Travel to Egypt

Egypt

Egypt is synonymous with Pharaohs, the pyramids, temples and antiquities from ancient civilizations. And at the center of these great civilizations lies the Nile River that has influenced their economics, social life, politics and religion. It is the oldest travel destination on earth: Greek and Roman travelers came in 430 BC to wonder at some of the very sights that make it a modern travel destination today. The magnificence of the painted Valley of the Kings, exquisite temples and the pyramids were all sought-after subjects of admiration, and many were already 2,500 years old!

From desert landscapes and dry, rugged mountains that reach to the sea, dusty cities full of exotic sounds and smells, and green strips of agricultural land snaking along the banks of the Nile, Egypt has something to offer all travelers from all walks of life. Spectacular diving in the Red Sea; unique desert experiences, whether on the back of a camel to Mount Sinai or on a jeep safari to the inner oases; the colour and chaos of Cairo and its markets; and felucca cruises on the Nile River are just some of the exotic attractions awaiting visitors. Egypt promises an unforgettable experience of history and relaxation - a mixture of discovery and pleasure.

Overview

Egypt is synonymous with Pharaohs, the pyramids, temples and antiquities from ancient civilizations. And at the center of these great civilizations lies the Nile River that has influenced their economics, social life, politics and religion. It is the oldest travel destination on earth: Greek and Roman travelers came in 430 BC to wonder at some of the very sights that make it a modern travel destination today. The magnificence of the painted Valley of the Kings, exquisite temples and the pyramids were all sought-after subjects of admiration, and many were already 2,500 years old!

People

With 72,000,000 inhabitants, Egypt represents one quarter of the population of the Arab world. The city of Cairo itself counts about 16,000,000 people.  The Egyptian population is composed of people from various origins. Most Egyptians originate from Ancient Egypt and the Nile Valley. Others come from the Arabic and Levantine descents and the Nubians of Upper Egypt.

Language

Arabic is the official language spoken by all Egyptians. When Arabic is spoken in the streets, it’s like a dialect and differs a great deal from classical Arabic.  Although English is very widespread, people will appreciate you taking time to learn a few words and phrases. In holiday resorts like Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada, many other European languages are spoken such as French, German, and Italian.

History

Egyptian history dates back to about 4000 B.C. , when the kingdoms of upper and lower Egypt, already highly sophisticated, were united. Egypt’s golden age coincided with the 18th and 19th dynasties (16th to 13th century B.C. ), during which the empire was established. Persia conquered Egypt in 525 B.C. , Alexander the Great subdued it in 332 B.C. , and then the dynasty of the Ptolemies ruled the land until 30 B.C. , when Cleopatra, last of the line, committed suicide and Egypt became a Roman, then Byzantine, province. Arab caliphs ruled Egypt from 641 until 1517, when the Turks took it for their Ottoman Empire.

Napoléon’s armies occupied the country from 1798 to 1801. In 1805, Mohammed Ali, leader of a band of Albanian soldiers, became pasha of Egypt. After completion of the Suez Canal in 1869, the French and British took increasing interest in Egypt. British troops occupied Egypt in 1882, and British resident agents became its actual administrators, though it remained under nominal Turkish sovereignty. In 1914, this fiction was ended, and Egypt became a protectorate of Britain.

Egyptian nationalism, led by Zaghlul Pasha and the Wafd Party, forced Britain to relinquish its claims on the country. Egypt became an independent sovereign state on Feb. 28, 1922, with Fu’ad I as its king. In 1936, by an Anglo-Egyptian treaty of alliance, all British troops and officials were to be withdrawn, except from the Suez Canal Zone. When World War II started, Egypt remained neutral.

Tensions grew between the Wafd Party and the monarchy following independence, and in 1952, the army, led by Gen. Mohammed Naguib, seized power. Three days later, King Farouk abdicated in favor of his infant son. The monarchy was abolished and a republic proclaimed on June 18, 1953, with Naguib becoming president and prime minister. He relinquished the prime ministership in 1954 to Gamal Abdel Nasser, leader of the ruling military junta. Nasser also assumed the presidency in 1956.

Nasser’s policies embroiled his country in continual conflict. In 1956, the U.S. and Britain withdrew their pledges of financial aid for the building of the Aswan High Dam. In response, Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal and expelled British oil and embassy officials. The Soviet Union then agreed to finance the dam and would come to exert increasing influence over Egypt in the coming decade. Israel, barred from the canal and exasperated by terrorist raids, invaded the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula. Britain and France, after demanding Egyptian evacuation of the canal zone, attacked Egypt on Oct. 31, 1956. Worldwide pressure forced Britain, France, and Israel to halt the hostilities. A UN emergency force occupied the canal zone, and all troops were evacuated in the spring of 1957.

From 1956 to 1961, Egypt and Syria united to form a single country called the United Arab Republic (UAR). Syria ended this relationship in 1961 after a military coup, but Egypt continued to call itself the UAR until 1971.

