Time › GMT plus two hours (GMT plus three hours from May to September)
Geography › Egypt is located in the north-east corner of Africa between the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Sudan and Libya. The Sinai Peninsula is separated from the African continent by the Suez Canal and the Red Sea. The peninsula also faces Jordan and Saudi Arabia across the Gulf of Aqaba. About 95 per cent of Egypt is uninhabited desert.
Climate › The climate is dry with very little rainfall, hot in summer and cool in winter.
Temperatures › In Cairo, it varies around 38 degrees C in summer to 15 degrees C in winter. Sandstorms usually blow between mid-March to end of April and can sometimes disrupt air traffic. Rainfall is largely confined to the Mediterranean coast, with around 200 millimeters a year in Alexandria. Egypt is dependent on the Nile for nearly all its water needs. The government is pressing ahead with desert reclamation schemes, but these are also dependent on limited Nile waters as reserves of water underground the desert have so far proved relatively insignificant.
Dress codes › Overall, Egypt is a very casual country! However, you may want to plan accordingly for the weather. Day dress should include cotton and breathable fabric clothing, comfortable shoes, hat, and sun block. Shorts are acceptable. Evening dress is smart-casual. A light jacket or sweater is advisable for the months of October – April. Lightweight clothing is necessary for the hot summer months (May to September) end. Business dress is formal – conservative dress is recommended or both men and women when visiting religious sites.
Food & Water › A change in drinking water and food can upset your stomach when traveling. We advise you to drink only bottled water, which can be purchased at most hotels and vendors. In the first few days, we recommend you eat lightly and avoid any raw vegetables or fruits, unless you can peel them. If you should come in counter with the “Pharaoh’s Curse”, no worries! Your tour guide or representative will be able to help you obtain certain medications specific for this problem. These medications can be purchased in most pharmacies throughout Egypt.
Public holidays ›
Fixed dates : 22 Feb (Unity Day) (schools, universities), 25 Apr (Sinai Day), 1 May (Labour Day), 18 Jun (Evacuation Day), 23 Jul (Anniversary of the Revolution), 6 Oct (Armed Forces’ Day), 24 Oct (Suez Day), 23 Dec (Victory Day) (schools, universities).
Variable dates : The Islamic year contains 354 or 355 days, with the result that Muslim feasts advance by 10-12 days against the Gregorian calendar each year. Dates of feasts vary according to the sighting of the new moon so it cannot be exactly forecast. Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan), Eid al-Adha, Sham el-Nessim (Coptic Easter Monday), Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday, Eid al-Fitr.
Working hours › Egypt is a Muslim country and the official day off is Friday. Embassies and offices of some foreign companies also close on Saturday or Sunday. Some companies treat Thursday as a half day. Hours may also vary between winter and summer.