World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide

Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
Map of Africa

Egypt Travelling Guide
Egypt Travelling Guide

General background: Nominally independent from the UK in 1922, Egypt acquired full sovereignty following World War II. The completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1971 and the resultant Lake Nasser have altered the time-honored place of the Nile river in the agriculture and ecology of Egypt. A rapidly growing population (the largest in the Arab world), limited arable land, and dependence on the Nile all continue to overtax resources and stress society. The government has struggled to ready the economy for the new millennium through economic reform and massive investment in communications and physical infrastructure.

Area comparative: Slightly more than three times the size of New Mexico

Climate: Desert; hot, dry summers with moderate winters

Terrain: Vast desert plateau interrupted by Nile valley and delta

Population: 70,712,345 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Eastern Hamitic stock (Egyptians, Bedouins, and Berbers) 99%, Greek, Nubian, Armenian, other European (primarily Italian and French) 1%

Religions: Muslim (mostly Sunni) 94%, Coptic Christian and other 6%

Language: Arabic (official), English and French widely understood by educated classes

Government type: Republic

Capital: Cairo

Legal system: Based on English common law, Islamic law, and Napoleonic codes; judicial review by Supreme Court and Council of State (oversees validity of administrative decisions); accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations.

Economic overview: Egypt improved its macroeconomic performance throughout most of the last decade by following IMF advice on fiscal, monetary, and structural reform policies. As a result, Cairo managed to tame inflation, slash budget deficits, and attract more foreign investment. In the past three years, however, the pace of reform has slackened, and excessive spending on national infrastructure projects has widened budget deficits again. Lower foreign exchange earnings since 1998 resulted in pressure on the Egyptian pound and periodic dollar shortages. Monetary pressures have increased since 11 September 2001 because of declines in tourism, Suez canal tolls, and exports, and Cairo has devalued the pound several times in the past year. The development of a gas export market is a major bright spot for future growth prospects.

Communication/Telephone system: Large system; underwent extensive upgrading during 1990s and is reasonably modern; Internet access and cellular service are available.

Places of interest: Since long before the birth of Christ, travelers have been drawn to this extraordinary country and its pyramids, Sphinx, ancient Luxor and River Nile. It's not just the Pharaonic monuments either - it's the legacy of the Greeks and Romans, the churches and monasteries of the early Christians, and the overwhelming profusion of art and architecture accumulated from centuries of successive Islamic dynasties

Travel tips: In September 1997, nine German tourists were shot in Cairo in a terrorist attack, followed two months later by the death of 67 people (57 of them tourists) in Luxor. Since that time, however, law enforcement units have cracked down on the activities of fundamentalist Islamic militant groups and other extremists and not a single tourist has been killed by terrorists in Egypt since 1997. Most visitors have hassle-free stays, but travelers are warned to avoid public political gatherings and demonstrations.