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Egypt Location info

North-eastern corner of Africa and south-western Asia: It is bounded on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, on the east by Palestine and Israel, on the south by Sudan, and on the west by Libya. Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Libya and the Gaza Strip, and the Red Sea north of Sudan, and includes the Asian Sinai Peninsula.

Cairo, the City of the 1,000 Minarets, was founded on July 16, 969 AD. Cairo is Africa's most populous city and the Arab world's cultural centre. The city provides its visitors with great cultural destinations including a vast amount of art galleries, music halls, and cultural centres in addition to fine restaurants, various leisure activities, and shopping.

The population , including those living abroad is estimated to have reached 82,082,662 million

The official language of Egypt is Standard Arabic and is used in most written media. English and French are also widely spoken by most educated Egyptians as well as by shopkeepers among others.

Throughout Egypt, days are commonly warm or hot, and nights are cool. Egypt has only two seasons: a mild winter from November to April and a hot summer from May to October. The only differences between the seasons are variations in daytime temperatures and changes in prevailing winds.

Highways and Bridges: Egypt has a network of highways covering the country and extending around 48.1 thousand km (29,888 miles).

Air Transport: Egypt has 30 airports with flights accessing 72 capital cities internationally and 12 cities locally. EGYPTAIR, the national carrier, is one of the best in the Middle East and the Arab countries. It operates more than 555 weekly flights departing from Cairo and many other Egyptian cities to 69 international and domestic destinations in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America.

The unit of currency is the Egyptian Pound (EGP), which is divided into 100 piasters. Traveller’s checks and most credit cards including MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club and Visa are accepted in major hotels and restaurants. Banking hours are Sunday to Thursday from 8:30 am until 2:00 pm and are generally closed on Friday and Saturday. Private exchange bureaus are open daily and banks in major hotels and are open 24 hours. ATMs are quite common in the main tourist areas and most of the Egyptian cities. Banking hours are Sunday to Thursday , 8:30 am to 2:00 pm.

Electrical current is 220V, 50 Hz. European style two-pin plugs are standard.

The international access code for Egypt is +20. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for UK). The city code for Cairo is (0)2. Telephone and Telegraph (PTT) offices are available in all Egyptian cities. For international directory phone enquiries dial 120. The local mobile phone operators use GSM 900 networks and have roaming agreements with all major operators. Internet service is available in the main tourist areas, Hotels, cafés and internet cafes.

National Holidays:

  • Christmas (Eastern Coptic) 7th of January
  • Sinai LibrationDay  25th of April
  • Laborday  1st of May
  • Revolution day  23rd of July
  • Egyptian Armed Forces Day  6th of October

Movable Holidays

  • Eid El Fitr (Lesser Bairam)  8th August 2013
  • Eid El Adha (Greater Bairam)  14th of October 2013
  • New Islamic year  5thof November 2013
  • Prophet Mohamed Birthday  24th of January 2013
  • Shem El Nessem  6th of May 2013

Sharm el Sheikh & Dahab Excursions – More Information

Sharm el Sheikh

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Sharm El Sheikh is one if the most extraordinary cities on earth, it’s location in the north of Sinai in Egypt make it a unique place to visit and enjoy it’s amazing weather,  landscapes and even deep down the Red Sea when fish are glowing in the dark and the endless reef colours are reflecting the sunlight across the pure blue water.

Sharm El Sheikh also known as the “City of peace” (“Madenat Al-Salam” in Arabic) due to the large international peace conferences held here, also Sharm El Sheikh means ([Şarm-üşŞeyh]) – Sharm ush-Sheikh – “Bay of Sheikh” in Arabic, and it’s locally known among Egyptians by “Sharm” ([ʃɑɾˤm]).Sharm El Sheik’ssmall districts or areas are Naama Bay, Al Hadaba, Hay Al Noor and Sharks Bay and form a metropolitan area.

The weather of Sharm El Sheikh is known by its warm atmosphere along the year as the average temperature during the winter months (November – March) range from (15 – 35°C) degrees Celsius, and during the summer months (April to October) from (20 – 45°C) degrees Celsius. The temperature of the Red Sea in this region ranges from 21 to 28 degrees Celsiusover the course of the year.

