Is Egypt Safe to Visit in 2024? – Wild Junket Adventure Travel Blog

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Is Egypt Safe to Visit in 2024? – Wild Junket Adventure Travel Blog

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Last Updated on February 1, 2024 by Nellie Huang

Is it safe to travel Egypt now? In this post, I discuss safety issues in Egypt, particularly for solo female travelers. 

Having recently returned from a second trip to Egypt, I’ve found that the country’s historical treasures are still as impressive as ever — but its tourism industry is suffering tremendously due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the country needs tourists now more than ever.

So is Egypt safe to travel now? It’s a complex question to answer for many reasons, but I’ll break down the subject and discuss what it’s like to travel Egypt during the pandemic.

is egypt safe to visit

Is Egypt Safe to Visit?

I always recommend getting travel insurance, even if you’re traveling Egypt for just 2 weeks. With travel insurance, you’ll get covered if any incidents, loss of baggage, flight delay or cancellations happen.

Safety Wing is the most popular travel insurance company for COVID19-coverage. I use their Nomad Insurance plan, which covers COVID-19 as any other illness as long as it was not contracted before your coverage start date. Refer to my travel insurance guide for more details.

egypt safe - abu simbel egypt


 

Why is Egypt Considered Unsafe to Travel?

When I first traveled to Egypt in 2008, the country was still a rather safe place to visit. None of my friends or family expressed any concern for my safety.

But in the last decade, Egypt has sadly suffered from political unrest and terrorist attacks, and tourism numbers took a nose dive. The upheaval during the 2011 Arab Spring sparked widespread demonstrations, strikes and violent riots. Then there were the Islamist insurgency on its borders with Israel and Gaza. And then one terrorist attack after another definitely made things worse.

These days, many countries’ travel advisories warns against any travel to Egypt. 

aswan nile river - is egypt safe to visit covid


 

Recent Terrorist Attacks in Egypt

  • 31 Dec 31, 2022 ISIS-SP claimed responsibility for a checkpoint attack in Ismailia that killed four and wounded 16.
  • 18 Nov, 2022 – ISIS-SP attacked the town of East Qantara, killing seven Egyptian soldiers. 
  • 28 March, 2022 ISIS-SP alleged snipers killed two Sinai Tribal Union militiamen.
  • 31 October, 2015 – 224 people were killed when a Russian plane was bombed leaving Sharm El Sheikh. 
  • 8 January 2016 — militants stabbed two foreign tourists from Australia and Sweden in a hotel in Hurghada.
  • 14 July 2017 — a student stabbed five German and one Czech tourists in Hurghada.
  • 2 November 2018 — gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in Minya province, killing 7 people.
  • 28 December 2018 — a roadside blast killed 3 Vietnamese tourists and a local tour guide on a bus near the Giza pyramids.
  • 18 February 2019 — 3 security personnel were killed by a suicide bomber in Central Cairo’s Darb al-ahmar district.
  • 19 May 2019 — 16 people were injured after an IED attack on a tourist bus near the Giza pyramids
  • 4 August 2019 — 20 people were killed by a car bomb in Central Cairo’s Manial district.

giza pyramids and sphinx - egypt safe to travel


Where is Safe to Visit in Egypt?

Whether you do decide to travel Egypt or not, you’ll need to consider the risks and whether you are willing to take calculated risks to travel Egypt.

The only areas that travel advisories consider unsafe to visit are:

  • The Sinai Peninsula, due to terrorist activity and ongoing military operations by the Egyptian Armed Forces. This does not include the coastal resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
  • Area close to the border with Libya, the Siwa Oasis, the Western Desert, including the oases of Bahariya, Bawati, Dakhla and Farafra, and the White and Black deserts, due to smuggling, terrorist activities, the presence of armed groups and ongoing military operations.

hurghada giftun islands - egypt safety


My Personal Travel Experience in Egypt

I traveled with my husband on my first trip to Egypt in 2008 and then solo on my recent trip in March 2021. On both trips, I never felt that I was in danger or that I was putting my life at risk at any point. Mind you, I have been to places where I felt on edge  (such as Afghanistan and Iran), but I definitely didn’t feel that way in Egypt.

