Egypt is a country visited by millions of people each year, with a vested interest in continuing this lucrative and beneficial relationship with its tourists for years to come.
And Egypt is seriously COOL!
So whilst there are stories about terrorist attacks, scuffles with the Egyptian authorities and tourist scams, the risks are still relatively low (especially if you stay out of the Sinai peninsula, refrain from insulting the Egyptian Government, and keep a sharp eye on your money).
However, it is super understandable if these stories have you wondering “Is Egypt Safe?“, and I’m going to be addressing all of your travel concerns in this epic guide. Even if you’re sticking to tourist destinations, I’ve collected a bunch of top tips worth knowing for making sure you stay safe on the road.
Let’s see what we’ve got!
There is no such thing as a perfect safety guide, and this article is no different. The question of “Is Egypt Safe?” will ALWAYS have a different answer depending on the parties involved. But this article is written for savvy travellers from the perspective of savvy travellers.
The information present in this safety guide was accurate at the time of writing, however, the world is a changeable place, now more than ever. Between the pandemic, ever-worsening cultural division, and a click-hungry media, it can be hard to maintain what is truth and what is sensationalism.
Here, you will find safety knowledge and advice for travelling Egypt. It won’t be down to the wire cutting edge info on the most current events, but it is layered in the expertise of veteran travellers. If you use our guide, do your own research, and practise common sense, you will have a safe trip to Egypt.
If you see any outdated information in this guide, we would really appreciate it if you could reach out in the comments below. We strive to provide the most relevant travel information on the web and always appreciate input from our readers (nicely, please!). Otherwise, thanks for your ear and stay safe!
It’s a wild world out there. But it’s pretty damn special too. 🙂
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Is Egypt Safe to Visit Right Now?
In general, yes, travelling to Egypt is safe, but it is not straightforward. You should completely avoid North Sinai and travelling near the Libyan border due to the terrorist threat.
There is a heightened level of state awareness due to terrorism, and this is something to consider when deciding to travel to Egypt. Monitor local media before and during your trip, and seek local advice if you plan on travelling to the Western Desert (or just don’t go there).
Tourist areas are generally safe to visit, so tackling The Valley of the Kings in Luxor, a boat trip on the Nile or any of the ancient wonders is certainly possible. This is what you should do!
Crime, on the whole, is fairly low, though sexual violence against women, including tourists, is something that has happened and continues to happen in Egypt. There is also a level of petty crime, and like a ton of developing countries, discriminatory pricing (or being massively ripped off) will likely play a part whenever you buy locally.
If you’re an experienced traveller and you’ve been to similar countries like Egypt, then we’d say it can be pretty safe right now. However, Egypt is definitely not safe for a first-time traveller. At least not at the moment…
Solo females should take extra care.
Safest Places in Egypt
When choosing where you’ll be staying in Egypt, a bit of research and caution is essential. You don’t want to end up in a sketchy area and ruin your trip. To help you out, we’ve listed some of the safest areas to visit in Egypt below.
- Cairo: As the country’s capital city, Cairo is Egypt’s nerve centre. There is a large ex-pat population, and if you know where to go (and where to stay), Cairo can be super safe. Since Cairo is probably THE most popular city in Egypt, you can expect loads of visitors. This means that pickpocketing crime is high. But as long as you stay aware of your surroundings and don’t let your valuables out of sight, Cairo can be a very safe place to visit.
- Hurghada: Hurghada spans nearly 40 kilometres of Egypt’s Red Sea Coast. It’s famed for incredible scuba diving and snorkelling spots, with spectacular coral reefs and an abundance of marine life. It’s one of the best places to stay in Egypt, and crime rates are really low. While it might not be a backpacker’s dream, you can definitely have a safe stay if you just opt to holiday in one of the secluded resorts.
- El Gouna: El Gouna is a resort town that is nestled right next door to Hurghada. While Hurghada is pretty calm and quiet, El Gouna is geared more towards adults. You can find a more vibrant and lively nightlife here. El Gouna is known for having small islands just off the shore, and beautiful lagoons to explore. It’s also a popular location with kitesurfers.
Places in Egypt to Avoid
Unfortunately, not all places in Egypt are safe. You need to be careful and aware of your surroundings pretty much anywhere you go in the world, and the same goes for visiting Egypt. To help you have a safe trip, we’ve listed the areas you need to be more careful of below:
- All border areas – not only is there nothing to see really, but most borders are military zones, so you won’t get access to them anyway. Especially the Libyan border. Don’t go there.
