor of Aten, the disc of the rising sun. He and his wife Nefertiti established a new capital called Akhetaten devoted solely to the new god. Akhenaten's son by a minor wife was Tutankhamun, who ruled Egypt for nine years then died while still a teenager. Thereafter, Egypt was ruled by generals: Ramses I, II and III, and Seti I. They built massive monuments and temples, but the empire began to crumble and it was in disarray when the Greek conqueror Alexander the Great arrived in 332 BC and established a new capital. Under Ptolemy I, Alexandria became a great city. The Ptolemies ruled Egypt for 300 years, but their reign was plagued by great rivalries amongst the nobles and many people were exiled and assassinated. Meanwhile an expanded Roman empire began taking an interest in Egypt and the scene was set for one of the ancient world's more celebrated soap operas. Between 51 and 48 BC, Egypt was ruled by Ptolemy XIII and his sister Cleopatra VIII, when Julius Caesar sent his rival, Pompey, from Rome to watch over them. Ptolemy XIII had Pompey killed and banished Cleopatra. Julius Caesar came to Egypt, threw Ptolemy into the Nile, appointed another of Cleopatra's brothers, Ptolemy XIV, as joint leader, and became Cleopatra's lover. In 47 BC Cleopatra gave birth to Caesar's son and two years later had her brother killed. Caesar was assassinated the following year. Marc Antony - one of the triumvirate that succeeded Caesar - came from Rome and he and Cleopatra fell in love. An unhappy Roman senate sent Octavian to deal with Marc Antony 10 years later. Following the defeat of their naval forces at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide, after which Egypt became part of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire fell apart in the 3rd and 4th centuries, and Nubians, north Africans and Persians invaded. Despite this, Egypt was relatively stable until AD 640 when the Arabs arrived. The Arabs brought Islam to Egypt and established Fustat (on the site of present-day Cairo) as the seat of an unstable government. Ultimately it was the Fatimids who came to control Egypt, building the city of Al-Qahira (Cairo). Egypt prospered under the Fatimids and Cairo became a thriving metropolis. Western European Christians seized much of the weakening Fatimid Empire in the Crusades of the 11th century, but in 1187 the Syrian-based Seljuks sent an army into Egypt and Salah ad-Din (Saladin) fortified Cairo and expelled the Crusaders from Jerusalem. Salah ad-Din enlisted Mamluks (Turkish mercenaries), but they ended up overthrowing his dynasty and ruled for two and a half centuries before Egypt fell to the Turks in 1517. Since most of the Mamluks were of Turkish descent, the Turkish Ottoman sultans, based in Constantinople, largely left the governing of Egypt to the Mamluks and restricted themselves to collecting taxes. This continued until Napoleon invaded in 1798, only to be ousted by the British in 1801, who were in turn expelled by Mohammed Ali, a lieutenant in the Albanian contingent of the Ottoman army. Said Pasha, Ali's grandson, opened the Suez Canal in 1869. Crippling national debt enabled British and French controllers to install themselves in 1879, and the British terminated the suzerainty that Turkey had over Egypt. During WW I Egypt aligned itself with the Allies, and shortly afterwards the British allowed the formation of a national political party - the Wafd. King Fuad I was elected head of the constitutional monarchy and for the next 30 years the British, the monarchists and the Wafdists jockeyed for power. The Arab League was founded after WW II by seven Arab countries, including Egypt, but the war had left Egypt in a shambles, and its defeat in Israel's 1948 War of Independence saw the chaos escalate. In 1952 a group of dissident military officers, led by Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser, orchestrated a bloodless coup. The British and French were loath to relinquish control, so they invaded. The USA and the Soviet Union joined the United Nations-deployed peacekeepers and insisted that the invaders should leave. Nasser became a hero, particularly among Arabs. Nasser attempted to unite Egypt, Syria, Yemen and later Iraq in the late 1950s, emphasizing Arab unity and demonizing Israel. Following months of heightening tension between Egypt and Israel, the Jewish state attacked on 5 June 1967, starting the Six Day War. Israel destroyed the Egyptian air force, captured Sinai and closed the Suez Canal. Anwar Sadat, Nasser's vice president, took over from Nasser when he died in 1970, and set about improving relations with the west. On 6 October 1973, the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, Egypt launched a surprise attack on the Israeli occupiers of Sinai. Its army initially beat back the much better armed Israelis; although these initial gains were later reversed, the ceasefire agreement favored Egyptian interests. In 1977 Sadat began making peace with Israel, leading to the 1979 Camp David Agreement. Israel agreed to withdraw from Sinai, and Egypt officially recognized Israel. Many in the Arab world felt Sadat had betrayed them, and he was assassinated on 6 October 1981. Husni Mubarak, Sadat's vice president, was sworn in and was the country's leader till recently. Mubarak surprised many with his deft political footwork in the troubled region, improving relations with Israel and other Arab states. With the rise of fundamentalism in the Arab world, Mubarak's position at times was precarious and he suffered numerous attempts on his life. He sent 35,000 troops to fight against Iraq in the Gulf War, and although the war was seen as western imperialists fighting Arabs, Egypt's commitment proved useful in improving its relations with the west. In 1992 Islamic fundamentalists began a campaign of violence and intimidation against tourists and Egyptian security forces. The mid-1990s were characterized by tensions with Sudan over the contested Halaib territory, severe flooding in 1994 and a series of conflicts with fundamentalists culminating in an assassination attempt on President Mubarak in 1995. In 1997, the massacre of more than 70 people, most of them tourists, by Islamic militants shocked Egyptians and caused thousands worldwide to rethink their holiday plans.


