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FAQs

The more informed you are the better your experience will be.

We’ve compiled our frequently asked questions section to provide more information on what you can expect. If you still have questions about our offering or about Egypt in general please don’t hesitate to contact us


What are the entry requirements?

In addition to a valid passport most western visitors are required to have an entry Visa. The three usual ways in which Visas can be obtained:

  • In advance from the Egyptian Embassy or consulate in your home country;
  • In advance from an Egyptian Embassy overseas;
  • On arrival at the airport for certain nationalities;

There are other options under certain conditions. Regardless, we strongly advise that you consult a reputable travel agent, your nearest Egyptian Embassy, or consulate in advance.

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Tell me about Egyptian currency and methods of payment?

The official currency is the Egyptian Pound (EGP) but other major currencies such as the US Dollar and the Euro are also generally accepted.

Some people still prefer travellers checques. These and cash can be exchanged at various banks and hotels.

Most foreign-friendly hotels, restaurants and formal shopping establishments will allow you to pay by credit card. Amex, Visa, MasterCard and Diners Club are widely accepted in more touristy areas. However, for the most part Egypt is a cash-based society and ATMs are conveniently located throughout the major cities.

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Is it true that bargaining is expected?

Yes. Compared with most countries Egypt is cheap. But you will be required to bargain for almost everything from taxis to souvenirs. Some shops and establishments have fixed prices but in the bazaars or suqs (markets) bargaining is a way of life.

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How does tipping work?

In addition to bargaining, tipping (baksheesh) is also a way of life. There is a shortage of change throughout Egypt so be sure to keep plenty of small notes and change handy.

EGP2 to EGP10 is acceptable for baksheesh depending on the value of the service. Keep in mind that the average Egyptian’s income is extremely low by western standards. Many locals are dependant on baksheesh to supplement their income.

However, how much you give is up to you. Give according to your budget and only if you’re happy with the service provided. Many shopkeepers will offer you tea or a cold drink. Feel free to accept.

If you’re travelling in a group you might want to consider a “tipping pot” for hotel staff, drivers, guides and the like. Ask your guide to help in deciding on an appropriate amount.

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I’ve heard that Egypt has a “dress code”. Please elaborate?

Egypt is a conservative, predominantly Muslim country. Visitors should respect this. Women in particular should dress conservatively so as not to attract unwelcome attention. They should cover their shoulders, upper arms and legs to mid-calf length.

The heat can be stifling. Leave your synthetics at home. Wear materials that breathe. Cotton is ideal. Loose fitting garments are best as they are modest and practical in a hot climate. In winter wear layers that can be removed in the heat of the day and put back on for cool evenings.

Bring comfortable walking shoes, a camera, a wide brimmed hat, sun block, and sunglasses to protect you from the scorching sun. Always carry plenty of bottled water.

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What’s the weather like and when is the best time to visit?

Egypt’s is a desert country. The climate is generally hot and dry all year round except for winter (December to January).

The best times to visit are September to November and February to April, with the highest temperatures from June to August.

Table of Average Temperatures for the major Egyptian cities:

City
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
June
July
Aug
Sept
Oct
Nov
Dec
 
Alexandria
9.3
9.7
11.2
13.5
16.7
20.2
22.7
22.9
21.3
17.8
14.8
11.2
18.3
19.2
21
23.6
26.5
28.2
29.6
30.4
29.4
22.7
24.4
20.4
Cairo
8.6
9.3
11.3
13.9
17.4
17.9
21.5
21.6
19.9
17.8
13.9
10.4
19.1
20.7
23.7
28.2
32.4
34.5
35.4
34.8
32.3
29.8
24.1
20.7
El Minya
3.9
5.4
7.8
11.7
16.7
18.8
20.2
20.5
18.6
15.9
11.5
7.7
2.05
22.5
25.4
30.2
35.4
36.3
37
36.6
33.4
31.2
26.6
21.7
Luxor
5.4
6.8
10.7
15.7
20.7
22.6
23.6
23.5
21.5
17.8
12.3
7.7
23
25.4
29
34.8
39.3
40.7
40.8
41
38.5
35.1
29.6
24.7
Aswan
8
9.4
12.6
17.5
21.1
24.5
24.5
24.7
22.2
19.3
14.5
9.9
23.8
26.1
30.4
35
38.5
41.2
41.2
41.3
39.6
36.3
30.2
25.5
Port Said
11.3
12.1
13.5
16.1
19.6
24.1
24.1
24.9
23.9
21.8
18.4
13.7
18
18.7
20.2
22.6
25.8
30.4
30.4
30.9
29.2
27.4
24
19.9
Ismailia
8.1
9.1
11
13.6
17.3
22.2
22.2
22.5
20.7
17.8
13.9
10.2
20.4
21.7
23.9
27.6
32.1
36.4
36.4
36.5
33.9
30.7
26.6
21.5
Hurgada
9.6
9.9
12.3
16.1
20.7
24.8
24.8
25
23.2
19.7
15.5
11.9
20.6
20.9
23
26.9
27.6
32.6
32.6
33
30.6
28.5
25.7
22.4
Sharm El Sheikh
13.4
13.9
13.7
17.7
24.1
26.7
26.7
26.6
26.0
22.8
18.7
15.9
23.8
25.7
25
28.9
32.8
38.3
38.3
38
24.1
30.1
27.6
22.7

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How do I get to Egypt?

