What You Need To Know
Cairo, is set on the Nile River. At its heart is Tahrir Square and the vast Egyptian Museum, a trove of antiquities including the royal mummies and gilded King Tutankhamun artifacts. Nearby, Giza is site of the iconic pyramids and Great Sphinx, dating to the 26th century B.C.E. In Gezira Island’s leafy Zamalek district, 187m Cairo Tower affords panoramic city views.
Capital of Egypt
Area: 453 km²
Population: 7.772 million (2006)
- The currency in Cairo is the Egyptian pound (EGP). The Egyptian Pound is divided into 100 piasters. Coins, which are not used often, are available in 5, 10, 20, 50 piasters and 1 pound, while banknotes come in 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pounds.
- Be aware that while you are in any archaeological sites, you will find some street vendors coming to you with a bunch of euro coins asking you to convert them to Euro paper notes, if you accept to help them (as here banks do NOT accept to change any coins of any currency) so please double check them well , as now in Egypt the new Egyptian One pound is a coin and it look somehow similar to a one euro coin, so make sure to double check it well before helping these people
Egypt has an arid, desert climate and the weather in Cairo is always warm, or hot, and the nights cool. There are only two seasons: a very hot summer between May and October, and a mild winter from November to April. Cairo is very dry, receiving on average only about a centimetre of rain a year, but it does have high humidity levels in summer due to its location by the Nile River. The city occasionally experiences dust storms in March and April. The best time to visit Cairo is in the cooler winter months between November and April, when the temperatures range from 66°F (19°C) to 84°F (29°C) during the day, and average between 41°F (5°C) and 52°F (11°C) at night. December, January and February are the most popular months to visit as they are the most comfortable and visitors avoid both the worst of the heat and the chance of desert winds and sandstorms.
- Languages of Cairo. The official language in Egypt is Standard Arabic.Egyptian Arabic is however the national and spoken language, but is only occasionally written. English and French are both spoken throughout Cairo and used frequently in business.
- English is the most commonly used foreign language and most of the street plates are bilingual in Literary Arabic and English. There are a few street plates with French instead of English. French is also widely spoken and used in business and educated circles.
Health and security
- Cairo is safe but it is important to exercise a little more caution in a foreign country, just because the surroundings are different to what you’re used to.
- The Egyptian police will do their best to secure every part of the city. Note that mistakes may happen, but nothing more than what may happen in other parts of the world.
- There is not a large prevalence of violent crimes in Cairo, but tourists should be aware of petty crimes, such as purse-snatching, which are more common. In addition, it is recommended that tourists who are women should not travel anywhere alone as they may become victims of verbal abuse or sexual harassment.
- Be aware of people who approach you on the street and try to take you shopping to areas or places that you do not know. Stick to shops recommended by others, or choose them on your own.
- DON’T try to cross the road unless you’re supremely confident. To the untrained eye, the drivers are suicidal.
- DON’T plan to wear short sleeves, walking shorts, or short skirts in Cairo. This clothing is considered to be immodest by the Muslim faith, and it will be offensive to most people.
- DON’T drink tap water. Bottled water is cheap and will save you a world of pain.
- DON’T try to bring anything that could be considered pornographic into Cairo. Pornography in any form is prohibited, and highly illegal.
- DO use yellow taxis if you can find them. They are clean, have air-conditioning and meters and take the hassle out of bargaining.
- DO be aware that in Egypt the workweek starts on Sunday, rather than Monday. Friday is considered a prayer day, and all banks and shops are closed. On Saturday, banks are also closed, but other establishments are usually open. Sunday is just like any other workday, and most business establishments are open.
- DO expect that if you wish to use a public restroom, be sure to bring some change, as access usually requires a small fee.