Last updated: November 2023 by Ben Williams, our Conde Nast Traveler Egypt Specialist
Hello, fellow traveller. You may find yourself here because you’ve typed ‘Is it safe to travel to Egypt’ into your search engine. Or perhaps you’ve stumbled upon us in the same way those archaeologists accidentally found hundreds of rock-cut tombs in Egypt in 2021. Either way, you’re in the right place to learn more about this country (particularly if you’re already looking at flights) because it’s always worth doing some research before exploring somewhere new.
Egypt is a land of mystery, wonder and enchantment. Its history dates back thousands of years, so it’s no wonder that it’s such a popular destination for travellers from all over the world (and one of our all-time favourite countries). But it’s totally valid to question the safety here, especially in light of the current political instability and unrest across Egypt’s borders. It is relatively safe to visit, so long as you keep your wits about you and make sure you adhere to the local cultural customs. In fact, the only real places to avoid in Egypt are the Sinai Peninsula (apart from the beaches of Sharm El Sheikh) and the western desert.
There are a number of safety precautions you can take to reduce the risk of meeting any danger, such as avoiding areas with large crowds, staying in well-lit and populated areas and keeping valuables secure. To keep safety concerns to an absolute minimum, it is a good idea to travel with a reputable tour operator (hint: that’s us) and knowledgeable guides who are familiar with the area, which is where we come in.
Original Travel, in conjunction with our partners, Voyageurs du Monde, have experienced teams of staff in all major destinations across Egypt. In addition to expert drivers and talented guides, our representatives meet you before every transfer, excursion and flight to make sure everything runs smoothly. Our Concierge team, based across Egypt, are always a quick text message away if you have any questions or issues while travelling.
Our clients have been travelling to Egypt throughout 2023 in record numbers. Recent feedback has continued to be overwhelmingly positive. Those travelling since the start of the current Israel-Gaza conflict have said that, barring rolling news feeds from home, they were unaware that anything untoward was happening in the region. The Egyptian authorities always provide strong security at all major tourist sites and hotels and, where possible, this has been enhanced towards the end of 2023.
What Are the Potential Threats?
Unfortunately, in recent years, the country has been the target of several terrorist attacks, particularly in the Sinai region, so it is understandable to be wondering if it is safe to travel to Egypt at the moment. The threat of terrorism is one of the primary concerns associated with travelling to this country, as both tourists and locals have been targeted. Until 2021, the consequences of these awful incidents, as well as strict travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, had led to a sharp decline in tourism to Egypt. In addition to terrorism, visitors must also be aware of the risk of petty crime here. As with the majority of popular destinations, pickpocketing and theft are commonplace (particularly in busy areas). Additionally, there have been reports of sexual harassment and assault directed towards female travellers. While these issues, along with petty crime, are not unique to Egypt, they are certainly concerns that must be taken seriously.
It’s important to stress that, despite the above information, millions of tourists visit this country every year without any issues. This may be down to a series of measures being introduced by the government, such as increased police presence and the use of surveillance cameras. All in all, there is a growing sense of optimism and stability in the country.
Learn About Local Customs
The cultural norms in Egypt exist to reflect the legacy of the country and its rich cultural heritage. It’s very important for tourists to be aware of – and show respect for – these traditions. Doing so may also help to keep you safe while travelling in the area. Firstly, remember that it is predominantly a Muslim country so it’s key to dress modestly. Women should wear clothing that covers their knees and shoulders, while men should avoid wearing shorts in public. Perhaps you’ll want to visit a number of mosques (and even homes) on your travels. If so, don’t forget to remove your shoes before entering these places, as a sign of respect and cleanliness. Finally, here’s a handy tip (excuse the pun): always use your right hand when greeting people, eating and giving or receiving gifts. This is because the left hand is considered unclean, so remember to avoid using that one in social situations.
All Aboard the Steam Ship Sudan
Step back in time and book a stay on our well-loved Steam Ship Sudan. In our opinion, it’s one of the most unique and memorable experiences you can have in Egypt and an opportunity that can’t be missed. Plus, if it’s good enough for Agatha Christie – whose stay on this cruise ship inspired Death on the Nile – then we think you’ll find it pretty special too. Picture the scene: you’re relaxing on the upper deck as this magnificent ship floats through the long and narrow Nile Valley, passing lush greenery, freshwater marshes and impressive mountain ranges. We’ll meet you there – save us a seat. This luxury liner also happens to be a very safe option for anyone who may be nervous about exploring this country, as you can spend most of the trip either onboard the boat or visiting impressive sites with a knowledgeable local guide. So why not call this place home for a few days?
Go Careful in Cairo
Cairo, the capital city of Egypt, is a lively and crowded metropolis and like any popular tourist destination, it has a few safety concerns that visitors should be mindful of. As mentioned above, crime exists here as it does everywhere in the world, so make sure you’re aware of your surroundings at all times. If you didn’t already know, Cairo is notorious for its traffic. If we had to pick two words to describe it, they’d be chaotic and congested. Unfortunately, accidents are not uncommon so it’s important to exercise caution when crossing the road! Remain vigilant and follow any safety guidelines or warnings issued by local authorities. In short: stay informed and exercise common sense when visiting the area and you’re more likely to have a safe and fun trip.
Disclaimer: It's always important to check the travel advisories issued by your government before travelling to any foreign country. For further advice, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/egypt
Header Image: Matthieu Salvaing