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/Visa

Passport Required?

British

Yes

Australian

Yes

Canadian

Yes

USA

Yes

Other EU

Yes

Visa Required?

British

Yes 1/2

Australian

Yes 1/2

Canadian

Yes 1/2

USA

Yes 1/2

Other EU

Yes 1/2

Return Ticket Required?

British

No

Australian

No

Canadian

No

USA

No

Other EU

No

 

Passports

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.

Visas

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.

1. Visas are required by all nationals referred to in the chart above. These nationals may obtain a visa on arrival valid for 30 days. The visa on arrival can be obtained at Egyptian airports only. A visa prior to travel is needed when arriving at border crossing on land or by sea.

2. South Sinai Red sea resorts permission stamp on arrival: EU, Australian, Canadian, and US nationals traveling to Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba, or Taba resorts for up to a maximum of 15 days, who do not need a visa and will receive a free entry permission stamp on arrival, when arriving at Sharm el-Sheikh, Saint Catherine, or Toba airports.

You can obtain visas from Egyptian consulates in your country of residence or on arrival at airports in Egypt. 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

Visa on arrival: US$25
Consulate visa 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.

Validity

Visa on arrival: 30 days.
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.


Money

Currency

Egyptian Pound or ginee (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.

British pounds sterling, Euros, and the US Dollar are accepted everywhere although change may be given in Egyptian pounds.

Currency Exchange

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 small change, and for tips, known as baksheesh, which are a way of life in Egypt.

Currency exchange is also 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. 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.

Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs

American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted in all but the smallest hotels and restaurants throughout the country, except in 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. 

Traveler's Cheques

Most banks will not cash traveler's cheques.

Currency Restrictions

Restrictions apply.

Banking Hours

Sun-Thurs 0830-1400. Bureaux de change are generally also open in the evening 1800-2100.

Exchange Rate Indicators

Date April 2018
£1.00= E£25.04
$1.00= E£17.67
€1.00= E£21.83
 

Health

Vaccinations

 

Special Precautions

Diphtheria

Yes

Hepatitis A

Yes

Malaria

No

Rabies

Yes

Tetanus

Yes

Typhoid

Yes

Yellow Fever

No*

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

Egypt is well served by international airlines that fly direct from around the world, including multiple routes operated by its national carrier, EgyptAir (MS) (website: www.egyptair.com). British Airways (www.ba.com) offers direct flights form the UK. The main international airport are in Cairo, Alexandria, Sharm el Sheikh, Luxor, Marsa Alam, and Aswan. Charter flights depart mainly from Europe and the Middle East into the Red Sea coast airports.

The most expensive time to fly is spring and autumn, with the cheapest time being during the months of July and August.

Approximate Flight Times

From London to Cairo to is 4 hours 40 minutes, from New York is 10 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

Included in airfare.

Getting There by Water

There are currently no ferry routes linking Egypt with mainland Europe. Daily ferries ply the route between Nuweiba and Taba on Egypt's Sinai Penninsula and Aqaba in Jordan. There is an international ferry service along the Nile between Wadi Halfa in Sudan and Egypt's High Dam, and a car ferry service from Jeddah to Suez via the Suez canal.

Water note: Ferries arrive and depart from the seafront ferry terminal building in Nuweiba and the Taba Heights marina in Taba for the daily trips to Jordan.

Ferry operators: The ferry service operating between Nuweiba and Taba in South Sinai and Aqaba is run by AB Maritime. Namma Shipping Lines connect Safaga with Jeddah and with Duba in Saudi Arabia.

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

Egypt, which is bordered by Sudan in the south, Libya to the west, Israel and the Gaza strip to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north, is not easily accessed by road and bureaucracy at border points can prevent entry by both car drivers and coaches. The border crossing to Israel at Rafah is closed.

 
Climate

Egypt is a huge country with plenty of variety in its climate; when it's chilly and wet in Alexandria, It can be ravishingly hot in Aswan.

The best time to visit most sights, including the pyramids and the Valley of the Kings, or diving in the Red Seam is fro February to April and October to November. During these months the heat reminds you that it's the 'Land of the Sun', but not too hot to be enjoyable. At this time, the skies and sea are a perfect blue. The downside is that these are the most popular times of the year for visitors.

In April, the hot, dusty khamsin wind blows from the Sahara, making touring of sights potentially troublesome; during an intense sandstorm, vision may be reduced to a few meters. During the hot, dry summers (June-August) there's always the risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion, which might confine visitors indoors during the early afternoon.

Winters (November- February) are usually mild and often overcast, leaving the desert and its ancient monuments looking lackluster. Rainfall is negligible except on the coast.

Required Clothing

Loose, lightweight, modest cottons and linens, with warmer clothes for winter and cooler evenings, are culturally and climatically suitable.

 
Contacts

Egyptian Consulate in the UK

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

Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt in the USA

3521 International Court, NW, Washington, DC 20008 USA
Tel: (202) 895 5400.
Website: www.egyptembassy.net
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0930-1300.

British Embassy in Egypt

Garden City, 7 Ahmed Ragheb Street, Cairo 
Tel: +20 2 2791 6000. 
Website: www.ukinegypt.fco.gov.uk
Opening Hours: Sun-Wed 0800-1500; Thurs 0800-1400.



 

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