Backpacking Egypt

Looking for important travel information while backpacking around Egypt? Here you will find information on working in Egypt, entry visas, Egypt hostels, and much more.

Table of Contents

Facts About Egypt

Egypt is a magnificent country with countless legacies behind it which form its present. Most of the country is covered by desert, so the small part which isnt, the valley of the Nile River, is where a striking 95% of the population have settled. The capital, Cairo, is a city which is overwhelming due to its enormity and chaotic feel. The outstanding pyramids and temples of Cairo will take your breath away. It was not until the late 18th century, when Napoleon invaded Egypt, that the fascinating artefacts of the Egyptians were discovered and the world began to be aware of the treasures of this far away land.

  • Currency: Egyptian Pound = 100 piastres
  • Time Zone: GMT + 2
  • Language: Arabic. English and French are widely spoken
  • Telephone Services: Country Code + 20
  • Emergency Numbers: Not Present

Climate

Egypt climate map including average rainfall and temperature by month. Find the best time to backpack Egypt based on your climate preferences.

You can expect hot and arid weather during the summer months and dry, cold winters. Strong dusty winds blow from the Sahara in April.

Things to see and do

The capital city, Cairo is one of the most distinctive cities in the world and is the most convenient base for seeing the Great Pyramids. Within Cairo you will find plenty of hakers eager to sell you transport to Giza, only 20 minutes from the city which where you will find these spectacular testaments to a formerly great civilization. While in Cairo, and after visiting the pyramids, it is worth spending a day or two exploring the rest of the city. Coptic Cairo is the oldest part of the city and is where you will find what remains of the Fortress of Babylon. The last two remaining towers are the highlight of this site although the museum just at the base of them is worth a look for its collection of religious artifacts and art. Other sites in Cairo include the Al-Azhar Mosque, the Mosque of Qaitbey and the Citadel.

In the past Luxor, which situated on the River Nile, was the Egyptian stronghold, a centre of emense power. Luxor is where Tutankhamun’s burial chamber lies, in the Valley of the Kings. A walk in Luxor is a walk through history as you are met with unique and wonderful statues, temples and carvings everywhere you go. The main attraction is the Temples of Karnack which were built during Theban times as centres of worship. Also worth looking at are the Luxor temple which was built by Amenhotp III and the Colossi of Memnon.

Alexandria, the second largest egyptian city, is the main port of Egypt and is situted in the north-west of the Nile delta. There are beautiful white sandy beaches and captivating scenery strethching for 140 km along the Mediterranean Sea. Abu-Qir Suburb is one of the most peaceful beaches and is well-known for fishing and delicious seafood restaurants. This area also offers the opportunity to see many Greek and Roman monuments.

Travel

There are daily flights connecting Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel and Hurghada run by Egypt Air. For information and flight times you can visit their website. Air Sinai also offers flights connecting Cairo to places all over egypt.

When you are travelling in egypt a Nile cruise is recommended and the traditional Nile sailing boats, known as feluccas, can be hired by the hour. There are also numerous Nile cruises running between Luxor and Aswan, and between Cairo and Aswan which last for anything up to two weeks. It is recommended to contact a tour operator and book a complete package.

There is an extensive railway network in Egypt controlled by Egyptian State Railways who can be contacted on (02) 574 9474 or 575 3555. The network covers the whole country and connects all main cities with a high standard of service. If you want to take advantage of the overnight train services then it is necessary to book one week in advance through a travel agent or through Abela Egypt.

The national bus network covers the Nile Valley and coastal routes.

Accommodation

Due to the importance of tourism in Egypt there is ample accommodation services and variety in the vacinity of all well-known attractions and large cities. As a budget traveller you will be interested to know that there are 15 Youth hostels in Egypt and they are located in popular tourist destinations. For more information contact the Egyptian Youth Hostels Association at eyhaho@usa.net . Another option which will not break the bank is to stay in campsites, however there are only a few official campsites across the country. If you would like to make your way through the desert wilderness then you can book these trips through local tour operators but it is very advisable to contact the local tourist offices for exact details as it can be dangerous to go on one of these camping excursions with an unexperienced guide. The tourist office in Cairo can be reached on ((2) 391 3454) or you can also get advice from the tourist office at Cairo International Airport.

