As we prepare for this amazing journey together I thought I would try and answer any questions you may have about travelling to Egypt.
Egypt is a country of over 90 million people, with a land area of just on 1 million square kilometres. The majority of the population lives in Cairo, along the Nile or the Mediterranean Coast. With treasures as timeless as the Temples, Pyramids and of course the magical Nile River, Egypt captivates all who visit. Most of the country’s ancient treasures were built during the time of the pharaohs.
The Pyramids of Giza (the sole survivors of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World); the lotus-columned temples of Luxor and Karnak; the Valley of the Kings; Aswan and the Temples of Abu Simbel: strung along the Nile, these monuments represent a lasting legacy of one of the most written and talked about periods of human history.
About 90% of the population are Muslim, with the majority of the remainder being Christian, including followers of the Coptic Christian faith. There is also a small Jewish population.
Islam is part of all aspects of daily life with the call to prayer being heard regularly throughout the day.
Arabic is the official language. English and French are widely spoken.
Of course, the country is best understood through its people whether you are bartering for a bargain in Cairo’s ancient Khan al-Khalili bazaar or taking tea and falling into long conversation with a local.
Our amazing guide is also an Egyptologist who is passionate about his country and is full of stories to share Egypt's long history in the most captivating way.
We will do our very best to provide you with the "Journey of a Lifetime."
Leisa McInnes, Pink Lotus Egypt Tours
Things not to forget: Passport, journal, camera, prescription medication, converter plug and chargers.
Currency: We recommend USD if you bring cash. A travel card is also a good back-up with USD. ATMs are easily found, usually in hotel foyer and dispense local currency.
Shopping: There will be several opportunities to spend your tourist dollars whether it is at the markets where you haggle for souvenirs or at our visit to the Egyptian Cotton Factory, Egyptian Oils, Silver Jewellery, Papyrus or Alabaster Factory. If you love to shop then make sure you allow for it in your budget!
Bargaining with the locals is a normal daily experience and not for the faint hearted as they will follow us back to the bus if you show any interest at all so be prepared to walk away and stay firm with your price.
Also, be very clear with currency you are paying with as they may quote you a price in pounds and you will think it's a great price for Egyptian Pounds but at the last minute they say, "no, English Pounds!"
Personal purchases: Please allow yourself a small daily budget, around USD $10-15 for snacks, tea, coffee, soft drink etc. Room service, laundry etc. will also be at your own expense.
Food: Traditional Egyptian food like kofta, kebab sticks, mixed grill, koshari and felafel is readily available and you will never get bored with the choices. There are also plenty of varieties of vegetarian food available. In the hotels we will have a full buffet breakfast each day. The Nile Cruise includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Alcohol: Available in the hotel bars and onboard our Nile Cruise.
Smoking: I think 90% of Egyptian men smoke so expect it everywhere.
Clothing: Casual and comfortable! I find it best to pack a few pairs of long shorts of 3/4-length lightweight pants, and a selection of wash and wear shirts. Lightweight dresses if you prefer. Knee length or below is good. Take one lightweight jacket for late night or early morning. Scarf for church visit and a sarong over your swimmers in resort.
Dress code: As most of the places we go are tourist areas dress code is very casual. Dress for coolness and comfort but try to avoid anything too revealing or short, especially when we visit local places like markets.
Weather: February-April and September-November are great times to visit Egypt as it is not too hot. There is very little rainfall so we will enjoy clear skies and sunshine each day. In the Valley of the Kings there is not much sun protection as we move between the tombs so you will need sunglasses, sun-block and a hat.
Shoes: Please make sure you take comfortable flat walking shoes as most of the sites have uneven ground, desert sand and rocks. Also take at least one pair with nonslip sole for entering pyramids and tombs. Egypt is not the place for high heels!
Church visits: This is the main place you need to cover shoulders and knees so wear longer style pants or skirts below the knee and no singlets. Best option is to take a scarf and wrap around shoulders.
Internet: We will have access to internet at each hotel, mainly in the foyers and it is free. There is no free access on board the cruise but we have a mobile device you can connect to if necessary.
Power supply: Don't forget all your chargers for camera, phone, iPad, laptop etc. You will need a round 2-pin converter plug, same as used in Europe. I do have a spare if you need to borrow. Hairdryers are provided in all hotels and also on the Nile Cruise.
Water: We will supply you with bottled water each day. It is also available in your hotel rooms. Although the locals all drink tap water it is heavily chlorinated and is fine to clean teeth and shower but not recommended for us to drink.
Public toilets: There are public toilets at most sites we visit and we will let you know which ones are to be avoided! Most public toilets throughout the Middle East and Europe require payment to the cleaners so try to keep your coins for this. Where possible use your hotel or the restaurants. Always carry a pack of tissues and hand sanitiser with you.
Medication: Please remember to take enough prescribed medication for duration of the tour. Chemists are very easy to access and things such as anti-biotics are available over the counter at a very cheap price.
Fitness level: A moderate level of fitness is required to enjoy all the sites we visit. Some of the days we are out and about all day but walking is always at a strolling pace as there is so much to see and take in. The stairs into and out of the pyramids and tombs are the most strenuous part of the trip. So just take your time.
Exercise: The hotels and Nile Cruise offer a gym.
Photography: Tourists are required to pay a fee if wishing to take photographs inside pyramids, tombs and museums. Ask permission when taking pictures of someone, especially women. Be aware that some traditionally-dressed locals demand money when they "pose" outside historic sites, especially temples and pyramids.