While visiting the sights around Egypt, there are many opportunities to purchase souvenirs and gifts. Before entering the monuments there are stalls and sellers with various souvenirs.
Some sellers offer their goods next to the monuments, for example beside the pyramids of Giza, Sakara and Dahshur. They stop tourists to offer souvenirs and gifts.
There is no rush to shop as soon as you arrive, there are many opportunities to purchase what you would like during your stay. We advise you to wait a few days as you will then get to know and understand the pricing, the products have no prices, this is bartered (negotiated) with the seller.
Also note that in some hotels and on the ship there will be shops available that offer more elegant products and where you can buy more luxury goods. The best shopping location is the Khan El Khalili Bazaar in Cairo, where you are able to buy almost anything.
Comfortable shoes are a must when sightseeing (sneakers or strong leather shoes are ideal).
It is best to choose comfortable clothes for your trip. We suggest packing light, loose clothes made of natural fabrics like cotton, linen, or cashmere. They allow your skin to breathe and will protect you from the sun.
Do not forget about sunglasses and something to cover your head like a hat or a scarf.
When it comes to respecting Egyptian customs, men's clothing is not normally a problem; normal trousers, shirts or t-shirts are fine. In Cairo it would not be preferred to wear short shorts or a tank top/sleeveless vest.
Women should dress conservatively to avoid any unwanted attention. Women's clothing should include loose linen/cotton trousers or a below knee skirt and blouse/top with sleeves. Women should take a scarf to cover their head when visiting inside the Mosque of Muhammad Ali in Cairo (it is the only religious place on the tour where the scarves are required). In the Mosque men are also asked to wear long sleeves and long trousers. For the mornings and evenings, please take a jacket or a sweater.
For a visit to the Jehan Sadat residence we recommend business attire.
Baksheesh is a very popular form of tipping in Egypt given for services rendered.This is not alms (a charitable gift)! Baksheesh has its roots in tradition. Therefore it is highly recommended to be given by everyone (not only tourists) who visits a restaurant, coffee shop, hotel or ship. Even the smallest service deserves tipping called baksheesh. It is advisable to give smaller sums frequently. If you feel satisfied about the service given you can give a bigger tip, showing your appreciation.
In hotels, restaurants or coffee shops (regardless of the category) you should leave tips equivalent to 10-15% of the price. In addition to that you should give baksheesh for each service, even the minor ones. A baksheesh should not only be given to staff in hotels, coach/jeep drivers, boat captains, horse carriages and camel caretakers but also to workers in mosques, churches, ancient temples and tombs as well. They always try their best to show you, for example the most interesting places from where to take pictures. Usually a tip of $1-2 dollars is sufficient.
Small gifts like pens, colorful markers or sweets (chocolate) are appreciated by Egyptians. It is always a great idea to shop for these before coming to Egypt.
Please do not give any money to children or women begging in the street!
Unfortunately the concept of baksheesh is often manipulated and wrongly used by street beggars who hope for extra cash from tourists. These beggars usually have no understanding of how to make a living, so they treat begging as a way of earning money.
There are no vaccinations needed to visit Egypt. Sunburn and dehydration can be avoided by using plenty of sun cream, wearing light cotton clothing and a hat, and drinking lots of water. The health care facilities in Egypt are generally good and it is advisable to have health insurance.
The curency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound, which is divided into 100 piasters. Cash is generally easily obtained from ATMs, which can be found in larger towns and cities. Most of the major hotels and stores accept credit cards, such as Visa and MasterCard, along with traveller's cheques and certain foreign currencies like euro, sterling and dollars. If venturing off the beaten track you will find that generally only the Egyptian pound in cash will be accepted.
Egypt's electricity works on 220v with sockets being of the two-pin. European mainland variety. It's a good idea to pack an adaptor if planning to use personal items like mobile phone chargers.
Visitors will need a single-visitor visa to enter Egypt. Required for most nationalities. Single-entry, 30-day tourist visas cost US$25 and can be purchased at the airport on arrival.
All visitors will need to have a passport which must have at least six months remaining of its validity on the date of entry. Egypt, like all other countries, apply strict customs rules about bringing items such us alcohol and cigarettes into the country, so to avoid any misunderstandings it is probably advisable to buy at airport shop. Under no circumstances should you attempt to leave the country with antiquities. This is strictly forbidden.
Egypt is one of the hottest and sunniest countries in the world. It receives very little rain. The average temperature in the Nile Valley is over one hundred degrees Fahrenheit (38° C) from May through September. The average temperature in the region during the coldest months of the year is in the sixties (15- 20° C). Egypt has two seasons: a mild winter from November to April and a hot summer from May to October. Along the Mediterranean coast, there is an average annual rainfall of approx. 20 cm. Rainfall decreases rapidly towards the south. Cairo receives on average only 2.5 cm of rain a year, and in many desert locations it may rain only once in several years.
To ensure your trip to Egypt is as enjoyable as possible, we have organized our tours during the fall, winter and spring seasons to avoid the harsh summer sun. The weather during these times is more suitable for travel throughout Egypt and visiting historical sites.
Many tourists visiting Egypt suffer from 'Pharaoh's Revenge'.The main symptoms of this tummy bug are: sickness, diarrhea and stomach cramps. One of the reasons that visitors suffer with this is the change in the climate and the different foods that we are eating.
One of the things that we suggest, to avoid spending your time in the bathroom is to consume probiotics before your trip. This will help to improve immunity before you travel. Probiotics can be found in a number of foods, drinks and supplements (buttermilk, kefir, natural yoghurt, pickles and probiotic yoghurt drinks). You are able to buy probiotic supplements in your pharmacy which contain milk cultures to kill harmful bacteria.
On arrival in Egypt, it is important to regulate your body temperature, making sure that you avoid the extreme cold as well as the heat. You can do this by making sure that your drinks are not too cold with ice and that you do not have the air conditioning on a very low temperature in your accommodation.
When drinking water, washing your mouth and brushing your teeth, always make sure that you are using bottled water rather than tap water.
Also, make sure that you carry a hand sanitiser with you when going out and about and dealing with the local currency.
Following the above advice should help you to avoid 'Pharaohs Revenge'. However, if you do find yourself suffering, please do not suffer in silence. You should contact our staff to get the correct treatment/medication for your condition, so that you can continue to enjoy your trip.
The official language of Egypt is Arabic and other languages are widely spoken too, especially in tourist areas.
Egypt is two hours ahead of GMT.