General Facts


OFFICIAL NAME: Arab Republic of Egypt
FORM OF GOVERNMENT: Republic
CAPITAL: Cairo

RELIGIONS Muslim 85%, other 15 % ( mainly Coptic Christians)
ETHNICITIES: Egyptians, Berbers, Bedouin, Hamitic Arabs and Nubians
POPULATION: 88,487,396
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: Arabic
MONEY: Egyptian pound
AREA: 386,662 square miles (1,001,449 square kilometers)
MAJOR RIVER: Nile


Languages
Arabic is the national language of Egypt, spoken by more than 80 million people. The official language of Egypt is Standard Arabic and is used in most written media. English and French are also widely spoken and used in business circles.

Visa - Do you need a visa to visit to Egypt?
An entry visa can be obtained at any of the major Egyptian airports or ports of entry depending on the traveller's nationality. 

All foreigners arriving in Egypt should have a valid passport (validity at least 6 months after visa expiry) to get an entry visa.
The visa can also be obtained from Egyptian Diplomatic and Consular Missions abroad. The cost of one entry visa for all nationalities is

$25 US  (at time of writing)
For more information please check the Egyptian Embassy home page : www.egypt.embassyhomepage.com


Currency / Exchange rate / Banking
The Egyptian Pound (LE) consists of 100 piasters (pt). Currency comes in the following denominations: 50pt and 1LE (coins and notes) + 5LE, 10LE, 20LE, 50LE, 100LE and 200LE notes. There is a severe shortage of small change. Egyptian pounds (EGP or LE). Pounds Sterling, US Dollars and Euros are easily exchanged. You can obtain Egyptian Pounds (LE) at any major bank or at your hotel.
Banks are open from Sunday to Thursday, from 9 – 14:00. Some banks in Cairo also open for a few hours in the evening. Bureau de change and moneychangers are generally open throughout the course of the day and evening.


Tipping 
Tipping is welcomed in Egypt and will be expected by drivers, guides and other people who look after you or offer you some service during your trip. In high end restaurants, a tip of 10% is normally expected, whilst in smaller and cheaper establishments anything from 5 – 10 LE is about right. Ultimately the above suggestions are nothing more than guidelines. Tipping is discretionary, but it is also is an accepted part of culture.

Time
Egypt is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). There is no Daylight saving time.

Business hours 
Business hours 09:00 – 13:00 hrs and 17:00 – 22:00 in summer and 10:00 – 1800 in winter, often with a long break in the afternoon. Many shops are closed on Friday and Sunday. Opening hours change during Ramadan.

Weather
Mainly hot and dry. Temperatures exceed 38°C during summer (from May to September) with extremes of up to 50°C. Late November to February temperatures range from 15 – 25°C on the Mediterranean coast to 20 – 30°C in Aswan in the south.  Winter temperatures can plummet to 10°C at night on the coast and in Cairo. In the desert and the mountains of Sinai, days are scorching hot, but bitterly cold at night.

Water & Electricity 
The electric current in Egypt is 220 volts AC, single phase, 50 Hertz. Most Egyptian sockets are of the three-pronged variety but many can accept some European two-pronged plugs as well.
Tap water in Egypt is heavily chlorinated although tests have confirmed the water to be safe and fit for consumption. However, if you are in Egypt for a relatively short-term stay, doctors recommend that you stick with bottled mineral water in order to avoid gastric upsets. Nestle or Hyatt branded bottled mineral water are reputable brands. Just ensure that the seal is not broken! Take care with fruit juice, as water may have been added. Milk should be treated with suspicion, as it is often unpasteurized, though boiled milk is fine. Tea and coffee are best as the water will have been boiled. Showering and brushing teeth with tap water does not pose a problem.


Clothing
Dress conservatively and ensure that limbs are covered when entering any Mosque or when you are walking around public areas as in Cairo Downtown and other towns. Men must refrain from wearing shorts and all visitors, prior to entry to any Mosque must remove footwear.

Photography
Photography is banned inside the tombs on the West Bank of Luxor, though photography is allowed in many other ancient sites, mosques and temples, though ever increasingly, the government now charges for the privilege of doing so. Due to new policies put in place by the Ministry of Tourism cameras are not permitted at all in the Valley of the Kings
Please exercise caution and respect when taking photographs of anything other than touristic sites. It is forbidden to take photographs of police, anything of a military nature or indeed bridges, airports and public works. Respect should be given to Egyptian women, please use discretion. Ask permission before taking any photos of people and expect to be asked for a tip in return.

 

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