“I have had a significant interest in Egypt for 40 years. We wanted a trip that let us explore the things I wanted to see and give my wife a full immersion into Egyptian culture and history. We elected to do a private guided tour. The reality is that without the private driver and guide we would have had difficulty traveling from one end of the Nile to the other.
The trip was wonderful. We managed to see all of the things I wanted to see, and my wife also got the full immersion into Egyptian history and culture. The trip was well done and exceeded our expectations. Our thanks to Osiris Tours for all that your team did on our behalf.” Donald, Osiris Tours guest, January 2020
It’s easy to see why so many people list a trip to Egypt as one of their travel dreams. The majestic sands of the Sahara, the incredible temples of Abu Simbel, the iconic artwork of Nefertari’s tomb, the serene beauty of the Nile—Egypt has a multitude of splendors that draw people in droves from around the world. The incomparable pyramids alone draw millions of awestruck tourists year after year.
But events of the past 10 years have seen the size of those visiting crowds dwindle from their heights in the 2000s. Stepping into the next decade offers a natural opportunity to reflect on the question: How safe is it to travel to Egypt?
We get this question a lot at Osiris Tours. In short, Americans and other visitors can rest easy: yes, Egypt is a safe country for tourists. And the rest of the world seems to agree — after years of middling numbers, tourism in Egypt is steadily rising towards its former highs, hosting over 9 million sightseers in 2018. The longer answer is worth exploring, though, and we have some assurances to offer all our clients who join us on all of our best Egypt tour packages.
To begin with, it’s important to understand just how crucial a role tourism plays in the economy of modern Egypt.
Tourists flock by the millions to see the timeless wonders of the Land of the Pharaohs, bringing with them an influx of money for local merchants and institutions. At times responsible for more than 10% of the nation’s GDP, tourism is of monumental importance to the financial stability of the Egypt and its citizens.
“Over the years we have travelled to many places, both domestically within the United States and internationally. Egypt is like no other place we have ever experienced. I highly recommend a visit to Egypt arranged through Osiris Tours.
I first contacted Osiris Tours in late August 2018 for a planned November 2019 trip to Egypt. Mahmoud Gebril of Osiris Tours took my three week “pie in the sky” proposed Egypt private guided touring itinerary (which included Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor, and Aswan) and turned it into a seamlessly smooth once in a lifetime adventure in an exotic land. Mahmoud made numerous recommendations for improvements to my proposed itinerary; I am so very grateful I trusted in his judgment based upon his real world in-country experience rather than insisting on an activity / accommodation I happened to have read about in a travel book or on a website. Mahmoud was even able to add an activity to our itinerary in mid October 2019 just a couple weeks prior to our November 2nd departure.
During our travels in Egypt, Mahmoud and his colleagues not only met my very high expectations, but completely exceeded them! (You have no idea how rare of a thing it is for me to say something has “exceeded my expectations”. I NEVER use that phrase.) My mind has been blown. Our guide Khalaf was wonderful. He never lost his patience with me, regardless how many times I asked him to explain (one more time!) the difference between NeferTITI and NerferTARI, or how many times I needed to find a “rest area facility”. Our hotel accommodations went WAY above and beyond anything I would have arranged for us on my own. We were really spoiled by the hotels Mahmoud booked for us.
Before traveling to Egypt, I thought climbing in the Great Pyramid and seeing the inside of King Tut’s tomb would be the highlights of our trip. But the reality of Egypt is so much more than just these two things. These two things were simply the starting point for an adventurous journey more overwhelmingly wondrously awesome than we ever could have imagined. I don’t understand how it was even possible that each successive day of our trip seemed better than the previous day! I almost cried when it was time to return home. We hope to return to Egypt again some day in the future after the Grand Egyptian Museum is fully completed and officially open for tourist visitors.
Regarding safety, there was never a time when I felt unsafe, but then we never ventured out on our own without our guide (ok, maybe we were a bit nervous to be on our own in a foreign country where we didn’t speak the language). And I must admit that the chaotic Cairo traffic, the ubiquitous police/military presence, and the bag x-ray machines / metal detectors were all a bit disconcerting. But according to the Gun Violence Archive mass-shooting reports, there were 27 separate mass shootings across 15 different states in the United States during our 24 days away from home (November 2nd through 25th, 2019), so where should I feel safer? Shopping at my local Wal-Mart? or being driven through the streets of Cairo, past the numerous villages between Luxor and Aswan, or across the desert from Aswan to Abu Simbel? Sometimes I think travelling internationally with a private driver and guide is the safest thing I do. Don’t let fear stop you from visiting such a fascinating place as Egypt.” Kathy Abell, Osiris Tours Guest, December 2019.
