Egypt Name and Map

Egypt is officially known as the Arab Republic of Egypt and is located in north-eastern Africa and southwestern Asia. Cairo, the capital and largest city, is the most modern in the Middle East and Africa.

It is bounded on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, on the east by Israel and the Red Sea, on the south by Sudan, and on the west by Libya. The country has a maximum length from north to south of about 1086 km (about 675 m) and a maximum width, near the southern border, of about 1255 km (about 780 m). It has a total area of about 1,001,450 sq km (about 386,662 sq m). Less than one-tenth of the land area of Egypt is settled or under cultivation, this consists of the valley and delta of the Nile, a number of desert oases, and land along the Suez Canal.

More than 90 percent of the country consists of desert areas: In the west, the Libyan Desert, a part of the Sahara Desert which is also known as the Western Desert. The Libyan Desert includes a vast sandy expanse called the Great Sand Sea. Located here are several depressions with elevations below sea level, including the Qattara Depression, which has an area of about 18,000 sq km (about 7000 sq m) and reaches a depth of 133 m (436 ft) below sea level, the lowest point in Africa. Also found here are the oases of Siwa, Kharga, Baharia and Dakhla.

In the east the Arabian Desert, also called the Eastern Desert (which borders the Red Sea and the Gulf of Suez). Much of the Arabian Desert occupies a plateau that rises gradually east from the Nile Valley to elevations of about 600 m (about 2000 ft) in the east and is broken along the Red Sea coast by jagged peaks as high as about 2100 m (about 7000 ft) above sea level.

In the extreme south, along the border with Sudan, is the Nubian Desert, an extensive region of dunes and sandy plains.

The Sinai Peninsula consists of sandy desert in the north and rugged mountains in the south, with summits looming more than about 2100 m (about 7000 ft) above the Red Sea. Mount Catherine (Jabal Katrìnah – 2637 m/8652 ft), the highest elevation in Egypt, is in the Sinai Peninsula, as is Mount Sinai (Jabal Mosa), where, according to the Old Testament, Moses received the Ten Commandments.

The Nile enters Egypt from the Sudan and flows north for about 1545 km (about 960 m) to the Mediterranean Sea. For its entire length, from the southern border to Cairo, the Nile flows through a narrow valley lined by cliffs. Lake Nasser, the world’s largest man-made reservoir and formed by the Aswan high dam, extends south across the Sudan border. The lake is about 480 km (about 300 m) long and is about 16 km (10 m) across at its widest point. About two-thirds of the lake lies in Egypt.

South of a point near the town of Edfu, the Nile Valley is rarely more than 3 km (2 m) wide. From Edfu to Cairo, the valley is about 23 km (about 14 m) in width, with most of the arable portion on the western side. In the vicinity of Cairo the valley merges with the delta, a fan-shaped plain, the perimeter of which occupies about 250 km (about 155 m) of the Mediterranean coastline. Silt deposited by the Rosetta (Rashid), Damietta (Dumyat), and other distributaries has made the delta the most fertile region in the country. However, the Aswan High Dam has reduced the flow of the Nile, causing the salty waters of the Mediterranean to erode land along the coast near the Nile.

A series of four shallow, brackish lakes extends along the seaward extremity of the delta. Another larger lake, Birkat Qarun, is situated inland in the desert north of the town of Al Fayoum. Geographically and traditionally, the Nile Valley is divided into two regions, Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt, the former consisting of the delta area and the latter comprising the valley south of Cairo.

Although Egypt has about 2450 km (about 1520 m) of coastline, two-thirds of which are on the Red Sea, indentations suitable as harbors are confined to the delta. The Isthmus of Suez, which connects the Sinai Peninsula with the African mainland, is traversed from the Mediterranean to the Gulf of Suez by the Suez Canal.

Whether in Egypt

The Egyptian summer is hot and dry in most of the country, and humid in the Delta and along the Mediterranean Coast. In recent years the humidity has spread to Cairo, and the city swelters in August! Winter is mild with some rain, but usually it is bright, sunny days with cold nights.
During the summer, sun protection is the most important single consideration for an Egypt trip, especially for the fair-skinned. Wearing a sunhat is essential. Cheap, and pure cotton, sunhats are made locally and available everywhere. Travel clothing should be light and comfortable, 100% cotton clothing is the best and robust shoes are a must! The climate of Egypt is characterized by a hot season from May to October and a cool season from October to May. Extreme temperatures during both seasons are moderated by the prevailing northern winds.

-In the coastal region average annual temperatures range from a maximum of 37° C (99° F) to a minimum of 14° C (57° F). Wide variations of temperature occur in the deserts, ranging from a maximum of 46° C (114° F), during daylight hours, to a minimum of 6° C (42° F) after sunset. During winter desert temperatures often drop to 0° C (32° F).

The most humid area is along the Mediterranean coast, where the average annual rainfall is about 200 mm. Precipitation decreases rapidly to the south; Cairo receives on average only about 29 mm of rain each year, and in many desert locations it may rain only once in several years!

There are 5 days called Khamsin between March and April, when sandstorms can occur sporadically, blowing in different places according to the wind direction.

Winter (between October and May) weather is colder than most people anticipate, and cold winds blow over the desert at sunrise and sunset. Even when it is warm outside, it can be surprisingly cold inside the massive stone Temples. In winter, showers can fall everywhere, so bring a few items of light but warm clothing, so that you can cope with the cold early mornings and the occasional, and unseasonable, cold snap.

Population

The population of approximately 60 million people are concentrated on the Nile, on 3.6% of Egypt’s total area. 16 million people live in Cairo and its suburbs.

Economy

Egyptian economy depended mainly on agriculture. After the revolution the State focused its efforts on industrialization. In accordance with culture development. Egypt welcome Arab and foreign investors. Of the most important beneficiary sectors of this economic open door policy and investment stimulation is the tourism sector.

Religion

The official religion is Islam and the spirit of tolerance and amity prevails among the Egyptian people, Muslims and Christians.

 Language

The official language is Arabic. A considerable percentage of the Egyptians command foreign language, foremost among them are English and French.

Currency

Egyptian currency : Egypt circulates the pound as currency. One pound is equivalent to 100 piasters. A visitor is only allowed to carry 1000 Egyptian pounds on arrival or departure.

Foreign currency: A tourist is allowed to carry amount of foreign currency, whether bills, travelers cheques, money orders, bank transfers or credit cards.

Business hours

Government office are open daily 8.30 a.m. till 2.00 p.m. except on Fridays and public holidays. Private ones: are open daily from 9:a.m till 5 p.m. except on Fridays and public holidays.

Banking

Banks open daily from 9.00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m. Weekend is Friday and Saturday. Bank branches, in deluxe hotels and Cairo airport are open 24 hours. Foreign currency exchange offices are available in Egypt.

Shopping

Egypt is known for its world-class handicrafts, carpets, leather ware and jewelers. Khan El Khalili bazaar is the most famous shopping center where tourists can pick gifts of Egyptian perfumes, herbs spices and carved wood.

Visa / Passport

Most tourists and visitors to Egypt can obtain an entry visa at any of the major airports or ports of entry. All foreigners arriving in Egypt should have a valid passport (with at least 6 months left, before expiry) to get an entry visa.

The visa can also be obtained from Egyptian Diplomatic and Consular Missions abroad, or from the visa department at the Travel Documents, Immigration and Nationality Administration (TDINA) building at Mogamma.

How to obtain your visa at the airport?

The visa is simply a stamp (like a mail or postage stamp) that you buy from the visa office, which you arrive at, just before the immigration booth; you can’t miss it! The visa will cost you around $15 and after buying it; you just stick in any empty page on your passport. Don’t worry; it’s so easy! Once, you have bought your visa you then stand in line to get your passport stamped by the immigration officer.

 USEFUL TIP:

While you are buying your visa, use the opportunity to exchange your currency, but please note, only $US, £UK or Euros can be accepted.

Visitors entering Egypt at the overland border post at Taba, to visit the Gulf of Aqaba coast and St. Catherine’s, can be exempt from requiring a  visa and be granted a free residence permit, valid for fourteen days, to visit the area.

Egyptian Diplomatic and Consular Missions   abroad

Foreign embassy  contacts and  addresses in Egypt

Citizens of the following countries should have a prearrival visa:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chechnya, Croatia, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Lebanon, Macao, Macedonia, Moldavia, Montenegro, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, The Philippines, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Sri-Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and All African countries except South Africa.

Transportation

RAILWAY: Cairo is connected with other Egyptian cities by a network railway s. most trains are air-conditioned and provide food services and Wagons-Lits between Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Aswan

LIMOUSINE: limo services are available for transfers and pick up from the airports to the hotels and V.V.

Cloths

During summer, you need light clothes. In winter, a coat or jacket will be needed in the evening. Comfortable shoes are a must. In the city centers, in mosques and churches clothes that are more conservative should be worn.