Egypt’s popularity precedes it – right here, historical past extends again not simply centuries however to the very daybreak of civilization, with a powerful horde of in-situ historic monuments to show it. However the nation’s popularity as a tricky place for solo ladies to go to may function simply as prominently because the pyramids in tales swapped by travellers.
Earlier this 12 months, I spent six weeks in Egypt alone, traversing the nation from prime to backside, from Alexandria to Aswan and past. Whereas I’m not going to faux prefer it was straightforward, travelling in Egypt on my own was massively rewarding and eye-opening.
Interested by travelling to Egypt solo? Listed below are six hard-earned classes gleaned from my very own current experiences.
1: Be part of a small group tour
Hear me out: I do know that signing up for a tour may seem to be the antithesis of travelling solo, however in Egypt, that call pays out dividends. Becoming a member of a small group and even simply getting a information for your self will vastly improve your time exploring.
The nation is not properly arrange for unbiased journey. Signage at Egypt’s historic websites is almost nonexistent, so in case you’re hoping to grasp the hidden meanings behind the hieroglyphs and study in regards to the pantheon of pharaohs and gods, you’ll want an skilled Egyptologist in tow. Few costs are fastened, so that you’ll spend extra of your treasured vacation time haggling for transport to this temple or that, as an alternative of standing in awe of the traditional treasures. Would-be guides cling round entrances to vacationer websites, however if you include your personal, you’ll skip the effort of their entreaties. Going with a information or group allows you to absolutely give attention to having fun with your journey as an alternative of determining the logistics of constructing it occur.
Do not forget that travelling solo doesn’t essentially imply travelling alone. Should you be part of a tour, you’re certain to satisfy different like-minded adventurers, even perhaps different solo travellers who determined to strike out on their very own, so you possibly can alternate tales and expertise the enjoyment of solo journey collectively.
2: Gown the half
Egypt is a conservative Muslim nation, and it’s essential for travellers to respect the native tradition. It’s finest for ladies – and males! – to decorate modestly, overlaying from higher arms to knees. Bathing fits and shorts are advantageous on Nile cruise boats and at resorts in Sharm el-Sheikh and the Purple Sea, but it surely’s thoughtful to cowl up extra within the cities and particularly in rural villages.
Whilst you undoubtedly don’t must put on an abaya (a full-length costume worn by ladies that covers from wrists to toes) or a headband (except you’re visiting a mosque), lengthy and loose-fitting clothes will make sure you preserve cool and cozy in each local weather and tradition. Go for lengthy skirts, relaxed athletic pants, t-shirts, flowy tops and cardigans in cooler climate.
3: Deliver your sense of humour
Egypt’s financial system is massively reliant on tourism and remains to be rebounding after the COVID-19 pandemic and political instability from the fallout of the Arab Spring in 2011. Greater than two million Egyptians are employed in tourism, and the competitors to clinch a sale will be fierce. Whereas being questioned and catcalled in every single place you go is exhausting, hardly ever is it malicious.
The trail main to almost each historic website is lined with tourist-tat-filled markets and makeshift stalls that considered one of my guides jokingly known as the “valley of the distributors.” Should you’re not concerned about making a purchase order, simply preserve strolling and ignore the cloud of questions and pleas so that you can step into their outlets. Strolling by way of such as you’re coated in teflon and letting the effort bounce off you is the perfect technique, but it surely’s not at all times the simplest in case you come from a tradition the place that’s thought of impolite.
The Egyptians like to joke, so in case you’re inclined to have interaction, bust out your sense of humour. Fully make up the place you’re from (often the primary query requested) or if the gross sales pitch will get too tedious, snigger and say that you have already got a set of canopic jars at dwelling and don’t want any extra.
4: Pack your equipment
Egypt’s unrelenting desert solar implies that sun shades are important for a go to irrespective of the time of 12 months, however they’ll additionally provide help to keep away from eye contact and extra simply deflect the looking out salespeople.
Some ladies say carrying a pretend wedding ceremony ring helps keep at bay undesirable advances from flirtatious males, although I’m not absolutely satisfied it is definitely worth the effort. Even when your ring is observed, count on to be peppered with questions – from each women and men – about why you’re travelling alone, whether or not you’re married and the way you may depart your loved ones behind.
You’ll get fewer second glances in Cairo and Alexandria, cities the place tourism is much less essential (although the city chaos is one other ingredient to take care of). The Cairo Metro additionally has women-only vehicles.
5: Get a neighborhood SIM card
Solo travellers decided to navigate themselves round Egypt ought to choose up a neighborhood SIM card or be sure that their information plan from dwelling works once they arrive within the nation. Having an information connection is important for utilizing mapping apps to search out your approach round, particularly within the mangled maze of Islamic Cairo and the well-known bazaar of Khan el-Khalili (however don’t overlook to place your telephone away, too – a number of the pleasure right here is getting misplaced).
Uber works in Cairo, Alexandria, Hurghada and some different less-touristy cities, and its set costs are a godsend for these bored with haggling with taxi drivers. With telephone information, you possibly can keep linked to associates at dwelling and people you meet in Egypt, and lots of lodging and tour operators use WhatsApp to make bookings and ensure particulars.
Purchase a SIM card on the airport on arrival – you’ll discover telephone outlets round Egyptian cities, however the employees are much less prone to communicate English.
6: Keep versatile and have enjoyable
Egypt isn’t the simplest place on the planet for solo ladies travellers – or for unbiased travellers in any respect – however if in case you have an urge for food for journey, Egypt extends an open invitation to dive in head first. Whereas in different nations it typically pays off to have a well-planned itinerary, in Egypt, a number of the finest tales come from seeing the place the journey takes you. You by no means know who you may meet on a tour, at a hostel, at a espresso store or on the night time prepare.
Day by day in Egypt is an journey. Embrace it.
Able to discover Egypt by yourself phrases with a small group of like-minded travellers? This is a number of stable excursions stuffed with assist and free time for self-directed explorations: