Is Egypt Safe?

Egypt is an amazing country to visit, but there is some CRUCIAL information you need to know if you want to stay safe...

Interested? PIN NOW, read later!

Say “I’m off to Egypt” and everyone will know exactly why you want to go: the Sphinx, the Pyramids the Nile the deserts, the tea. You’ll find all of these and then some when you visit this country. It’s quite literally a cultural gem with thousands and thousands of years of history to learn about.

But Egypt has had a hard time recently. Tourism took a nose dive after the 2011 Revolution, and after a multitude of terrorist attacks, the threat of being a victim remains a real risk. Things are looking up, however, but we TOTALLY understand if you’re wondering, “is Egypt safe?”

We’re here to answer that question. We have created this bumper insiders guide on staying safe in Egypt. We at The Broke Backpacker believe that you can and SHOULD be able to experience the unique cultures of the world by travelling smart. We’re going to show you how to do just that.

Whether you want to know if Egypt is safe for solo female travellers (spoiler: not very), or if you want to know if you can take your family to Egypt, or even if you’re thinking of taking the plunge and moving there, don’t worry – you’ll find it all in this guide.

If you’re concerned about backpacking in Egypt, or even just taking a short trip there, we totally get it. Let us help you feel better about this country. Our insider guide is going to tell you all about how to stay safe in Egypt.

is egypt safe to travel to guide

How long have been dreaming about this place?

 

How Safe is Egypt? (Our take)

Yep, the desert scenery, bustling urban areas and – of course – the super famous ancient Egyptian archaeological sites at Giza and elsewhere make Egypt a dreamy, bucket list sort of destination.

Egypt, however, is not what we’d consider safe; not the whole country, at least. The UK government advises that nobody travels to North Sinai, and advises against “all but essential” travel to South Sinai. This warning also extends to the area west of the Nile Valley and the Nile Delta (but not between Mersa Matruh and the Delta). Don’t even think about going near borders – especially the Libya border.

There is a very real threat of terrorism and related activities in this area. Civilians have been kidnapped, a Russian passenger jet was downed in 2015, there’s ongoing military activity, even threats from the likes of Daesh-Sinai (part of the so-called Islamic State) on religious holidays…

Islamic extremists are very active in the region.

Egypt may not be 100% safe, but, you can still go to Egypt. Many tourists do.

 

Is Egypt Safe to Visit? (The facts.)

It’s a shame to say this, but Egypt as a whole isn’t really safe.

Even once booming resorts like Sharm el Sheik are relative ghost towns now. Once a popular run-of-the-mill seaside resort with beaches and world-class dive sites, it’s now a shadow of its former self. The UK government has actually suspended flights directly to here.

This is a big country though. Taking certain precautions, i.e. only going to where it’s recommended to travel, is the best way to stay safe in Egypt. The Valley of the Kings in Luxor, a boat trip on the Nile, various ancient wonders and desert oases are still definitely on the agenda.

Crime, on the whole, is fairly low. Though sexual violence against women, including tourists, is something that has happened and continues to happen in Egypt (see our tips for female solo travellers).

Security issues within the country are however the biggest danger. So you’ll want to know…

 

Is it Safe to Visit Egypt Right Now?

is egypt safe to travel to mosque

The new and the old.

Safety in Egypt depends greatly on where you want to go and what you want to do.

Egypt has essentially been de-stabilised since the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. Protests, a revolution, more protests, a coup, and still more protests. Most likely you will have heard of Tahrir Square in Cairo. If shit is going to hit the fan, that’s where it’ll be.

Oh, and of course, there’s the ongoing threat of terrorism during public holidays and religious events such as Coptic Christmas, even in Cairo.

Ultimately, a lot of things remain unresolved.

However, you may be surprised to learn that tourism is still definitely happening in Egypt. Egypt received 8 million visitors in 2017 and is one of the fastest growing tourist destinations! It might be that there have been no major incidents recently, or that the Egyptian military’s Sinai campaign is going well (or that prices have fallen), but it seems to be bouncing back.

Many people still travel to EgyptNot just tourists on package holidays, but backpackers too!

The best thing to do would be to keep abreast of the situation, both political and terrorism-wise, in Egypt before and during your travels. That way you can avoid inadvertently rocking up in a place you shouldn’t be.