The 20th century has certainly made impressions in the form of brand-name soda pop, Levis and TV. However, for the majority fellahin (peasant farmers) population, things today are much the same as they have always been. There's a prevailing attitude amongst most Egyptians that whatever will be will be. An almost fatalistic outlook prevails, born out of thousands of years of plague, famine, invasion and flood. Contemporary Egyptian painting was heavily influenced by western art and it wasn't until midway through this century that Egyptian painters began to break away from these influences. Some of the country's better known contemporary artists include Gazbia Serri, Inji Eflatoun, Abdel Wahab Morsi, Adel el-Siwi and Wahib Nasser. Popular music in Egypt meant, until recently, the ubiquitous voice of Om Kolthum, the 'mother of Egypt'. She died in 1975 but her music and her legend outlive her. Her songs, based on poetry and operettas, are the best-known Egyptian music to western ears. Other notables were Abdel Halim al-Hafez and Mohammed Abd el-Wahaab. Although Egypt is famous for belly dancing, wiggling the body around is generally regarded as vulgar and a sign of promiscuity. Many of the dancers at belly-dancing shows at the resorts and tourist hotels are in fact European or American, because it's considered improper for Arab women to behave so provocatively. Naguib Mahfouz won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988; his masterpiece is considered to be The Cairo Trilogy. Mahfouz has more than 40 novels and 30 screenplays to his name. His 1956 work Children of the Alley is still banned in Egypt, and many people regard it as blasphemous. In 1994 an attempt was made on the life of the 83-year-old author and it's thought that the book was the cause.


Egypt stretches over more than a million square km. More than 95% of the land area is barren desert. Egypt borders Libya in the west, Sudan in the south, the Mediterranean Sea in the north, and the Red Sea and Israel in the east. The eastern region, across the Suez Canal, is Sinai. This region slopes up to the high mountains of Mt Katherine Mt Sinai. Along Egypt's Mediterranean coast there are countless white-sand beaches, some developed as tourist resorts but many still pristine and isolated. Most of the animals worshipped by the ancient Egyptians are now extinct in the country. Gone are the leopards, cheetahs, oryx and hyenas, and only two of the three varieties of gazelle still survive. There are plenty of rodents and bats, but domesticated camels and donkeys are the most visible forms of Egyptian animal life. There are around 430 species of birds, some of which breed in Egypt, but most pass through on migration from Europe to southern Africa. Egypt's climate is hot and dry most of the year. During the winter months - December, January and February - average daily temperatures stay up around 20

Deciding when to come to Egypt depends a lot on where you want to go. Everywhere south of Cairo is uncomfortably hot in the summer months (June-August), especially Luxor and Aswan, so winter (December-February) is definitely the best time to visit these areas. Summer is also the time when the Mediterranean coast is at its most crowded, but winter in Cairo can get pretty cool.

