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About your travel to Egypt for your Egypt Holidays

Egypt is located on the northern tip of the African continent and is bordered by Libya in the west, Sudan in the south, Israel in the east and the Mediterranean in the north.

Population - Approx 75 million, the majority living in Cairo & along the fertile Nile Valley. 90% Muslim, remainder Coptic Christians, Catholics and Jews. Capital - Cairo

Languages - Arabic is the official language of Egypt. English is spoken in most hotels and restaurants. French, German, Italian and Spanish are also popular languages.

Time Zone - Egypt is GMT + 2 (+ 3 during summer)

Passport and Entry Requirements - Aust/NZ passport holders require a tourist visa for Egypt holidays. This can be obtained overseas or on arrival at Cairo Airport.

Health - Best to consult your doctor or Travellers Medical Centre. If you travel to Egypt and are arriving from East Africa or Sudan, it is vital they have a current Yellow Fever certificate. Full medical insurance is recommended.

Duty Free - 1 litre of alcohol, 1 litre perfume, 200 cigarettes or 25 cigars. There are no foreign currency restrictions.

Banking Hours - Sunday to Thursday, 9.00am to 2pm. Some banks re-open from 5 or 6pm for 2-3 hrs, mainly for foreign exchange transactions.

Phone and Post: - Post Offices are generally open 8.30 to 3pm daily except Friday. Fixed line services can be haphazard but mobile GSM works throughout most of the country.

Internet: Very popular in Egypt - cyber cafés can be found in every town and in most villages. Most hotels offer an internet service.

Medical Services - In Cairo there are several hospitals with modern facilities; in Aswan and Luxor hospitals are satisfactory; elsewhere medical services are generally fairly basic.

Tipping - Tipping or "baksheesh" is expected for anything from giving directions to carrying your bags. In hotels & restaurants there is a 12% service fee.

Voltage and Plugs - 220 volts AC, 50Hz. 2 prong cylindrical type plug.

Climate - For much of the year (except for the winter months Dec- Feb) it is hot and dry. Rainfall is scarce, particularly in the south. The most comfortable time to travel is from September to May.

Average temperatures:
Dec-Feb: 12-22 degrees Celsius
Mar-Apr: 20-27 degrees Celsius
May: 18-35 degrees Celsius
Jun-Aug: 22-41 degrees Celsius
Sep-Oct: 18-35 degrees Celsius
Nov: 13-28 degrees Celsius

Currency - Egyptian pound (EGL). 1 pound=100 piastres. Preferred currency for travel USD. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted; Amex and Diners less so. ATMs are widely available. There is one rate of exchange controlled by government, established daily, and available from all banks and hotels. There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency or travellers cheques that can be brought into the country.

Safety - Security at airports, major hotels & tourist sites has been significantly tightened in recent years. English speaking Tourist Police can be found at most Tourist venues.

Dress - Egypt is a predominantly Muslim and visitors are asked to respect local customs. Women should avoid shorts, miniskirts and low-necked dresses in public places such as markets and shopping areas. Modest dress is particularly important when visiting mosques, synagogues and churches. Men should wear short or long-sleeved shirts and long trousers. Shorts and beachwear should only be worn at the beach or hotel pool area.

Transport - Many flight options ex Australia, with Emirates, Gulf Air and Singapore Airlines all offering regular services. Internal Transport: Air, bus & train services are available throughout. Egypt Air connects all main cities.

Accommodation - Egypt offers a wide range of quality hotel accommodation including 5, 4 and 3-star hotels, excellent beach resorts and budget hotels and. In addition there is a wide selection of Nile Cruises, with choices ranging from 3 to 5-star.

Food and Drink - A full range of international cuisine is available, however there is plenty of opportunity to eat local specialities such as mezze, lentil soup, kebabs, rice and fish dishes. Bottled water is advised at all times and easily available. No restrictions on alcohol which is widely available. The local beers, Stella, Sakkara and Meister are all very good. Local wine is improving and imported wine is available (at a price).

Major Attractions -
Cairo : Pyramids & Sphinx, Egyptian Museum, Islamic Cairo, Khan al-Khalili bazaar.
Luxor : Temples of Luxor & Karnak, Valley of the Kings & Queens, Temple of Hatshepsut.
Aswan: Philae Temple, the Dams, Abu Simbel & Lake Nasser
Red Sea & Sinai: Hurghada, Sharm el-Sheikh, Mt Sinai, St Catherine's Monastery and Dahab.
North : Alexandria, El Alamein, Siwa Oasis
Western Desert : Bahariya, White Desert, Farafra Oasis, Dakhla

Entertainment - Many choices from cinemas, discos, nightclubs, casinos and traditional belly dancing. Try a “Sound and Light” show at some of Egypt’s most historic sites.

Shopping - Egypt is a shopper’s paradise with many excellent bazaars to explore. Best buys: jewellery, carpets, alabaster, inlaid wooden boxes, hand-etched copper plates, perfumes & papyrus.

Public Holidays - Egypt's holidays and festivals are primarily Islamic or Coptic religious celebrations. Public holidays celebrated are :

2014 Dates

Wednesday Jan 1 January 1 Bank Holiday Bank Holiday
Tuesday Jan 7 Coptic Christmas Day National holiday
Monday Jan 13 Prophet Mohamed's birthday National holiday
Saturday Jan 25 Revolution Day January 25 National holiday
Thursday Mar 20 March equinox Season
Friday Apr 18 Coptic Good Friday Observance
Saturday Apr 19 Coptic Holy Saturday Observance
Sunday Apr 20 Coptic Easter Sunday National holiday
Monday Apr 21 Spring Festival National holiday
Friday Apr 25 Sinai Liberation Day National holiday
Thursday May 1 Labor Day National holiday
Saturday Jun 21 June Solstice Season
Tuesday Jul 1 Bank Holiday Bank Holiday
Wednesday Jul 23 Revolution Day July 23 National holiday
Monday Jul 28 End of Ramadan National holiday
Tuesday Jul 29 End of Ramadan Day 2 National holiday
Wednesday Jul 30 End of Ramadan Day 3 National holiday
Friday Aug 15 Flooding of the Nile Observance
Thursday Sep 11 Coptic New Year Observance
Tuesday Sep 23 September equinox Season
Friday Oct 3 Arafat Day Observance
Saturday Oct 4 Feast of the Sacrifice National holiday
Sunday Oct 5 Feast of the Sacrifice Day 2 National holiday
Monday Oct 6 Feast of the Sacrifice Day 3 National holiday
Monday Oct 6 Armed Forces Day National holiday
Tuesday Oct 7 Feast of the Sacrifice Day 4 National holiday
Saturday Oct 25 Muharram National holiday
Sunday Dec 21 December Solstice Season

*These holidays are not official, although Coptic Christians may observe them.

Popular locations in Egypt that you might want to visit:

Click the map below for a larger view
Map of Egypt