There is an increased risk of terrorist attacks and kidnappings across the country. These can also be directed against foreign targets and citizens. Caution is generally advised when traveling to Egypt, including the tourist areas on the Red Sea. Demonstrations and crowds, especially in front of religious sites, universities and government institutions, should be avoided at all costs.
Country-specific safety information
According to businesscarriers, Egypt has been in a period of upheaval since the January Revolution of 2011, which has repeatedly led to demonstrations and violent clashes.
On December 11, 2016, there was a serious attack on the Coptic Church of Peter and Paul in Cairo. There were numerous dead and injured.
At the beginning of 2016, there was an attack on a tourist hotel in Hurghada on the Red Sea and near the pyramids of Giza on a tour bus occupied by Israeli tourists. In addition, there are repeated attacks on police posts, most recently on December 9, 2016 in Cairo, in which several police officers were killed.
In 2015 there were more and more terrorist attacks against Egyptian security authorities and critical infrastructure, but also against Western institutions. On October 31, 2015, a passenger plane crashed over the Sinai after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh. An explosive device on board was identified as the cause of the crash. There have been repeated serious attacks in the north of the Sinai Peninsula.
Travel over land
We strongly advise against cross-country journeys without a local guide.
We urgently warn against traveling to the north of the Sinai Peninsula and the Egyptian-Israeli border area. This also applies to the travel destination Taba. Military operations are taking place in these regions and there have been terrorist attacks. In February 2014 there was an attack on a coach carrying Korean tourists in Taba.
In all other regions of the Sinai Peninsula, individually organized overland trips that are not accompanied by state security forces are particularly advised against, as is unaccompanied bus trips in the greater Sharm al-Sheikh area towards Nuweiba and St. Catherine’s Monastery. It is recommended to check with the tour operator before traveling.
Attacks by the terrorist militia ISIS on positions of the Egyptian security forces in the Sheikh Zuwayd area on the northern Sinai Peninsula on July 1, 2015 resulted in a large number of fatalities.
The state of emergency was imposed on the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula (North Sinai Governorate) in August 2013 and has been extended since then, most recently in January 2017 to the end of April 2017. There is also a daily curfew from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. At the same time, the Rafah border crossing to the Gaza Strip is closed until further notice.
Attempts to enter Gaza via the Sinai are urgently warned.
We warn against traveling to remote areas of the Sahara.
The Egyptian authorities have declared the border regions with Libya and Sudan to be restricted areas and prohibited travel to them. On September 13, 2015, a group of tourists was accidentally shot at by Egyptian security forces in the western desert near Farafra; there were several fatalities. Even if excursion destinations that are located in the remote western and southern desert areas can in principle be visited with a special permit, it is currently strongly discouraged.
Due to military operations in the western desert, the connection from 6th of October City to Bahariya in particular is closed to tourists and foreigners until further notice. There are rejections.
It should be noted that the expansion of the existing restricted areas is subject to constant changes.
For the area of the Sinai (access to the Suez tunnel) there are currently access restrictions for off-road vehicles.
Since the political upheaval in January 2011 and even more so since President Morsi was deposed in July 2013, there have been repeated demonstrations across the country, some of which have been violent, with dead and injured. Since the election of President Sisi in May 2014, the situation has stabilized somewhat. However, further demonstrations and attacks on Egyptian security forces can be expected. Crowds should be avoided at all costs. Due to the security situation, checks by the security forces are to be expected, especially at night.
Travelers are advised to heed the information provided by the hotels and tour operators and to follow the latest media coverage.
The crime rate in Egypt is comparatively low. Against the background of the precarious economic and social situation of large parts of the population, the usual caution is advised.
Warning against traveling to the Gaza Strip
There are still urgent warnings against traveling to the Gaza Strip; This applies in particular to people with family members in the Gaza Strip.The Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip is regularly closed after attacks on Egyptian security forces. It cannot be foreseen when the closings will be lifted and whether the border crossing will resume regular operations. This always harbors the risk of not being able to leave the Gaza Strip again. Even if the border crossing is reopened, the rules for crossing the border in Rafah will be handled very restrictively by the Egyptian authorities. The responsible German diplomatic missions abroad cannot provide assistance with entry or exit via the Rafah border crossing. The overland drive to Rafah is particularly dangerous. Due to the travel warning for the north of the Sinai Peninsula, no consular assistance can be provided there.
Due to inadequately marked minefields, special caution is required away from regular roads and paths on the Sinai, in some undeveloped coastal areas of the Red Sea, on the undeveloped Mediterranean coastal strip west of El Alamein and in regions bordering Sudan and Libya. Ship, rail and air transport
The Egyptian rail network is partly out of date. There are always serious accidents with fatalities. Train traffic is severely restricted. Short-term train cancellations are to be expected, especially on branch lines. The safety standards on ferries, such as those used for passage across the Red Sea, do not always meet international standards. Against this background, overland journeys by rail – with the exception of the express trains between Alexandria and Cairo – should be avoided as far as possible and flight connections should be used where possible.
From the holiday areas (including Hurghada) there are increasing reports of fraudulent or blackmailing behavior among taxi drivers. Therefore only taxis with activated taximeters should be used. Passengers should inform themselves in advance, e.g. in their hotel, about the destination and the approximate fare. Payment should be made through the window after getting out.
The security controls at the Egyptian airports are partially inadequate. In the past, there have been an increasing number of complaints from travelers whose luggage has been looted or lost at Cairo International Airport.
General information can be found on the website of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Cairo under external link, opens in new window www.kairo.diplo.de.