Sharm El Sheikh also has become one of the most important and favourite spot for divers around the world due to its magical Red Sea, which provides some of the most stunning scenery along with its warm water around the year.Ras Mohammed is the national park of the South of Sinai and it is located on the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, along with Nabq.  Tt has famous dive sites in the Red Sea, with 800-metre deep reef walls, pounding current and coral gardens.

Visitorsto Sharm El Sheikh can enjoy a wide variety of activities and water entertainments, also beach seekers can find many different activity like: Diving, Snorkelling, Para-Sailing, Kite Surfing, Wind Surfing, Boating and Canoeing.

Alf Leila Wa Leila Show

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King Shahriyar had become disgruntled with the unfaithfulness of women, and vowed to have a new wife each night. Each was to be executed the following morning. Shahrazad, when her turn came, enacted a clever plan. Each night she told Shahriyar a story without an end. The King became so entranced by Shahrazad's stories that he would long to hear the conclusion of each one; and night after night Shahrazad would leave him in suspense, thus earning herself a further stay of execution. This went on for a thousand and one nights, in Arabic: Alf Leila Wa Leila…

Night entertainment at Alf Leila Wa Leila, just to name a few, ranges from informal outlets to stylish trendy dinners and rocking party places, offering virtually all the scenes and ambiences you can dream of.

The fantastic show takes you on a mesmerizing journey back in time to ancient Egypt, when the Pharaohs ruled the land. The dance recalls images made famous from ancient archaeological paintings and hieroglyphs, and it might have been performed for the Pharaoh and the Queen, as a tribute to Aten, god of the sun. The wide variety of folk dance performances reflects the unique characteristics of each Egyptian region.

Come and enjoy the magic with a great variety of restaurants, bars, shops, sound- and lightshows about Egypt's glorious history, fantastic folklore shows with belly dancers and whirling dervishes…

The Coloured Canyons

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Sinai holds many historic and natural assets making it unique and distinct from the rest of Egyptian deserts. Its varied and beautiful mountain forms and stretches of sand, its importance as a land of miracles and holy places and its location, standing between two continents, are all elements that have dominated its history and often made it the scene of bitter fighting.

Sinai’s first settlers, who predated the Nile civilization, were nomads from the east. They worshiped a moon goddess called Sin, from where comes the name, the Land of Sin.Historically, Sinai is one of the most unusual places on Earth where the origins of most of the world's moral codes originate. Regardless of the controversy over whether Gebel Musa Ras es-Safsafeh is the true Mount Sinai from which the Ten Commandments were given to Moses, it surely happened in the Sinai.

The canyon is like U letter.  The car drops you off at the start of the canyon and waits for you at the end of the canyon.  The place is amazing and you can see the mixture of the colours in the sand!  The Bedouin guide will be telling the secrets of the place and how they can use this sand as make up.

Saint Catherine in the Sinai

Mostly Sinai is known to the world through religion. The Muslims, Christians and the Jewish are all bound to the history of the Old Testament. Here lies the book of Exodus, where Moses found the Burning bush, where he cast wood into a bitter spring on God's instructions to make the spring sweet and where he was provided with the Ten Commandments.To the Christians, it was the route that the Holy Family took on their journey into Egypt, and to the Muslims, it is an ancient route to and from Mecca.

Located at the foot of Mount Moses, St. Catherine's Monastery, was constructed by order of the Emperor Justinian between 527 and 565. It is built around what is thought to be Moses' Burning Bush, which has a chapel built atop it. It is a spectacular natural setting for priceless works of art, including Arab mosaics, Greek and Russian icons, Western oil paintings, paintings on wax, fine sacerdotal ornaments, marbles, enamels, chalices, reliquaries, including one donated by Czar Alexander II in the 19th century, and another by Empress Catherine of Russia in the 17th century.  Of perhaps even greater significance is that it is one of the largest and most important collection of illuminated manuscripts in the world (The Vatican has the largest). The collection consists of some 4,500 volumes in Greek, Coptic, Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Slavic, Syriac, Georgian and other languages.