 

Egypt Travel Insurance

Have you sorted your Travel Insurance? Even if you’re going on a short trip, it is always a good idea to travel with insurance. Have fun while visiting Egypt, but take it from someone who has racked up $1000’s on insurance claims, it is a good idea to get it sorted before you leave home!

The unthinkable can and does happen so it is better to be insured!

We personally use World Nomads to insure all of our adventures. Why not get a quote for yourself?

Do be sure to read the terms and conditions to make sure they are the right provider for your trip.

 

To find out why we recommend World Nomads, check out our World Nomads Insurance review.

If you want to shop around a little, then read up on competing companies and what they can offer. There are lots of insurances out there, so don’t feel limited.

 

24 Top Safety Tips for Traveling to Egypt

sailing egypt safety guide

One of the few places in the world where you can sail in the desert.

Egypt may be under threat of terrorism, and it may be politically unstable. However, the thousands of tourists who DO visit have mostly trouble-free visits. This is mainly down to tourists avoiding the areas that have travel warnings in place. But there’s always more you can do to stay safe in Egypt.

  1. Keep copies of your identification with you – you’ll probably have to show these, and losing your passport isn’t fun.
  2. LGBT travellers should be careful with public displays of affection – it will more than likely attract the wrong type of attention and remains a very sensitive subject for Egyptians.
  3. Even ANY type of public display of affection is frowned upon – get a room – literally. Probably don’t even hold hands.
  4. Stay away from all political demonstrations – you may be interested, but you’ll most likely end up injured or worse.
  5. Get a sim card – cheap and relatively available. Takes the hassle out of travelling.
  6. Learn a bit of Arabic – not just to talk, but reading numbers and a few basic words in Egyptian Arabic helps, too. (Different to Moroccan Arabic, by the way).
  7. PREPARE FOR THE SUN – it’s one of the most consistently sunny countries in the world thus that big ol’ desert. Hydrate and stay out of the sun when it’s at its hottest. Keep a good water bottle on you!
  8. Steer clear of religious gatherings and celebrations – traditionally these are a target of terrorists. Just avoid these altogether.
  9. Keep enough small change with you for tips – drivers, guides, anybody; it’s cultural practice to tip.
  10. Dress appropriately – this is a conservative country. You’ll notice most people, even men, cover up. Be discrete and respectful.
  11. Protect against mosquitoes – bring repellent and cover up at dawn/dusk. There’s no malaria, but these guys are EVERYWHERE.
  12. Don’t be stupid in front of armed security – ANYTHING that looks suspicious could get you shot. We’re being serious.
  13. And don’t take photos of military installations or public buildings – it is strictly prohibited. People have even been arrested for taking pictures of train stations.
  14. Don’t use a drone – could seem VERY shady to people in charge, even if you’re just doing something for your blog. It’s also prohibited without the right authorisation, anyway.
  15. Ignore people who say they know you – “hello my friend I know you from the hotel, come this way.” Yeah, right. Ignore politely.
  16. Keep your bags close to you – bag snatching is on the rise for whatever reason.
  17. Be vigilant of your belongings in general – pickpockets are also around. Not rife, but still there. Have a good money belt to protect your cash.
  18. Don’t get wrapped up in large, chaotic crowds – cases of rape and sexual assault during mobs are not uncommon.
  19. Heading out on a diving tour? Make sure the reviews are good – cheap does NOT mean good. Thorough research will be needed.
  20. Wear a crash helmet if you take out a quad bike – safety standards vary, so ask for a helmet if one is not provided. Check to make sure the bike isn’t scrap.
  21. Don’t drink alcohol on the street – or anywhere that isn’t a bar or licensed restaurant. You could get arrested otherwise.
  22. DON’T TAKE DRUGS – long prison sentences, death penalty, yep there’s pretty much no point.
  23. Unexploded landmines are present – zones are usually marked, behind barbed fences and such, but ask for local advice. Northwest Egypt near Alamein, stretches of the Mediterranean coast near Mersa Matruh, and some of the Red Sea Coast are known hot spots.
  24. Lock valuables inside the safe in your room – if you have one, might as well use it.

