When you look at the world’s top wonders, many can be found in the country of Egypt. A unique destination, the country resides in two different continents – Africa and Asia.
The historic cities offer many cultural and ancestral stories to share along with notable landmarks. All of these items draw up to 13 million tourists each year. While most of these individuals have a vacation without issue, there are exceptions.
Taking appropriate steps to ensure your safety and that of those around you is critical, but how much do you have to worry about during your visit? Is Egypt safe, or should extreme caution be taken?
In this article, we outline the areas that one should pay close attention to when traveling to the highly popular country of Egypt. Continue reading to learn more.
Is Egypt Safe to Visit in 2023?
In a nutshell, Egypt is a safe country to visit. While they have had conflict in the past, that is not a present concern for locals or tourists. According to the country’s crime rates, Egypt is settled in the 59th spot out of 137.
While many countries are considered safer than Egypt, it is a better destination to visit than many others on the list. A visit to Egypt can come with a specific subset of issues to take into consideration.
For starters, it can be easy for a tourist to be scammed when shopping or inquiring about a sightseeing adventure. Additionally, traffic within Egypt is highly congested.
It can be quite dangerous crossing streets in the country. Other things to think about are instances of pickpocketing and severely hot weather, which we will cover later on in the article.
Crime in Egypt
Traveling to Egypt comes with the same precautions you’d exercise in other parts of the world. No matter where you are, you want to be mindful of things such as pickpocketing, gang-related activity, and drugs.
While the amount of crime in Egypt spiked dramatically following the Day of Revolt in January 2011, the number has continually decreased in the years following.
Due to agreements made between citizens and the government, the instances of severe crime have reduced. Today, you will most commonly see a high level of crimes involving theft.
You’ll see the majority of crimes when it comes to stealing cars, hijacking vehicles, burglary, and vandalism. You will also notice a substantial amount of illegal acts when it comes to consumer fraud.
The most typical way that consumer fraud comes into play is with tourists. Typically, the shopkeepers or attraction owners will try to take advantage of your foreign status and quote you a price that is significantly higher than what’s usually charged.
Often, this can be as much as 50% over the standard price. While Egypt doesn’t see as much gang activity as other areas of the world, there are some groups that operate in the country.
You can see activities happen between rivals or even through online cyber-attacks. However, this is not common in the country and is not a massive concern for tourists.
One thing that offers peace of mind for tourists is that Egypt has a significant amount of police offers who patrol in high population areas. The officers are placed in these locations to keep an eye on the safety and welfare of travelers.
You can easily recognize these individuals by the label on their uniform that states “Tourism Police.” The country takes the safety of its tourists seriously and will even provide an armed officer to escort travel groups when needed.
If you require police assistance but do not see one in your immediate area, you can contact a nearby office. The operators there will dispatch an officer to you as soon as possible.
Avoiding Bad Neighborhoods
Another common occurrence to keep in mind no matter where you travel is the locations you visit within a country and city. Most destinations will have one or more areas that often bring about a higher level of concern than others.
As such, they are labeled as bad neighborhoods, and avoiding them is usually recommended. Egypt is included in this, as its many cities also have areas with a higher crime level than others.
Many of the neighborhoods that you want to avoid include the following:
- Nasr City
It’s important to note that high levels of theft often occur in the tourist and ex-pat areas due to non-locals being seemingly unaware of questionable activity in a new place and culture.
Therefore, when you find yourself in a highly-populated area, take all measures to secure your personal possessions and be aware of your surroundings.
Additionally, the Egyptian government recommends staying at least 50 kilometers away from the border that Egypt shares with Libya and Sudan. With the conflict in both countries, it is safer for visitors to keep their distance.
Personal Safety Concerns
Several personal safety concerns pertain to Egypt, especially those that can impact your visit. The two topics in question are the traffic within the country and the weather.
Paying attention to traffic is essential no matter where you are. However, it’s even more so when you are visiting Egypt. The downtown areas are so clustered that it makes crossing the streets nearly impossible.
At a minimum, it’s essential to be mindful of all vehicles and to cross with a group of locals if possible. Outside of the personal safety concerns that correlate with what the locals call “Egypt’s true extreme sport,” also known as crossing the street, you also need to be aware of the weather.
With its location in both Africa and Asian continents, the weather can get to a high and balmy temperature, which can cause health concerns. Deserts surround the majority of Egypt.
Additionally, the country receives very little rainfall throughout the year. Commonly, the cities will see only a handful of rainy days that amount to less than one inch of precipitation.
With the massive amount of desert in the country, you will also be up against frequent dust that can circle around in the air. For this reason, many individuals opt to cover their faces when in areas that are predominately sand.
With all of these factors, you want to avoid going out during midday. The heat and sun are most harmful during these hours, and you can quickly become dehydrated or suffer from heat exhaustion or stroke.
Sightseeing early in the day or in the evening is recommended. When you go out, it’s critical to apply sunscreen and carry ample amounts of water with you at all times.
If you feel yourself becoming lightheaded, dizzy, overly hot, or start to get a headache, it is vital to seek out shade and hydrate. Many locals will be seen wearing hats to further protect themselves from the sun and weather.
