Now that I have had some time to settle down and fully take in my recent trip to Egypt, I think it is time I finally share some of my travel tips that will hopefully help you guys in future. While Egypt is a wonderful country to visit, it is one of the more difficult ones to navigate through. From dealing with the endless pollution and traffic in Cairo to having to deal with loads of scammers day in and day out, it can be a tricky but nothing one can’t survive lol. So if you are looking to explore Egypt anytime soon here are some tips that will hopefully make your trip a whole lot easier.
Make sure all your travel documents are in order: If you are a South African you will require a Visa when travelling to Egypt so make sure you have yours (you can check if you require a visa here:countries that require visa) . Visa applications are free at the embassy in Pretoria and take about 7-12 days. Make sure your travel insurance is also up to date, for ease of travel in Egypt always carry your Passport with you as there are lots of police stops where passports are required. All the police stops and metal detectors everywhere in and around the city will make you feel uneasy at times but I guess it’s good to know that tourist safety is a number 1 priority in Egypt.
Split your holiday into a few days in Cairo and a few days in the other cities: For my holiday I found that there wasn’t much to do in Cairo besides visiting the Pyramids, Mosques, Market and Museums, which you can do in 2-3 days, after awhile it gets quite boring & tiring. It was perfect that we had also booked a few days in Hurghada at the beach resorts which was absolutely magical. To be honest spend most of your trip relaxing on white sandy beaches in Hurghada and then spend just a few days in Cairo. Unless if you like crowded places and traffic then gladly spend more days in Cairo lol. When travelling from city to city there are lots of options with the top two being the Go Bus which is a 7 hour drive from Cairo to Hurghada and costs about R150/$12 or hire a private limo which is a 5 hour cab drive and costs about R900/$83. Again make sure to carry your passport with you at all times as there are multiple toll stops where you are required to show your passport.
Hire a local guide: If you want to get the best deals for tours or transport then make sure to hire a local guide. Best way to do it is negotiate with your cab driver to be your guide for the rest of your holiday. For my trip we had the amazing Ahmed as our driver and guide throughout. He made sure we didn’t get scammed and always got us the best deals for tours and at the markets. Having a local guide who is fluent in english also helped with navigating through the city and markets. One last thing when choosing a guide make sure to pick someone who you are comfortable with, our first guide was pushy and kept forcing us to go where he wanted us to go so we ditched him and got ourselves the amazing Ahmed (you can give him a call here: 01002490091.)
Carry sanitiser and toilet paper with you at all times: Like I mentioned before Cairo is one super buzzing city, pollution everywhere so it’s good to always have your own sanitiser and toilet paper to make your life easier. I never go anywhere without my wet wipes and trust me they will come in handy when travelling to Egypt. The coastal cities are less polluted so you will really need it the most when in Cairo.
Make sure your guide is aware of any allergies you might have: For someone like me who has a lot of allergies it was a good idea to make sure my guide new what they were. He was then able to assist with making sure I ordered local food that wouldn’t make me sick. If you are going to explore the local food scene then be prepared to eat lots of differently mixed ingredients in each dish. Stay away from the street food rather eat at the local restaurants. If you are not a perfume person like me then also make sure your guide is aware as perfume is one of the biggest attractions in Egypt everyone is always trying to make you try theirs it can get a bit crazy, my sinuses showed me flames. Dress Code & Culture: Egypt is really not as scary as all the media make it out to be when it comes to the dress code and the culture. It’s really simple if you are going to visit a place then make sure you respect it’s cultures and codes. Most restaurants have certain dress codes but it’s nothing to hectic. In all honesty you can wear whatever you like but for comfort it is always better to dress according to the local standards. For my trip when at the resorts our days were spent in swim shorts and t-shirts and when dining at the restaurants we then changed into smart casual wear, jeans and shirts etc. When in Cairo it’s best to wear long pants/dresses. When visiting religious sites then make sure to respect the dress code at all times.
Always carry cash: One lesson we learned is most visa accepted places in Egypt hardly had working card machines, so to always be on the safe side make sure you have some local currency with you. Always be aware of the exchange rates as to avoid getting scammed when making purchases, know your money and you will be ok.
Always smile, have fun and just enjoy yourself: Egypt is a beautiful place and trust me when I say you will have a great time. The people are super friendly so don’t overthink anything just enjoy yourself. Take everything you read in the media with a pinch of salt. Book your holiday today and go have a freaking awesome time!!
If you have any tips you would also like to share please do so in the comments section below and we will add them to the post!