Nile Cruise

Nile Cruises...the very words conjure up images of mystery, enchantment and unforgettable experiences of one of the most ancient civilisations. A Nile Cruise is so much more than a conventional holiday. From the magical Temples of Karnak and Luxor to the stunning Valley of The Kings, the burial place of The Pharaohs, your itinerary will lazily follow the Nile visiting some of the most spectacular and fascinating ancient sites in the world. Nile cruises may vary considerably, but typical Nile cruises are either three, four or seven nights. The shorter tours usually operate between Luxor and Aswan, while the longer cruises travel further north to Dendera, often offering day tours overland to more remote locations. Therefore, a fairly complete 14 day tour of Egypt might include several days around Cairo, seeing the pyramids, museums and other antiquities, a short flight to Abu Simbel in the very southern part of Egypt, completed by a seven day Nile Cruise. The usual cruise is aboard a Nile cruiser, often referred to as a floating hotel. Indeed, the better boats have most of the accommodations of a land based hotel, including small swimming pools, hot tubs, exercise rooms, discos, good restaurants, stores and even small libraries. Depending on what one is willing to pay, rooms may be very utilitarian and small, or larger than some land based hotel rooms. Some boats even have suites available. Boats will always have private baths, air conditioning, and TVs, and it is common for there to be movies each night. Floating hotels also offer various entertainment. Many of the boats have dance areas with a disco or even live entertainment, and most offer a variety of nightly shows. These might include cocktail parties, Nubian shows, belly dancers and whirling dervish, plays and even costume parties where guests don traditional apparel. Like land hotels, meals onboard most Nile cruisers are usually buffet style and include hot and cold food along with a variety of international and local cuisine. Most boats have good modern water filtration, which is fine for showering, but it is still recommended to drink bottled water, which the boat will have aboard. The ultimate time for a Nile cruise is between October and mid April, when the weather is fairly cool, making a visit to Upper Egypt quite pleasant. However, most cruise boats operate all year.


Hurghada is a city in the Red Sea Governorate of Egypt. It is a main tourist center and second largest city (after Suez) in Egypt located on the Red Sea coast.The city was founded in the early 20th century, and is a major hub for holiday villages and hotels providing aquatic sport facilities for sailboarders, yachtsmen, scuba divers and snorkelers. Hurghada stretches for about 36 kilometres along the seashore.


Aswan, Egypt's southernmost city, has long been the country's gateway to Africa. The prosperous market city straddles the crossroads of the ancient caravan routes, at the 'other' end of the Nile not far above the Tropic of Cancer. In ancient times it was a garrison town known as Swenet (meaning 'Trade'), and it was also important to the early Coptic Christians. The main town and temple area of Swenet were located on Elephantine Island in the middle of Nile (the island was known then as Yebu, and later renamed by the Greeks). The temples and ruins here are not nearly as well preserved and impressive as those elsewhere.


The mighty Macedonian Alexander the Great came to Egypt in 331 BC after conquering Greece and selected a small fishing village on the Mediterranean coast to establish his new capital, Alexandria. The city is oriented around Midan Ramla and Midan Saad Zaghoul, the large square that runs down to the waterfront. Alexandria once had a great library that contained more than 500,000 volumes, and at its peak the city was a great repository of science, philosophy and intellectual thought and learning. The Graeco-Roman Museum contains relics that date back to the 3rd century BC. There's a magnificent black granite sculpture of Apis, the sacred bull worshipped by Egyptians, as well as an assortment of mummies, sarcophagi, pottery, jewellery and ancient tapestries. Another highlight is one of the few historical depictions of the Pharos of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.


