Horseback riding in Egypt

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Equestrian tours in Egypt

 Egypt Mini Guide
    Source: World Travel Guide

Travelers have marveled at Egypt's archaeological wonders for centuries, ever since the Ancient Greeks visited the pyramids. Today, millions of tourists are attracted each year to the pyramids, temples, mosques and great monuments of the Nile Valley, as well as the stunning diving resorts of the Red Sea.

In 430 BC, when Greek historian Herodotos visited the magnificent monuments in Egypt, many of them were already 2,500 years old. Most, from the pyramids of Giza to the astonishingly beautiful temples of Karnak or Philae, or the painted tombs in the Valley of the Kings, can still be visited today. The sheer age of this great civilization is mind-blowing.

The life-giving Nile runs north through the country to the Mediterranean, feeding an emerald ribbon of irrigated fields adjacent to villages shaded by date palms. Whether on a cruise ship or traditional felucca boat, life on the water is a constant visual feast, while the few huge, dusty cities - Cairo, Alexandria, Aswan and Luxor - are a babble of exotic sounds and smells.

Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheik, on the Red Sea coast, are doors to a magical underwater world of Technicolor fish and coral that draws divers from around the world, while other adventurous travelers head inland. Here, you can discover monasteries amid the arid mountains of Sinai or the distant desert oases, home to the hardy nomads whose camel trains still wander the Saharan sands.

Egypt is at the centre of the Arab world and has played a central role in the region's political situation in modern times. After three wars in 1948, 1967 and 1973, peace was achieved with Israel in 1979 leading to Egypt's expulsion from the Arab League (they were restored in 1991). Egypt has since played a vital role in the Middle East Peace Process.


Passport Required?









Other EU


Visa Required?









Other EU


Return Ticket Required?









Other EU




To enter Egypt, a passport valid for at least six months from the date of issue of the visa is required by all nationals referred to in the chart above. Visitors from all countries, except nationals of the EU and the USA, must register with the police within one week of arrival in Egypt, although this service is normally undertaken by hotels. When you check in at your hotel the receptionist will ask to see your passport, and will record its details for the police.


Nationals from all the countries in the chart above have the option of obtaining tourist visas upon arrival in Egypt. They are usually valid for three months.
Visas are required by all nationals referred to in the chart above, except:

1. EU and US nationals travelling to Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba or Taba resorts for up to a maximum of 14 days, who do not need a visa and will receive an entry permission stamp on arrival.
You can obtain visas from Egyptian consulates in your country of residence or on arrival at airports in Egypt or at the port in Alexandria. A multiple-visit visa is necessary if your trip includes travel in and out of Egypt.

Business visa applications must be submitted with a letter from the company stating reasons for the visit.

Visa Note

Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the consulate/embassy to check visa requirements (see Contact Addresses).

Types of Visa and Cost

Cost varies according to nationality. UK and Australian nationals: tourist: £20 (single-entry); £32 (multiple-entry); business: £65 (single-entry); £105 (multiple-entry).
Canadian nationals: tourist: £20 (single-entry); £32 (multiple-entry); business: £50 (single-entry); £75 (multiple-entry).
USA nationals: tourist: US$15 (single- or multiple-entry); business: US$40 (single-entry); US$55 (multiple-entry).
Visa fees for other EU nationals visiting Egypt vary according to country, but most follow the same fees that apply to UK and Australian nationals.


Single- and multiple-entry visas are valid for six months from date of issue for a maximum stay of 60 and 90 days respectively. Extensions are available from the ministry of foreign affairs in Egypt.

Applications to:

Consulate (or consular section at embassy); see Contact Addresses.

Working Days Required

Applications made in person require two days and postal applications normally take about five days. For certain nationalities, applications can take up to six weeks if they need to be referred to the authorities in Egypt.



Egyptian Pound (EGP; 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.

Currency Exchange

Available at banks, official bureaux de change and most hotels. Banks often have better exchange rates than bureaux de change or hotels. All common international currencies are accepted.

Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs

American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted, but generally only in bigger hotels or restaurants in Cairo and restaurants in tourist areas.

Traveler's Cheques

To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveler's cheques in US Dollars, Euros or Pounds Sterling.

Currency Restrictions

Restrictions apply.

Banking Hours

Sun-Thurs 0830-1400.

Exchange Rate Indicators

Date June 3
£1.00= E£12.89
$1.00= E£8.88
€1.00= E£10.05




Special Precautions



Hepatitis A










Yellow Fever


Inoculation regulations can change at short notice. Please take medical advice in the case of doubt. Where 'Sometimes' appears in the table above, precautions may be required, depending on the season and region visited.

 * A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over one year of age coming from infected areas. Those arriving in transit from such areas without a certificate will be detained at the airport until their onward flight departs.

Food and Drink

You should avoid uncooked vegetables and peeled fruit that may have been washed in tap water, and make sure any poultry or egg-based dishes, and any seafood or shellfish, is thoroughly cooked. Hotels and restaurants are generally safe to eat and drink in, but it is advisable to avoid street vendors.

Use only bottled water for drinking and, to be on the safe side, when brushing teeth. When buying bottled water, check the seal of the bottle is intact. A popular scam is for unscrupulous individuals to collect used bottles from rubbish bins, refill them with tap water, attempt a reseal and sell them as genuine clean bottled water. Also, avoid unbottled beverages and ice except in top hotels and restaurants. Milk is unpasteurized and should be boiled.

