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The truth about visiting Egypt

edited August 2009 in - Egypt
I am a British/Egyptian guy and I do feel somewhat bemused at some of the comment posted on here and some other websites. Let me tell you something,
Egypt is one of the safest countries in the world. It is safer for a young Western woman walking back home at 4am in Cairo than say New York or London.
How many Western women have been raped in Egypt?

I strongly believe that tourists and individual travellers are safer in Egypt than anywhere in the world. You could be walking home after a night out in any city in the UK and get kicked punched and raped. Wake up people!

I am afraid some of you do not know what they are talking about. I have never, ever heard of a Western woman being raped in Egypt. Rape is much less common than in the West. Attacking a Western person means days and days of atrocious torture in the local police-station... no one will take the risk. As for kidnapping, I have never heard of a westerner being kidnapped in Egypt.

Frankly, some people in here have only ridiculous clich


  • edited 4:06PM
    Hi Ali - in general I agree with what you say and I travel to Egypt frequently. However, over the last few months there have been some kidnapping of foreign tourists so I do understand some nervousness on the part of those that have never been. A western female walking alone at night in Cairo - sorry I don't think so!!!!!!!! This is something I would never do. In the more crowded areas of Cairo tourists should also be careful of pickpockets and yes I know that other cities have these as well. In general foreigners should always be aware of their surroundings and safeguard their possessions.

    Above all - Egypt is a wonderful country and not all tour companies are rip offs! I urge everyone to visit, take time to see as much as possible and return again and again.
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    Thank you for your comments about the safety of Egypt.
    I am planning an independent first visit to Egypt in Feb/Mar 2010. We are experienced travellers coming from Australia, but can only spend about 7 days in Egypt.

    My biggest problem is that I always get terrible food poisoning on holiday even though I only drink bottled water, and my husband has severe allergies, especially to spices. They can trigger asthma in him.

    In the past, I have solved this by bringing some of my own food in my suitcase, and buying packaged food to eat on holiday. Is is allowed in Egypt to bring food into the country? Would I be able to buy branded supermarket type food in the major tourist centres? I am not interested in experiencing the local cuisine, as there are plenty of Egyptian run restaurants in Australia!

    Can you suggest the best two areas to visit and how best to travel between them?
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    I do agree that Egypt is a very safe place to travel, especially as a female traveling alone... HOWEVER there is much harassment and no I would never travel by myself as a Westerner after-hours in Cairo... no matter how safe it may feel. We should all be careful,especially western women who are viewed as loose by the Egyptians... I lived in Egypt for a year. And there has been kidnappings in Egypt too, mostly in Upper Egypt. However, this will not keep me from visiting Egypt again...
    BTW I think Germans are EXTREMELY helpful people. I met many in Egypt and in Germany who helped me out quite a lot w/out expecting backsheesh. And no I am not German, I am America.
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    My husband and I will be arriving in Cairo around midnight. Is there someone who would meet us and escort us to our hotel?
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    My husband and I plan to travel to Cairo during Christmas Holidays 2009. We have a 12-year-old girl. The flight arrived after mid night. I'd like to know if it's safe to take airport taxi to the Hotel at late night.
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    Hi Chubie!

    I have lived in Egypt for 10 years and took the taxis and other public transportation at different hours. I always felt safe. Just make sure they don't rip you off. You can always take the 'yellow cab' (it has a counter;). Egypt is great! Enjoy it! I'm going for 2 months myself :)
  • edited March 2010
    its not about being raped. its about being followed by annoying men who've never seen unveiled women; its very degrading and uncomfortable to be followed and stared at, even when "properly" dressed just coz ur a cute woman, who happens to be unveiled..not just westerns but arabs too... its just disturbing..not scary, just exremely irritating.. and when ur also followed by people asking for change and tips just for saying good morning to u, or rushing to open a cab door or to hail a cab for u, its even more disturbing..and a bit more so at night...and people rip u off whenever and wherever for whatever they get a chance...not rob, rip off... why do i have to pay for mubarak's corruption..
    yes its safe but its not pleasant, in fact its a bit of a nightmare...
    not sure seeing the pyramids for a few hours is worth having to go through all this...
  • Hi Marie ,

    i can help you with that just contact me at [email protected] .

