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Is Cairo Safe?

Cairo is generally safe for tourists, but caution is advised due to petty crime and the risk of terrorist attacks. While violent crime is relatively low, remain vigilant in crowded areas and take precautions against pickpockets. Political tensions can escalate quickly, so monitor travel advisories. Adhere to cultural norms, especially during religious events, to avoid unintentionally causing offense.

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Safety & Security

Cairo, Egypt is generally safe for travelers, but it's important to exercise caution and be aware of potential risks. Here's an overview:

  • Crime: Petty crimes like pickpocketing and bag snatching are common, especially in crowded areas and tourist hotspots. Remain vigilant and keep valuables secure. Violent crime against tourists is relatively rare but does occur.

  • Civil Unrest: Political demonstrations and protests can occur without warning. Avoid areas where protests are taking place and monitor local media for updates.

  • Terrorism: The risk of terrorist attacks exists, though mainly targeting government and security forces. Remain vigilant in public places and follow advice from local authorities.

  • Scams: Be wary of common scams like overcharging by taxis or vendors, fake tour guides, and people offering unsolicited help or services.

  • Disputes: Avoid confrontations and disputes, as they can escalate quickly. Exercise patience and remain calm in any situation.

  • Robbery: Muggings and robberies can occur, particularly in isolated areas or at night. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or valuables.

Safety Tips:

  • Dress conservatively and respect local customs and traditions.
  • Avoid traveling alone, especially at night.
  • Use official taxis or ride-sharing services.
  • Be cautious when accepting food or drinks from strangers.
  • Keep copies of important documents and travel documents secure.

While exercising caution, most visits to Cairo are trouble-free. Staying alert, avoiding isolated areas, and following local advice can help mitigate risks.

Health & Medical

Travelers to Cairo should be aware of potential health risks and take necessary precautions. While the city has decent medical facilities, it's advisable to consult a travel health professional before your trip.

  • Vaccinations: Ensure routine vaccinations are up-to-date, and consider hepatitis A, typhoid, and rabies vaccines based on your travel plans.
  • Insect-borne Diseases: Mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever and malaria are present in some areas of Egypt. Use insect repellent and consider antimalarial medication if visiting risk areas.
  • Food and Water Safety: Drink only bottled or purified water, and avoid raw or undercooked food to prevent traveler's diarrhea and other foodborne illnesses.
  • Air Pollution: Cairo has high levels of air pollution, which can exacerbate respiratory conditions. Those with asthma or other lung diseases should take precautions.
  • Medical Facilities: While private hospitals in Cairo offer good care, facilities may be limited outside the city center. Ensure you have comprehensive travel health insurance.

Natural Disasters

Cairo, located in the arid desert climate of Egypt, is generally not prone to major natural disasters. However, travelers should be aware of the following potential risks:

  • Sandstorms: Cairo can experience severe sandstorms, particularly during the spring months of March and April. These storms can reduce visibility significantly and pose a risk to outdoor activities and transportation.

  • Earthquakes: Egypt lies within an active seismic zone, and Cairo has experienced minor earthquakes in the past. While major earthquakes are rare, travelers should familiarize themselves with safety procedures in case of an earthquake.

  • Flooding: Although Cairo is located in a desert region, flash floods can occur during heavy rainfall events. Travelers should exercise caution and avoid low-lying areas during periods of heavy rain.

  • Extreme Heat: Cairo experiences extremely hot and dry summers, with temperatures often exceeding 40°C (104°F). Travelers should take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses, such as staying hydrated and limiting outdoor activities during the hottest parts of the day.

While natural disasters are not a significant concern in Cairo, it is always advisable for travelers to stay informed about weather conditions, follow local advisories, and take necessary precautions to ensure their safety.


Cairo's public transportation system consists mainly of buses, metro, and taxis. While relatively affordable, it can be overcrowded and chaotic, especially during rush hours. Safety concerns include pickpocketing, harassment, and reckless driving.

  • Metro: The metro system is generally considered the safest mode of public transport, though overcrowding and petty crime can occur. Women-only cars are available.

  • Buses: Buses are often overcrowded and poorly maintained. Exercise caution when using them, especially at night.

  • Taxis: Official taxis are generally safe, but negotiate the fare beforehand. Avoid unmarked taxis. Women traveling alone should take extra precautions.

