An Overview…
Courtesy of Lonely Planet

A land of magnificent World Heritage Sites and a thousand tourist attractions, Egypt was enticing visitors millennia before Thomas Cook sailed his steamers up the Nile. It was here that the Holy Family sheltered, Alexander conquered and Mark Antony flirted. Napoleon stopped long enough to pilfer a few obelisks, the Ottomans paused to prop up the great and barbarous pasha Mohammed Ali, and the British stayed around to get the train system running and furnish every spare nook of the British Museum. And all this was long after Menes united the two states of Upper and Lower Egypt, and set the stage for the greatest civilization the world has ever known.

Lingering over coffee in one of Alexandria's cosmopolitan cafés or sipping a calming glass of shai (tea) after a frenzied shopping episode in Cairo's Khan al-Khalili are activities as popular today as they were back when 19th century tourists started to arrive en masse. Magnificent monuments are everywhere - the pointed perfection of the pyramids, soaring minarets of Cairo's skyline, and majestic tombs and temples of Luxor are just a few of the wonders that generations of visitors have admired during spectacularly stark desert landscapes.

The Basics…

Egypt has moderate climate all through the year, but it really depends on where exactly you are inside the country- when it is chilly and wet in Alexandria, it can already be quite hot in Aswan. In summer it tends to get hot and dry, reminding travelers that it truly is the 'Land of the Sun'. Summertime temperatures tend to average between 27 to 35 °C and slightly hotter on the Red Sea Coast and southern Egypt. In winter, milder temperatures fall between 13 to 21 °C, with rainfall confined to few days in the year.

Dress Code
Loose, lightweight, modest cottons and linens for summer, with warmer clothes for winter and cooler evenings are culturally and climatically suitable. Sunglasses, comfortable walking shoes, and a hat are essential. Moreover, it is advisable to dress conservatively when visiting churches and mosques.

Time Zone
Egypt is two hours in advance of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +2). In summer (late April- early September), daylight Savings Time (GMT+3) is applied.

Most nationalities require a valid passport and tourist visa. Tourist visas are available at Egyptian embassies and consulates around the world. A Salco Travel representative will help clients obtain their entry visa upon arrival to Egypt. Salco Travel will also handle all matters related to registering your visit with the local authorities.

Arabic is the official language of Egypt with English and French being widespread secondary languages. It is worth noting that colloquial every-day Arabic is different from the standard written Arabic used in news papers and literature. Most Egyptians speak more than one language, especially in the more touristic areas.

The range of Egyptian food is wide and cosmopolitan. Expect to find everything from the inexpensive national dishes of ful, falafel and koshary to fast food outlets and upscale dining options. Egypt is particularly famous for its street coffee shops where you can smoke shisha and have a drink while watching people passing by.

Travel Insurance
As standard international traveling procedure, we strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance before arrival as additional security in the case of cancellation or interruption of travel plans, lost or damaged luggage, travel delays, illness, or accident.

The electric current voltage is 220 Volts, with European-style plugs. Voltage converters are easily available here.

Your Health...
As with any foreign destination, travel to Egypt is associated with some health risks. Travelers are encouraged to check that their inoculations are up-to-date before leaving. Typhoid, Hepatitis A and polio immunization is particularly recommended. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over one year of age coming from infected areas.

To counter possible dehydration in hot climate, make sure you apply high factor sun block daily and drink plenty of bottled mineral water during your visit.

Traveler's diarrhea is the most common form of illness for travelers; visitors should only eat thoroughly cooked food and fruits they have peeled themselves.

The waters of the Nile are contaminated and should not be consumed or bathed in.

Finally, please remember to bring your prescribed medications with you. While major cities of Egypt boast sound medical service, medical facilities outside of Cairo can be very basic.
Your Finances…
Credit and Debit Cards
MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club and Visa are accepted in major restaurants, hotels and shops in Egypt.

Gratuities and Tipping:
As most Egyptians are of low income, tipping plays an important role in raising their standard of living. It is completely at your discretion how much to pay in tips relative to the service you receive. If you are not satisfied with the service, do not feel obliged to tip at all.
Don't Leave Home Without ...
Generally speaking, almost anything you might need on your vacation you can find in Egypt. That said, it would be advisable to come travel-prepared so that you spend less time shopping for necessities and more time enjoying your tour!
Travel essentials generally include sunglasses, a hat, camera and sunscreen. Light sleepers heading for Cairo, also known as the 'City that Never Sleeps', may consider bringing ear plugs as well. For ladies bring a head scarf and a light jacket to cover head and shoulders if planning to visit sacred Islamic places.
Also consider where exactly your tour will be taking you. Desert-bound Packages may require some sort of jacket or sweater since nights out there can get rather chilly.