Egypt is dangerous, but knowing more about the country and where NOT to go before you travel to Egypt is going to help guard you against becoming a victim. At the end of the day, only certain areas of the country are not safe. Everywhere else: apply good personal security and watch out for shady people. Do this and you’ll have more freedom to enjoy yourself.

 

Keeping your money safe in Egypt

It may be perilous in certain parts of Egypt, but in other areas, the most you should be worried about is petty theft. Pickpocketing and bag snatching is something that does (though not commonly) happen.

It’s pretty annoying to have money stolen from you. The best way to NOT lose your money is to have a place where thieves wouldn’t think to look. And the best way to achieve that is to use a money belt.

The best way to keep your money safe is with an awesome security belt

You may have a lot of choices when it comes to a money belt, but we at The Broke Backpacker every time would highly recommend the Active Roots Security Belt.

We love this belt because it’s affordable, sturdy and looks just like the real deal. Hardly anyone’s going to notice it and its subtlety is one of its greatest strengths.

There’ll be nothing in your pockets to pick in the first place with the Active Roots Security Belt. Even if someone lifts something from your hotel room, which would be a real downer, you’ll still have an emergency stash to fall back on. Travelling with a money belt is something we’d always recommend. No-brainer.

If you need a little more room for your passport and other travel valuables, have a look at a full-size money belt that tucks under your clothes instead.

If neither of those options appeals to your refined fashion sense, don’t compromise! Opt for an infinity scarf with a hidden zipper pocket.

 

Is Egypt safe to travel alone?

Solo travel in Egypt

Hyah!

Despite the trouble, it’s safe to travel solo in Egypt. Loads of people do and have an amazing time that surpasses their expectations. Because, y’know, there’s more than just pyramids in this country (though those are absolutely stunning, to be fair).

However, because of political instability and terrorism, you should still take precautions. When travelling solo, you might find yourself overwhelmed at times. That’s ok, but the calmer you are, the better. Just follow our tips for staying safe in Egypt as a solo traveller and you’ll have a great time.

  • Try not to be the last passenger on a microbus. It sounds ominous, and it really IS ominous. Assaults and robberies against tourists can and have happened when they’re left alone on a bus. So take note of this as a solo traveller, since you’ll be on your own. Visiting only popular destinations and not travelling at night will probably help avoid this. This goes for taxis too, but we’ll cover that later…
  • Get to know other travellers. You’ll be able to share info about where’s good to go in Egypt and maybe make a travel buddy or two. This is good if you plan to go to more rural areas. Plus having contact with other like-minded people is going to help dispel those solo-travel-blues.
  • Knowing where you’re going and planning your routes ahead is a really good idea if you don’t want to attract attention. By that we mean there will always be people popping up offering to help; for a price, of course, or maybe even worse. Decline politely and carry on confidently like you’ve walked the route 100 times.
  • Travelling by yourself might mean a lot of selfies, which is a little bit lame – we know. So you might want to ask someone at tourist sights to take a picture of you, like next to the pyramids, for instance. Makes sense, right? Yeah – no. We’d recommend NOT doing that. You’ll have to hand over a sizeable tip. Or the would-be photographer might just run off with your camera. Like we said, tourist sights are rife with this sort of behaviour.
  • There’s often a lot of cool stuff going on all the time. Attending gigs, art showings, concerts, and other creative happenings are a good way to rub shoulders with some interesting locals. So if you’re the sort of person who loves this sort of thing anyway, go for it!
  • Walking around at night by yourself? Keep an eye out for what people are up to around you. If where you’re walking is busy and bustling, it’s probably fine. If on the other hand you suddenly find yourself somewhere quiet and sketchy looking, it’s probably sketchy. When in doubt get a cab (but that also poses a risk as you’ll see).

Egypt is safe to travel alone in so long as you’re a little extra cautious. There are a few things to bear in mind, particularly being left alone in vehicles with unsavoury characters as well as overly friendly touts/hustlers, but knowing about these things is the first step towards making your trip to Egypt a safe one. Get to know some friendly locals, fellow travellers, be aware of your surroundings, and it’s bound to be awesome.

 

Is Egypt safe for solo female travellers?

Female travel in Egypt

It can be done!

Egypt is safe for solo female travellers but it will not be easy for them. It’s important that you’re aware that in Egyptian culture it’s not the norm for females to travel alone. There WILL be a level of hassle, there WILL be attention, but if you know this and know how to handle it you can have a fun trip and do pretty much all of the things you plan on doing.

