220 Volts. Sockets are of the European, 2 pronged variety. If taking a camera, mobile phone or hairdryer, be sure to pack a power adaptor.
It is recommended that you be vaccinated for Tetanus and Polio, if you haven’t had a booster in the last ten years. Food and waterborne diseases are more common, so we also recommend vaccinations for typhoid (valid 3 years) and Hepatitis A (validity varies). This information is only intended as a guide and recommendations can change regularly so please consult with your local healthcare provider.
Summer: Temperatures in Egypt and Jordan are generally high, particularly during the summer months from May to September, when the sun can be fierce, so take plenty of sunscreen.
Winter: In Cairo and the Nile Delta region, winter (October to February) can be cooler - so take a jacket, long-sleeved tops and trousers for the cooler evenings. The south remains warm during this time but again, temperatures do drop in the evenings.
Rainfall is negligible, except on Egypt’s coast.
Note: Travellers embarking on a felucca cruise or camping in the desert oases in Egypt or Wadi Rum in Jordan, are advised to pack a sleeping bag for additional warmth as temperatures anytime of the year do fall at night.
Egypt is 2 Hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GTM).
Pound Sterling, US Dollars, Euro and other major currencies can be exchanged in Egypt. Exchange facilities are available at various bureau de changes and all major towns have ATMs.
Egyptian cuisine is not unlike the cuisine of Turkey, Syria and other Middle Eastern countries. The basic staple centres on pulses - fuul medames (fava beans) and ta'amiyya (chickpea patties). These tend to be the centrepiece of a meal that will normally include salads, seasoned vegetables and meats. Houmous and other yoghurt based dips, coupled with fresh pitta, schwarma (similar to a Turkish doner kebab), kofta (a skewered spiced meat dish) and fiteer (a kind of pizza) are other popular dishes. The lunchtime bargain has to be kushari, though. A curious mix of noodles, rice, lentils, fried onion and spicy sauce. It's very tasty and exceedingly cheap. Exotic juices freshly squeezed from the fruits of mango, guava and other seasonal varieties are also widely available, as is fresh fruit.
Egypt is a virtual Aladdin’s Cave. Khan al-Khalili bazaar in Cairo is cavernous and full of unusual and everyday objects. Souks and bazaars abound in other towns, too. Top buys include - perfume concentrate, carpets and rugs in innumerable hand-loomed designs, backgammon boards, hand-crafted sheesha pipes, Pharaonic objects fashioned in marble and alabaster, Egyptian cotton sheets, clothing and of course - authentic papyrus. See our Egypt A to Z guide, supplied on booking, for further information.
Jordan offers a range of quality souvenirs. Look out for high-quality artefacts produced by local Jordanian women under the auspices of the Queen Noor Foundation. Colourful platters depicting biblical fish and goblets in riotous colours are a popular buy, as are mosaics, expertly made carpets, Dead Sea products of all guises, olive oil and sweetmeats.
On our Dunes & Tombs, Sandblaster, Siwa to Alexandria, Beyond the Pyramids, Nile Valley to Siwa Oasis tours Road to Jordan and Western desert bolt-ons we travel to remote areas of the country where accomodation and facilites are limited. With plenty of research we can safely say we use the best, reasonably priced hotels within these regions. Additionally, sometimes we are able to camp freely under a blanket of the stars, such as in the White Desert.
On our Road to Jordan and Petra & Wadi Rum bolt-on we spend a night in the Wadi Rum desert where you can choose to camp under the stars or in tents at our remote Bedouin camp. Desert camping is fun and the best way for us to experience the desertscape. Our desert camp offers basic facilities. Bedding and blankets are provided (though we recommend that you use your own sleeping bag).
The Coptic Christmas celebrated on the 7th January. The Coptics believe this day to be birthday of Christ. People enjoy a mass gathering at midnight and enjoy a traditional cuisine of festival known as "fata".
This festival is the symbol of ancient civilization of Egypt and is celebrated in the month of November. This festival is considered a lucky day for marriages so at this time couples visit Karnak Temple in Luxor and get married there.
Abu Simbel Sun Festival
This Festival of Egypt is associated with the ancient temple of Egypt-Abu Simbel and highlights the ancient traditional rituals of Egypt. This festival is held on 22nd February and 22nd October every year. We run special tours to coincide with this incredible event. Click here for details.
One of the pillars of Islam requires Muslims to fast during the Holy Month of Ramadan, the month which commemorates the divine gift of the Koran to the Prophet Mohammed. From sunrise to sunset, those who fast must refrain from eating, drinking and smoking. There are good and bad aspects of visiting the country during Ramadan. On the bright side, people hit the streets after the sunset "breakfast" ready to sing, play cards, enjoy some of the special musical and theatrical entertainments and just generally have fun. Shops re-open until the wee hours, and many hotels create special Ramadan Tents where they offer traditional holiday snacks and drinks, live entertainment, water pipes, backgammon boards, card games and the like. It's fun, and a great festival atmosphere.
The other side of the coin is that many aspects of "business as usual" don't apply during the month. Banks and offices all have shorter working hours, some restaurants close for the entire month, and about an hour before sunset the roads and streets will be full of crazed demons racing to buy last-minute supplies and get home in time for Al Iftar. If you plan to visit during Ramadan, you should understand that the touring day will be shortened. There will still be plenty of restaurants open and serving lunch, especially in the tourist areas, but it would be very bad manners to eat, drink or smoke in the sight of passers-by.
Do remember, if you visit during Ramadan, that your dress should be a bit more circumspect than usual. Some women who do not normally cover their heads do so during Ramadan, and often feel that make-up, perfume and other "vanities of the flesh" should be given up during this month.
The precise dates of Ramadan varies from year to year. Ramadan lasts for about a month and is dependent on the lunar cycle and the Islamic lunar calendar. Forthcoming Ramadan dates are: 28 June - 27 July 2014 & 18th June - 17th July 2015.