In 1967, border tensions between Egypt and Israel led to the Six-Day War. On June 5, Israel launched an air assault, and within days had annexed the Sinai Peninsula, the East Bank of the Jordan River, and the Golan Heights. A UN cease-fire on June 10 saved the Arabs from a complete rout. Nasser declared the 1967 cease-fire void along the canal in April 1969 and began a war of attrition. On Sept. 28, 1970, Nasser died of a heart attack. Anwar el-Sadat, an associate of Nasser and a former newspaper editor, became the next president.

The fourth Arab-Israeli War broke out on Oct. 6, 1973, during the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Egypt swept deep into the Sinai, while Syria strove to throw Israel off the Golan Heights. A UN-sponsored truce was accepted on Oct. 22. In Jan. 1974, both sides agreed to a settlement negotiated by the U.S. that gave Egypt a narrow strip along the entire Sinai bank of the Suez Canal. In June, President Nixon made the first visit by a U.S. president to Egypt and full diplomatic relations were established. The Suez Canal was reopened on June 5, 1975.

In the most audacious act of his career, Sadat flew to Jerusalem at the invitation of Prime Minister Menachem Begin on Nov. 20, 1977, to discuss a permanent peace settlement. The Arab world reacted with fury. Egypt and Israel signed a formal peace treaty on March 26, 1979. The pact ended 30 years of war and established diplomatic and commercial relations.

By mid-1980, two-thirds of the Sinai had been transferred back to Egypt, but Sadat halted further talks with Israel in Aug. 1980 because of continued Israeli settlement of the West Bank. On Oct. 6, 1981, Sadat was assassinated by extremist Muslim soldiers at a parade in Cairo. Vice President Hosni Mubarak, a former air force chief of staff, succeeded him. Israel completed the return of the Sinai to Egyptian control on April 25, 1982. Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in June brought a marked cooling in Egyptian-Israeli relations, but not a disavowal of the peace treaty.

In July 2005, President Mubarak announced he would seek a fifth six-year term. Earlier in the year Mubarak had amended the constitution to allow for multiparty elections, the first in Egyptian history, and on Sept. 6, Mubarak was reelected with 88.6% of the vote.

Travel Guide

Currency

The national currency is the Egyptian pound (EGP), known as the guineh in Arabic. It is divided into 100 piasters (irsh in Arabic).

Weather

During the summer, from March to November, the climate is hot and dry in most of the country. December to February can be quite cold in the north. The sky is usually blue and cloudless. The temperature varies considerably in Egypt. It can be extremely hot during the day and very cold at night, especially in the desert.

Health Requirements

Proof of yellow fever immunization is required if arriving from an infected area.

Visa Requirements

A passport and visa are required.  Tourists can obtain a renewable 30-day tourist visa on arrival at an Egyptian airport for a $15 fee, payable in U.S. dollars.  Visitors arriving overland, holders of official or diplomatic passports, and/or those who previously experienced difficulty with their visa status in Egypt should obtain a visa prior to arrival.  Travelers arriving from Israel at the Taba border crossing are advised to obtain a visa prior to their arrival.

Credit Cards

Credit cards and travelers’ checks are accepted in the main hotels and large stores. Most tourist shops also accept foreign currencies.

Electrical Appliances

Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. European-style two-pin plugs are standard.

Water

It is advisable to drink bottled water only.

Map

A: Alexandria
B: Amboseli National Park
C: Arusha
D: Aswan
E: Bazaruto Island
F: Benguerra Island
G: Botswana
H: Bwindi Impenetrable NP
I: Cairo
J: Cape Town
K: Cape Winelands
L: Central Kalahari Region
M: Chobe National Park
N: Denis Island
O: Desroches Island
P: Drakensburg
Q: Dubai
R: Dubai Beaches
S: Dubai City Center
T: Dubai Desert
U: Dubai Marina
V: Durban
W: Eastern Cape
X: Eastern Cape Safaris
Y: Egypt
Z: Ethiopia
AA: Etosha National Park
AB: Franschhoek
AC: Garden Route
AD: Greater Kruger National Park
AE: Greater Winelands
AF: Hermanus
AG: Hwange National Park
AH: Johannesburg
AI: Jordan
AJ: Kafue National Park
AK: Kampala
AL: Kariba
AM: Kenya
AN: Kigali
AO: Knysna
AP: Kruger National Park
AQ: Kwazulu Natal
AR: La Digue
AS: Lake Manyara NP
AT: Lake Nakuru
AU: Lewa Wildlife Conservation
AV: Linyanti/Savuti Region
AW: Livingstone
AX: Lower Zambezi National Park
AY: Luxor
AZ: Madagascar
BA: Madikwe Game Reserve
BB: Mahé
BC: Maldives
BD: Mana Pools National Park
BE: Masai Mara
BF: Mauritius
BG: Mombasa
BH: Mozambique
BI: Nairobi
BJ: Namibia
BK: Ngorongoro Conservation Area
BL: North Island
BM: Okavango and Moremi GR
BN: Oman
BO: Oudtshoorn
BP: Plettenberg Bay
BQ: Port Elizabeth
BR: Praslin
BS: Queen Elizabeth National Park
BT: Quirimbas Archipelago
BU: Rwanda
BV: Sabi Sands
BW: Samburu National Park
BX: Selous Game Reserve
BY: Serengeti National Park
BZ: Seychelles
CA: Sharm El Sheik
CB: Sheik Zayed Road
CC: Silhouette Island
CD: Skeleton Coast National Park
CE: Sossusvlei
CF: South Africa
CG: South Luangwa
CH: Stellenbosch
CI: Sun City
CJ: Sun City and Surrounds
CK: Swakopmund & Walvis Bay
CL: Tanzania
CM: Tarangire National Park
CN: Timbavati Region
CO: Uganda
CP: Umhlanga
CQ: Victoria Falls
CR: Vilanculos
CS: Volcanoes National Park
CT: Windhoek
CU: Zambia
CV: Zanzibar and Pemba Island

Destinations

Explore the rest of our Egypt destinations:

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This Destination

Egypt

Related Destinations

Alexandria
Amboseli National Park
Arusha
Aswan
Bazaruto Island
Benguerra Island
Botswana
Bwindi Impenetrable NP
Cairo
Cape Town
Cape Winelands
Central Kalahari Region
Chobe National Park
Denis Island
Desroches Island
Drakensburg
Dubai
Dubai Beaches
Dubai City Center
Dubai Desert
Dubai Marina
Durban
Eastern Cape
Eastern Cape Safaris
Egypt
Ethiopia
Etosha National Park
Franschhoek
Garden Route
Greater Kruger National Park
Greater Winelands
Hermanus
Hwange National Park
Johannesburg
Jordan
Kafue National Park
Kampala
Kariba
Kenya
Kigali
Knysna
Kruger National Park
Kwazulu Natal
La Digue
Lake Manyara NP
Lake Nakuru
Lewa Wildlife Conservation
Linyanti/Savuti Region
Livingstone
Lower Zambezi National Park
Luxor
Madagascar
Madikwe Game Reserve
Mahé
Maldives
Mana Pools National Park
Masai Mara
Mauritius
Mombasa
Mozambique
Nairobi
Namibia
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
North Island
Okavango and Moremi GR
Oman
Oudtshoorn
Plettenberg Bay
Port Elizabeth
Praslin
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Quirimbas Archipelago
Rwanda
Sabi Sands
Samburu National Park
Selous Game Reserve
Serengeti National Park
Seychelles
Sharm El Sheik
Sheik Zayed Road
Silhouette Island
Skeleton Coast National Park
Sossusvlei
South Africa
South Luangwa
Stellenbosch
Sun City
Sun City and Surrounds
Swakopmund & Walvis Bay
Tanzania
Tarangire National Park
Timbavati Region
Uganda
Umhlanga
Victoria Falls
Vilanculos
Volcanoes National Park
Windhoek
Zambia
Zanzibar and Pemba Island

Related Hotels

Cairo Marriott & Omar El Khayanm Casino
Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria at San Stefano
Hilton Luxor Resort and Spa
Maritim Jolie Ville Alexandria
Maritim Jolie Ville Royal Peninsula Hotel & Resort Sharm El Sheikh

Related Vacations

Discover Egypt

Related Tours

Dahshour, Memphis and Sakkara
Egyptian Museum, Citadel, Mosques & Khan Khalili Bazaars
Egyptian Museum, Pyramids and Sphinx
Excursion to El Alamein
Kom Ombo and Edfu


Top Stays

Kapinga Camp
Exeter Dulini Lodge
Phinda Zuka Lodge
Selinda Camp
The Oyster Box Hotel

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Hotels/Lodges

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Four Seasons Hotel…

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Hilton Luxor Resort…

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Maritim Jolie Ville…

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Maritim Jolie Ville…

Fabulous location at the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula.

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Mexicana Sharm…

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Pavillion Winter…

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Pyramids Park…

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Pyramisa Isis…

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Safir Cairo

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Sharm El Sheikh…

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Sofitel Legend Old…

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The Oasis Hotel

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Vacation Packages

Discover Egypt

9 Days, 8 Nights
From $2,099 /person based on double occupancy*
Cairo . Luxor . Edfu . Aswan…

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Tours

Dahshour, Memphis…

Dahshur forms the southernmost area of the Memphis Necropolis and…

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Egyptian Museum,…

The Egyptian Museum is the most important depository of Egyptian…

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Egyptian Museum,…

The Egyptian Museum is the most important depository of Egyptian…

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Excursion to El…

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Kom Ombo and Edfu

Departure by car from Aswan to visit the Ptolemaic Temple of Kom Ombo…

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National…

National Museum: The museum comprises more than 1800 archaeological…

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Pyramids &…

Pyramids & Sphinx were reckoned by the Greeks to be one of the…

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Pyramids Sound and…

The show begins with the story of the Sphinx who has been the…

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West Bank…

Cross the newly constructed Luxor Bridge to visit the Valley of the…

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