We wouldn’t recommend travelling alone as a female in Egypt if it’s your first time doing this sort of thing. There are more risks and challenges that you don’t get elsewhere. But by following these tips you’ll have more freedom to have fun and hopefully avoid (or deal with) the most stressful situations.

  • Getting a guide will not only open up and reveal to you a different side to a place, but it will take a lot of the stress away. You won’t you have to find your own way around, and it will also look like you have a chaperone, which is considered much more normal in Egypt. Alternatively, a tour group may work but MAY alter/water down your experience. However, with a group, you’ll get to meet other travellers, too.
  • Staying at hostels/guesthouses where other travellers – female or otherwise – are staying is a good idea. Travel tips and new friends are always good.
  • Walking around by yourself means hassle. Most people aren’t going to put you in any danger or make you feel unsafe, but people will be interested in you, try to get you to buy things, and – yes – make a lot of catcalls. All of this is, obviously, quite frustrating. Saying “no” politely and moving on is the best way to go. With catcalling: ignore it totally. Getting upset will just get exhausting.
  • Though crime, in general, is low, sexual harassment in Egypt is high. In 2013 a UN report stated that 93% of Egyptian women had experienced some form of sexual assault. Large gatherings – i.e matches, mobs, festivals, protests, etc – are where a lot of sexual violence occurs and we’d suggesting staying clear of these, even if you’re in a group. This is a well-documented phenomenon since 2005 and even has its own Wikipedia page.
  • Taking the women-only carriages on the Cairo metro is a smart move. On the other hand, travelling on a bus during rush hour isn’t a good idea. Oh, and ladies always sit in the back of taxis. Better yet, call an Uber.
  • Visit Harassmap.org to see where harassment has been reported and to report any yourself. This will help you and other users know where ‘hotspots’ are. Tip: it’s most prevalent in Cairo, but this might be a reflection of a more vocal urban population reporting cases. It’s an amazing website!
  • Dressing conservatively is pretty essential in Egypt. It won’t DEFLECT attention, but it will help you to fit in. Modest (not tightly fitting) clothing, covering your arms, shoulders, and legs down past your knees. When you’re not on a private beach, wear shorts, and a T-shirt over your swimsuit.
  • If you want to head out drinking, don’t go to local bars by yourself. Not a good idea AT ALL to go unaccompanied.
  • Be aware that whilst those coffee shops look really cool, some of them are men-only. So know where you’re going rather than just ducking in somewhere without looking it up, or asking about it, beforehand.
  • A top tip is to wear sunglasses. Less eye contact = less hassle. Plus it’s pretty sunny in Egypt, too! And if you want to blend in even more, don a headscarf.
  • Pack plenty of sanitary products before you travel. It can be REALLY tricky to get any type of female products, let alone tampons, even in city centres!!!
  • Not everyone is scary here. Some people can be kind and really interesting. Sit next to local ladies on the bus, make conversation. Just remember to use your common sense.

 

Don’t lose your money to a pickpocket! There are tons of ways to store valuables and goods while traveling but a travel scarf has to be the least obtrusive and the most classy.

The Active Roots Zipper Scarf is your run-of-the-mill infinity scarf but with a hidden pocket that’s big and sturdy enough for a night’s cash, your phone, a passport and (hell with it) some snacks too!

It may seem that Egypt is prohibitively unsafe for females after reading up on the subject; we know. There’s no way around the fact that this society is very male-dominated, and does have a problem with sexual violence against women.

However, at the end of the day, you female travellers can still visit Egypt so long as they’re extra smart. Avoiding crowds (of men), paying attention to how you dress, and just being aware of situations and environments means that you can have the amazing time that you SHOULD and CAN be having.

 

Is Egypt safe to travel for families?

Is Ecuador safe for families

If I were a kid again, I’d be jealous of this family. | source: MarKord (shutterstock)

Egypt has long been a destination for tourists – that includes those with families. Even with the recent slump in tourism, the increased threat of terrorism, and political problems, there are still places where tourists are welcomed with open arms.

So, as is this the usual case, Egypt is safe to travel for families so long as they stick to certain destinations. On the positive side, prices have fallen, which means that once popular areas are cheaper than ever!