  • Driving: Driving in Cairo can be challenging due to heavy traffic, aggressive driving, and poor road conditions. Hiring a private driver is recommended for inexperienced drivers.

  • Walking: Exercise caution when walking, especially at night. Avoid isolated areas and be aware of your surroundings.

Cultural Norms

Cairo, Egypt is a melting pot of cultures and traditions, with a rich history dating back thousands of years. As a traveler, it's essential to respect the local customs and cultural norms to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Dress Code: Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country, and modest dress is expected, especially when visiting religious sites. Avoid revealing clothing, and women should consider covering their heads when entering mosques.

  • Ramadan: During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. Respect this tradition by refraining from eating, drinking, or smoking in public during daylight hours.

  • Greetings: Greet people with a polite nod or a handshake, avoiding physical contact between genders unless initiated by the local person.

  • Photography: Be mindful when taking photographs, especially of people, religious sites, and military installations. Always ask for permission before photographing individuals.

  • Gestures: Certain gestures, such as pointing with your finger or showing the soles of your feet, can be considered rude. Be aware of local customs and body language.

  • Religious Observances: Respect religious practices and avoid disrupting prayers or other religious ceremonies.

  • Bargaining: Bargaining is a common practice in markets and with street vendors. However, do so politely and respectfully, without causing offense.

  • Alcohol: While alcohol is available in some hotels and restaurants, public drunkenness and disorderly behavior are frowned upon and should be avoided.

By respecting the local culture and customs, travelers can have a more enriching and rewarding experience in Cairo, while also fostering positive relationships with the local community.

Emergency Services

Emergency services in Cairo are generally available, but their reliability and quality can vary. As a traveler, it's essential to be prepared and aware of the available resources.

  • Ambulance Services: While ambulance services exist, response times can be slow, especially during rush hours or in remote areas. Many locals prefer to use private transportation for medical emergencies.

  • Police and Security: The tourist police are generally helpful and can assist with emergencies involving foreigners. However, communication barriers and bureaucracy can sometimes hinder their effectiveness.

  • Fire Department: The fire department is present in Cairo, but their resources may be limited, and response times can be slow, especially in densely populated areas.

  • Tourist Assistance: Some hotels and tour operators offer emergency assistance services for their guests, including medical referrals, translation services, and coordination with local authorities. It's advisable to inquire about these services before your trip.

  • Private Medical Facilities: Several private hospitals and clinics cater to foreigners and offer higher standards of care than public facilities. However, their services can be expensive, and travel insurance is highly recommended.

While emergency services are available in Cairo, travelers should exercise caution, be prepared for potential delays or communication challenges, and consider obtaining travel insurance and emergency contact information before their trip.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Is Cairo safe for tourists?

Cairo is generally safe for tourists, but caution is advised. Avoid protests, crowded areas, and travel at night. Dress conservatively and respect local customs. Petty crime like pickpocketing occurs, so keep valuables secure. Register with your embassy and monitor travel advisories.

Is Cairo safe for solo female travelers?

Solo female travelers should exercise caution in Cairo. Dress modestly, avoid isolated areas, and use trusted transportation. Harassment and catcalling are common. Consider joining a tour group or hiring a local guide for added safety.

Is Cairo safe for families?

Cairo can be a rewarding destination for families with proper precautions. Avoid crowded areas and protests. Child-friendly attractions include the Egyptian Museum, Giza Pyramids, and Nile cruises. Ensure children are supervised and dress modestly.

Is Cairo LGBTQ+ friendly?

Same-sex relationships are illegal in Egypt, and the LGBTQ+ community faces discrimination and harassment. Public displays of affection should be avoided. Some hotels and businesses may refuse service. Exercise caution and discretion.

Do you need a visa to go to Cairo?

Most tourists require a visa to visit Egypt, which can be obtained on arrival or in advance. Citizens of many Western countries can obtain a visa on arrival for a fee. Check visa requirements based on your nationality and length of stay.

Can you drink tap water in Cairo?

Tap water in Cairo is not safe to drink. Stick to bottled or purified water, even for brushing teeth. Avoid ice cubes and raw foods washed with tap water. Boiling or using a water filter can make tap water potable.

What is the currency in Cairo?

The Egyptian pound (EGP) is the official currency in Cairo. US dollars and euros are widely accepted at hotels and tourist sites. Credit cards are accepted at major establishments, but cash is preferred for smaller transactions.

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