Also, I’ve found there is now a lot more police presence in Egypt than before. There are lots of police checkpoints on the roads and armed military tanks stationed in every city. This makes me feel that at least the police is doing their part to ensure safety.

travel egypt during pandemic - camel ride at pyramids


Should You Travel Egypt Independently or Book a Tour?

This really depends on how much travel experience you have. Egypt is generally quite an easy place to travel — the tourist trail is well marked, and you’ll often find many travelers around you. 

I traveled independently on both of my trips to Egypt, and I found it manageable to navigate Egypt on my own. That said, I did book day trips to learn from knowledgable Egyptologists. I know guided tours can be a hit and miss; some guides aren’t exactly Egyptologists as advertised. But if you’re lucky and get a good guide, it can make a world of difference.

For example, I booked this day tour to the Valley of the Kings and my female guide, Shaimaa, was knowledgable, fun and engaging! Here are other tours I recommend:

hot air ballooning in luxor - egypt travel advisory


Things to Watch Out for in Egypt

Hassling and Tourist Scams 

In Egypt, it is common to encounter persistent and relentless vendors. I don’t think I’ve been anywhere with worse hassling than in Egypt (and I’ve been to 140+ countries).  

I’ve had vendors drape scarves over my neck and insisting to get paid, and ladies shoving t-shirts into my bag when I wasn’t looking and asking for money. I also heard cat calls from Egyptian teenagers, who would shout out “China?” to me. Just avoid eye contact, ignore them and keep walking.

Almost all of the archeological sites in Egypt will have security guards standing around.  Their actual responsibility is to protect the ruins, but their side-hustle is to sneak people into restricted areas, and provide loose guiding after which they’ll ask you for tips. Do not follow them.

security guards at archaeological sites - egypt travel advisory  security guards at archaeological sites - how safe is egypt

Sexual Harassment

Unfortunately, sexual harassment is quite a common occurrence in Egypt (as confirmed with my Egyptian female friends). Whether you are dressed modestly or not, women often experience men making inappropriate advances in Egypt.

When I went on a felucca ride in Aswan,  the sailor made me uncomfortable by talking openly about sex. He eventually asked me to rendezvous on his boat at night (pictured). In Luxor, a taxi driver tried to sell me hashish and offer me “a sexy good time”. In case you were wondering, I was dressed in long pants and loose t-shirt.

For female travelers, a tool that can be helpful is Harass Map. In the map, you’ll find the areas where travelers have experienced some form of harassment.

felucca in the nile river - is it safe to travel egypt now  is it safe to travel egypt - felucca aswan

Crazy Traffic

This is mainly an issue in Cairo. Because of the insane congestion, traffic moves at a frantic, lawless pace. A 30-minute trip might take three hours. Always head out with ample time to get to your destination.

Roads are poorly marked, and traffic rules are often ignored and occasionally enforced. Be careful when crossing the road — you might come across a local who offers to help you cross the road. Some of them have a motive (either to show you their papyrus shop or jewelry store), just say thank you and move on.

traffic in cairo - is egypt safe to travel

Protests and Demonstrations

People take to the streets in Egypt, and sometimes peaceful protests can turn violent. Bystanders can get caught up in the mass arrests that can follow violent protests.

There are more impressive – and safer – things to see in Egypt than protests. As always, move along and avoid being stuck in the crowd. Keep yourself informed by following the news and asking around for info.

Police Presence

There are many police checks on the roads — they’ll even board the bus for inspection. On the road from Aswan to Abu Simbel, the police man tourist buses need to drive in convoys to be safe.

