Egypt is an amazing country that combines deep antiquity and modernity, sand and sea. It is a country of contrasts, interesting nature, unique sights and rich history. People of different nationalities live here, but all of them are very open, friendly and independent. Welcome to Egypt, it is looking forward to you!
Egypt on the map
Geographical location of the country
Egypt is located in the north-east of Africa, but a small part of it is located in Asia, in the Sinai Peninsula. It is one of the few countries that is located on two continents and in two parts of the world.
Egypt’s coasts are washed by the waters of the Mediterranean Sea in the north and the Red Sea in the east. These seas are connected by the narrow Suez Canal, which is the most important transport link.
By land, Egypt borders Sudan and Libya in Africa, and Israel and Palestine in Asia.
One of the longest rivers in the world, the Nile, flows through the country from south to north.
Safety for tourists
Egypt cannot be called a safe country for tourists. Travelling here is always associated with a certain risk, although it is fair to say that the tourist regions of the country are least affected by terrorists and ethnic clashes.
There are several Hamas training camps operating in Egypt. There are sometimes clashes between Muslims and Christians. Many people remember the terrible terrorist attack in 2016, when the bombing of a Coptic cathedral killed 28 people.
The low standard of living in the country is also not conducive to a peaceful holiday. Among the locals, there are quite a few scammers who offer excursions and then just take the money. A classic technique is camel riding, when tourists can be charged for the trip and for getting down from the high animal.
Road traffic in the country also leaves much to be desired. The technical condition of transport is very poor and accidents happen every day. Sometimes tourists also get into them, including on buses during excursions.
The nature of Egypt can also pose a certain danger. First of all, it is a very hot climate, when prolonged stay in the sun threatens with burns and heat stroke. There are poisonous animals and predators. In the desert there are many snakes, scorpions, and in the waters of the Red Sea – poisonous sea urchins, sponges, fish-scorpions.
Among predators, crocodiles in the Nile and sharks in the sea are the most dangerous. Shark attacks have become more frequent in recent years.
Holidays in Egypt can be divided into three categories: national, religious and secular. National include many days related to the 1952 revolution and the Suez crisis. These include, for example, Revolution or Victory Days.
Religious holidays include both Muslim and Christian holidays: Eid-al-Fitr, Mawlid, Christmas, Easter and others. Secular holidays include New Year’s Day, Mother’s Day or the Nile Spill.
But even on other days, Egyptians like to relax and have fun. However, it is mainly men who do it, because Muslim traditions make themselves known. Men can gather in the evenings in cafes, hang out all night in restaurants, noisily greet the victory of their favourite football team. Women can be met mostly at family picnics devoted to some anniversary.
What fun there is in Egypt
When imagining Egypt, many people see only a vast desert and pyramids covered with sand. However, this country can provide tourists with a variety of activities.
- Visiting historical monuments. This is, of course, the main thing for which you should go to Egypt. The sea is everywhere, and you will not see such pyramids or temples anywhere else.
- Beaches. The sea takes the second place in the list of popular Egyptian entertainment. The best beaches in the country are on the Red Sea.
- Diving and windsurfing. The Red Sea presents a unique opportunity to admire the amazing underwater life of its inhabitants. There are a lot of fish, corals, picturesque reefs. Strong and frequent winds give sailing enthusiasts the opportunity to have a great time.
- Fishing on a yacht. The Red Sea is rich in fish. Avid fishermen can combine the pleasant with the useful, and, having gone on a small cruise on a yacht, more closely acquainted with the local ichthyofauna.
- Cruise on a ship on the Nile. It allows you to get acquainted not only with the densely populated north of the country, but also with the much less known south. There are unique monuments and temples in the south too.
- Quad biking or jeep safaris. The desert is also a landmark of Egypt, and you can enjoy its rugged beauty on special safari tours. After riding along the sand dunes, you can relax in an oasis and get acquainted with the life of Bedouins.
- Amusement parks and water parks. Every Egyptian resort has a number of parks for family holidays. Some of them, such as the Thousand and One Nights Park, offer a whole cultural programme, while others allow you to just have fun.
- Pilgrimage tours. The Sinai Peninsula is home to several Christian shrines, which can be visited on special tours. You will visit the monasteries, Mount Sinai, admire the Neopalimaya Bupina.
What’s important to know about Egypt
If you are planning to visit Egypt, here are some of the most important things to know:
The country’s official language is Arabic, spoken by more than 300 million people in the world. In addition, Egypt is home to many other peoples who use their native languages to communicate: Bedouin, Coptic, Beja, Sioua and others.
Currently, Egypt is home to just over 100 million people. Most of them are Arabs, who conquered Egypt in the 7th century AD and have been the main population ever since.
Also in the country live many Copts, who are the closest to the ancient Egyptians. There are also representatives of other indigenous African peoples in Egypt: Berbers, Nubians, Beja.
More facts about Egyptians, their character and local colour can be found in this article.
The national currency of the country is the Egyptian pound. The exchangeable coin is the piastre. There are 100 piastres in one pound.
The Egyptian pound has a circulation only in this country, so tourists should take dollars and euros with them. They are easy enough to exchange for pounds, but in a number of places, for example, at resorts or in taxis you can safely pay with dollars. In many boutiques, even the prices of goods are written in international currency.
Egypt positions itself as a secular state, but almost 90 per cent of its population professes Sunni Islam. Therefore, Egyptian legislation is based on Sharia, and the country itself has many more mosques than temples of other religions.
Nevertheless, about 10 per cent of the population professes Orthodoxy. These are Coptic Christians. The Christian Church is headed by a patriarch.
Egypt is characterised by a hot and arid climate. In the north of the country it is a subtropical climate, and throughout the rest of the country it is tropical.