The easiest and most popular way to get to Egypt is to fly into a major city. Visitors usually arrive via Cairo, Luxor or Aswan Airports. Red Sea holiday visitors can fly direct to Hurgada or Sharm el-Sheikh.

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How do I get around?

Once in Egypt, transportation varies.

Most visitors travelling from one point to another in and around the major cities usually travel by taxi. While local taxis are inexpensive by western standards be sure to set a price with the driver before you get in. Hand over the money only when you get out.

Alternatively, we can organise a driver or a driver and a tour guide for a pre-arrranged fee. He / they will be at your service for half a day or a full day for you to explore at your leisure.

All across Egypt you’ll see donkeys, camels, horses and calèches (horse-drawn carriages) with people touting for your business. While a ride might be fun be sure to first set the price and pay only when your ride is over.

You can also use the metro (train) or the bus.

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What’s the best way to travel between cities?

When travelling between cities, from Cairo to Luxor for example or Aswan to Abu Simbel most visitors save time by flying. Otherwise they travel by air-conditioned coach or train. Travelling up the Nile from Luxor to Aswan on a felucca, dahabiyah or cruise liner is an extremely popular, relaxing way to experience the “great river”.

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What is the food like?

Egypt caters for practically all manner of travellers. Restaurants, coffee shops and street vendors all vary depending on where you are and what time of day it is.

Cuisine generally ranges from Middle Eastern to Mediteranean and the staple breakfast is a dish called ‘ful’, a type of bean stew. The majority of hotels offer a buffet breakfast with a combination of fresh fruit, cereal, yoghurt, delicious pastries, eggs, toast, preserves, tea and coffee.

Egyptians are renowned for traditional teas made by boiling leaves in water and served in small glasses. Try mint (karkade), or hibiscus served either hot or cold. If you prefer coffee simply ask for Nescafé unless you have the stomach for strong Turkish coffee. Be sure in both instances to ask for a little or no sugar. Failure to do so will result in very sweet coffee or tea.

Bottled water and soft drinks are available everywhere and Egypt is famous for its coffee shops.

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Can I purchase and drink alcohol in Egypt?

Yes. Although Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country certain hotels, restaurants and bars sell alcohol. Alcohol is expensive though and local wine is generally not of an international standard. The local “Stella” beer is popular with tourists. So why not try some for yourself.

Bottled water and soft drinks are available everywhere. Try the stalls on the street where you can get freshly squeezed seasonal fruit juice. There’s nothing quite as refreshing as a fresh juice on a hot Egyptian day.

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Can you provide any tips for vegetarians?

Vegetarian options are more common in Egypt nowadays. When eating at a typically Egyptian establishment there are plenty of delicious vegetarian appetisers which, combined, can make a filling meal. Choices include falafel, hummus, tahini, sauces made from eggplant, chickpeas and more.

There are numerous hotels and restaurants with a more cosmopolitan menu. Most hotels provide a continental or buffet breakfast with plenty of vegetarian options.

Egyptians are eager to accommodate guests. You need only ask. Perhaps advise your hotel prior to arrival of any special dietary requirements.

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Can you recommend a hotel in Cairo?

Our offices are situated at the Talisman Hotel in Cairo. It is a small boutique hotel with warm, friendly service and comfortable accommodation at market related prices. It is also very central and has a high rating in guide books and on travel review websites such as Tripadvisor and Expedia. If you want a more authentic Egyptian experience with the essential western comforts and amenities then this is the establishment for you. The website address is www.talisman-hotel.com. Regardless of your hotel choice we suggest you do some research so that you can make an informed decision.

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What do tour costs include?

Click on one of our structured tours to establish what is and isn’t included. The cost for customised private tours and guided or unguided day trips depends on what you’d like to experience. You tell us what you want and we’ll quote accordingly.

Our structured package tour prices generally include

  • Full assistance from the time we meet at the airport until you say farewell to the land of the pharaohs;
  • All transportation and transfers in Egypt and;
  • Entrance fees to all sites listed on your itinerary
  • Guided tours in the capable hands of knowledgeable English-speaking guides and an English speaking Bedouin guide for guided desert safari tours
  • Hotel accommodation if you book through us. Keep in mind that prices may vary based on quality, location and amenities. All accommodation is based on a double room bed and breakfast basis.
  • 4X4 transport for desert excursions and private air-conditioned transport to and from the Oases.

Our prices generally don’t include

  • Lunch and dinner (except for desert tours where all meals are included from lunch on Day 1 to breakfast on the last day of your desert itinerary), adventure tours and Nile and felucca cruises (where most meals are included from lunch on Day 1 to breakfast on the last day of your cruise itinerary).
  • Refreshments (water, snacks, beverages);
  • Additional sightseeing not listed on your selected itinerary;
  • VISAS, travel insurance, personal expenditure;
  • Hotel accommodation (except for certain nights of desert safaris) unless otherwise stipulated on a specific structured tour package.
  • Tipping at sites, restaurants and hotels etc.

Please refer to specific tours as listed in the TOURS section for specific details.

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How do I pay for the tours?

Cash or bank transfer only. Unfortunately no card facilities available.

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