There are some issues you’ll face when it comes to travelling with children in Egypt. However, the daily trials that you face will seem much less stressful when you’re in the presence of awe-inspiring places like the PYRAMIDS!

There won’t be as many amenities as you’re used to in Western countries. Nappy changing facilities, car seats, child-sized lifejackets on boats, even something like a simple playground; those aren’t all too common.

Be careful of stray animals. Your children might be attracted to a cute stray cat, but they might not see how mangy and potentially germ-ridden it is. YOU will so keep an eye out.

It goes without saying but don’t let your children in the sun for too long. Remember to keep them and yourself hydrated!

If you plan on staying in a mid to high-end sort of resort, then you won’t have to worry nearly as much about ANY of that. When it comes down to it, travelling with children in Egypt is safe, but stressful, and not as clean as you’ll want it to be.

 

Is it safe to drive in Egypt?

is it safe to drive in Egypt

The calm before the storm… | source: Ahmed Hamdy Hassan (shutterstock)

Due to the situation in Egypt right now (and driving conditions in general), it’s probably not the best idea to drive yourself around. If you long for the open road, it may be safer, but more expensive, to get a driver.

However, you CAN drive in Egypt… if you really, really, really want to. This is for intrepid, experienced travellers only. Unexploded landmines, security checkpoints, the real threat of attack, the hazards of driving at night – it feels a lot like it’s not worth it.

And then there are the cities.

Egypt’s urban centres are pretty hectic. Expect erratic driving and traffic jams in Cairo and other urban centres. Actually, it’s crazy around here and only experienced drivers should attempt doing this. You should always avoid driving at night as well.

Motorbikes MIGHT be more worth it. They’re cheaper and easier to get around with, but these obviously come with higher risks.

You can have an amazing road trip in Egypt if you’re ready, willing, and prepared. You’ll have to do your research and find a very reputable car rental company, be over 25, make sure you carry a fire extinguisher in the car (it’s mandatory), and have your paperwork on you at all times. Make sure your insurance covers rentals in Egypt. Some sort of GPS and/or maps would be essential, too.

And water, water, water; for you AND the car. It’s hot out there!!

So unless you’re hellbent on a road trip and you’ve done ones like this many times before, probably don’t drive in Egypt. It’s not what we’d call safe.

 

Is Uber safe in Egypt?

Uber has been very successful in Egypt. It’s especially popular with women who don’t want to put themselves in dodgy situations in unregulated taxis. We can see why.

In 2017 there were over 40,000 drivers in Cairo alone. High unemployment has made Uber attractive. Lack of quality alternatives (i.e. taxis) and crazy driving conditions mean it’s in high demand.

Being able to track the journey, being able to hold the driver accountable, all this transparency makes Uber a great choice. 

We have some tips for Uber in Egypt…

  • Check the driver’s rating (obviously). 4 and above only.
  • Some locals say that you shouldn’t set your destination for where you’re going so the driver doesn’t know exactly where you live or where you’re staying. This may be overkill but it’s up to you.
  • Make sure the car is in good condition – seriously.
  • Is the picture of the driver on the app the same as the person who’s just turned up? No? Turn it down.
  • Ensure the driver is actually using the app. Some turn it off to save data and then ask you for directions. Just tell them to turn it on again!

Uber is safe in Egypt; probably one of the safest things in the country. Conveniently, you’ll find it working in several cities, which is great because we aren’t all too confident about the alternative…

 

Are taxis safe in Egypt?

Is taxis in Egypt safe

These rides are usually more trouble than they’re worth. | source: Faris knight (wikicommons)

Taxis in Egypt are very cheap, but the safety of taxis in Egypt is another thing completely. We wouldn’t say taxis in Egypt are totally safe.

On one hand, they’re great – they’re literally everywhere and incredibly affordable.

On the other, they’re awful – the cars are old and the drivers are unsafe/dodgy.

Every trick in the scammy book is present in Egypt, whether the meter is mysteriously not working or if it’s working TOO well (ticking up very quickly). Sometimes the taxis are shared, which means you’ll have strangers in the car with you. If you’re a male, sit in the front.

