ahlan wa sahlan
“Ahlan wa sahlan” or welcome is a phrase you will hear and use throughout your visit to Egypt.
Known for ancient treasures and rich history, Egypt is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Annie Scrivanich recently returned from the 12-day Pharaohs & Pyramids Cruisetour on Viking Ra and has put together a helpful list of tips for those that wish to visit this fascinating region.
Currently, US citizens can purchase a single-entry tourist visa upon arrival in Egypt for $25/US dollar cash.
Be sure to review the current travel requirements at the US Department of State or Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs websites.
Egypt’s national currency is the Egyptian Pound (geneih), and the design of each note depicts the country’s rich cultural heritage. Beautiful designs reflect images of ancient Egyptian figures, Islamic civilization, Arabesque patterns and Arabic calligraphy.
Banknotes come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200.
Currency exchanges are readily available all around the country in nearly every major hotel, tourist destination and airport. Commercial banks offer ATMs with currency exchange services 24/7.
The U.S. dollar is readily accepted throughout Egypt. Bring small denominations to use in the marketplace and for tips. Many vendors like to trade $1 bills for a $10 or $20 bill. By doing so, they can exchange the larger note at the bank for geneih.
Expect to walk roughly 4 miles per day and climb 150 to 200 stairs on uneven surfaces. For your comfort, wear well-worn walking shoes and consider bringing a collapsible walking stick.
The ship bridge will be open one afternoon for you to tour and meet the captain. It’s a 20-year apprenticeship to become a passenger vessel captain. In many cases, it’s a family tradition which starts on a ship carrying goods, then goods and passengers to finally a passenger only vessel. The Viking Ra is solar operated and its draft is only 1.9’, while the river averages 17-22’ at the lowest levels in June.
Your program manager is responsible for the daily agenda including your comfort at the hotels, meals, transfers, intra-tour flights and excursions. While on tour, they narrate each visit and are incredibly knowledgeable. Group size is a maximum of 30 guests per guide.
Ship staff and program manager gratuities are greatly appreciated and can be funded on your ship account. In addition, you may wish to tip special staff members directly. [this applies to Viking, other lines include tipping.] Tipping is a common practice in Egypt, so it’s a good idea to keep some currency handy to show your appreciation.
Egypt’s climate is temperate and has short seasonal transitions. Its moderate winter extends from November to March and summer from May to September. Winters are cool and mild, with certain regions in the south remaining warm year-round, and summers are hot and dry. Almost every day is a sunny day in Egypt, with average daylight ranging between 10 and 14 hours, depending on the time of year.
Light, loose cotton clothing is highly recommended when visiting Egypt, well-worn walking shoes and a windbreaker should be sufficient if you’re visiting during fall or winter. Make sure to pack all your hot and sunny weather essentials: sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses!
For over 13 years, the Antiquities and Interior Ministries have tightened security at all archaeological sites and museums to protect the monuments, visitors, and residents. This is accomplished by screening processes and local guards at each monument plus tourism guards traveling with each group.
Reconsider bringing binoculars or monocular with you. They can be seen as a security threat and confiscated.
Bring all your personal sundries and prescriptions with you. Replenishing your supplies is not readily available on land or ship.
The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit.
By: Lucette Lagnado
What Happened to the Egyptians?
By: Galal Amin
The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt.
The Complete Guide of the Valley of the Kings.
By: American University Press
I highly recommend visiting Egypt and cruising the Nile on Viking Ra. To see the magnificent sites in person provides a deeper understanding of Egypt’s rich tapestry of heritage and creates a unique and captivating experience for all who explore its treasures. Learn more about Annie’s Pharaohs and Pyramids CruiseTour aboard Viking Ra here.
Contact a Cruise Specialists Cruise Consultant to start planning your trip to Egypt.