SAFETY AND SECURITY ISSUES
For news regarding the 25th January Revolution click here:
We cannot guarantee your safety while in Egypt, but
we can tell you that we take all possible precautions, are
alert to security issues, and would never allow you to enter
situations which we ourselves, or our local agents - in
all 'good faith'- thought to be dangerous. All our past
participants have returned home safe and well.
late February 2009 a small bomb was set off in the Khan
area of Cario, killing one French student and injuring 20
others, mainly locals. The attack appears to have been undertaken
by individuals in protest at the recent Israeli attack on
Palestine, and the failure of the West to intervene. Four
years before a similar attack took place. While of concern,
these attacks appear to be the random actions of individuals
rather than those of organised groups.
the late 1980's, up until 1997, some extremists within Egypt
tried to overthrow the government by targeting tourists
in an attempt to stop tourism, cause financial chaos at
the local and national level (as tourism is a major income
earner for the State and many Egyptian people), and hence
destabilise the central government. The last major act of
this type was a terrible massacre at Deir el Bahri. The
local people were appalled - some actually hunted down those
responsible, and local villagers held spontaneous protest
rallies against the terrorists. In response the Egyptian
Government tightened security and the terrorist groups involved
have renounced violence as a means to secure their agenda.
July 2005 and April 2006 there were several bomb attacks
in the Sinai at the tourist resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh and
Dahab. While no group has claimed responsibility it is thought
that radical elements in the local Bedouin tribes of the
peninsula may have undertaken these attacks with support
from al-Qaeda. Our tours do NOT enter the Sinai Peninsula
international situation is also cause for some concern -
especially since the September 11 attacks and the 'War on
Terror'. The Egyptian Government has condemned the September
11 attacks and international terrorism.
the local people we have talked with in Aswan, Luxor
and Cairo have similarly deplored such acts. As one
local at Giza named Ramadam said to Mike in June, 2002: They
killed Moslems, Christians, Jews - everyone - in the
World Trade Centre. Islam is for peace - how can this
[terrorism] ever be right? And why do some Westerners
think we [Egyptians and Moslems generally] hate them?
We welcome them! Tell them that we want them to come,
and be welcomed here! Do not judge Islam, or the Egyptian
people, by the crimes of a few.
has been some tension between Moslem extremists and their
Coptic Christian neighbours in Middle Egypt for several
decades. During the height of local violence some 14 years
ago Mike visited Sohag in order to undertake research and
was treated with the utmost courtesy by all. While our day-trip
to Abydos will bring us into Middle Egypt army presence
along the road (and at the actual site) is heavy, and to
our knowledge no tourist to the Abydos Temples has ever
Mike was 'stuck' in Egypt during the bombing of Iraq during
the Gulf War in 1991 (due to a lack of flights in the region)
- he was welcomed into local Egyptian homes and given all
comfort and support - a level of hospitality that would
make many of us in the West blush!
Tours registers our tours with the Australian Embassy in
Cairo. We monitor the advice given by the Australian Department
of Foreign Affairs and Trade with regards to travel in Egypt
and ensure that your Travel Insurance is paid immediately
so that, should a formal warning against travel in Egypt
be issued, other paid monies will be secure (subject to
the terms of insurance).
Keep up-to-date on official news from the via the DFAT 'SmartTraveller'
website - click on the icon below:
travelling in some parts of Egypt (eg. Aswan to Abu Simbel)
our bus travels as part of a Security Forces' convoy. At
such times we must follow the time-table and directives
of the Security Forces. On some short journeys (eg.
Cairo-Dashur) we may be accompanied by an armed member of
the Tourist Police (with two-way communications). At most
major sites and museums in Egypt you (and your day-pack/bag)
will be electronically screened and sometimes you might
be searched - you need to be aware that such systems are
in place for the security of all, and to be patient at times
when we may be delayed (it is wise not to have a pocket
knife in your day-pack!). The Egyptian security forces might
sometimes seem to be a little 'laid back' and 'extra-friendly'
from a Western point-of-view, but they do their job very
sense is always advisable! If there is a loud gathering
in a street or square, walk the other way (it's probably
just some locals arguing about the price of fish anyway!).
If you are going somewhere without the group, see if someone
will go with you and let someone who is not accompanying
you know where you are going and how long you expect to
be gone for. Don't accept rides with strangers and be conscious
of your own personal security and that of your luggage/money
at all times.
should expect some unwanted attention at times. While sex
outside of marriage is socially and religiously unacceptable
in Egypt, this rule seems to apply only to Egyptian women,
not men. Western women are known to be 'easy' (hey, just
look at what is shown in the Western soap-operas shown on
Egyptian tv!). This may seem silly, but this is where many
Egyptian men are often coming from in their attitudes. Unwanted
attention can vary from looks and comments to 'bum or boob'
touching and worse. Ways to avoid such attention include:
*wearing modest clothing (eg. arms,
chest and legs suitably covered - keep the swimsuit or
short skirt and T-shirts for the hotel);
*avoid direct eye contact with
*don't do or say anything that
could be taken as being flirtatious or suggestive;
*if in need of help, ask a local
*always try to ensure that another
member of the group is with you;
* say that you are married (even
if you are not, wearing a 'fake' wedding ring is helpful!);
*never sit at the front of a horse,
donkey or camel if the owner is going to sit behind you!
If comments are made try to pretend
that you did not hear them and walk away without looking
round. No Egyptian man would ever dream of touching an Egyptian
woman who was not a member of their family, so do not accept
any touching other than a handshake. Either remove the offending
hand or move away. If the message does not get across it
might be useful to say something like: 'la' (no);
'halas' (enough); or 'aa til-mas-ni' (do not
website JourneyWoman has lots of great information on this
issue. Click the icon above to enter the website and type
'Egypt' into their site search engine and follow the links.
the road: it sounds like child's play, but crossing the
road in Egypt does require extra care! From the hotel window
in Aswan in 2002 Mike saw an old man run over and killed
on the street - and remember that Aswan is a tiny town compared
to Cairo! He also witnessed a similar scene in Cairo a few
years before. The first issue is that traffic in Egypt runs
on the other side of the road to what we in Australia are
used to, so double check. Secondly, many kerbs are up to
40 cm high and it is easy to trip moving from the footpath
to the road itself. Add to this that Egyptian traffic is
very chaotic, and you have the potential for an accident.
Always take extreme care - never assume that cars will give
way to pedestrians, and hold-hands with others when crossing.
If at all possible see if you can place some locals crossing
your way between you and the traffic. HINT: Always make
eye contact with the drivers before you walk in front
of their vehicles!
ask that our participants complete a form listing two contact
people (not on the tour) and return this to us. We collate
the information participants provide into a single sheet
and lodge a copy of this, along with our itinerary, with
the Australian Embassy in Cairo. We shall carry a copy with
us in case of an emergency. We also ask one participant
to carry one as a back-up to our own.
provide our participants with copies of our itinerary and
hotel bookings/contacts so that they may pass these on to
family and friends who might need/wish to contact them while
they are away.
The con artists at Giza are arguably the worst (best?) anywhere.
Some pretend to be police or Antiquities Inspectors - always
ask to see their ID cards (many of which are good fakes
anyway) and get Mike or Patricia as soon as possible. Do
not part with any money or go anywhere with them. Another
'Giza special' is to be offered gifts ('no money') or have
'gifts' placed on you (eg. a scarf on your head). As you
walk away, you are suddenly told to pay! If you do not wish
for the goods at the said price, hand them back. If the
owner refuses to take them (now that they have been used!)
just drop them on the ground and walk away. Do not get into
an argument (you won't win it!), just walk! If the hassle
is too much, call 'Tourist Police Help!' or something similar
and keep going. We have found the worst place on the Giza
plateau for this kind of thing is the area between the Solar
Boat Museum & the Great Pyramid, as it is out-of sight from
Take care with your luggage and day-pack.
In Egypt it is the norm that large bags are placed in luggage
racks on top of taxis and mini-buses. We strongly recommend
that you purchase a luggage strap (with 'click-lock' join)
so that your large luggage can be quickly secured onto the
frame atop the vehicle. While we have never known of a bag
flying off, it could happen, so having a strap is a good
precaution. It is a good idea to have some form of lock
(key or combination) for your bags while they are left in
your hotel room. Again, we have never known of any item
going missing from any hotel room we have stayed at in Egypt,
but taking precautions is always best and we have heard
of such incidences from fellow travellers. If using key
locks you might consider giving a copy to your 'pack-buddy'
should you lose yours. When using taxis, hantours (horse-drawn
carriages) etc. always make sure you have all your bags
with you and only pay for the ride once you are clear of
the vehicle and have double-checked that you have not left
are a confusing number of different police forces
in Egypt: regular police; military police; secret
police; tourist police; traffic police, water police
etc. Tourist Police will be at most sites we visit
and have distinctive uniforms and arm labels. While
they are supposed to help tourists and protect them
from the unwanted attention of con artists, this is
oftsen not the case. Indeed one of our 2002 participants
was side-tracked away from the group by Tourist Police
at Dashur and forced to hand over extra tips. Should
anything like this happen to you, please tell them
to see the Tour Leaders and say that you have no money.
If you feel that you must 'pay up' please let us know
as soon as possible so that we can try to take action.
If you are using a taxi, hantour or other service by yourself,
always agree on a price prior to getting into the vehicle
or agreeing to the service, and make sure that the driver/provider
can change any large note you might have if you cannot give
correct change (or near to the agreed price).
These suggestions are intended
as a general guide only and you are, of course, responsible
for your own personal security while on the tour.