To hail an Egyptian taxi, simply step to the roadside and stick your hand out. You’ll have a taxi in no time. If your destination is too far, or the traffic’s too bad, they may refuse.

Feel free to haggle on the price, but not too hard – a few pounds here and there won’t kill you, and it’s worth a lot more to the driver. 

If you’re female, you may want to opt for an Uber instead of a taxi – you’ll get hassled less and the rides won’t be as sketchy. Many locals ladies do.

If you are used to crazy drivers, taxis are somewhat safe in Egypt. More than anything though, they’re just really irritating to use.

 

Is public transportation in Egypt safe?

There are lots of buses in Egypt | source: Faris knight (wikicommons)

There’s a whole range of local public transport that you can try your luck with whilst in Egypt. There are microbuses, tuk-tuks, modern metro systems (Cairo only), trams, large intercity buses; all this and more is present. From the shabbiest village “bus” (usually it’s just a local’s beat-up truck) to the remnants of the British-founded rail system, you’ll have many options when it comes to getting around Egypt.

Most of it involves the roads, which we’ve already established are not 100% safe.

The Cairo metro doesn’t involve roads though. It’s fast, especially when it’s all choc-a-block with traffic at ground level. Females should stick to female-only carriages on these, especially when it’s busy. The Cairo metro is safe, but keep an eye on how the locals act when they’re travelling on it. Try to avoid these (anything really) during rush hour though.

Cairo’s tram system dates back to 1896 and is a pretty cool way to get around. Alexandria‘s tramway is even older! It dates back to 1863 (the first in Africa) and is one of the only tram systems in the world to feature double-deck trams! Again, when it’s rush hour, you might want to seek an alternative to either of these.

The national rail system is outdated and not kept in the best condition. There has actually been some big rail crashes in recent years. Unless you’re a train enthusiast, you probably won’t want to be using these. The best route, if you’re super keen or up for an adventure, is between Cairo and Alexandria. Safety is still not up to par, unfortunately.

In terms of buses, there are lots of options. Let’s have a look at some:

  • Deluxe buses have air-con and maybe toilets onboard. They stop seemingly at random to pick up and drop off. But they’re the safest way to travel long distance.
  • There are the standard buses as well. These are crowded, lack luxuries and stop all the time. 
  • Minibuses, arranged through a tour company (not exactly public transportation), are going to be the safest, shiniest, quickest, most comfortable way to get around if you prefer.
  • Avoid microbuses. These minibuses have no luxuries and are unregulated. They may be cheap but they are unreliable. Plus, things like assault and robberies have happened to those who have been the only passenger left.
  • In cities, there are also commuter buses. We hope your Arabic game is strong because these use zero English for labeling – not even numbers. Basically, we’d advise you to be brave/not a female to use them. It’s a truly local and not pleasurable experience.

At the end of the day, public transportation is safe in Egypt – depending on which form you use. You might not want to use city transport in rush hour, and probably avoid microbuses altogether, but other than that – go for it!

Keep everything on you in transit. When moving from place to place, you shouldn’t store travel documents in a bag, even if it’s under your seat or overhead.

A full-sized money belt that stays tucked under your clothes keeps your documents and cash organized during your travels and assures nothing critical gets left behind or stolen.

 

Is the food in Egypt safe?

is the food in egypt safe

Looks divine | source: Dina Saeed (shutterstock)

There’s an Eastern Mediterranean meets Middle Eastern sort of feeling in Egypt’s food scene. Falafel, kebabs, rice-stuffed vegetables and roast chicken galore – yep, the food in Egypt is super delicious.

The food in Egypt is safe too. Hygiene standards won’t be the same as you’re used to (spoiler alert: it’s not high) but by following good food hygiene yourself you’ll avoid an upset stomach. Here are a few pointers to help you do that.

  • Don’t eat things that look like they haven’t been cooked properly, we’re talking mainly about eggs, meat, and seafood. If it hasn’t been cooked thoroughly, don’t eat it. Simple.
  • Surprisingly the most cases of an upset stomach are from buffets. Yep, from Nile cruises to posh hotels, food sits around for a while (you never know just how long) and accumulates germs that make you ill. Avoid these. If you’re backpacking in Egypt, you probably won’t encounter one of these anyway.
  • Oh and this goes for any food that looks like it’s been sitting uncovered for any amount of time.
  • Street food is delicious, but always make sure that if you’re going to venture into Egypt’s food scene that the food is super hot and that it’s been freshly cooked; preferably in front of you.
  • A good rule of thumb for anywhere in the world is popular restaurants = tasty and fresh food.
  • Fruit and veg might look delicious at markets, but don’t eat it raw whatever you do. Always wash fruit and peel it while you’re at it.
  • WASH YOUR HANDS. They get pretty filthy quick.

