Facts to assist you when travelling to Egypt
- The Egyptian population stands at 108 million (2023).
Capital and Largest City
- Cairo is the capital city of Egypt.
- Arabic is the official language in Egypt in which all formal communications, teaching, and governmental practices occur in.
- The official currency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound.
- Office Hours in Egypt are usually 8 hours a day, from Sunday to Thursday.
- Weekends in Egypt are usually Fridays and Saturdays, owing to the fact that it is a Muslim Majority country.
- UTC+3. Eastern European time.
- Tipping in Egypt is called ‘’Baksheesh,’’ and it is common and expected. To some, it is considered a second income, and therefore you should tip all people in the service industries. The general tipping amount at restaurants is 10% of the total bill, but this is for the restaurant, not the waiter, so please be sure to tip the waiter separately.
- Egypt hosts 140 total embassies. However, none of them are located in Cairo, its capital.
- Egypt has a multitude of political parties, but as of a coup that had occurred in 2011, the political party in power is the Nation’s Future Party.
- Egypt has a hot desert climate and is generally extremely dry all over the country except on the northern Mediterranean coast which receives rainfall in winter. In addition to rain being scarce in this region, extreme heat is common during summer months. However, daytime temperatures are more moderated along the northern coast.
- Transport in Egypt is centred in Cairo and largely follows the pattern of settlement along the Nile. The Ministry of Transportation and other government bodies are responsible for transportation in Egypt by sea, river, land or air.
- Since the 2000s, Egypt has been moving towards a more market-oriented economy, which prompted increased foreign investment. The reforms and changes in policies over the years have strengthened macroeconomic annual growth results. Egypt saw its economy healing, and other prominent issues like unemployment and poverty began to significantly decline. The country benefits from its recent political stability, its strong currency, its proximity to Europe, and increased exports.
- Hospitality has a deep meaning in Egypt and is considered a fundamental characteristic in the culture of the country. Egyptians are caring and warm-hearted towards their guests, and ensure that their guests feel welcome. In Egypt, everyone generally takes care of each other. If you are at an Egyptian’s home, they will make sure their guest has enough of everything, whether food, drinks, or even warm water for showers.
- The most common greeting in Egypt is the Islamic greeting, ‘’ Assalām ‘aleykum.’’ Men usually shake each other’s hands, and close friends and relatives will tend to kiss one another on the cheeks. This is the same for both men and women. However, a man should not shake a woman’s hand unless she extends her hand first. Hugging and kissing the opposite sex is unacceptable unless it is a relative you are greeting.
- Egypt’s official currency is the Egyptian pound (EGP). One Egyptian pound is made up of 100 piastres. The smallest denominations are 25 piastres and 50 piastres. Although the official language of Egypt is Arabic, notes are bilingual and have the amounts written in English on the one side. Imagery reflects the country’s ancient history. The 50 piastres note depicts Ramses II, while the one, and 100 pound notes depict the Great Sphinx of Giza.
- The Nile is central to the country’s transport system. The Nile River system and the principal canals are important locally for transportation. People still travel via the Nile, mainly between Cairo and Aswan. With regards to rail, air and waterway travel, the main line of the nation’s rail system follows along the Nile River and is operated by Egyptian National Railways. Egypt Air provides domestic air service to major tourist destinations from its Cairo hub. With regards to driving, Egypt has one of the highest incidents of road fatalities, per miles driven, in the world, and traffic rules are routinely ignored by impatient drivers.
- The Egyptian police will do their best to secure every part of the city. While there is not a large prevalence of violent crimes in Cairo, tourists should be aware of petty crimes, such as purse-snatchings, and pickpocketing. Expats are advised to always be aware of their surroundings when in public. It is recommended that tourists who are women should not travel anywhere alone as they may become victims of verbal abuse or sexual harassment.
- Ancient Egypt was among the earliest civilizations in the world. For millennia, Egypt developed strikingly unique, complex and stable culture that is loved and recognised around the entire world. Approximately 85-95% percent of Egypt’s population is Muslim, with a Sunni majority. Sunni Islam sees Egypt as an important part of its religion due to not only Quranic verses mentioning the country, but also due to the Al-Azhar University, one of the earliest of the world universities. About 5- 15% percent of the population is Coptic Christian.
- Egypt has lots of modern malls and shopping centres such as City Stars Mall, Mall of Arabia Cairo, and Cairo Festival City Mall. However, to truly experience the culture of the country and its people you might want to visit one of Egypt’s vibrant markets, or ‘’Suuqs.’’
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Written by Saudika Hendricks
Edited by Eloise Williams