|Currency:||Egyptian pound (EGP)|
|Paved roads:||49.984 km|
|Hitchability:||<rating country='eg' />|
|Meet fellow hitchhikers on Trustroots|
|<map lat='27' lng='31.8' zoom='5' view='0' height='300'/>|
Hitchhiking in Egypt is actually quite easy. When visiting areas outside of Cairo, it may be easier to hitchhike than to search for a taxi. In places such as St. Catherine's (Mt. Sinai), Siwa Oasis, and the Sinai Peninsula there are numerous opportunities to hitchhike. These are great places to hitchhike since the taxi drivers there have a pseudo-monopoly on transportation, a steady flow of unsuspecting tourists, and are often times difficult to deal with. The people, on the other hand, are often times very friendly to foreigners and willing to help in any way – although very little of them own a private car.
- On one occasion a taxi driver refused to drive me a half kilometer to the hospital for 5 LE. I simply walked up to a local, told them that I needed to go to the hospital, and they took me for free. Nonetheless, it may be better to catch a bus, a minibus, or take a taxi on long trips since they are relatively inexpensive and do not require the use of Arabic.
If you do not speak Arabic, the opportunity to hitchhike may be limited. Most people in Egypt do not speak English. The people that do speak English often times are not quite as excited by the prospect of giving a ride to a foreigner because much of the time they were educated in the British or American school systems.
If you have ever been to Egypt, you understand that many people might expect money from you in exchange for them giving you a ride (especially if you look like a foreigner). Let the driver know before leaving that you either do not have money or tell them a price. There have been occasions in which Alex had people refuse to give me a ride because they expected me to give them ridiculous amounts of money. Around Sinai, many people with normal cars consider themselves as taxi drivers even though they obviously are not.
Here are some helpful phrases for people that do not speak any Arabic.
- Hello: ahlan
- I am going to [location]: ana harooh [location]
- Where are you going?: hatrooh fein?
- No Money: mafeesh filoos
- yes: aiwa
- I have [amount of money]: ma'aya [amount of money]
- I don't have money: mesh ma'aya filoos
- Thank You: Shukran
- goodbye: m'a alasalama
Good luck and have fun. The people in Egypt are some of the most welcoming and interesting people in the world. Try to relax. There is no such thing as being in a hurry here. Don't be surprised if the driver stops to have tea. The rule of thumb for Egyptians is that hospitality is more important than all other obligations. If someone is treating you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, just let it go. Unless you are a woman, they are not hitting on you. The people are just very touchy-feely.
Due to Egypt being a very man-dominated country women should take extra precaution.
Hitchhiking can work out fine if you hitchhike from Sharem Al-Sheikh direction, but not many private cars arrive at Taba (the border crossing) nonetheless. If you arrive by bus, than the bus will take you to Taba bus station, and than the conductor might demand 5 LE (a person!) to bring you 600 meter forward to the border crossing. Unless you are very tired, it's better to walk to the border and get yourself a nice can of beer for the same price.
From the Israeli side, either hitchhike 150m after the border crossing (after the enormous parking lot), or take bus line 15 to Eilat main bus station, and hitchhike north..
- You will have to pay an exit fee of 100 shekels in the Israeli border terminal. You are entitled to be exempted of this fee, given you stay only in the Taba area during your entire stay in Egypt - this can be accounted for by showing a reservation to Movenpick, Hilton Taba, Taba Sands or Radisson Blu hotel in Taba. The reservation will be checked with the hotel. There could be a case in which you will be asked to pay the exit fee, and you'll get refunded upon return to Israel showing the check-out receipt with the date of the same day. Alternatively, if you got the exemption but later stayed further into Egypt than Taba, upon re-entry to Israel you'd be asked to pay the full exit fee.
- The Egyptians issue East-Sinai-only stamps at this crossing, free of charge, so if you want to go to Cairo (actually, any further than Sharm al-Sheikh), they'll make you pay $25 for a visa and anywhere from $100 for "visa support"(handwritten note from a "travel agent" without which they won't give you the full visa... You can avoid the whole visa nightmare by getting an Egyptian visa in advance (from an embassy/consulate) - either in Eilat (100 shekels, 2014, located on Efroni st.) or in your home country - prices: in London (GBP20, November 2017), Schengen countries (EUR38, November 2017).