Egypt: useful information


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Useful general tourist information about Egypt, including all the things to know before leaving for a trip or vacation in this state of Africa.


Egypt in short

  • Capital: Cairo
  • Area in sq km: 1,001,449
  • Population: 75,497,914 (2006)
  • Religion: Muslim (94%); Coptic and Catholic minorities

Where is it

Egypt flag Egypt is bordered in Africa with Libya and Sudan, in Asia with Israel and is washed by the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, communicating through the Suez Canal.

The Egyptian territory is mostly formed by the desert, only the valley and the Nile delta are cultivated and inhabited.


To the west of the Nile is the Libyan Desert, mainly flat and stony, for the remaining part formed by stretches of sand and chains of dunes, interrupted only by some sinkholes where there are inhabited oases.

To the east of the Nile stretches the Arabian Desert, mainly mountainous, which extends beyond the Suez Canal in the Sinai Peninsula, also desert.

Hydrography

The Nile, the only Egyptian river, crosses the country from south to north, flowing into a fertile valley and forming a vast delta before flowing into the Mediterranean Sea.


Climate

The climate of Egypt has desert characteristics, with high temperatures, very low rainfall and a strong daily temperature range.

On the northern coast, the climate assumes Mediterranean characteristics, while on the coasts of the Red Sea, even if the climate has desert characteristics, the temperature range is less and the humidity is higher.

In Egypt, especially in spring, the "Khamsin" rises, a dry and hot wind that causes dangerous sandstorms, takes its name from khamsun or hamsin, which means fifty in Arabic, corresponding to the duration of the days in which it blows.


Population

The Egyptians, from an ethnic point of view, are a Semitized Camita people.

The current population, which descends from the autochthonous pre-Muslim populations (the ancient Egyptians) and the Arabs who conquered the territory in the seventh century, is made up of Copts (the most advanced class), fellahin (rural population), Bedouins (groups of nomadic shepherds or semi nomads living in desert regions), Nubians (mainly settled in villages along the Nile).

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Furthermore there are minorities of Europeans, Syrians, Armenians, Turks, Indians.

Time zone

In Egypt it is necessary to move the clock hands forward by one hour compared to Italy.

Spoken language

The official language of Egypt is Arabic.

Economy

The Egyptian economy is conditioned by various problems that hold back its growth while keeping it in a backward condition.

Egypt is an overpopulated country, considering that the cultivated and inhabited territory is only a small part compared to the vastness of the desert areas (ca. 96% of the total), there are no forests and meadows for grazing, mineral resources are good but not extraordinary, moreover, the economic policy lines adopted have not always helped the economic development of this country.

Agriculture occupies half of the active population and, thanks to the exploitation of the waters of the Nile, there are different types of crops.

Cotton is the main product (it is exported), followed by cereals, vegetables, citrus fruits and tropical crops but, although the agricultural production is very high, it is not enough to cover the internal needs.


The industries are active in the steel industry, cement production, fertilizers and the textile and food industry.

Good are the production of oil, which is exported, and the reserves of natural gas.

Considerable impetus has been given to the tourism sector and the communications system.

When to go

Assuming that the climate in Egypt is good throughout the year, the preferred months are the autumn and spring months, even if in the spring (especially in April) the Khamsin can blow, a wind that brings sandstorms.

Necessary documents

To enter Egypt, Italian citizens must have a passport with a residual validity of at least 3 months from the date of entry into the country or an identity card valid for travel abroad (for tourism only), with a residual validity of at least 3 months from the date of entry into the country.

Those traveling with an identity card must also have 2 passport-size photos, which will be applied on a form that travelers to Egypt must fill in on arrival or during the flight.


The visa is mandatory and can be obtained before departure by requesting it from the Consulates or the Egyptian Embassy, ​​or upon arrival in Egypt (airports or border).

To visit the Sinai Peninsula exclusively, a visa is not required.

Minor children must be registered in the passport of one of the two parents.

Phone

- The international prefix for telephoning from Italy to Egypt is: 0020

- The international prefix for telephoning from Egypt to Italy is: 0039

Calling from Egypt is quite expensive.

The enabled mobile phones work but the calls are expensive, therefore it is better to buy a GSM card (MobilNil shop), top up in Egyptian pounds and insert it into your mobile phone.

Internet cafes are located in the most important cities, in tourist areas and in almost all hotels.

Electricity

The electric current is 220 V 50 Hz. With type C sockets, therefore an adapter is required.

Money and credit cards

The official currency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound (L.E.), which can only be exchanged within the country at the banks.

Euros, dollars (only banknotes issued after 1996 and in good condition) and British pounds are accepted for payments.

Local restaurants and shops usually require cash payments.


The most important hotels accept the main credit cards (Visa and Master Card).

In major tourist locations, withdrawals in local currency can be made at ATMs.

How to get

plane
Alitalia connects Rome Fiumicino to Cairo daily.

The Egypt air airline connects Rome Fiumicino and Milan Malpensa to Cairo, Sharm el Sheikh, Hurghada and Luxor.

From Catania it organizes flights to Sharm el Sheikh, Cairo and Luxor.

The airline Neos makes the following connections:

- from Milan Malpensa to Hurghada

- From Milan Malpensa, Bologna and Verona to Marsa Alam

- From Milan Malpensa, Bologna and Verona to Sharm el Sheikh.

The Meridiana fly airline organizes flights from various Italian airports to Sharm El Sheik and from Milan Malpensa to Cairo.

In addition, various airlines offer flights to Cairo with a stopover in the main European airports.

Vaccinations

No vaccinations are required to enter Egypt, however vaccinations against tification, anti hepatitis A and anti hepatitis B are recommended.


It is recommended to follow some hygienic measures, including drinking only bottled water without adding ice, eating only cooked meats and vegetables and fruit only if peeled personally.

It is not recommended to bathe in the waters of the Nile and in fresh waters in general, as there is a risk of contracting bilharziosis, a serious disease caused by a parasite.

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