Egypt is a famous destination for backpackers and package holidaymakers alike, with its stunning coastline, ancient civilization, vivacious cities and the beautiful Sahara. You could spend weeks or even months touring around its many highlights and there really is something for everyone here; beaches to sprawl out on, diving opportunities galore, hiking in the Sinai and exploration of the splendid temples and pyramids of one of the Worlds most impressive ancient civilizations.


The south of the country is best visited in the winter months as in the summer it is unbearably hot and nearly impossible to travel comfortably. This includes Aswan and Luxor, where so many of the ancient Egyptian sights are to be found.


The summer months are the most favoured time for visitors to the beaches of the Mediterranean coast, though the accommodation at this time is at a premium. Cairo is best visited in the spring and autumn months, so Egypt really is a destination for all year round.


For the backpacker, the best time to visit will be spring or autumn as this will allow trips to most of the countrys sights and regions.


Health-wise – Egypts healthcare service is reasonably good, though any condition needing serious medical care will have to be seen in one of the bigger hospitals in Cairo. There is really only two precautions needed for any diseases in the country and that is Malaria and Dengue fever.


Malaria only exists in the Al-Fayoum area and the rest of the country is not at risk. Dengue fever has been reported over the last ten years and so precautions for this disease will also be needed.


Everyday common sense is needed here as in other countries in Africa, with Schistosomiasis in the rivers and the searing heat and sun. Basically you should just refrain from swimming in the rivers and remember to cover up with sunblock and to keep hydrated. Taking re-hydration pills would be a good idea.


Visas and documents – All western citizens will need a visa to enter Egypt, these can be acquired either on arrival at a port or airport or at a Consulate or Embassy. Proof of Yellow fever vaccination will be needed if you are travelling from an infected area (like most of Sub-Saharan Africa).


It is very easy to get a visa for a visit from the surrounding countries and as tourism is an important part of Egypts economy, there will be no problems that you would encounter in other African nations.


Cost – Egypt is a relatively cheap place to travel in; budget travellers should be able to get by on a daily limit of around per day, which should cover your food, local transport and accommodation. Remember, it does not hurt to spoil yourself with that top restaurant or a night in that lovely hotel you saw, once in a while.


Travel is definitely good value and tours to the oases of the Sahara or to the top of Mount Sinai are also reasonable. Dive shops on the Red Sea coast are plentiful and as the competition is hot, prices are kept low.


The Sights – The Pyramids of Giza are an amazing sight and one which many people see before long. Yes, it is overrun with tourists here, but can you blame them? There are plenty more temples and monuments scattered around the country and even into the North of Sudan (which should not be visited at the moment due to the civil war).


Abu Simbel is like an epicentre of Ancient Egyptian monuments and treasures and although you may have read about the kidnappings and attacks in the area, it is not as bad as the western press likes to make out, though it is best to check with the local tourist office either in Cairo or Aswan.


The Red Sea has got some great dive sites and as previously stated, these are easily accessible and good value. The resorts that are close by, Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada are cosmopolitan places with visitors from all over the world.


The bombings which happened over the last few years are regrettable, but the locals have the drive to get over these wanton acts of destruction.


The oases of the Sahara Desert are a great place to get away from the crowds of the cities and resorts. Siwa Oasis near the Libyan border is a popular trip, as is Farafra near the White Desert. Both are reasonably easy to reach and offer trips into the expanse of sand.


People often overlook Egypts Islamic past as well as that of the ancients and with some of the best bazaars in the region, Cairo is especially appealing. One of the most buzzing cities in the World, Cairo has great museums and galleries, but the highlight has to be just walking the medieval streets alongside the hawkers and children!

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