Things to Consider
When planning a trip to Egypt, it’s essential to have the following items top of mind for your benefit and safety.
- Drink more water than usual due to high heat and sun.
- Apply sunscreen continually to avoid sunburn and damage.
- Carry a hat with you at all times to provide shade.
- Don’t venture outdoors during the midday.
- Stay vigilant in observing your surroundings, especially in highly populated areas.
- Take your time crossing streets and do so with a local if possible.
- Don’t be afraid to bargain prices with shopkeepers or attraction owners. These individuals typically quote a different starting price for tourists than they do for locals.
- If you plan to be near the desert, you may want to pack a facial cover to protect your mouth and nose from the dust that is in the air.
- Try to avoid going to neighborhoods with higher crime rates. Typically, the best way to learn about these places is by asking the front desk at your hotel.
- English is widely spoken in tourist areas of the country. Therefore, finding assistance from hotel staff or store associates is easy to come by when visiting Egypt.
- Many hotels offer taxis that are specifically for the use of tourists. This option provides peace of mind that you won’t be getting scammed.
- You will see many police officers throughout Egypt, primarily in touristy areas. These individuals are placed there with a primary focus on looking out for travelers.
- While staying in the immediate area of the most popular attractions is often preferred by travelers, they are usually the locations most targeted by pickpocketers.
- Researching hotels and accommodations that are a bit more removed from the populated areas may be a safer option.
- When exploring Egypt, the country’s government recommends staying at least 50 kilometers away from the borders of Libya and Sudan due to conflict in those areas.
- While there is gang activity within Egypt, it is not as prevalent as in other countries. You still should always be conscious of your surroundings.
Frequently Asked Questions
As it pertains to any significant international trip, travelers have many questions about the location they are looking to visit. Many tourists find themselves wondering, “Is Egypt safe?” Below are some of the top questions received on this topic.
Is Egypt safe for tourists?
Egypt’s most significant concern for safety came after the Day of Revolt in 2011. The period of time before that, most commonly referred to as Arab Spring, brought a lot of hostility to the country and a great deal of mistrust between the residents and their government.
This threat is no longer prevalent. Millions of travelers visit Egypt every year without issue, so Egypt is generally safe for all visitors.
Is there a dress code in Egypt?
No, there is no dress code in Egypt. However, it’s worth noting that those who do not dress and conduct themselves as local residents typically do will stick out from the crowd. Many tourists do not dress in the standard apparel that locals do.
Because of that, they are therefore more likely to be targeted and pickpocketed during their stay. It is also vital to be mindful of local customs and culture.
While there is no regulated dress code for tourists, it’s common and respectful of Egypt’s culture for women to have their knees, shoulders, and cleavage covered. It is not common for men to wear shorts in Egypt, but it’s more acceptable for tourists to do so when visiting the country.
What should I avoid in Egypt?
In Egypt, it’s best to avoid neighborhoods with high crime rates. Finding out which areas these reside in can be done by talking to locals or a hotel staff member. You should also avoid venturing close to the borders of Sudan and Libya due to ongoing conflicts and violence in those countries.
Is Cairo safe for female tourists?
Egypt, in general, is safe for all tourists. However, most women feel more comfortable traveling with another individual, especially at night. You will find that those who stay in the country long-term (typically as ex-pats) will form a network of local residents they can trust. With this network, they will have access to trustworthy taxi drivers, shopkeepers, and more.
Can a woman travel to Egypt alone?
There is no issue with a woman taking a solo adventure to Egypt. However, having an individual that knows your travel plans is vital no matter your gender. In the event that something comes up, it is critical that another person can verify your itinerary and where someone can find you.
Are the pyramids safe to visit?
Your chances of becoming a victim of crime are higher when you are in a tourist destination. The pyramids see many large groups of tourists daily; therefore, they have become a hotspot for crime, primarily pickpocketing. The pyramids are still safe to visit as long as you are aware of your surroundings.
Is Cairo safe at night?
The city of Cairo is known to be safe at night. However, many women prefer to go out with at least one other person as a precaution. Similar to other cities, Cairo has a large population, and traveling in groups is safer than being alone.
Do they speak English in Egypt?
Due to the large amount of tourism that the country experiences every year, many individuals in the touristy areas and city centers speak English. The probability is high that you will have at least one English speaker on staff at your hotel and in stores. This easy accessibility is beneficial in many situations, especially when it comes to emergencies.
So, Is Egypt Safe to Visit?
It can be said that traveling to the country is safe for all tourists. While the majority of the crimes committed are pickpocketing and consumer fraud, you can lessen the chances of these occurring with a few simple actions.
First, be aware of your surroundings at all times. Second, have a general understanding of the basic costs associated with goods and services in the country.
Knowing that Egypt has the safety of its tourists in mind and has a police force dedicated to their wellbeing helps travelers to have peace of mind when making the journey to the African and Asian continent destination.
As is the case on all excursions, having a list of important phone numbers to reach in an emergency is vital. Overall, just use common sense, do a little research ahead of time, and keep your wits about you, and you’ll have a great trip. Happy travels!