This fact is not lost on the Egyptian public. Already widely known for their open and gracious hospitality, Egyptians are keenly aware of the profound role that tourism plays in their continued prosperity. As a traveler, you’re often asked where you’re from when chatting with residents—nowhere more than Egypt are the locals excited to hear that you’re visiting their country from afar. You may have heard stories of some places where foreigners and tourists are treated indifferently or are left feeling unwelcome—most Egyptians would find this backwards and outright embarrassing. You can expect to make quick acquaintances and lots of friendly small talk.
“I was surprised that I could not find a bad review on this company. So I trusted and booked my dream visit to Egypt. From the first time of inquire, Hahmoud was very responsive and friendly. He took time to know what I expected from the trip and planned accordingly. Our guide Khalaf was very knowledgeable and always made sure all of our questions were answered and that we had enough time to appreciate the sites. I would recommend this company to my family and friends.” Anna, Osiris Tours Guest, January 2020
The Egyptian government also dedicates a tremendous amount of resources to ensuring that visitors can enjoy their stay with absolute peace of mind. When traveling along major road routes, or between common destinations near and far, expect to see regular checkpoints keeping traffic in order—and people safe. Security checkpoints are also stationed at nearly every major attraction you’ll visit, whether it’s the venerable Hanging Church or the stately Egyptian Museum. When you’re roaming the tombs in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor or gazing at the Great Pyramid of Giza, you’ll do so without any worry—popular tourist sites are all tightly monitored, and security forces are a quietly steadfast presence at each.
You’ll probably notice security personnel in most areas where people gather in groups as a passive safeguard for locals and foreigners alike. You’ll probably also notice that there’s little indication of street crime or danger. Aside from keeping your wits about you when exploring urban areas such as Cairo—you’re still in a big, bustling city, after all—you’ll enjoy the bazaars and markets without a care in the world.
“Osiris Tours organized one of the best tours we have been on with my family. Mahmoud was excellent in planning the perfect trip taking into account our specific needs. Our guide for the trip, Khalaf, was caring, educational and easy to be around. The hotels were great and had amazing service. We learned so much about Egypt and highly recommend Osiris Tours.” Katherine Springer, Osiris tours Guest, January 2020
Americans in particular may want their own government’s opinions included, and for that we turn to the U.S. Department of State, which evaluates the safety of travel to each foreign nation—placing Egypt’s travel safety on the same level as, for example, England. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs lists travel advisories for all countries of the world, ranking them on a scale of one to four, from the lenient “Exercise Normal Precautions” up to the declarative “Do Not Travel.” About a third of the globe’s nations fall into the second category of “Exercise Increased Caution”—most commonly due to having suffered from unfortunate incidents of terrorism or having isolated areas of unrest. Alongside 57 other countries like France, The Bahamas, Germany, and England, this level 2 designation is the rating that Egypt receives for its general travel safety.
(To keep up to date on Egypt’s Travel Advisory status with the U.S. Department of State, please check the website at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Egypt.html)
Like many other countries, much of Egypt’s cautionary elements are due to isolated places that visitors should simply avoid traveling to. The Sinai Peninsula, for instance, is an area to which travel is highly advised against by the U.S. and U.K. governments. Serious crime is widespread in the region, emergency services are non-existent or have trouble accessing the remote locations, and Egyptian police and military forces are dealing with frequent clashes with extant terrorism cells operating there. The Western Desert is likewise an area to which travel is not advised for similar reasons of instability and danger. The borders with Sudan and Libya, aside from being quite well off the beaten path, are to be avoided due to heavy military activity and the state of the bordering nations.
All this being said, we are still occasionally asked to design trips for bold travelers including those regions—and though we hate having to deny a request, Osiris Tours takes a hard line on not traveling to these areas at all. The safety of our guests and staff is by far the most important thing to us.