Luxor is one of Egypt's prime tourist destinations and is built on the site of the ancient city of Thebes. People have been visiting the magnificent monuments of Luxor, Karnak, Hatshepsut and Ramses III for thousands of years. Feluccas and old barges shuffle along the Nile between the luxury hotel ships of the Hilton and Sheraton cruising to and fro Cairo and Aswan. Luxor Temple was built by Pharaoh Amenhotep III (1390-1352 BC) on the site of an older temple built by Hatshepsut and added to by Tutankhamun, Ramses II, Nectanebo, Alexander the Great and various Romans. Excavation work has been under way since 1885. The Temples of Karnak are a spectacular series of monuments that were the main place of worship in Theban times. Luxor is accessible from Cairo by buses or trains, which run every day.


Chaotic, noisy, polluted, totally unpredictable and seething with humanity, the sheer intensity of Egypt's capital city seduces some people but turns others off. In any event it's quite unlike any other place on earth. Life is what this city is about and, to paraphrase a cliche, only a person who's tired of life itself could fail to see the charm of Cairo. The city doesn't have the resources for graceful boulevards and cobbled squares and the kind of dolled-up, prettified buildings that cry out to be photographed. Historic buildings are buried in age-old quarters of the city that have yet to be tamed and made tourist-friendly in the way that they have in places such as Istanbul or Jerusalem. The high population density and lack of room to move throws up startling juxtapositions: mud-brick houses and towering modern office buildings, flashy cars and donkey-drawn carts. Area: 214 sq km (82.6 sq mi) Population: 16.5 million Country: Arab Republic of Egypt People: Egyptians, Bedouins, and Berbers 99%; Greek, Nubian, Armenian, Sudanese, other European (primarily Italian and French) Main language: Egyptian Arabic Time Zone: GMT/UTC +2 hours (daylight saving time observed late April-30 September) Telephone Area Code: 02 Egypt Country Code: 20


March: Nitaq Festival in downtown Cairo, full of theatre, poetry, music and art. September: The International Experimental Theatre Festival hosts a vast array of international troupes. October: The Pharaohs' Rally encourages international 4WD teams to tear up the desert around the Pyramids. November: The Arabic Music Festival presents a raft of classical, traditional and orchestral programs at the Opera House. December: The Cairo International Film Festival.


Finding your way about Cairo's vast sprawl is not as difficult as it may seem. Midan Tahrir is at the center. Northeast of Tahrir and centered on Sharia Talaat Harb is downtown, a bustling commercial district. The city's main train station at Midan Ramses marks Downtown's northernmost extent. Heading east, Downtown ends at Midan Ataba and the old but still kicking medieval heart of the city known as Islamic Cairo takes over. Bordering downtown to the west is the Nile River, which is obstructed by two sizeable islands. The more central of these, connected directly to Downtown by three bridges, is Gezira, home to the Cairo Tower and the Opera House complex. The west bank of the Nile is less historical and much more residential. The primary districts are Mohandiseen, Agouza, Doqqi and Giza.

When to go:

Cairo has only two seasons: summer and 'not-summer'. Given the choice, you're far better off visiting during 'not-summer', a period that stretches roughly from September to April or May. January and February (10-20°C/50-68°F) can be overcast with the occasional shower, but the months immediately either side are comfortably warm, with daytime temperatures leavened by breezes. It's also worth considering the timing of the various Muslim festivals when planning your trip. During Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, many businesses work half-days, museums and tourist sites shut early and many restaurants only open after sundown.

Beaten Track:

Saqqara There isn't much left of the former Paranoiac capital of Memphis, 24 km south of Cairo, although the museum contains a fairly impressive statue of Ramses II. The real reason for heading out here is to see the pyramids, temples and tombs strewn around Saqqara, the heart of Memphis' ancient necropolis, 3 km away from the former capital. The star attraction here is Zoser's Funerary Complex, dominated by the world's first decent attempt at a pyramid, the Step Pyramid of Zoser. Also of note is the Pyramid & Causeway of Unas, the site of funerary hieroglyphs known as Pyramid Texts. Saqqara is a great place to play Indiana Jones and explore half-buried ruins surrounded by peaceful desert. Birqash Camel Market (Souq al-Gamaal) A visit to Egypt's largest camel market, 35 km northwest of Cairo, on the edge of the Western Desert, makes for a wild contrast to Cairo city life. The market is an easy half-day trip from Cairo but, like all of Egypt's animal markets, it's not for the faint-hearted. Hundreds of camels are swapped here daily, most having made the long haul up the 40 Days Road from western Sudan. Port Said The main attraction of Port Said, and the reason it was established, is the Suez Canal. The spectacle of the huge ships and tankers lining up to pass through the northern entrance of the canal is something to be seen. The central district around the canal is full of five-storey buildings with timber balconies and high verandahs in grand belle epoque style. South are the striking green domes of Suez Canal House, built in time for the inauguration of the canal in 1869, but, unfortunately, off limits to visitors. Feluccas, the ancient broad-sail boats seen all along the Nile, can be hired out by the hour from several places along the Corniche, and are great for a sunset cruise after a hard day's sightseeing. Saddling up for a horseback ride out by the Pyramids, especially in the evening, is a great way to escape the clamour of Cairo. Billiards, snooker and tenpin bowling have taken off in Cairo in a big way. There are also plenty of places to see a belly-dancing display. There isn't much greenery in Cairo, but if you can find it, a stroll among the all-too-rare foliage has something going for it. Try the Nady al-Qahira Garden, Orman Botanical Gardens, zoo, Manial Palace or Gezira Club. Despite the heat, lack of land and water shortage, golf is a recent addition to Cairo's outdoor pursuits. Swimming is a great way to cool off but finding a pool isn't easy or cheap. Try a hotel pool.


Cairo is not a Paranoiac city, though the presence of the Pyramids leads many to believe otherwise. At the time the Pyramids were built, Egypt's capital was Memphis, 22km (13.5mi) south of the Giza plateau. The core foundations of the city of Cairo (then called Al-Qahira) were laid in 969 by the Fatimids, an early Islamic dynasty from North Africa. There had been earlier settlements, notably the Roman fortress of Babylon, and Fustat, which was established by the Arab army that conquered Egypt for Islam in 642. But the Fatimids established the core of Cairo as it is today; their mosque and university of Al-Azhar is still Egypt's main center of Islamic study, while the three great gates of Bab an-Nasr, Bab al-Futuh and Bab Zuweila continue to straddle two of Old Cairo's main thoroughfares. Under the rule of subsequent dynasties Cairo swelled and burst its walls, but at heart it remained a medieval city for 900 years. It wasn't until the reign of Ismail, grandson of Mohammed Ali, in the mid-19th century that Cairo started to change in any significant way. Before the 1860s Cairo extended west only as far as what is today Midan Opera. The future site of modern central Cairo was then a swampy plain subject to the annual flooding of the Nile. In 1863, when the French-educated Ismail came to power, he was determined to upgrade the image of his capital, which he believed could only be done by dismissing what had gone before and starting afresh. For 10 years the former marsh became one vast building site as Ismail invited architects from Belgium, France and Italy to design and build a new European-style Cairo beside the old Islamic city. During his reign the Suez Canal was finished and opened with much fanfare, and the city attracted the attention of the whole world. In the heady times that followed, tourism and business boomed, and Cairo almost had the character of a gold rush town. European bankers, with the connivance of their governments, bestowed lavish loans at insatiable rates of interest upon Ismail for his grandiose schemes. In 1882 it all came to an end when the British stepped in and announced that until Egypt could repay its debts, they were taking control. The 70-year British occupation of Cairo came to an abrupt halt with the Revolution of 1952. Since the Revolution, Cairo has grown spectacularly in population and urban planners have struggled to keep pace. In the 1960s and 1970s the west bank of the Nile was concreted over with new suburbs like Medinat Mohandiseen (Engineers' City) and Medinat Sahafayeen (Journalists' City), while expansion continued north, most notably in the hideous form of Medinat Nasr (Nasr City). More recently, population pressure has meant that the rocky Muqattam Hills - which had traditionally halted the city's eastward spread - have been leap-frogged, and the once-barren desert is now a vast and messy construction site for a series of satellite cities. Cairo saw significant, if agonizingly slow, improvements during Mubarak's years in power. The changes, however, fall well short of keeping pace with the litany of woes - overcrowding, collapsing infrastructure, poverty, pollution - afflicting the overstretched metropolis. The city's major sources of revenue, the Pyramids, Egyptian Museum and Islamic monuments, are also under threat from pollutant-accelerated decay, neglect and downright bad management.