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    hi. my name is sudais and i am from khi, pakistan.
    i am planning to visit egypt between 20-30 jan alone. if someone else is also visiting do let me know.
    [email protected]
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    we were in Egypt last xmas and ate from the stall on Doghri Street and both got Bombaki so be careful
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    i am 18 years old, and a British female, i went to Egypt on holiday to stay at a Thomas cook resort with my friend, thinking i would be safe in a resort, the staff sexually harrassed me and my friend from the second we got there until the second we left, out first night we ordered champagne to our room, the member of staff who bought it forced him self upon us refusign to leave, kissing us and touching our bodies inappropriately pushing myself to the bed, we physically had to force him out of our room, men used the skeleton key to enter our room and force us to drink rum until we were sick the whole time molesting us, we ordered facials at the local beauty spa thinkign it would be women, it was again an empty room with two men who undid our bikinis refusing to stop, threatening behaviour being used, the worse offense being myself being raped again by a member of staff. i hate that the experiance has made me prejudiced as i have always been so open minded to other cultures, but i genuinely believe myself and my friend did nothing to deserve this treatment. although i admit in Cairo its self no body did anything to us, although we did have a personal tour guide who was fairly westernized.

    im sorry to post this Ali, but i just wanted to give an account of my personal experiance - PLEASE this is a warning if you travel to Egypt as a woman make sure you STAY with a man at ALL times, that was my downfall, i would hate for any body else to go through this!
  • edited 4:06PM
    Natashasha - I'm sorry but I am finding it very difficult to believe you. Did you report these staff to the hotel management? Did you go to the police? Two of you against one man who forced himself on you? I'm sorry but if this is a true story what did you do about it.

    The Egyptian authorities are very strict about harrassment/violence against tourists and believe me, having travelled to Egypt more times than I can count I have never heard a story such as yours. If you wish, you can email me with the names of the hotel/staff and as I have friends and contacts I can organise to have this matter dealt with.
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    Thank you for your comment and I actually was wondering why did Natasha stayed on after the first incident?
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    I am absolutely astonished and quite angry in fact by your story. I know people in the Egyptian authority who can investigate this matter thoroughly, and I shall report back on here. These are serious allegations against two men who if found guilty can expect to spend the best part of their lives in jail. Do please email me all the details regarding this case and I will pass it on for investigation.
  • edited 4:06PM
    Ristaker - that's why I think this story is just that - a story.......just don't want anyone who is considering going to Egypt to actually believe this rubbish!! Egypt is a wondrous country = don't take notice of this stuff, go and enjoy every single minute of this magical land of the Pharoahs.
  • edited 4:06PM
    I have this morning spoken with my friend’s father, Lt Lieutenant Colonel Gamal Zayda a senior Police Officer in the area of Sharam El-Sheikh (Red Sea Resorts). He is asking if you could post the name of the hotel where you stayed and the duration dates of your stay. Could you also give your names as they were on the hotel guest list? If you don’t want to post your names on this website, please feel free to email me ASAP at: [email protected]