Other Risks

Immunisation against polio is advised because of the persistence of polio in Egypt. Precautions against hepatitis E should be considered. Immunisation against hepatitis B and tuberculosis is sometimes advised. Bilharzia (schistosomiasis), a tropical disease caused by parasites burrowing into the skin, is known to be present in the Nile Delta and the Nile Valley. You should avoid swimming and wading in their waters. Avoid touching any stagnant water as this, too, may result in bilharzia. 

Avoid long exposure to the sun, which can be intense. Use plenty of high factor sun cream, wear light cotton clothing, a hat or scarf covering your head, and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and sunburn. It is a good idea to pack rehydrating salts.

Health Care

There are no vaccinations needed to visit Egypt unless you are arriving from an infected area. Vaccinating against some diseases, such as those in the table above, are advisable as a precautionary measure. You should avoid touching stray animals as rabies is prevalent throughout the country, and take care if visiting street markets where poultry or other birds are present as many have been reported as being carriers of Avian flu. HIV and Aids is present in Egypt and you should take normal precautions to avoid exposure.

Public hospitals are open to tourists. The standard of care is good in Cairo and Alexandria, with most doctors speaking good English, but is of varying standard in other parts of the country. Health care provision and standards of hygiene is particularly lacking in remote rural areas, especially in the Western Desert oases and in the wilderness of southern Egypt.

Adequate health insurance that covers you for treatment, local hospitalisation and medical repatriation to your country of residence is strongly advised for any trip to Egypt, and its conditions for health precautions understood. If you are need of emergency assistance during your stay dial 123 and ask for an ambulance. Ensure you have access to funds should you be asked to pay for medical services, and always obtain a receipt for your insurance company. If you are referred to a medical centre or hospital seek the advice of your insurance company without delay.

Getting There

Getting There by Air

The national airline is EgyptAir (MS) (website:

Approximate Flight Times

From London to Cairo to is 4 hours 45 minutes, from New York is 14 hours 30 minutes.

Main Airports

Cairo International (CAI) is 24km (15 miles) northeast of the city at Heliopolis (journey time – 1 hour). To/from the airport: There are bus services every 30 minutes, and taxis are available. Special limousines are offered by local and international operators. Hotel cars may also be available. Facilities: Incoming and outgoing duty-free shops selling a wide range of goods, car hire, post office, bank/bureau de change, restaurants and bar, hotel reservation service, souvenir shops, bookshop and travel insurance services.

Borg El Arab (HBE) is 60km (37 miles) southwest of Alexandria. Facilities: Duty-free shop, bank and exchange services, VIP lounge, post office and restaurant.

Luxor Airport (LXR) is 5.5km (3.5 miles) from Luxor. To/from the airport: There is a regular bus service to the city centre (journey time – 15 minutes). Special limousine and local taxi services are available. Facilities: Car hire, bank and exchange services, Internet cafe, duty-free shops, information desk, bar and restaurant.

Departure Tax


Getting There by Water

Main ports: Alexandria (website:, Nuweiba, Port Said and Suez.

The Saudi Sea Transport Company runs a regular car ferry service between Suez and Jeddah. A ferry service usually travels twice per week up the Nile between Wadi Halfa (Sudan) and Egypt High Dam. However, it is occasionally suspended. For further information, contact the Nile Valley Association (tel: (2) 2578 9256). There is also a ferry service that operates between Nuweiba in South Sinai and Aqaba (Jordan).

Many cruise ships stop over in Egypt as part of their African itinerary.

Getting There by Rail

There are no international rail links to any of Egypt’s northwestern neighbours. The railheads at Aswan and Wadi Halfa, Sudan are connected by a ferry across Lake Nasser.

Getting There by Road

The road border between Libya and Egypt is open. There are two border crossings between Israel and Egypt: one runs from Cairo via El Arish to Rafiah on the north Sinai coast; and the other from Cairo via Suez and Taba to Eilat. Daily coaches leave early in the morning from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in Israel for travel via El Arish/Rafiah to Cairo and vice versa. There are no direct buses from Eilat to Cairo; it is necessary to change in Taba. The crossing from Taba to Eilat is open 24 hours a day. Passengers in taxis and hired cars are not permitted to cross the borders between Israel and Egypt.

Privately owned vehicles may be taken across other borders, provided the appropriate documentation is obtained. All private vehicles entering Egypt must have a three-month triptyche or carnet de passage en douane from an automobile club in the country of registration. The driver must hold an International Driver's Permit. Visas should normally be obtained in advance; however, travellers entering Egypt via Taba may be able to obtain visas at the border. Contact the tourist office for further details of entry restrictions (see Contact Addresses).


Hot, dry summers with mild, dry winters and cold nights. Rainfall is negligible except on the coast. In April, the hot, dusty Khamsin wind blows from the Sahara.

Required Clothing

Lightweight cottons and linens during summer, with warmer clothes for winter and cooler evenings.


Egyptian Consulate in the UK

2 Lowndes Street, London SW1X 9ET, UK
Tel: (020) 7235 9777
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0930-1230 (lodging applications); 1430-1600 (visa collection).

Egyptian State Tourist Office in the UK

Egyptian House, 3rd Floor, 170 Piccadilly, London W1V 9EJ, UK
Tel: (020) 7493 5283
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1800.

Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt in the USA

3521 International Court, NW, Washington, DC 20008 USA
Tel: (202) 895 5400.

Egyptian Tourist Authority in the USA

45 Rockefeller Plaza #2305, New York, 10111, United States
Tel: (212) 332 2570.
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1800.


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