Egypt

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Flag of Egypt Egypt
Information
Language: Arabic
Capital: Cairo
Population: 75,500,662
Currency: Egyptian pound (EGP)
Paved roads: 49.984 km
Hitchability: <rating country='eg' />
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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.

Alex:

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.

Lucysd trying to hitchhike

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.

Experiences

TheLoneBaker hitchhiked through Egypt and found it quite easy. Almost nobody expected payment after clarifying beforehand. However, while it was very easy to stop cars, the police themselves made hitchhiking difficult and kept claiming the road wasn't safe. TheLoneBaker was delayed for 2 hours in Qena before being given a police escort to Luxor. And again delayed for 3 hours leaving Luxor before the police ended up paying for a bus ticket to Aswan. TheLoneBaker was also denied entry to the Sinai region and told the only way would be if an expensive bus ticket was bought.

Basically, if possible and you wan't to minimize delays, find a lift where you are sitting inside a vehicle to cross a police checkpoint and get out afterwards when you are out of sight.  Or pay for a cheap local bus ride or taxi to take you past.  (riding on the back of a motorbike is unlikely to help.)

Language

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

Hospitality

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.

Safety

Due to Egypt being a very man-dominated country women should take extra precaution.

Cities

Border crossing

To Israel

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..

From Israel

The only open border crossing is from Eilat to Taba and it's directly on the coast. Make sure to not take road 12 in Israel.

  • 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). You can now also get an Egyptian visa onlinefor $25.

To Sudan

From Aswan you'll want to make your way to the last turn before the airport. There is a police checkpoint here and they make things difficult for hitchhikers. TheLoneBaker ended up not being allowed to hitchhike and was told to come back for the 5 am convoy the following morning. Doing so she was then told it still wasn't possible and was forced to take a minibus at her own expense. Though because it was last minute she was allowed to ride for the price of a local instead of the typical foreigner price. However, the 5 am convoy is still probably your best bet for finding a lift. Get there maybe 10 minutes early and ask as you make your way towards the front of the line. If you get there too early the police might not let you approach the drivers yourself.

Once you reach Abu Simbel, there is a ferry terminal very close to the temple. The ferry runs at least every 2 hours or possibly more often and is free for passengers to simply walk on. The first one of the day leaves around 9 am. It is a small ferry but you should be able to talk to a truck driver while on the ferry and arrange a lift before getting off. Otherwise you might have a long wait for the next set of vehicles to hitchhike.

Once at the border you will need to go to the first window on the left of the gate and pay 100 EGP for an exit paper. Then you need to visit window #3? and pay 2 EGP for a small stamp that you will affix to a small exit card. You might be able to get it here as well or you might have to wait until you are inside at the passport office.

To enter the border you will need to be inside a vehicle as they will not let you walk in. Additionally, you will probably have to wait a considerable amount of time for them to even open the gate and allow the vehicle you are in to enter. Once inside you can exit the vehicle again with your stuff and take it to be security screened. You will then visit the passport window and get your exit stamp.

After getting the exit stamp, you need to board a vehicle once again as they will not let you walk the few hundred meters to Sudan. But once the vehicle joins the queue for Sudan you can hop out once again and simply walk up to the gate where you will once again probably have to wait. Though not as long as the Egypt side. Again, find the correct office, and obtain your entry stamp. And then this time you will be free to walk on foot and exit the border. Here you can hitchhike right at the exit gate or walk down the road a little and hitchhike from there if you find yourself surrounded by too many people.