As you drive through some of the busiest streets of Cairo towards Giza, you are surrounded on all sides by honking, bumper-to-bumper traffic, and as you drive past the numerous fast-food restaurants like McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken, you may even wonder whether you really are in Egypt.
Then suddenly – without warning, you see the Pyramids, right before your eyes – and you not only know where you are, you feel it too. It is the contrast between the old and new, and the ease with which Egyptians breach the gap, that I find most amazing. Their ability to be whatever pleases you, to speak the language you understand, to make you feel completely at home, is to me the greatest wonder off all. It is this Egypt I hope you will discover, or may already know – this Egypt.
More than Pyramids and the Sahara Desert
Egypt is bounded on the north by the Mediterranean Sea; on the east by Israel and the Red Sea; on the south by Sudan and on the west by Libya. Cairo is the capital and largest city in Egypt and one of the most modern in Africa.
When people think about Egypt they often think of pyramids and the Sahara desert, but actually Egypt is so rich with other treasures and wonders from various civilizations that it can be considered one of the largest outdoor museums in the world. The Red Sea resorts are prefect for lazy Egyptian beach vacations and the coral reefs just offshore are popular with scuba divers from across the world.
One of the best things about Egypt as a holiday destination, is that is it a year round one – only about five hours flying time from London. Egypt is a pretty cheap place to visit most of the time, but those who are prepared to wait for bargains on flights and accommodation, may find they get the Egyptian holiday of a lifetime for a price that suits their wallet as well.
What to do when You Travel To Egypt
• Cruise the River Nile
• Explore Cairo, Alexandria and the other cities
• See the Pyramids and the Sphinx
• Visit oasis villages in the Western Sahara Desert
• Snorkel and dive in the Red Sea (stay at a Red Sea Resort)
• Egyptian beach vacations
• Explore the souks (markets) in Cairo and haggle for bargains
• Ride a donkey in Luxor to the Valley of the Kings
• Do it the Egyptian way.
Go on a camel safari in the Sahara Desert The best time to pick up a bargain holiday in Egypt would be to book for May, June, November or December. Egypt offers excellent sunshine all year round but for those who want to avoid the sweltering summer temperatures but still enjoy a spot of sun, a booking slightly out of season may just produce a better holiday! Visas are required in order to visit Egypt whether you’re on an EU, British, or South African passport. No matter where you are coming from, it is usually good practice to ensure that the travel visa is valid for no less than 6 months from your departure date. US dollars, Euros, English pounds are normally welcome, but you’ll need Egyptian pounds for taxi fare. Not everyone will accept credit cards and there is often a surcharge of as much as 5% added by the Dive Centre companies, boats and other companies to cover local banking charges. It’s best to check before you swipe! We strongly recommend that all travelers abroad take out adequate comprehensive travel insurance with diving cover. Photography of military or official installations is strictly prohibited.
Medical treatment can be expensive and standards vary. Contact Mediclinic (www.mediclinic.co.uk) about current inoculation requirements and other medical advice. Contact your insurer if you have had a previous health condition, which may not be covered if it reoccurs. Use of a repellent cream or spray is usually sufficient to keep mosquitoes at bay. Try to avoid ice in drinks and use common sense when deciding what and where to eat and drink.
Diving in Egypt
All divers will normally be required to fill in a medical certificate on arrival at the Live a board or dive centre. Please read this carefully before departure as you may have to obtain a doctors certificate if you cannot answer no to every question.
For full kit hire in Sharm or Hurghada the cost could be around 25 – 30 Euros per day (included in this is BCD, Regulator, Suit, Mask, Fins, Snorkel). Dive sites like Marsa Alam are rather remote and dive centres are few and far between, so you should ensure that that you take all the equipment necessary with you – it may be possible to arrange for some items to be hired but this must be pre-arranged in good time before departure – prices in Marsa Alam will generally be higher than in Sharm or Hurghada.
Escaping to Egypt on an expedition is an absolute must!