- North Sinai – this is actually a no-travel zone due to terrorism and Islamic extremists. If possible, avoid it completely. Quick side note: South Sinai is not the best area either…
- Closed areas – they’re closed for a reason. You can still find landmines from the war towards the countryside, so watch out for signs, or don’t head out into the wild on a limb.
- Desert west of the Nile Delta – If you want to stay super safe, try not to abandon the Nile. Not only does it get very very dry, but it also gets a lot more dangerous. Avoid if possible.
Knowing more about the country and where NOT to go before you travel to Egypt is going to help guard you against becoming a victim. At the end of the day, only certain areas and places in Egypt are dangerous. Everywhere else: apply good personal security and watch out for shady people. Do this and you’ll have more freedom to enjoy yourself.
There is even a selection of great Egyptian festivals to get involved with!
Egypt may be under threat of terrorism, and it may be politically unstable, however, the thousands of tourists who DO visit have mostly trouble-free visits. This is mainly down to tourists avoiding the areas that have travel warnings in place. But there’s always more you can do to stay safe in Egypt – make sure to follow these travel safety tips.
- Keep copies of your identification with you – You’ll probably have to show these, and losing your passport isn’t fun.
- LGBT travellers should be careful with public displays of affection – It will more than likely attract the wrong type of attention and remains a very sensitive subject for Egyptians. More on that later on.
- Even ANY type of public display of affection is frowned upon – Get a room – literally. Not even hand-holding… although Egyptians often will with members of the same sex… Confusing, right?
- Stay away from all political demonstrations – You may be interested, but they can turn very bad, very quick
- Get a sim card – They’re cheap and relatively available.
- Learn a bit of Arabic – Not just to talk, but reading numbers and a few basic words in Egyptian Arabic helps, too.
- PREPARE FOR THE SUN – It’s one of the most consistently sunny countries in the world thus that big ol’ desert. Hydrate and stay out of the sun when it’s at its hottest. Keep a good water bottle on you!
- Steer clear of religious gatherings and celebrations – Traditionally, these are a target of terrorists. Just avoid them altogether.
- Keep enough small change with you for tips – Drivers, guides, anybody; it’s a cultural practice to tip.
- Dress appropriately – This is a conservative country. You’ll notice most people, even men, cover-up. Be discrete and respectful.
- Protect against mosquitoes – Bring repellent and cover-up at dawn/dusk. There’s no malaria, but these guys are EVERYWHERE.
- Don’t be stupid in front of armed security – ANYTHING that looks suspicious could get you in very, very big trouble.
- And don’t take photos of military installations or public buildings – It is strictly prohibited. People have even been arrested for taking pictures of train stations.
- Don’t use a drone – It could seem VERY shady to people in charge, even if you’re just doing something for your blog. It’s also prohibited without the right authorisation, anyway.
- Ignore people who say they know you – “Hello my friend, I know you from the hotel, come this way.” Ignore politely.
- Keep your bags close to you – Bag snatching is on the rise in certain areas.
- Be vigilant of your belongings in general – Pickpockets are also around. Not extensively, but they’re still there. Have a good money belt to protect your cash.
- Don’t get wrapped up in large, chaotic crowds – Cases of rape, sexual assault, and violence during mobs are not uncommon.
- Heading out on a diving tour? Make sure the reviews are good – Cheap does NOT mean good. Thorough research will be needed.
- Wear a crash helmet if you take out a quad bike – Safety standards vary, so ask for a helmet if one is not provided. Check to make sure the bike isn’t scrap.
- Don’t drink alcohol on the street – Or anywhere that isn’t a bar or a licensed restaurant. You could get arrested otherwise.
- DON’T TAKE DRUGS – Long prison sentences, the death penalty; yep, there’s pretty much no point.
- Unexploded landmines are present – Zones are usually marked, behind barbed fences and such, but ask for local advice. Northwest Egypt near Alamein, stretches of the Mediterranean coast near Mersa Matruh, and some of the Red Sea Coast are known hot spots.
- Lock valuables inside the safe in your room – If you have one, might as well use it.
Despite the trouble, it’s safe to travel solo in Egypt. Loads of people do and have an amazing time that surpasses their expectations.
Egypt is safe to travel alone in so long as you’re a little extra cautious. There are a few things to bear in mind, particularly being left alone in vehicles with unsavoury characters as well as overly friendly touts/hustlers, but knowing about these things is the first step towards making your trip to Egypt a safe one. Get to know some friendly locals, fellow travellers, be aware of your surroundings, and it’s bound to be awesome.
Here are some tips for staying safe solo in Egypt.