St. Catherine's has a rich history indeed. So rich that it is a sparkling example of an undiscovered jewel of travel. It has been called the oldest working Christian monastery and the smallest diocese in the world. The Chapel of the Burning Bush was originally ordered built by Empress Helen, the mother of Constantine the Great, but the monastery itself was actually built by Emperor Justinian to protect the monks in the region and to honor the site of the Burning Bush. St. Catherine, whose body was reportedly carried away by angels, was discovered five hundred years later at the top of the peak that now bears her name. Her relics are stored in a marble reliquary in the Basilica. We have additional pictures of this church, and of its interior.

St. Catherine's is also a formidable fortification, with granite walls measuring 8 to 35 meters tall, surrounded by gardens and cypresses. Prior to probably the twentieth century, the only entrance to St. Catherine's was a small door 30 feet high, where provisions and people were lifted with a system of pulleys, and where food was often lowered to nomads. It has withstood numerous attacks over its 14 hundred year existence, thus protecting a rich store of art. Today, while it is one of the oldest monasteries in the world, its original, preserved state is unmatched.

BARTERING/HAGGLING INFORMATION

In Egyptian Markets Haggling has become an art form in Egypt. Many tourists would rather do anything than haggle over the price of a gold cartouche while on holiday in Egypt. However, from the local point of view, haggling is expected, sometimes encouraged, as a way of communication and human contact. It is also legal in Egypt to haggle, bargain and ask for a discount.

As with any type of negotiation, there is a protocol to haggling, and many ways to make sure you do not pay over the odds. However, the basic skill is to have some inside knowledge about the value of what you are buying and put a limit of what you are prepared to pay. Always look at the price tag, as the maximum required, not the minimum. Then set a minimum price and negotiate for some medium price in between.

Haggling is effective if you are buying high value items, such as gold and jewellery, but with low value goods it is not worthwhile the time and effort;  it becomes more or less a social gesture. If you pay with cash, not a credit card, you should have more advantage for getting a good discount. Shops in Egypt prefer cash. Paying with dollars sometimes, helps secure a bargain.

There used to be a golden rule of offering half the asking price, but that rule has grown unreliable over the years, as the asking price could be treble the real value or just a fraction above. If you want to obtain a bargain, be prepared to invest some time and have an estimate what the item is worth. Ask some local friends (not necessarily your tour guides) how much would they pay for such an item, and then allow a fraction above that as a margin for being a tourist.

When buying gold haggle about the price per gram not the price per item.  For other valuables, you can always say a friend bought a similar item, for less.  Negotiate only with those who can make an instant decision, not with counter assistants. If you are not sure, ask to see the manager or owner.

If you are buying more than one item haggle for the lot, a discount is expected for buying in bulk.  It makes sense to buy as a group of three of four, together.  Also, if you can point any defect in the goods, such as poor finishing on a dress, or a fading colour on material, you should be entitled to money off the asking price.

Prices, however, have to be put in perspective.  Egypt is still relatively cheap, at least for tourists who exchange US dollars. The local purchasing power is double that of the dollar abroad. Egyptian pounds (LE) are exchanged at rates above LE 3.5 to the dollar (Last quarter 2000). To make your life simple, you can draw a line about what is not worth haggling about. Items below LE 50 are not usually worth the effort or the waste of precious holiday time. If you still think an item is overpriced, then offer your own price and walk away. This will put the vendor in a yes or no situation.

The language could be a handicap in dealing with many traders in Egypt, although increasing numbers of merchants know at least one foreign language beside Arabic.  But, it is equally a problem for the vendor as it is for the buyer.  So, do not feel at a disadvantage. In these situations, the phrase books and the time and effort in learning the basic Arabic expressions become invaluable. You will be surprised at how you can haggle within a limited vocabulary. Be kam? (How much?)La'a, da ghaaliawy.Mumkintalateen? ((No, that's very expensive, is it possible for LE 30)  Laa mush mumkin... Arbaeen? (Not possible LE 40?)  Laa, ma'ayatalateen bas. (No, I only have LE 30)

 

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