In summer, it is very hot in the country, the temperature can rise to +50 degrees, but there are significant variations between day and night temperatures. In winter, it is much cooler and the average temperature fluctuates around +25 degrees Celsius. In the desert at night, frosts to -5 degrees are common.
In Egypt, it is difficult to distinguish dry and rainy seasons, the whole year there is extremely dry weather. In some places, precipitation does not fall at all. But still in winter there are more rains, especially on the Mediterranean coast, where they are brought by the north-west wind.
To visit Egypt, it is better to choose spring or autumn months, when the heat is not so strong. But in principle, Egypt is open for tourists at any time of the year.
Sea water temperature
The average temperature of sea water in Egypt can vary depending on the season, as well as on the specific location on the coast and the type of sea. The Red Sea is in the south of Egypt and usually has a higher temperature than the Mediterranean Sea, which is in the north.
- In winter (December-February), the water temperature is around 20-23 degrees Celsius.
- In spring (March-May), the temperature rises to 24-25 degrees Celsius.
- In summer (June-August) the water becomes even warmer and reaches 26-28 degrees Celsius.
- In autumn (September-November) the water temperature gradually decreases to 24-22 degrees Celsius.
Egypt is located in a fairly calm seismic region, but earthquakes do occur here. In the history, there is information about several strong enough earthquakes with magnitude about 7 points, occurring in the north-east of the country. The last of these earthquakes occurred in 1995 in the Red Sea.
Much more dangerous in the country are sandstorms, which are called haboob. These storms are frequent during the summer and can cause a lot of trouble.
In the past there were annual floods in the country, flooding of the Nile, but after the construction of the Aswan Dam, such disasters no longer occur. But the global climate change began to lead to flooding in the resort towns of the Red Sea. Here, heavy rainfall has become more frequent and severe floods occur once every five years.
Other natural disasters include fires that break out due to hot weather and careless handling of fire. In different years, the capital of Egypt – Cairo and other cities suffered from severe fires.
About the most destructive disasters in the history of Egypt, you can read in this article.
Egypt is a presidential republic. The president is the head of the state and at the same time the Commander-in-Chief of armed forces. The main executive body is the government, headed by the Prime Minister. The main legislative body is the bicameral National Assembly.
The Republic is divided into 27 governorates, provinces, with Cairo as the capital. In the near future, it is planned to move the capital to a new city, which is currently under active construction.
The largest cities and resorts
Cairo is the capital and the most populous city of the country. More than 8 million people live here. The city was founded in 969. There are many beautiful ancient mosques, churches, synagogues, museums and monuments. To the south-west of Cairo is the famous Giza Plateau, where the three largest Egyptian pyramids and the Sphinx are located.
Alexandria is an ancient city and port at the mouth of the Nile, founded by Alexander the Great. It is the main commercial and industrial centre of the country. Tourists here are attracted by numerous monuments and ruins of the Greek and Roman period.
Sharm el-Sheikh is a resort city on the Red Sea coast. It is located in the Asian part of Egypt, on the Sinai Peninsula. There are hundreds of hotels, entertainment centres, dolphinarium and water parks. Very close by is Moses Mountain and St Catherine’s Monastery with the Neopalimaya Kupina.
Hurghada is a resort on the African coast of the Red Sea, a large city with a population of 400 thousand people. There are also many hotels, three huge water parks and the Thousand and One Nights Palace, which hosts theatrical performances about Egyptian history.
Symbols of Egypt
In the minds of millions of tourists, Egypt is primarily associated with amazing historical monuments and beautiful beaches. Some of the major symbols of Egypt include:
The Pyramids of Giza, one of the ancient wonders of the world that has survived to this day. The three majestic pyramids are still full of mystery and attract millions of tourists.
The Sphinx, a mythical lion with a human head, is also located on the Giza plateau and holds no fewer secrets than the pyramids it protects.
The Nile is a great river that became the cradle of Egyptian civilisation. Without the Nile’s floods, which bring fertile silt to the surrounding lands, agriculture would not have emerged in this arid region.
Hieroglyphics – one of the oldest scripts on the planet, the strange designs with which the Egyptians decorated papyrus and the walls of structures.
The eagle of Saladin is a heraldic element that has become a symbol of nationalism and freedom. It adorns the flag and coat of arms of Egypt.
The scarab beetle is a relentless worker, constantly rolling dung balls across the desert. For locals, the scarab has become a symbol of rebirth and favourable changes.
How to get to Egypt
Most travellers arrive in Egypt via airports. There are international terminals in all major cities of the country and in the resorts. So, the international airport has in Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh, in Cairo and Alexandria. In total, there are 12 international airports in the country, which connect Egypt with the whole world.
Another way to get to the country is by sea cruise. Passenger ships from Venice, Cyprus and other Mediterranean countries sail to Alexandria.
The third way to get to the country is by bus. Bus service connects Egypt with Israel and Jordan.
There is no railway connection with Egypt, although the oldest railway on the African continent from Alexandria to Aswan operates in the country itself.
How much money to take with you
Egypt is not considered an expensive country for tourists, but still there are many temptations that can greatly ease your wallet. First of all, it is various excursions and entertainment. But also in the articles of inevitable expenses should include souvenirs, transport, food in restaurants and fast-food restaurants.
The minimum budget for one person in Egypt is 200–300 dollars for 7 days, which is comparable to the cost of one day of holiday somewhere in France. But you should always consider possible unforeseen expenses and have a reserve amount with you.
If you have already visited this country, please share your impressions in the comments. Please write a few words, what you liked most of all in the country, what moments remained in your memory forever, and what you would recommend to other tourists. We will be very grateful for your recommendations!