  • edited 4:06PM
    Hello My name is joselin and i will be hopefully going to Cairo by the end of May. I have friends over there so i will no need hotel information for my trip, however I want to know what is the best airline for me to travel to egypt and the cheapest one. I live in tampa , Fl. I know if I leave from Orlando its cheaper. Also, I know i can get a visa when i get to the airport but do you guys recommend for me to get it ahead of time, im a venezuelan/american with american passport, is there any reason why my visa could be denied at the airport?. I wanted to contact a travel agency but I really dont need hotel or anything else other than flight information and booking for this trip.Thank you in advance for the help.
  • edited 4:06PM
    How does one "force you to drink rum until you're sick" whilst molesting you? It doesn't make sense. I think maybe you made a mistake and now you want to blame the guys that you made the mistake with rather than taking responsibilty for your own actions. I am deeply offended by your allegations and do not believe that anyone that went through such a traumatic experience would be writing about it (in poor English for a British woman I might add) on a website so casually. In addition 2 western women coming from a country that certainly educates it's citizens in crime and justice and you didn't think to contact the police? Or leave the resort? Or call your parents for advice? I am a "western woman" who has lived in Egypt for over 2 years. I am married to a very honest, wonderful man who happens to be Egyptian. I know we have our problems with sexual harrasment here in Egypt, but what you are saying is all together different. If this did in fact happen to you I am very sorry as being raped is an awful experience. If not then shame on you for speaking of it so lightly and painting a very grim picture of Egypt.
    In addition the woman who wrote, "its about being followed by annoying men who've never seen unveiled women"...I am sorry, but are we talking about Egypt? We do not live in Saudi Arabia. Men here have seen many women without "veil" or hijab as there are plenty of Christians who do not wear the veil, Muslim women as well have the choice here whether or not to wear it and trust me YOU ARE NOT the first woman that they've seen without it, darling. We have millions of tourists enter the country every year as well as a very large ex-pat community, most of whom do not wear hijab and unfortunately many who wear far less than what locals wear. Unless you visited some very small village communities, which I highly doubt, you are not a special sight here in Egypt. You really should think before you share your silly thoughts with the rest of the world. Again, I apologize if you were made to feel uncomfortable here, this is something we need to work on as a country, but not every man in Egypt is an animal as you would have people believe.
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    Hello to All

    In December my fiancee and I plan to marry in Egypt. I am American and he, because of his work, still resides in Ryadh, Saudi Arabia. We are both Sunni Muslim and never married. I've checked out the official site of the Egyptian government, but found it confusing.

    Could someone please tell me what to expect, thank you in advance for reading.

  • edited 4:06PM
    Hello all,
    I am a single American female thinking about working in Cairo for the summer. I am a little concerned by what I've read on these boards. I am fairly street smart, but don't want to be isolated or feel uncomfortable the whole time I'm there. I would appreciate hearing from some women who have lived in Cairo on their own.
  • edited 4:06PM
    Dear Zinger,

    you are welcome to Egypt , Egypt is really one of the safest country in the world so no need to be worry at all and you will feel very comfortable here, i live in Cairo so if you need any help you can contact me at [email protected]

    Good Luck
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    [email protected]
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    Egypt is so safe compared to other forign countries. Don't let media run you to this bad feeling & attention about Egypt.
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    When I see comments like "Egypt is safe" it really depends where in Egypt. If you are American make sure that you go to American Consulate in Cairo and let them know that you are in Egypt and for how long, they will give you good information as far as how to keep your self safe as a tourist. Being a woman and in my mid twenties when I first came to Egypt after 9/11 I had a horrible experience and didn't know where to turn to - this was in Luxor. My english speaking tour guide masterbated in front of me and the sexual harrasment didn't stop until he tried to rape me. I went to the tourist police in Luxor and told them what had happened, they brought the tour guide and he denied everything. He told the police that I wanted to have sex with him. The police told me they would arrest him and I would have to stay another day in Luxor to appear in court the next morning. I did so. I noticed that he got a lawyer and I don't know if he was every locked up and if he returned to being a tour guide. Please if you are a woman, young and pretty you really cannot travel alone, I wouldn't advise this.
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    Will Egypt experience civil unrest if Mubarak dies? I am on a tour in September and now starting to worry how unsafe it might get.
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    My husband I went to Egypt for our honeymoon on an all-inclusive 2-week pre-booked package. There were good parts and bad part to it. The good parts were all of the beauty of the Nile, the Red Sea, the kindness of most of the people, the antiquity. There is just something about seeing a temple thousands of years old that you can’t put words too.