- Try not to be the last passenger on a microbus. It sounds ominous, and it really IS ominous. Assaults and robberies against tourists can and have happened when they’re left alone on a bus. Visiting only popular destinations and not travelling at night will probably help avoid this.
- Get to know other travellers. You’ll be able to share info about where’s good to go in Egypt and maybe make a travel buddy or two. This is good if you plan to go to more rural areas. Plus having contact with other like-minded people is going to help dispel those solo-travel-blues.
- Knowing where you’re going and planning your routes ahead is a really good idea if you don’t want to attract attention. By that we mean there will always be people popping up offering to help; for a price, of course, or maybe even worse. Decline politely and carry on confidently like you’ve walked the route 100 times.
- Travelling by yourself might mean taking a lot of selfies, which is a little bit lame – we know. So you might want to ask someone at tourist sights to take a picture of you, like next to the pyramids, for instance. That makes sense, right? Yeah – no.
We’d recommend NOT doing that; you’ll have to hand over a sizeable tip or the would-be photographer might just run off with your camera. As we said, tourist sights are rife with this sort of behaviour. If you want that awesome shot, ask another tourist to take it.
- There’s often a lot of cool stuff going on. Attending gigs, art showings, concerts, and other creative happenings is a good way to rub shoulders with some interesting locals. So if you’re the sort of person who loves this sort of thing anyway, go for it!
- Walking around at night by yourself? Keep an eye out for what people are up to around you. If where you’re walking is busy and bustling, it’s probably fine. If on the other hand, you suddenly find yourself somewhere quiet and sketchy looking, it’s probably sketchy. When in doubt get a cab (but that also poses a risk as you’ll see).
Egypt can be safe for female travellers but it will not be easy for them. It’s important that you’re aware that in Egyptian culture it’s not the norm for females to travel alone. There WILL be a level of hassle and there WILL be attention, but if you know this and know how to handle it you can have a fun trip and do pretty much all of the things you plan on doing.
It may seem that Egypt is prohibitively unsafe for females. There’s no way around the fact that this society is very male-dominated, and does have a problem with sexual violence against women.
Here’s a quick look at some things to stay aware of when going full solo female:
- Getting a guide will not only open up and reveal to you a different side to a place, but it will take a lot of the stress away. You won’t you have to find your own way around, and it will also look like you have a chaperone, which is considered much more normal in Egypt. Alternatively, a tour group will also be safer and you’ll get to meet other travellers, too.
- Staying at hostels (like these awesome backpackers in Cairo) or guesthouses where other travellers – female or otherwise – are staying is a good idea. Travel tips and new friends are always good.
- Walking around by yourself means hassle. Most people aren’t going to put you in any danger or make you feel unsafe, but people will be interested in you, try to get you to buy things, and – yes – make a lot of catcalls. All of this is, obviously, quite frustrating but saying “no” politely and moving on is the best way to go.
- Though crime, in general, is low, sexual harassment in Egypt is high. In 2013 a UN report stated that 93% of Egyptian women had experienced some form of sexual assault. Large gatherings – i.e matches, mobs, festivals, protests, etc. – are where a lot of sexual violence occurs and we’d suggest staying clear of these, even if you’re in a group.
- Taking the women-only carriages on the Cairo metro is a smart move. On the other hand, travelling on a bus during rush hour isn’t a good idea. Oh, and ladies always sit in the back of taxis.
- Visit Harassmap.org to see where harassment has been reported and to report any yourself. This will help you and other users know where ‘hotspots’ are. Tip: it’s most prevalent in Cairo, but this might be a reflection of a more vocal urban population reporting cases. It’s an amazing website!
- Dressing conservatively is pretty essential in Egypt. It won’t DEFLECT attention, but it will help you to fit in. Modest (not tightly fitting) clothing, covering your arms, shoulders, and legs down past your knees and for swimming – when you’re not on a private beach – wear shorts and a T-shirt over your swimsuit.
- If you want to head out drinking, don’t go to local bars by yourself. Not a good idea AT ALL to go unaccompanied.
- Be aware that whilst those coffee shops look really cool, some of them are men-only. So know where you’re going rather than just ducking in somewhere without looking it up, or asking about it, beforehand.
- A top tip is to wear sunglasses. Less eye contact means less hassle. And, if you want to blend in even more, don a headscarf.
- Pack plenty of sanitary products before you travel. Pads are common but tampons can be a lot harder to buy in Egypt.
- Not everyone is scary here. Some people can be kind and really interesting. Sit next to local ladies on the bus, make conversation. Just remember to use your common sense.
