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Egypt

Egypt SafariEgypt is probably the world's oldest civilization having emerged from the Nile Valley around 3,100 years ago, historically. Egypt links two continents, stretching across the northeastern corner of Africa and the southwestern edge of Asia. The country is approximately 626,000 square miles (1,000,000 square km) in size. Its longest distance north-south is 640 miles (1,025 km) and widest distance east-west is about 775 miles (1,240 km). The northern border is the Mediterranean Sea and the southern boundary is with Sudan. On the northeastern border are Israel, Jordan, Palestine and Saudi Arabia. The Red Sea flanks the eastern border, while the whole of the western border is with Libya. Egypt’s 60 million people live primarily in the Nile Valley, leaving the rest of the land sparsely populated. Cairo, the largest city in Egypt, is estimated to have a population of over 15 million people, which is growing at an alarming rate. The deserts of Egypt comprise over 90 percent of the land surface but are inhabited by around 5 percent of the population. The deserts are part of an arid region that stretches from the Atlantic coast in the west to Central Asia in the east.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Non-Egyptian visitors arriving in Egypt are required to be in possession of a valid passport and return air tickets. Entry visas may be obtained from Egyptian Diplomatic and Consular Missions abroad or from the Entry Visa Department at the Travel Documents, Immigration and Nationality Administration (TDINA). It is, however, possible for most tourists and visitors to obtain an entry visa at any of the major ports of entry. Please check with your nearest Egyptian Consular mission for more details concerning visa regulations applying to your citizenship. Citizens of the following countries are required to be in possession of a pre-arrival visa: Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chechnya, Croatia, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Lebanon, Macau, Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldavia, Montenegro, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, The Philippines, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Sri-Lanka, Tadzhikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and all African countries. Tourist visas are usually valid for a period not exceeding three months and are granted on either a single or multiple entry basis. Note: Please check with your nearest Egypt Consulate for up to date information for other than US citizens. Evidence of yellow fever and cholera immunizations is required from persons who have been in an infected area within six days prior to arrival. These immunizations must be recorded on the International Certificate of Vaccination, the WHO card, issued by the World Health Organization. This document is obtained from authorized doctors in most countries. Persons without the proper immunizations are subject to a 36-hour quarantine at Cairo Airport.

CURRENCY

The local currency unit is the Egyptian Pound. Modern Egyptian currency (specifically paper money) ranges from the 25 Piastres (quarter pound note) up to a 1,000 pound note. Unlike, for example, American bills, Egyptian currency is not the same size. The smaller the denomination of the note, the smaller its physical size. Egyptian coins duplicate the value of some of the Egyptian bills. There are 25 Piastres and 50 Piastres coins, but because of this duplication, many establishments in Egypt rarely have coins. Travelers can exchange their currency for Egyptian Pounds at Cairo International Airport and at commercial banks in most commercial and tourist centers. Banks are open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 2:00pm daily, but are closed Friday, Saturday, and most holidays. Credit cards (Visa, MasterCard) are only accepted in major cities and tourist areas. Foreign currency may be imported and exported without restriction provided it is declared on arrival.

CLIMATE

Egyptian summers are hot and dry in most of the country and humid in the Delta and along the Mediterranean Coast. During the summer months extending from May to October, temperatures can exceed 100°F in Luxor and Aswan in particular. Low temperatures are in the 70 – 75° F range. In recent years the humidity has spread to Cairo and the city swelters in August. Winters are mild with some rain, but usually there are bright, sunny days and cold nights. The average daytime temperatures in the winter are 65 – 75° F with the nights usually registering temperatures of 45 – 50° F.
There is a short spring and autumn and during the 50 days (khamseen) between the end of March and mid-May, dust storms can occur sporadically.

WATER

Bottled water (mayya ma'daniyya) is available in all areas frequented by tourists; both large and small bottles are sold on the street and from ice buckets at most of the antiquities sites. Be sure the cap is sealed. Mayya shurb or mayya ahday (drinking water) is safe in most metropolitan areas.

ELECTRICITY

The electricity supply is 220 or 240V AC, 50 Hz.

COMMUNICATIONS

The Central Post Office at Midan al Ataba in Cairo is open 24 hours a day except Friday and occasional holidays. All other post offices are open from 8:30am. - 3 :00pm. daily, except Fridays. Mailboxes found on street corners and in front of post offices are red for regular Egyptian mail, blue for overseas airmail letters and green for Cairo and express mail within Cairo. Allow 5 days for airmail post to Europe, 8-10 days to America. Most 5-star hotels offer direct dial service in your room and via the telephone operator in the hotel. The Central Telephone and Telegraph offices are open 24 hours a day, as are many branch exchanges. Others are open from 7am -10pm daily. Telex and fax services are also available from the above business centers dotted around the city. If you have an AT&T Calling Card it is possible to charge a call from Egypt to the United States to a US account. You may place a call with a US based operator by dialing 356-0200. You must supply both the American number and the number of your AT&T account. Sprint offers the same service. Contact Sprint for the necessary access numbers.

TIME ZONE

Greenwich Mean Time + 2 hours throughout the year.

LANGUAGE

Arabic is the official language of Egypt, however, the English-speaking visitor to Egypt will have no problems while traveling throughout the country.

EMBASSIES

USA UK Australia
3, Lazoughli Street
Garden City
Telephone: 3557371
7, Ahmed Ragheb Street
Garden City
Telephone: 3540852-3540859
World Trade Center
Corniche El Nil, Boulak
Telephone: 5750444

WHAT TO BUY

There is no window-shopping in Cairo without passing by all kinds of spacious displayed fabrics. Whether you walk through shopping malls, the streets downtown or across markets, the colorful materials, rich of ornaments and weaves, are evident everywhere. A must is a visit to the Khan el-Khalili, one of the oldest markets in the world. So successful was this Egyptian market during the first part of this millennium that many believe it was responsible for Columbus' search for an alternate route to India. Here you will find boxes, clothing, cosmetics and oils, decorative items, furniture, art, jewelry, leather, music and rugs.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

7 January
Coptic Christmas
22 February
Union Day
25 April Sinai Liberation Day
5 March Wacq el Arafat
6 March Eid Al Adha
26 March Islamic New Year
1 May Labor Day
4 June Prophet’s Birthday
18 June Evacuation Day
1 July Bank Holiday
23 July Revolution Day
11 September Coptic New Year
6 October Armed Forces Day
23 October National Liberation Day
24 October Suez Victory Day
17 November Start of Ramadan
16 December Eid Al Fitr
23 December Victory Day