    However, as a woman, you definitely feel like you are just above an insect there. I’m sorry to say it, but it’s true. As a western woman, an American, I was floored at the way I was treated. When ordering my first beer of the day, the barman only filled it up half way. When asking him to top it off, he told me that it was enough for me. Pushing the issue he became extremely irritated and started yelling at me saying that it was enough for a woman. Not wanting to waste my vacation on small spats, ordering the next time, I lied and said it was for my husband. To which he figured that one out too. Finally I just had my husband go order two beers saying they were for him. At another bar, I ordered a martini with an olive. My husband ate my olive, jokingly saying that I couldn’t have it. The next day I ordered the same thing. The barman didn’t give me an olive. When I asked for one he said that it was forbidden by my husband to have olives. Pressing the issue, the guy got in my face and sternly said that my husband forbade me to have olives...full point. It took my husband to explain to the barman that he was kidding. At the pool I was constantly harassed to the point were I quit going. Every time I sat down, within minutes a guy would come and ask me if I were married, how many children did Allah bring me, oh you have a step-son, oh your husband’s divorced. The final time, I was fully asleep under the sun and a hotel worker came over and woke me up. He physically touched and rocked me until I was awake. Seeing his blurry image upon opening my eyes, the first words out of his mouth were, “Hi, Are you married?” I was quite angry. (For the women out there the answer is – You are married and you have at least 5 children and neither of you have ever been divorced. The word gets around and then you get less hassled.) I went to a spa asking to see what treatments they had. To which after much confusion of not being able to produce the simplest of tasks, giving me a menu to see what they offered, the manager came out to greet me. He then said to me, you are like so many women, you don’t know what you want, so I’m going to tell you want you need. This wasn’t in the tone of I’m here to help you and make you look beautiful, this was in a very forceful tone as if I were a dumb cow and he have to do everything, even think for me. Getting off the boat in Aswan, a storeowner was literally screaming in husband’s face when my husband declined the offer to go in his store. I don’t mean just a little bit of yelling. I mean screaming at the top of his lung that he was an awful man, scum of the earth, and a bad person. It was very scary for me. In another case, I had some guy all week non-stop asking me if were American. He finally cornered me right outside my room at night in the hotel and said, there is only one American passport in this entire hotel and it’s a woman and you are the only one speaking English fluently here. WHY are you lieing to me!! That really disturbed me. I don’t know what he wanted.

    Yes I talked to the hotel manager; yes I talked to the tourist group leader. But they were a bit blasé about it as nothing serious had happened. And the “MEN” told me not to worry and that it was just “me” and that “I” didn’t understand.

    The experience was humiliating to me. I felt like the little kid on the playground talking to the bully. You know when the class bully creates confusion by yelling or confusing the subject so you feel stupid or using subtle words to degrade you in a situation or speaks indigently to you. That’s exactly how I felt the whole trip. To have to lie at 40 years old for a beer. Come on!! We went all over and this happened everywhere I went....and not only to me. The other ladies on the trip experienced it too, but they just brushed it off so as not to ruin their good time.

    Upon coming home I realized that there was something missing. I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time in Egypt, but you don’t feel a female/motherly/womanly presence there. You go to a store to try a dress, no woman is there to give you advice that it looks good. No women cooking their cultural meals, no women in the hotels arranging flowers or whatnot, no women gathering in the cafes, no women on the boats, no women giving tours and talking about Egyptian female life 2000 years ago. Just a lack, altogether, of the female soft touch. I really hope this is different in private life there.

