Quick Guide: Walking like an Egyptian in the land of Pharaohs

2019-01-09 05:54
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View over Islamic Cairo from the Citadel

(Photo: iStock)

Key attractions undoubtedly include the pyramids in Cairo to the temples and tombs in Luxor - earning the North African destination the title as a fascinating, timeless land.

Not without its conflict, Egypt's tourism levels took a considerable dip in the aftermath of the Arab Spring which started in 2011. However the destination remains relatively safe, with authorities aiming to ease security concerns.  

Here's what South Africans need to know if they want to visit:

6 Guide essentials + things you should know: 

Visas: A visa is required for South Africans. Apply at the embassy in Pretoria.

Currency: Egyptian Pound (E£)  Current Exchange Rate: E£1 = R0,81

Airport Hub: Cairo International Airport

Peak Season: Mid-October to May is the high season in Egypt

Language: The official language is Arabic

Time Zone: (GMT+2) Same time as South Africa 

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Top cities:

  • Cairo
  • Luxor
  • Alexandria
  • Aswan
  • Sharm El Sheikh

Top attractions in Egypt:

  • Pyramids of Giza
  • Valley of the Kings
  • The River Nile
  • Temple of Philae
  • Library of Alexandra

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What to do: 

  • Sail gently down the Nile River
  • Cross the desert on camel-back and camp under the stars
  • Stay overnight in a desert oasis and dive in the Red Sea
  • Scuba dive in the Red Sea
  • Take a hot air balloon over Luxor

SEE: #AfriTravel: Egypt's latest tomb discovery hopes to spur tourism

What to eat:

  • Kushari
  • Ful medames
  • Molokhiya
  • Ta'amiyya
  • Hamam mahshi
  • Mahallabiye

Destination drawcards:

  • Rich and ancient historical sights like the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx
  • The Nile River, boat trips and history
  • Culinary delights from beloved baked goods to warm teas
  • Starry nights under desert skies
  • Modern cities that blend old world charm with modernity

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Cultural highlights:

  • Luxor temple
  • Giza pyramid complex
  • Abu Simbel temples

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