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Nile Valley Practical information

Nile Valley Practical information
Nile Valley
Visitors will need a single-visit visa to enter Egypt. The visa is valid for 90 days. If the planned trip involves travel in and out of Egypt over the same period, then the best option is a multiple-visit visa. Obtaining a visa is pretty straightforward. It can simply be arranged in advance through one of the Egyptian consulates dotted around the world or purchased on entry at Cairo or Luxor airports. All visitors will need to have a passport which must have at least six months remaining of its validity on the date of entry. Egypt, like all other countries, apply strict customs rules about bringing items such as alcohol and cigarettes into the country, so to avoid any misunderstandings it is probably advisable to buy at an airport shop. Under no circumstances should you attempt to leave the country with antiquities.
As Egypt is such a vast country the best way for holidaying visitors who may have a limited amount of time to explore is to travel from one city to another by air. There are long distance buses and trains available which are cheaper, but of course take much longer to reach their destination. Travel within cities is probably best done by taxi or minibus, although car hire is an option.
Hire a car with a guide by the day, which is a good idea if you have a tight schedule and want to see all the sights.
If planning to go into the desert it is a must to take a guide to avoid becoming disorientated. Cairo also has an underground rail system, which is a good way to travel around the city.
The Nile Valley region stretches nearly 1532 kilometres and as such the weather can differ quite considerably from Alexandria on the coast in the north, along the river to Luxor, Aswan or Abu Simbel further south. Generally, though, the climate in the Nile Valley is moderate with lots of sunshine and very few rainy days, unlike the desert areas that have much hotter temperatures. The best times to go are from mid-April onwards and May or September and October, November when the temperatures are lower, therefore making it easier to sightsee and explore. Between the months of July and August the sun is at its hottest. Average temperatures in Cairo are around 25-35°C (95°F), while in Luxor they are 30-40°C (107.6°F) and in Aswan hotter still at 31-42°C (107.6°F).
The official language of Egypt is Arabic and other languages are widely spoken too, especially in tourist areas.
There are no vaccinations needed to visit Egypt. Sunburn and dehydration can be avoided by using plenty of sun cream, wearing light cotton clothing and a hat, and drinking lots of water. The health care facilities in Egypt are generally good and it is advisable to have health insurance.
While other areas of Egypt are synonymous with scuba diving and snorkelling, such as the Red Sea resorts of Hurghada, El Gouna, Marsa Alam, Dahab and Sharm el-Sheikh in Sinai, the Nile Valley is known for its balloon trips over the Valley of the Kings, its excellent golf courses, particularly in and around Cairo and Luxor, and its felucca sailing opportunities.
For the energetic there’s horse and camel riding, organised hikes and safaris, while for those who like to take it really slow there’s some superb spas just waiting to be enjoyed.
Egypt has embraced internet services and now it is easy to go online at hotels, offices and internet cafes. Egypt has Wifi – Wimax wireless internet that enables you to access the internet in most of the popular places in the country, particularly around Luxor. The telephone system is efficient and visitors should have no problem in finding public phones that take cards. You can buy visitor mobile cards that enable you to use your mobile. The bright yellow and green half booths favoured by one of the leading telecom providers, Menatel, are usually easy to spot. Cards are available from most newspaper stalls and shops showing the Menatel sign and come in 10 and 30 denominations for local and international use. You can buy stamps and post your letter at post offices or from your hotel. Post offices are closed on Fridays.
The currency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound, which is divided into 100 piasters. Cash is generally easily obtained from ATMs, which can be found in larger towns and cities. Most of the major hotels and stores accept credit cards, such as Visa and Mastercard, along with travellers’ cheques and certain foreign currencies like euro, sterling and dollars. If venturing off the beaten track you will find that generally only the Egyptian pound in cash will be accepted.
Egypt is two hours ahead of GMT, except at the start of May and the end of September when it is three hours ahead until the beginning or end of British Summer Time.

Egypt’s electricity works on 220v with sockets being of the two-pin European mainland variety. It’s a good idea to pack an adaptor if planning to use personal items like mobile phone chargers.
Government, administrative offices and Banks are generally open from 9am to 2pm each day, except for Fridays, Saturdays and public holidays. Most shops are open from 10am to 10pm every day except Sunday. Please note that all these times may vary in shopping centres and during Ramadan. Most historic sites and museums are open from 9am to 5pm daily, and often until 6pm in the summer.

Egypt Holidays include the Coptic Christmas in January 7, Labour Day in May 1, Revolution Day in July 23, Armed Forces Day in October 6. The Islamic New Year, the Birth of the Prophet and Ramadan, the major religious period of fasting that precedes the Bairam Feast, change every year.
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