Fly into the bustling capital of Cairo where the Pyramids of Giza dominate the skyline – along with the Great Sphinx of Giza, you'll wonder how on earth they were all built. Afterwards, head straight to the Egyptian Museum and get to grips with the sheer scale of the country’s antiquities. Cairo's labyrinthine Khan el-Khalili bazaar is a great souq for shopping and people watching.
A cruise on the Nile takes you past many ancient Egyptian sights, including the waterside temple Edfu, dedicated to the falcon god Horus. Pay your respects to the crocodile god Sombek at Kom Ombo.
The Valley of the Kings in Luxor is a highlight of any trip to Egypt. Here lies Tutankhamun’s tomb, as well as many other mummified pharaoh remains. In Luxor visit the city's temple, and the outstanding Karnak Temple with its huge pylons and obelisks. Further south on the Nile, check out the two rock temples of Abu Simbel Temple, built during the reign of Ramses II and his wife Nefertiti.
For a Bedouin experience, head to the Great Desert Circuit for an overnight safari in the Black and White deserts, and oases of Bahariya and Farafra.
To top it off, the waters around Sharm el-Sheik and Ras Mohammed National Park are surrounded by fringed coral reef and a diverse marine life, making for unforgettable Red Sea diving and snorkelling. Make sure you have a travel insurance policy that covers you if you plan to dive, or even if you're just going on a cruise.
Egypt doesn't have a reciprocal medical agreement with Australia, so get covered by the right level of travel insurance as up-front payments are sometimes requested – if you need to be medically evacuated it will cost you a fortune. Here are a few tips for your trip:
Find a local guide
It won't be difficult to find a local guide – your hotel can recommend someone. Having a guide can make all the difference to your travels as you can tap into their local knowledge and they'll keep touts at bay. Even going on group tours can be a good way to go, as you'll be hassled less.
Learn some useful phrases
It's handy and polite to know a few phrases for your trip to Egypt. As a tourist you will get hassled to buy things; the polite way to say ‘no, thank you’ is 'la shukran'. ‘Baksheesh’ means 'tip' – carry small change with you, as you'll be asked to tip all the time!
Scammers at the Pyramids
One of the most common scams is telling you that you can't walk to the Pyramids from the entrance. You can. You'll be constantly hassled to take a camel ride, a taxi or a donkey cart, and it's tough to say no, but be firm. Alternatively, hire a reputable taxi and guide from your hotel to take you there and back.
Egypt is a conservative country, so make sure you cover up your shoulders and legs to below your knees. In mosques, cover your hair (women) and remove your shoes (everyone).
Give diarrhoea the bum's rush
Don't drink the local tap water, remove ice cubes from your drinks and steer clear of swimming in fresh water, as water-borne disease is a risk. Take water-purifying tablets with you or drink bottled water instead. Carry toilet paper with you too as there's rarely any in toilets.
When to go to Egypt
Boy, can it get really hot in Egypt! Think Uluru turned up to max from June to September. At this time locals head to the coast. Most tourists head to Egypt for winter, from November to February. Bring some warm clothes with you, as it can get cool at night.
There is a real threat of terrorism in Egypt and tourist destinations are at risk. Kidnappings happen and there are certain areas, like the Governorate of North Sinai, that are an absolute no-go.
Two months before you go, make an appointment with your doctor to get up to date with the necessary vaccinations for Egypt. Influenza and wild polio have both been identified in Egypt. Also check if mosquito-borne disease is an issue and take the necessary precautions.
Road conditions outside the major centres are poor and driving at night is hazardous. Remember, they drive on the right. Make sure you have adequate insurance.
Choose CGU travel insurance for your trip to Egypt
It's important to get travel insurance that has you covered for your time in Egypt. If an emergency happens when you're in Egypt you can contact us at anytime on our hotline +61 2 8895 0698. You can even reverse the charges.
If something happens that's not an emergency, for example your phone is stolen, give us a call when you get home on 13 24 80, at any time. We'll set you up with your own claims specialist who'll support you throughout your claim.
Taking out travel insurance means you can claim for lost luggage, your medical bills are managed and cancellation costs covered. Most of all it means you can relax and unwind, as we'll be looking after you.