Getting around Egypt

Air

Egypt Air and Nile Air are the main domestic carriers flying between Cairo and the main centres.

Boat

No trip to Egypt is complete without a cruise or sail down the Nile River. There are many options for cruise ships ranging from midrange to five-star luxury. Get in touch with us to explore these options if you have not already.

Bus

Air-con ‘deluxe’ buses connect main destinations throughout the country. Most have a strict no-smoking rule; some buses on long routes have toilets, though they’re seldom very clean. On longer routes a 15- to 20-minute stop every three hours or so is the norm.

Videos are usually shown, often at top volume – earplugs are a good idea if you want to sleep, as is an extra layer, as overnight buses can often be very cold from the air-con.

Car

Proceed with caution. Driving in Cairo is a crazy affair, and although it’s slightly less nerve-racking in other parts of the country, it is more dangerous. Night driving should be completely avoided. That being said, some travellers have said that self-driving is a wonderful way to leave the tour buses in the dust.

Petrol and diesel are usually readily available and very cheap. But stations can be scarce outside of Cairo. As a rule, when you see one, fill up.

An International Driving Permit is required to drive in Egypt, and you risk a heavy fine if you’re caught without one. Likewise, ensure that you always have all car registration papers with you while driving.

Taxi

Even the smallest cities in Egypt have taxis. They’re inexpensive and efficient, even if in some cities the cars themselves have seen better days.

Fares

In Cairo metered taxis are taking over, but everywhere else, locals know the accepted price and pay it without (much) negotiation. Check with locals for taxi rates, as fares change as petrol prices rise.

Hailing

Just step to the roadside, raise your hand and one will likely come screeching to a halt. Tell the driver where you’re headed before getting in – he may decline the fare if there’s bad traffic or it’s too far.

Negotiating

For short fares, setting a price beforehand backfires, as it reveals you don’t know the system. But for long distances – from the airport to the city centre, for instance – you should agree on a price before getting in. And confirm it, as some drivers tend to try to change the deal on arrival.

Paying

In unmetered taxis, avoid getting trapped in an argument by getting out first, then handing money through the window. If a driver suspects you don’t know the correct fare, you’ll get an aghast ‘How could you possibly pay me so little?’ look, if not a full-on argument. Don’t be drawn in if you’re sure of your position.

Tuk-Tuk

These clever scooters-with-seats, ubiquitous in Thailand and India, have arrived in Egypt. Locals call them tok-tok, and they’re especially popular in small towns. They’re typically the same price or cheaper than taxis, with a pounding soundtrack for free. It’s a good idea to negotiate a price before getting in.