We wouldn’t recommend travelling alone as a female in Egypt if it’s your first time doing this sort of thing. There are more risks and challenges that you don’t get elsewhere. But by following these tips you’ll have more freedom to have fun and hopefully avoid (or deal with) the most stressful situations.
Is Egypt Safe for Families?
Egypt has long been a destination for tourists – that includes those with families. Even with the recent slump in tourism, the increased threat of terrorism, and political problems, there are still places where tourists are welcomed with open arms!
So, as is this the usual case, Egypt is safe to travel for families so long as they stick to certain destinations. On the positive side, prices have fallen, which means that once-popular areas are cheaper than ever!
First, be careful of stray animals. Your children might be attracted to a cute stray cat, but they might not see how mangy and potentially germ-ridden it is. Watch out for the sun too, as Egypt gets unfathomably hot around midday!
Like anywhere, people are often a lot kinder to tourists who bring their kids, but this doesn’t mean that your kids can’t get you in trouble! Locals will try and give things to your children or snap their photos, and then ask for compensation. Know how to handle this kind of scenario!
If you plan on staying in a mid to high-end sort of resort, then you won’t have to worry nearly as much about any of that. When it comes down to it, travelling with children in Egypt is safe, but stressful, and not as clean as you’ll want it to be.
Getting around Egypt Safely
There are microbuses, tuk-tuks, modern metro systems (in Cairo only), trams, large intercity buses; all this and more is present. From the shabbiest village “bus” (usually it’s just a local’s beat-up truck) to the remnants of the British-founded rail system, you’ll have many options when it comes to getting around Egypt.
It’s mostly considered a bad idea to drive around Egypt right now. Driving conditions are tough, dangerous, and there are plenty of roadblocks. Taking buses, or hiring a driver is better practise.
Egyptian taxi culture is useful, but not without its risks. City driving is reckless, cars are in terrible condition, and sometimes, the taxi drivers will try and give you a dodgy price. Grabbing an Uber can be much safer, especially for women.
The national rail system is outdated and not kept in the best condition. There have actually been some big rail crashes in Egypt in recent years. Unless you’re a train enthusiast, you probably won’t want to be using these. The best route, if you’re super keen or up for an adventure, is between Cairo and Alexandria but safety is still not up to par, unfortunately.
Crime in Egypt
The U.S. travel authorities list Egypt as a level 3 country due to terrorist threat. However, staying in areas that are deemed ‘safe’ can mitigate a large part of this risk. In terms of safety, Egypt ranks as the 2nd most dangerous North African country, but ranks middle of the pack in terms of the whole of Africa. Since Egyptian governance is semi-authoritarian (depending on who you ask), there is a also a high level of corruption. As a tourist however, the biggest risks you face are mugging, pickpocketing, and being scammed.
There are areas of Egypt that you should avoid travelling to, and you should be aware at all times that you are not a local, and this makes you a target. There are ongoing military operations in various parts of the country, and it is not a good idea to get close to them.
Laws in Egypt
Egyptian Law is strict, and you should be wary about breaking it. There are long prison sentences (or even a death sentence) for drug possession/use. Local laws reflect Egypts position as a strong Muslim country, but also as an authoritarian regime. Don’t take photos of ANYTHING unless you are sure it is safe to do so. Anything that is considered ‘negative propoganda’ is illegal. If you’re LGBTQ+, you might want to dial things down during your trip, as people have been put away for so called ‘debauchery’. Keep a valid photo ID with you at all times.
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FAQ about Staying Safe in Egypt
Here are some quick answers to common questions about safety in Egypt.
So, is Egypt Safe?
Though Egypt is experiencing a comeback in terms of tourist numbers, it’s still not the safest place in the world, especially for women. Travelling as a foreign female might be ok, but living there is a whole other issue. Keeping your wits about you, staying vigilant and keeping clear of any sort of mass gathering of people will definitely help keep you safe during your visit to Egypt.
At the end of the day, tourism is valuable to Egypt. Increased security at major tourist sights has made Egypt a viable destination for just about everybody. But things can change in an instant, so the best thing you can do is research the current state of the country before you go to Egypt. If it looks like things are about to kick off again politically, postpone that trip.
We hope that you take away a lot of information from our insider guide about how to travel safely in Egypt. It may seem like a lot but, as time progresses, being cautious will come naturally to you. Travel smart and you’ll be able to experience this amazing country to the fullest.
Disclaimer: Safety conditions change all over the world on a daily basis. We do our best to advise but this info may already be out of date. Do your own research. Enjoy your travels!
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!