Getting There:

There are many good options for getting to Egypt, and there are easy connections between Cairo and many European cities. The national airline is Egypt Air, and Air Sinai also has many domestic connections. Cairo is most travelers' first stop, although people are increasingly disembarking in other major cities and later making their way to the capital. First-class train services connect Cairo with Alexandria, Luxor and Aswan.

Getting Around:

Cairo's Metro system is efficient and the stations are clean. It's also extremely inexpensive and, outside rush hours, not too crowded. People are also using more private microbuses to get around. Destinations are not marked on microbus routes, so they are tricky to use unless you are familiar with their routes. Overcrowded buses and minibuses are still the most common form of transport for the masses, but for anyone who prefers breathing while traveling, taxis are the only option. Driving in Cairo is not for the faint-hearted. It's like the chariot race in Ben Hur only with cars. The river bus terminal is at Maspero, on the Corniche in front of the big round TV building. Boats depart frequently for University, a landing over on the Giza side of the river, just north of the University Bridge.


Aswan, Egypt's southernmost city, has long been the country's gateway to Africa. The prosperous market city straddles the crossroads of the ancient caravan routes, at the 'other' end of the Nile not far above the Tropic of Cancer. In ancient times it was a garrison town known as Swenet (meaning 'Trade'), and it was also important to the early Coptic Christians. The main town and temple area of Swenet were located on Elephantine Island in the middle of Nile (the island was known then as Yebu, and later renamed by the Greeks). The temples and ruins here are not nearly as well preserved and impressive as those elsewhere.


Hurghada is a city in the Red Sea Governorate of Egypt. It is a main tourist center and second largest city (after Suez) in Egypt located on the Red Sea coast.The city was founded in the early 20th century, and is a major hub for holiday villages and hotels providing aquatic sport facilities for sailboarders, yachtsmen, scuba divers and snorkelers. Hurghada stretches for about 36 kilometres along the seashore.

Swimming is popular on the many fine beaches along Egypt's Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts. Diving and snorkeling are by far the most popular organized activities in Egypt. The Red Sea is said to have some of the best scuba diving in the world. The waters off Egypt teem with underwater life and the corals, crustaceans and fish come in all sorts of vivid colors and shapes. Camel and jeep safaris are also popular.

Egypt Tourist Visa Requirements

Documents Required -

Visa Application form duly filled and singed as per passport. (Note - If thumb impression is there on the

passport of child then on visa form along with thumb impression signature of both parents is required)

Valid passport with minimum 6 months validity from date of exit from Egypt after the tour.

2 photo SIZE - 6 cms X 4 Cms, Pure white background, matt finished

Covering letter from passenger on his / her letterhead addressed to Visa Officer, Consulate of Arab Republic of

Egypt, Mumbai (If pax is in business, designation should be mentioned)

Covering letter from SOTC letterhead addressed to Visa Officer, Consulate of Arab Republic of Egypt, Mumbai

Personal bank statements for last 6 months

If passenger is employed - Leave Letter is Must

If passenger is retired - Retirement proof

If passenger is student - School / College ID

If honeymoon couple - Weeding card from both the sides and NOC from bride's parent along with parents' signature

proof such as PAN Card copy, driving licenses or passport copies

Hotel Confirmation

Confirmed Return air tickets

Egypt Consulate, Mumbai's Jurisdiction - M.P, C.G, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, and whole South India issued


Address of Egypt Consulate, Mumbai -

101, Benhur Apartments,

Malabar Hill, Mumbai - 400 006

Visa Fees - INR 1600 + CVT Service Fees - INR 250 = Total SO Amount - INR 1850 per passenger

Processing Time - 5 Working days

Time: In Summer it is 3 1/2 hrs behind and in Winter 4 1/2hrs behind India

Electricity: 220V, 50 Hz

Tourism: 2.8 million visitors per year

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