At almost every city’s busiest spot, you will see a police car stationed in a corner, along with armed officers with their weapons in position. All the Egyptians I spoke to all said they are there to keep everyone safe. 

is it safe to travel egypt - egyptian flag in hurghada is it safe to travel egypt - police in hurghada

Security Checks

In almost every attraction in Egypt, you’ll find metal detectors and security checkpoints at their entrances. Some hotels also have them, though they usually whisk you through without asking you to put your bags through the belt (which make you wonder why they have them in the first place).

Alcohol Consumption

Remember that Egypt is a Muslim country and alcohol consumption is banned outside of licensed bars and restaurants. Please don’t even think of bringing alcohol from abroad or buying them from individuals.

mosque in cairo - how to dress in egypt in a mosque in cairo - is egypt safe for women


Solo Female Travel in Egypt

Of the 140+ countries I’ve visited, Egypt is one of the worst places for solo female travelers. Be prepared for some sexual harassment if you’re a solo female traveler.

Some Egyptian men can be persistent and even aggressive. The taxi driver who offered me hashish got angry when I asked him to stop before reaching my destination. He started shouting at me and insisting on more money than what we agreed on. I threw him the money and left running.

If you’re a solo female traveler who has never traveled in Muslim countries, it might be wise to book a group tour such as this oneAlternatively, you can travel independently and book day trips. Ask for a female guide when you’re booking day tours. Female guides are few and far between, and you’ll be supporting them and providing them with work.

solo female travel in egypt - philae temple in aswan


 

How to Dress in Egypt

Egypt is a Muslim country, and it’s best to dress conservatively when traveling in Egypt. In Cairo, where many western women tour and live, you can easily get away with a dress. I wore dresses a few times but always made sure to have a shawl or jacket on me.

how to dress in egypt - how safe is egypt is egypt safe to visit - inside valley of the kings


 

How to Stay Safe in Egypt

This brings us back to the question, “is Egypt safe to visit?” 

In my opinion, yes it is safe to travel Egypt, but only with the right mindset and expectations. As long as you’ve done your research and practice common sense, there’s no reason why you can’t travel Egypt safely.

Here are more Egypt safety tips to help ensure your trip goes smoothly: 

  • Avoid eye contact – Egyptians see eye contact as a form of flirtation. Just smile, keep moving and ignore the tourist touts. I used to think it was rude, but I’ve realized that’s the only way to stop them from following you.
  • Say ‘no’ all offers – Anyone offering to take your photo or help you in anyway is going to ask for a baksheesh (tip).  Just say no or “shukran” (thank you) and they’ll leave you alone.
  • Don’t take up on offers to go anywhere alone with an Egyptian – Solo female travelers should avoid being alone with a man with nowhere to escape. Of course not all Egyptian men are not trustworthy, but I recommend erring on the safe side.
  • Dress conservatively – As Egypt is a Muslim country, dressing appropriately will help you avoid drawing too much unwanted attention. Cover your knees and shoulders if possible.
  • Book a guide at archaeological sites At certain sites like Giza Pyramids and Valley of the Kings, having a guide will ward off the annoying touts. These sites have so much history to them, you’ll need a guide to truly understand the stories behind them. 
  • Don’t bring a drone – You need special permission to fly a drone on most parts of Egypt. If you bring it to the airport, chances of getting it confiscated is very high. 
  • Avoid any display of affection – Egypt is a conservative country, so avoid kissing or hugging your partner in public.
  • Always ask before taking photos of people This is especially so in crowded places like the souk. Some locals might not like that, and might get aggressive if you do snap photos of them, so please avoid that.

sunset in luxor on nile river - is egypt safe to travel


Further Reading on Egypt

I hope this article on travel safety in Egypt will help you get ready for your trip. If you’re interested in reading more on Egypt, check out these articles I’ve written on the country as well as neighboring countries:

Let me know if you have any questions below. I’d be more than happy to help!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links i.e. I’ll get a small commission when you click on those links, at NO EXTRA COST TO YOU. 

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