There is, however, one idyllic sanctuary on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula that we do offer travel to: the resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh. Both the U.S. and U.K. governments recognize the fly-in-only vacation hotspot to be a noted exception to Sinai’s status, and consider it under the same general advisory as other heavily touristed parts of Egypt. A bastion of modern luxury on the beautiful Red Sea, Sharm El-Sheikh is a world-class, tropical tourism destination full of fine restaurants, stunning five-star hotels, and unbelievably beautiful diving spots. We could go into more detail, but suffice it to say that we’re delighted to be able to take our Osiris Tours guests there on our best Egypt trips in 2020—whether we’re snorkeling coral reefs, sunning on sandy beaches, or yachting in opulent relaxation.
But let’s not get too carried away just yet. There are always, of course, the standard things to consider when traveling anywhere—it’s always important to remember that common sense and due diligence are still the worldly adventurer’s most reliable allies. Whether you’re vacationing in Cairo, the West Bank of Luxor, and Aswan, or London and Paris, it’s good to be aware of the risk of anytime-anywhere travel difficulties like scams, the possibility of tainted food, and environmental and weather conditions—this on top of the day-to-day of traffic, crowds, and money. This is where we at Osiris Tours are proud to show you how we’re the best Egypt tour company in 2020. You’ll be able to fully appreciate the magnificent sights around you and rest assured that we’ll take care of everything else. Check out our Egypt first timer’s guide.
“Mahmoud made sure we had the most perfect first time in Egypt! All our requests were taken into consideration to customize a perfect itinerary. It was a dream and completely seamless from the moment we arrived in Cairo. Everyone from the Airport guide to our tour guides to our driver were kind, knowledgeable and invested in making sure we had a perfect trip- including accommodating additional recommendations and requests such as the best places to eat and additional sites to see. We had a blast in Cairo and Luxor and now only wish to come back and see more of Egypt with Osiris tours again.” Amanda, Osiris tours Guest, December 2019
With our tailor-made Egypt tours, we’re able to plan as best as possible around the traffic and crowds. Our experienced private Egyptologist guides know the ins-and-outs of all the streets and sites (and they’re all degree-holding Egyptologists, to boot!), and they’re always up to date on daily events and busy gatherings. Included in every Egypt luxury tour we design, your personal vehicle and private driver means never having to deal with taxis, directions, crowded buses, or subway maps.
Our city-savvy guides also know where to find the best dining options for you, whatever your preferences. Authentic Egyptian comfort food or pizza? Burgers, upscale Italian, or the best koshary in the capital? We’ve got you covered. We’ll be keeping an eye out for you for the whole trip—you’ll have an ally and ambassador whenever you need one. When it comes to changing money from one currency to another, we’ll make sure things get taken care of properly. And when you’re ready to haggle for the price of a trinket in the bazaar, we’ll give you some pointers so that you’ll sound like a pro. We’ll help usher you through the right lines, sort through any requisite paperwork, and let you get on with immersing yourself in the amazing surroundings.
“An absolutely wonderful experience from beginning to end! Mr. Mahmoud Gebril was a delight to work with. We simply provided the length of time we wished for our vacation and the primary points of interest. Mr. Gebril took that information and designed an exceptional touring experience to Cairo and Luxor. We were met at the airport with roses and our handler took it from there. He took care of our Visas, luggage transport and getting through all necessary check points. We were provided with excellent service by our personal airport handlers, drivers and guides. The hotels selected for our stay were 5-star and lovely. My family and I have never been treated so well by a group of people that were dedicated to making our time in Egypt unforgettable. I highly recommend Osiris Tours for your next travel experience and I will use their services again! Thanks to all the guys!! (Ahmed, Cairo Sam, Ashe, Luxor Sam). I know that I left out some names. Please forgive you, you were all awesome!!!” Osiris Tours Guest, January 2020
Finally, we’d like to turn straight to the fantastic experiences of our guests as the best proof we have. Check out our reviews on Trip Advisor and TrustPilot, and take a look at our Facebook page—we’re thrilled to have so much positive feedback, and happier still to have provided memorable vacations to Egypt for our guests. And of course, feel free to get in touch with our president and founder, Mahmoud Gebril. Contact us here.
Safe and happy travels!