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With a population of around 80 million, Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab world, and the second most populous in Africa behind Nigeria. Its recorded history began in around 3100 B.C. when King Menes united the region, beginning a series of dynasties. The last dynasty fell to the Persians in 341 B.C., who in turn were replaced by the Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines. The Ottoman Turks controlled Egypt from 1517 until 1882 when Britain seized control of Egypt.Egypt Tours Holiday Safari.

In deference to growing nationalism, the United Kingdom declared Egyptian independence in 1922, but British influence continued to dominate Egypt’s political life. In 1952 Egypt acquired full sovereignty with the overthrow of the British-backed monarchy, and it became a republic in 1953. Egypt has played a central role in Middle East politics in modern times. Its three wars with Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973, followed by peace with its adversary in 1979, have transitioned Egypt from being a warring nation to becoming a key representative in the peace process. However, peace with Israel led to Egypt being expelled from the Arab League until 1989, and in 1981 President Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Islamic extremists.

Travel Information

VISA: A Visa is required. Contact Egyptian Consulate or a Visa Service. Jewelry, electrical gadgets, cameras, must be listed with your cash/travel checks on your CUSTOMS DECLARATION FORM D {given to you on the plane). KEEP THIS FORM. It will be collected upon departure.

CURRENCY: The Egyptian Pound (LE)…IO0 Piasters (PT} to the Pound. Money can be confusing – some bills are identified only in Arabic. Pound Bills are 20,10,5,1/2, 1/4. Piaster coins are 10(1.), 5(0), 1(10), 1/2(5). There are also PIASTER BILLS. You’re not supposed to take Pounds out of Egypt. It’s chaotic to try to re-exchange it. SPENT IT! Most shops accept US $.

TEMPERATURE: Cairo Mar 75, Apr 83 Luxor/Aswan Mar-Apr 86-97 but, a dry heat.

Spring is best time to visit (Mar and April). Hot in summer. Expect lots of flies and mosquitoes.

CLO’I’HING: Light colors {beiges) are best to reflect the sun. Arabs do not like to see shorts but they’re OK on the Nile cruise. Sandals are not recommended in the desert. Sunglasses, a brimmed hat, sunscreen are essential. Carry a bottle of water.

BANK HOURS: 9-1, except Fri/Sat. SHOP HOURS: Hours vary. Check.

FOOD: MASHI is a delicious vegetable dish. FOOL is the staple – a dish of Fava Beans in a thin sauce. SHAKSHOUKA is a fine chopped lamb mixed with tomato sauce. KUSHERI is noodles,lentils,chickpeas,with a thin gravy. DO NOT BUY FROM VENDORS. DO NOT EAT ANYTHING THAT HAS NOT BEEN COOKED. Food is quite GOOD and tasty!

DRINK: DO NOT DRINK WATER ANYWHERE EXCEPT CAIRO, WHERE IT IS CHLORINATED. Beer and Coke are OK. Wine is very good. “Tut’s revenge” or “mummy tummy” is quite prevalent. Better take along Lomitil or Imodium AD .

TIPPING: Everyone expects a tip. Tip according to the service – 25-50 PT. Add 10% in restaurants to the INCLUDED service charge. Agree on a price before getting into a taxi. That price includes the tip. OK to add more. Porters 25-50 PT bag. Plus everyone else…

INOCULATIONS: None required BUT, do check with your doctor for his recommendations.

MISCELLANEIOUS: Cairo has power failures. There will be candles in your room. Respect Muslim customs. Remove your shoes before entering a mosque. Bargain and be firm with street vendors. Be on guard for the overly friendly Egyptian who approaches you on the street. He will have something to sell. If you see a companion cornered, go over and take their arm, “We must get back to the group”. Flying time from LAX-CAIRO is 15 1/2 hrs…from JFK 10 1/2, from London 4 1/2, from Paris 3 1/2. Recommend arriving in late afternoon and going to bed.

FREE MAPS and INFORMATION: Contact the Egyptian Tourist Authority, 8383 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 215. Beverly Hills, Ca. 90211. {213) 653-8815.