The Arab Republic of Egypt has a unique geographical position in Northeast Africa, at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, on the Mediterranean and Red Sea, and its connection to Sub Saharan Africa through the Nile Valley. Egypt is at the center of the Arab world and controls the Suez Canal; the shortest sea link between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
The country is defined by desert and the Nile, the longest river on Earth. The Nile flows north out of central Africa, cascading over the cataracts (waterfalls) through Upper (southern) Egypt and Lower (northern) Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea—with a mountainous desert to the east, a rolling drier desert to the west, and the vast Sahara to the south.
Practical Information about Egypt
In Cairo and the principal cities of Egypt, there are plenty of facilities available for hosting conferences, seminars, meetings and corporate incentive programs touring Egypt.
Egypt offers a very wide range of activities suitable for children and young teenagers: visiting the many historic sites, exploring the national parks to see the varied flora and fauna, or enjoying plenty of different sporting activities (swimming, snorkelling, scuba-diving, sailing, hiking, kitesurfing, windsurfing, and so on.
Egypt has four types of climate: Mediterranean on the Alexandria coast, semi-desert in the Cairo region, temperate along the Nile Valley and desert in the south of the country.
In autumn (from the end of September to the beginning of November) a gentle heat prevails: temperatures range between 25 and 35°C from north to south. In winter (mid-December to mid-February), it is fairly cool in the north of the country. Spring (March-April) does not last long and summer comes quickly. Temperatures can then turn quite warm! This is the season of winds, especially of the desert winds called “Khamasin”.
Take light cotton or linen clothing, a hat, sun cream and sunglasses. Evenings can be cool; it’s a good idea to pack a pullover or cardigan.
The national currency is the Egyptian Pound (EGP), called Guineh in Arabic. It is divided into 100 piasters (Irsh in Arabic).
You will find ATM machines in large towns and in some hotels.
From itinerant food-sellers to restaurants in luxury hotels, Egypt offers a wide range of options to suit all tastes and all budgets. There is a huge variety of Mezzeh (appetizer’s), and meat is usually grilled (Kebabs) or minced then grilled (Kofta). Evolved as it has at the crossroads of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, Egyptian gastronomy is rich and flavoursome.
You need a visa to enter Egypt, for which a fee is payable.
According to your country of origin, you can obtain your visa either from the embassy or at the airport when you arrive.
Upon arrival, go to the bank (in the Arrivals hall) to obtain stamps for your visa. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months after the end of your visit. Customs officials may ask to see your return ticket.
Egypt covers an area of approximately one million square kilometres, consisting very largely of desert (97%).
Consequently 95% of the inhabitants live in just 4% of the country. Egypt is bisected from south to north by the Nile River, and is divided into 26 administrative provinces. The capital is Cairo and the principal cities are Alexandria, Port Said, Sharm El-Sheikh and Aswan.
Egyptian guides may escort you around tourist sites and museums. They all possess qualifications from the Institute of Egyptology.
You will find many cybercafés in most large towns.
The official language is Arabic. English and French are widely spoken, especially in tourist towns. German, Italian and Russian are also spoken in many hotels on the Red Sea.
Credit cards and traveller’s checks are accepted in major hotels and large stores. Most tourist shops also allow you to make purchases in foreign currency.
The use of flash is prohibited in museums and tombs in order to protect the exhibits. and filming is prohibited at the Aswan Dam and in the Valley of the Kings.
The majority of Egyptians have been Muslim since the 12th/13th century, the remainder of the population being essentially Coptic (Egyptian Christians).
Egypt has a rich culture of arts and crafts. A wide range of local artefacts, including e.g. blown glass, pottery, jewellery, embroidery, papyrus, carpets, leather goods and basketwork, may be found on sale in Souks, shops and galleries.
Egypt is two hours ahead of GMT.
The quickest way to reach the main tourist destinations is by air. Travelling by train is cheaper. The easiest way to get around town is by bus or taxi.