The food is safe in Egypt, but you have to be aware that food hygiene won’t be what you’re used to back home. Wash your hands (top tip), avoid tourist buffets (why would you go anyway?) and use common sense, like not eating at unpopular restaurants, to avoid getting ill. Did we mention already washing your hands? They really do get dirty!

 

Can you drink the water in Egypt?

Tap water is not safe to drink in Egypt. Case closed.

Cairo‘s tap water is SAID to be safe, but it’s full of chlorine. Best to avoid it.

Buy bottled water (it’s everywhere), and/or bring your own water bottle that you can fill up if your hotel has a water filter.

Want to save the world and stay hydrated? Single-use plastic bottles are a huge threat to the oceans and planet – Be a part of the solution and invest in a filter water bottle.

The GRAYL GEOPRESS water bottle is the ONLY all-in-one filter water bottle setup you’ll need. We use it on our own adventures to purify often nasty looking water and it does a beautiful job – we have yet to get sick! This is what the whole Broke Backpacker team uses- in mountains, cities, jungles – we love it – it’s a total game changer

 

Is Egypt safe to live?

Is Egypt safe to live?

Get ready for a culture shock. | source: WitthayaP (shutterstock)

It’s a tricky one but Egypt is safe to live in so long as you don’t forget that you’re still a bit of tourist here.

Most expats in El Gouna, Alexandria, Port Said, Dahab and of course Cairo. 

You can live very cheaply pretty much anywhere in Egypt as well.

It probably won’t be AS safe as you’re used to at home, particularly if you’re female. In a 2017 study on the safety of women in megacities (10 million people or more), Cairo ranked lowest in the world.

Cairo is not a very safe place to live alone as a woman. Sexual harassment and assault are real risks here. Veil, covered up, or jeans and a jumper, it won’t matter what you wear: you will more than likely be an object of harassment or worse.

In terms of air quality, Cairo also ranks not so high. It’s below acceptable world standards, actually. There’s a grey haze over the city and is a genuine cause for concern. The US Environmental Protection Agency says that the haze is above safe limits; that’s bad.

There are other cities of course if Cairo is too overwhelming. Dahab is nice – a chilled spot next to the sea.

Let’s face it, you’re in Egypt; this is an extremely unique destination, full of ancient history, beaches, mountains, and wonders. If you want to live somewhere that will feed your curiosity, Egypt can certainly do that. Do your research, tap into the local expat communities, make friends, and get to know the culture.

Learning at least some Arabic is going to make your life a lot easier too.

But everything we’ve mentioned before in this guide to safety in Egypt applies if you want to live here. Terrorism doesn’t disappear if you’re not a transient and political instability remains an issue. Keep up-to-date with the news and what’s going on daily.

All said and done, Egypt is safe to live – if you’re male. Even then, you’ll have to stay vigilant. But if you want a challenge and cheap living, it’s great. However, Egypt is not very safe for women. It’s just not worth the effort.

 

How is healthcare in Egypt?

The healthcare in Egypt is a two-tier system.

The public system is underfunded and varies wildly. For instance, there’s a huge difference between the quality of a hospital in central Cairo and a rural clinic. Neither are exactly up to Western European quality either.

It’s free for Egyptians, so you’ll have to have insurance.

We would really recommend going to either a private or university hospital. These have high standards, highly trained medical staff, and English-speaking doctors and nurses, all of which make it a no-brainer.

Large, 24-hour pharmacy chains are a good option if you need to get something minor diagnosed or medication that you already know about.

In the city, you dial 123 for an ambulance, but heavy traffic often means these take an age.

In conclusion, the healthcare in Egypt is good IF you go private.

 

Helpful Arabic Travel Phrases

Most Egyptians in the tourism business speak English, but it still helps to have a few Arabic travel phrases down. Most Egyptians do not speak English well. Below I have highlighted some helpful Arabic travel phrases.

