Cairo Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Cairo
How safe is Cairo?
Threat level: Medium
Cairo, the capital of Egypt, is relatively safe with relatively low crime levels. Yet, the threat of terror attacks is quite high in Cairo, but planned attacks are generally targeted towards security forces and government buildings. Given this, the travel advice for Cairo is to remain vigilant and to monitor the local news before you travel and during your stay.
Pickpocketing and bag snatching are not uncommon in tourist locations. It is recommended travelling with a small amount of cash, taking a copy of your passport when going out and leaving the original with other valuables in the safe of your hotel room. Pickpockets operate in public transport and crowded places such as Khan Al Khalili, so be vigilant in those areas.
Touts are also an issue in Cairo, particularly in Midan Tahrir and Midan Talaat Harb and points of interest like the Giza Pyramids, where visitors have reported them to be aggressive. To avoid this, it is advised to book an organised tour with a reputable agency or to pre-book a guide, don’t be tempted to use people who are touting themselves as “local guides”. Be wary of local shopkeepers inviting you to have tea, they will take this opportunity to pressure you to buy their wares.
Egypt being a Muslim country, be respectful and follow local laws and customs when visiting Cairo. Women can be subject to unwanted interest and harassment in the street of Cairo. It is therefore recommended for women not to walk around the city alone, avoid going out at night on their own and wear clothes that cover their arms, legs and chest.
Protests and demonstrations take place occasionally and can turn violent. Avoid any public gatherings and don’t get involved in local public disputes.
Cairo Terror Attacks
On the 28th of December 2018, a bomb struck a tourist bus near the Giza Pyramids in the Marioutiyah area, killing four people and injuring 12 others.
On the 9th of December 2016, a bomb explosion occurred near the pyramids at a vehicle checkpoint on Al Haram street, killing six Police officers who were carrying out searches on this very busy checkpoint in the western Talibiya neighbourhood.
In 2009, a bombing on a market place in Cairo was responsible for the death of a 17-year-old French teenager and wounded 24 others.
Travelling around Cairo
Extreme care needs to be taken when crossing the streets of Cairo as drivers do not stop for pedestrians. Try to cross the street at traffic lights or alongside locals or wait until the road is clear.
The standard of driving is poor in Cairo, so it is not advisable to self-drive in the city. It is safer for tourists to travel on a planned trip than using other forms of transport.
When using a taxi, agree a rate for the taxi ride before committing to the journey, as most taxis don’t have a meter and passengers can be overcharged once they’ve reached their destination. Women are advised to sit on the back seat of a cab.
Natural disaster in Cairo
Cairo is located in a seismic zone and is subject to a variety of natural hazards including sand and dust storms, draughts, flash floods and landslides.
Emergency services in Cairo:
Police emergency: 122 or 02/303 4122.
Tourist Police: 126
Traffic Police: 128
Fire emergency: 180
Medical emergency: 123
Currency: Egyptian pound
Time now in Cairo:
Consular information for Cairo
U.S. Embassy Cairo
5 Tawfik Diab Street,
Telephone: +20 (2) 2797 3300
Emergency telephone: +20 (2) 2797 3300
7 Ahmed Ragheb,
Qasr Ad Dobarah,
Qasr an Nile,
Cairo Governorate 11451,
Telephone: +20 (2) 2791 6000
3 Pharaana Street,
Telephone: +20 (2) 3486 1009
Visa requirements for Egypt
UK, EU and USA Passport holders travelling to Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba and Taba resorts only and for a maximum stay of 15 Days, do not require a visa prior to travelling; a free entry permission stamp will be granted upon arrival. If visitors intend to travel outside of the above-mentioned areas they must obtain a Visa. A tourist visa can be obtained prior to travelling to Egypt via the Visa2Egypt portal or on arrival, and is valid for 3 months.
Visitors should check the latest visa requirements with the Egyptian government or your local Embassy. Alternatively, further information can be found here: Visa Check Egypt
Health Care and Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to Cairo are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers get Tetanus, Typhoid and Hepatitis A vaccinations. You may also want to consider vaccinations for Hepatitis B, however you should check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
The medical facilities in Cairo and many of the tourist resorts are thought to be of an adequate standard, however facilities beyond this are variable. You should keep this in mind if travelling away from such areas.
There is a risk of Dengue in Cairo, a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes, so take precautions to avoid mosquito bites as there is no vaccine.
Schistosomiasis (a parasitic infection) is also an issue, so it is advised against swimming in fresh water in Egypt.
Hepatitis, Filariasis and rabies can flare up in the country, alongside water-borne, food-borne and insect-borne diseases. Wild polio virus has been identified in samples collected at two sewage locations in greater Cairo. Personal hygiene must be paramount, the local water supply avoided at all costs and bottled water inspected prior to consumption. There have been a number of cases of bottled water being refilled with tap water and re-sold has come to our attention.
It is highly recommended full travel and medical insurance is checked for coverage prior to travel. The medical facilities outside of Cairo are limited and basic, and treatment can prove to be extremely costly.