    Egypt is nice and I would consider going back again. It’s totally safe. But as a woman be prepared to be hassled non-stop and to have to constantly defend yourself for the simplest things. Like ordering a beer.
  • edited 4:06PM
    Fascinating story. Sorry you had a negative experience there, and I think you are right, the female absence makes for a pretty unbalanced society... Of course Egypt is an allegedly secular country, like Turkey, so your experience would be much worse in strongly Islamic countries where suppression of women is codified into the law and culture.
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    I am quite astounded at some of the post's, As a woman from the UK, I would like to say that I have travelled in Egypt, for the last ten year's. And have never felt myself to be in any danger, (I would much rather walk alone in Luxor, on a night, than in any city in the UK,). I have been to Cairo, Luxor and to the Red Sea Coast. I do admit that at times, some Egyptian men can be quite pushy (but !! just the same, as in any nightclub in the UK), but a firm no, usually is enough, and a mere mention of the tourist police (who are everywhere) will frighten them.
    When I first went to Egypt, I admit, I found it daunting, simply because, it was so different to anything I had experienced before. But then I realised, that a little knowledge, would make it easier for me.
    A few words of Arabic, Film Mish Mish (in your dreams) usually results in peels of laughter, and diffuses any awkward situation.
    Many woman, (especially young woman) travel to Egypt, without a clue, about, the country, the culture etc. How many travel agents,? (when selling a holiday) explain to them, that away from the tourist resorts, walking about in skimpy clothes is showing disrespect, and may draw attention to them. How many tourists, actually know anything about the country, they are travelling to ?. If more people, just did a little research, about the places they were travelling to, then I'm sure there holiday would be trouble free. I love Egypt, I have found the people to be the nicest kindest people that I have ever met, I am travelling back next year and can not wait, I shall walk about without any fear, and engage in conversation with people who I meet, I will proberbly end up being invited back to meet their family (as I have been before) and will have the most amazing holiday, yet again, and make friends for life.
    If you like Spain, then stay with Spain. If you want to see Egypt (even th Red Sea) then research the place you are travelling to.
  • edited 4:06PM
    Any woman travelling alone in any country in the world must take some responsibility for their own safety.I have travelled to egypt and yes the men can hassel you but so do men certain men all over the world.You need to know how to handle this when it occurs.I have never felt afraid while in egypt , I have felt more afraid walking home from a night out in uk because all the men are usually drunk and will sometimes act out of character.Egyptian men dont walk around drunk and aggressive! The egyptian people are very friendly and helpful and I love to visit their country.Just be sensible and respect the Egyptian people and respect yourself.
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    I'm travelling from London to Egypt in the next couple. Should I change my currency beforehand or wait until I get to Egypt? Also, should I book my excursions from here or leave until I go to Egypt?

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    Thanks a lot; your post seems really informative. Such suggestions are really helpful for traveling alone. I wish to visit the beauty and large pyramids of Egypt very soon.
  • hello marce, It is better to book your trip before your arrival to Egypt (hotels, cruise, tours). that will help u enjoy arranged program, so u will visit as most as possible.
    however u can change to Egyptian pound currency while u r in Egypt. it is so easy. US Dollars are most common used also.
  • edited 4:06PM
    I would like to agree with Natasha. I experienced a similar situation in Sharm el-Sheikh during my female friend and my stay at the hotel (Nov 2010). There was a try to rape me while I was sleping in the room and my friend was on the beach. However, I informed hotel management and the guy was sent out the hotel. I don't know that it meant for him, but our holiday went good and enjoyable even for me..

    Please all, do not panic and keep an eye and inform the management asap!
    Firstly, they didn't believe me, but then after asking details, they accepted the fact that most of their guests left on the second day and they didn't know why.

    Thanks for your attention!
  • edited 4:06PM
    I traveled to Egypt earlier this year and I was drugged. I'd purchased a tour of Giza, Dashur, and Memphis, from what I thought was a legitimate tour organization. I paid 165 LE for the tour. I'd earlier seen the guy I purchased the tour from coming out of the hotel where I was staying, and the next morning I was waiting on the tour guide and the guy engaged in conversation with the clerk at the hotel desk finally turned and asked if I was ready to go.