Hello – Salam

My name is… – Ismi…

I’m fine – Ana bekhair

Thanks – Shukran

You’re Welcome – Afwan

Yes – naam

No – la

Where is the bus station? – Aynataqaomahattat al hafelat?

How much? – Kamthamanoha?

Tea – shay

 

Final thoughts on the safety of Egypt

is egypt safe to visit pyramids of giza

All of the extra effort will pay off, trust us.

Though Egypt is experiencing a comeback in terms of tourist numbers, it’s still not the safest place in the world, especially for women. Travelling as a foreign female might be ok, but living there is a whole other issue. Keeping your wits about you, staying vigilant and keeping clear of any sort of mass gathering of people will definitely help during your visit to Egypt.

At the end of the day, tourism is valuable to Egypt. Increased security at major tourist sights has made Egypt a viable destination for just about everybody. But things can change in an instant, so the best thing you can do is research well the current state of the country before you go. If it looks like things are about to kick off again politically, we’d say avoid.

We hope that you take away a lot of information from our insider guide about how to travel safely in Egypt. It may seem like a lot but, as time progresses, being cautious will come naturally to you. Travel smart and you’ll be able to experience this amazing country to the fullest. And whatever you do, DON’T forget travel insurance!

GET A QUOTE NOW

 

Disclaimer: Safety conditions change all over the world on a daily basis. We do our best to advise but this info may already be out of date. Do your own research. Enjoy your travels! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which means we earn a small commission if you purchase your insurance through this page. This costs you nothing extra and helps us keep the site going. 


Need More Inspiration???

Like this post? PIN ME!!!

Egypt is an amazing country to visit, but there is some CRUCIAL information you need to know if you want to stay safe...

7 Comments

  • Avatar Chris says:

    Wow! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this! In this day and age of low attention spans it’s been a while since I’ve read such a long article but I found there was so much wealth of information presented here and so insightful as I was at a junction whether to stop off in Egypt for some time en route to india and to be honest your blog helped me make my decision. Thank you and congrats on your style of writing as I couldn’t stop reading it. 🙂

  • Avatar Rhonda says:

    I was asked to come to Egypt to visit my friend that lives there. Whenever I say this to anyone, they tell me not to go there or I might never come back and may be kidnapped or something like held for Ramson. It frighteneds me a lot. He , my friend keeps telling me to come very soon. I am afraid if what people tell me.

  • Avatar Shelley says:

    We will be using a tour guide for the 7 days we will be in Egypt. However, instead of flying out of Luxor to Cairo on our last day, we are choosing to have someone take us over to Hurghada for a 5 night stay on the beaches there. We will fly out of Hurghada to London.

    Is it safe to go with a single person (not a tour group) in a car from Luxor to Hurghada?
    Thank you for your input.

    • Art Art says:

      Hey Shelley! We’re all about adventure, but we can’t advise driving on your own via that route. When exploring outside the major tourist hubs in Egypt, it’s much better to be with a group. Happy adventuring!

  • Avatar BC says:

    Just in Egypt a few months ago. This is a really good article that is pretty on point with the current 2019 situation. Most of the people we ran into were friendly. Tourists need to be aware of all of the scams and money making strategies that guides and others will use in Egypt. Even our own trusted guide who we had all week long tried to involve us into several simple scams to get a commission. As for safety, we never really felt threatened. Dont be expecting security at the levels of the west although I do give Egypt credit for trying. We definitely felt a different vibe there. Try to avoid tour buses as previous incidents have happened. You will not avoid large crowds in Cairo even if you try. Protect your belongings as well. Enjoy yourself if you go.

  • Avatar Mohamed Hamdy says:

    I am Egyptian from Alexandria and i can ensure that it’s completely safe to visit Egypt by choosing wisely the people you deal with, asking about the rules and laws and staying away of North Sinai (South Sinai is completely safe btw), and I recommend sharm el sheikh, Dahab(The city with the most beautiful beaches in the Middle East), Luxor (Magical place to see how great Egypt was thousands of years ago), Aswan, Siwa( people think that Alexander the Great is buried there), Hurghada, You should take a tour in the pyramids but it’s better if you have an Egyptian friend to deal with the horse owners there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *