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INTRODUCING EGYPT

Egypt is a country of contrasts. Where one day you can watch the sun set over a desert landscape and the next see it rise from a blissful Red Sea beach retreat. Come to unearth thousands of years of history in this living museum’s temples and tombs. Leave brimming with stories to tell of this vibrant modern nation. 

Ancient kingdoms, desert dunes, one of the world’s greatest dive sites – and a river runs through it.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

  • Capital city: Cairo.
  • Currency: The Egyptian Pound (guinay) in LE5, LE10, LE20 LE50, LE100 and LE200 notes.
  • Cuisine: Regional food differs depending on whether you’re in the north or south, beside the sea or in the desert. Look out for the ways different regions prepare mulukhiya, a rich green vegetable, and Ta’meya – or falafel. On the coast dine on spice-laced fish baked in earthenware pots. In the north, ful medames – flavoursome fava beans – is a must.
  • Tipping etiquette: If a service charge doesn’t already appear on your bill, it’s customary to add around 10% as a tip. Many visitors also give a moderate tip to particularly helpful tour guides and taxi drivers.
  • Saying hello: Greet locals in the Egyptian way by saying “Ahlan” throughout the day.

WHEN TO GO

Winter in Egypt runs roughly in parallel with the UK, from October to February, although the temperature will still be at the balmy end of the barometer. Blistering sun from June until August means it’s best to stick to the cooler coast. While spring and autumn are pleasantly balanced – and the busiest sites are a bit less bustling.   

Dive into the modern side to Egypt and join the locals in kitesurfing. El Gouna is a hub for this high-flying sport, with surf centres peppered along the beachfront.

Top tip from SLH

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