    He asked if I wanted to ride a horse or camel to tour the pyramids, I said, "yes" and he took me in this village near the pyramids where a man rented out horses. While I was there I was asked to have a drink, coke, water, juice, anything? "It's Egyptian hospitality". Between the pyramids at Giza and Dashur all I can remember is stopping at some man's shop that wanted me to smell and buy some oils. When I got to Dashur, one of the workers was telling me that I needed to hurry out of the museum if I wanted to see the tombs. We'd left the hotel at 8am that morning and he was telling me the museum closed at 4, I was wondering why was he rushing me? We'd only been at Giza for a few hours, 3 at most! Well, I went back to the car and the tour guide was telling me that we didn't have time to go to Memphis. I went back to the hotel and slept so more, I've never slept so soundly.

    Later that night I was hurting really bad, my back was hurting me. I have a back injury and never lie on my back because of it, they must have had me lying on my back. I was in tears and went to the front test to ask for the name of a hospital and for them to get me a taxi. The taxi took me to a hospital there and the doctor there was awful. He came out and stood in front of a small table. Didn't say anything. I had been sitting in a chair waiting for him so I walked up to the table. He stood there with his hands behind his back. I asked if he was the doctor. Um-Hum, he answered. I told him that I was hurting and what I'd done that day, he told me that he didn't know how to treat me and refused to give me my 100 L.E. back.

    I left Egypt several days before I'd planned. It was the worst experience I've had while traveling. Points to remember: There is no such thing as Egyptian Hospitality. They want a tip for everything. You can't trust any of them, woe unto you that do. For those of you who say traveling to Egypt is safe, you don't need a tour guide, I say you must work for Egyptian Tourism. The information you are providing is misleading and people must be extremely careful when traveling to Egypt. Egypt is known for begging and thievery. Now that's the truth about Egypt
  • edited 4:06PM
    Anytime one travels, there is always a risk that you will run into unsavory individuals, scan artists and the like. Whether in Egypt, New York, Chicago, Paris, Bahamas, Jamaic, Mexico, etc. I think for most we are succeptible particlarly in a country where we are most unfamiliar. It's important to always be on guard and protect yourself as best as you can and always report inappropriate behavior. Expecially for women it is wise to travel with others in certain countries. I am looking forward to some day traveling to Egypt. My hope is for the political issues to be resolved soon. Safe travels.
  • You welcome Michelle ...
    Egypt will be happy ... and tourism will return again

  • edited 4:06PM

    Sorry to hear about your unpleasant experience.
    Let me first of all tell you this: you don't have a clue about what is Egypt really like nor about the people of Egypt!

    Forgive me for thinking you do sound like a small child with no brain! “I was asked to have a drink, coke, water, juice, anything”? “I was asked to ride a Camel” and “I was asked if I could be drugged”! “The Dr tool my money and wouldn’t give it back”, what? Where did you go with this man who kept leading you like a sheep? Your story is naive and silly!

    Just last week in the UK a nine months pregnant teenager was stabbed by a 28 year old man, how many stories like this do you hear coming out of Egypt?
  • Egypt is stable and safe now....
  • edited 4:06PM
    No its not stable ,as resident and travel back and forth it is not as stable as you think ,and for people thinking of egypt is free now does not mean you can walk with your boobs and knickers showing have some respect for the egyptian woman ,and boys touch and flirt with you do not leave you alone as no law and order in some parts and if there was they dont take crap of it ......
  • edited 4:06PM
    Its safe if you stay with in the resorts and go with proffesional tour guides preferbly from the hotel and if you are adventuring out always tell someone where you might be ,some parts of egypt not good and still is curfew in Cairo at 2am i should know so its my country ,just keep your wits about you like you would at home ,and enjoy your time ...
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