Is Egypt Safe?
The question is understandable given the western media’s coverage of the revolution and recent violence, and we can only speak from our own experiences. Tahrir Square was quiet during the day, but is to be avoided on Fridays and special occasions such as the anniversary of the revolution. The area around Mohammed Mahmoud Street and the nearby Interior Ministry building should be considered a ‘no-go’ zone for visitors due to continued violent protests there. It is worth considering that such areas are not ‘tourist destinations’ and should not be treated as such. Egyptians have died, and continue to die in these places in their struggle for freedom and equality. The revolution and its aftermath belong to the Egyptian people and visitors should not treat places like Tahrir and Mohammed Mahmoud Street as ‘exciting’ or ‘interesting’ additions to their itinerary. A few blocks away from these zones all is quiet and peaceful, so with a little common sense a visitor can feel quite safe.
Not one tourist was harmed during the 25th January Revolution or in the more recent troubles at Maspero and Mohammed Mahmoud Street.
On our arrival in Luxor our friend Abdul Mawgood Saeed met us. He apologised that he had some bad news – a boy was using a motorbike to snatch handbags from local women and visitors and we should take care. A few days later he reported that the police had caught the teenager responsible for the thefts. His unease in telling us about the case came from the fact that such street crime had been almost unknown in Luxor before. It is interesting to compare what seemed to Luxorians to have been a crime wave bringing dishonour on their community with the prevalence of street crime in our own societies.
Is now a good time to visit Egypt? YES! Tourist numbers are greatly reduced which means more attention at the souks – true – but it also means that even the popular sites like Giza, Saqqara, Karnak Temple, the Valley of the Kings, Abu Simbel and Philae are almost deserted. Visitors can currently wander and wonder around all the sites without the usual ‘crush and noise’ of tourists and spend quality time at even the most famous places.
Also see our pages on:
Safety and Security Issues
2012 News from Egypt
Our 2011 Tour Group and the 25th January Revolution
Abu Simbel - January 2012 - minus the usual crowds of tourists