Fast Facts about Egypt
Area: 1 million sq km
Capital: Cairo (Al Qahera)
Country Code: +20
Population: 80.5 million
Currency: Egyptian Pounds (LE) Per
Capital Income: $6,000
Main Exports: Petroleum products, cotton
Official Name: Arab Republic of Egypt

Check these out before you arrive for a glimpse of Egypt
Recommended Readings
In an Antique Land by Amitav Ghosh A Thousand Miles Up the Nile by Amelia Edwards The Pharaoh's Shadow by Anthony Sattin The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers Walking Across Egypt by Clyde Edgerton Crocodile on the Sandbank by Amelia Peabody The Seventh Scroll by Wilbur Smith Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz Cairo: The City Victorious by Max Rodenbeck Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare

The Ten Commandments (1956)
Cleopatra (1963)
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Death on the Nile (1978)
The Emigrant (1994)
The Yacoubian Building (2006)
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

Weekends and Holidays
Friday is the principle day off in Egypt with many businesses and banks closed on Saturday too.
Official holidays are as follows:

January 7th - Coptic Christmas
February 22nd - Union Day
April 25th - Sinai Liberation Day
May 1st - Labor Day
June 18th - Evacuation Day
July 1st - Bank Holiday
July 23rd - Revolution Day
July 23rd - Revolution Day
September 11th - Coptic New Year
October 6th – Armed Forces Day

Note: Islamic holidays, including Ramadan and two feasts are not fixed to the Gregorian calendar.

Destination Briefings
City Destinations

Cruise Destinations
Com Ombo

Beach Destinations Dahab
El Gouna
Marsa Allam
Sharm El Sheikh

Oasis Destinations
The Oases of Egypt

Safari Destinations
St. Catherine
Tips for Travelling Responsibly
Tourism and travel are some of the most dynamic activities performed by man since ancient history, and have been known to promote multiple benefits for all parties involved. For travelers, tourism provides the possibility of exchanging ideas and meeting new cultures; for the locals, tourism has been and continues being a major contributor to the livelihoods of so many Egyptians. At the same time, we here at Salco Travel, recognize the possible risks of unsustainable tourism on our surrounding environment and therefore are heavily committed to promoting responsible to maximize the long term benefits for both travelers and hosts. Below is the Sustainable Tourism Pledge, sponsored by the World Monuments Fund and proudly advocated by Salco Travel Egypt. We encourage you to take a few moments to read the text:

1. Before you travel, read up on the history and culture of your destination. Use the internet to get leads on local specialties and off-the-beaten-path sites from locals and other travelers. Learn a few basic phrases in your destination's local language.

2. Walking/biking/trekking or exploring one place in depth is a good way to reduce your carbon footprint (and more rewarding than if-this-is-Tuesday-it-must-be-Belgium tours). At urban destinations, walk or take public transit whenever possible. You'll see more and avoid getting stuck in rush-hour traffic!

3. Conservation should always be on a traveler's mind: whatever helps the environment, such as recycling or staying in an eco-friendly hotel, also protects heritage.

4. Show respect for and interest in the local culture. At sacred sites, dress modestly, speak softly, and be mindful of people who are there to worship. Seek out local celebrations and festivals – they can provide a unique glimpse into local culture and are a fun way to meet locals, sample traditional foods, and learn about your destination's heritage.

5. Visit lesser-known places—they may be far more rewarding (not to mention less crowded) than tourist hotspots. The Taj Mahal may be a must-see, but India has more than 25 other spectacular World Heritage Sites.

6. Be mindful of visitor wear and tear. Visiting crowded sites at off-peak hours or popular destinations in the off- or shoulder-seasons will reduce your impact. Stick to marked paths. Wear sensible footwear such as sneakers; heels can damage fragile sites. Don't climb on monuments or touch rock carvings, as it can damage them.

7. Take only photographs, and make sure that a flash is permitted. Be aware of local traditions when photographing people and when in doubt, ask permission before snapping a picture. Never remove anything from a site: you may think one stone won't be missed, but if every one of Pompeii's two million annual visitors took something home, soon there'd be nothing left.

8. Support the local economy by buying crafts from local artisans as souvenirs. Be wary of "antiquities" as these could be looted or forgeries. Patronize smaller hotels and local restaurants rather than mega-resorts and chains – that way the money you spend boosts the local economy and helps preserve heritage.

9. Help threatened sites, either through donations to organizations like the World Monuments Fund or by volunteering—either in your community or on a "voluntourism" trip. There are many opportunities to combine travel and volunteerism, and ways to help range from building houses to participating in archeological digs.

10. Educate friends and family about responsible heritage tourism. Raise awareness by sharing your experiences on Facebook, Flickr, or your own travel blog.
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