Health

It is very important that you have full medical insurance for your trip to Egypt as there are quite a few health risks. You should be aware that you may be at risk from Malaria and Yellow Fever. If you travel through an area infected with Yellow Fever you are required to have a Vaccination certificate, so you should check with the Embassy which areas are considered infected. You should therefore get Polio and Typhoid Vaccinations before your departure. Other health risks include Rabies and Bilharzia.

Useful Links

Egypt Air flight information

Abela Egypt train services

Entry Visas for Egypt

A passport is required by all visitors and must be valid for at least 6 months after the date of arrival. Everyone is required to have a Tourist visa, except nationals of Malta and Jordan, and you can contact the British Embassy for more information. You are also required to have proof of a return ticket.

Addresses

All visa and immigration related enquiries should be directed to your local Egyptian Embassy or Consulate:

Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt,
26 South Street,
London,
W1Y 6DD
Tel: (10171) 499 3304/2401
Fax: (020) 7 491 1542 

If you require UK representation while in Egypt you should contact the British Embassy:

British Embassy
2 Ahmed Ragheb Street
Garden City
Cairo
Tel: + [20] (2) 794 0852
Fax: + [20] (2) 794 3065

There is also the British Consulate-General in Alexandria which can be contacted by email at britconsul@alexcomm.net.

While in Egypt local tourist information can be obtained from:

Egyptian Ministry for the Promotion of Tourism Misr Travel Tower
Abassia Square
Cairo
Egypt
Tel: (2) 284 1707
Fax: (2) 285 9551

How to Say Common Arabic Phrases

Meeting People

English
Arabic
yes
na’am
no
laa
thank you
shokran
you are welcome
ala eirahib wa eisaa
please
min fadilak
excuse me
ann eazinak
hello
ahalan
goodbye
ma’a eisalama
Good morning
saba’a aikair
Good night
laila tiaba
I do not understand
Ana laa afham
Do you speak…?
Hal tatakalm…?
english
alingli’zia
What is your name?
Ma ismok?
Nice to meet you
Sorirart biro’aitak
How are you?
Kaifa halok?
good
taib/ bikair
bad
saia/ mosh bikair

Directions

English
Arabic
map
karita
left
shimal
right
yam’ain
straight on
lilamam
far
ba’aid
near
karib

Methods of Transport

English
Arabic
Where is…?
Ain…?
How much is the fare?
Bikam al ogra’a?
ticket
tathkara
A ticket to…, please
tathkara wahida min fadlik…
Where are you going?
ila ain anta thahib?
Where do you live?
Ain ta’issh?
train
kitar
bus
autobees
underground
metro
airport
matar
train station
mahatit al kitar
bus station
mahatit al autobees
underground station
mahatit al metro
departure
al mogadara
arrival
al oso’ol
parking
mokaf

Time

English
Arabic
What time is it?
Kam al sa’aa?
today
al youm
yestarday
amis
tomorrow
bokira

Accommodation

English
Arabic
hotel
fondok
room
korfa
reservation
hagiz
Are there any vacancies?
Hal togad koraf fadia al laila?
No vacancies
la togad koraf fariga
passport
gawaz safar

Places

English
Arabic
post office
markaz barid
bank
bank
police station
kissam shorta
hospital
mostashifa
chemist
sidali’ia
shop
maha’al
restaurant
matiam
museum
matihaf
church
kanisa
square
meedan
street
shari

Shopping

English
Arabic
How much does this cost?
bikam?
I will buy it
Sa’ashtariha
I would like to buy…
O’reed ann ashtary
Do you have…?
Hal aindak…?
open
maftouh
closed
mogilag
postcard
kart barid
stamps
ta’wabia
little
kalil
lot
kathir
all
kol

Meals

English
Arabic
breakfast
iftar
lunch
gadaa
dinner
ashaa
vegetarian
nabati
cheers!
fi sahitak
The bill please
El fatora min fadilak

Drinks

English
Arabic
drink
sharab
coffee
kahioa
tea
shai
juice
asir
water
ma’a
beer
bira
wine
khamr

Food

English
Arabic
meat
la’him
fish
samak
vegetable
kodrawat
fruit
fawakih
potato
patatis
salad
salata
dessert
halawia’at

 

Egypt Hostels

Hostels are a cheap form of accomodation, and so they are essential to backpackers and other budget travellers. We have compiled a list of hostels in Egypt to help you plan your journey. If you are looking for a hostel in Egypt, you’ve come to the right place.

Cairo

There you have it, the ultimate Egypt backpacking guide. We hope you have found all the information you need for backpacking around Egypt.

Top Products for Backpackers