Hello Dear Reader and Welcome Back to the Blog!
Today we are going to be diving into a very juicy topic! This is a question we get asked all the time! And it’s very understandable because the news portrays the whole Middle East as a war-torn wasteland. In fact, it could be argued that the ONLY time that you hear about the Middle East/ North Africa is when something horrible happens. I feel this topic is a bit relative to where you grew up and were raised, and what you deem as safe. Living in the last days, there is no where that is truly safe, but hopefully I can enlighten you with a little bit of my personal experience, complete with anecdotes that can help you to decide if Egypt is a place you’d really like to visit. Today we will review what is the general definition of country safety, as well as what to expect when visiting Egypt.
I’m no expert, so I did a little bit of research of what would constitute a “safe country” and there was this nice definition from worldpopulationreview.com:
“There are some commonalities among the safest countries in the world. For instance, safe countries tend to display high levels of wealth, social welfare, and education. Additionally, safe countries typically have effective criminal justice systems and governments that maintain very healthy relationships with their citizens.”
If you are going strictly by this definition, it’s no wonder that many, many countries would not be considered safe. I think most of us though, when asking this question, are really wondering: ‘ How likely am I to be attacked or hurt or robbed if I go to this country?’ Happily I can tell you that if you are coming for a visit to Egypt, this is very, very unlikely to happen, but I will add the nuance that if you’re coming to Cairo, like ANY big city in the world, there are not so safe areas that should be avoided especially at night. However, as a tourist, going to touristic places you would really need to go out of your way to go to those places.
The common people here do not have access to guns, as the government here is run by the Military. Like any city, there are always pick-pockets that you have to watch out for, but you’re super unlikely to be attacked. Egyptians love foreigners, mostly they would want to somehow get tips from you or extra money, not hurt you. That being said, you will see a lot of guns as there are security guards EVERYWHERE. Every mall, food court, or hotel almost always has security guards outside with guns, and scanners to put your bags through before going in. Also, a side note, that doesn’t have much to do with safety, but this topic rang a bell so I thought I would mention it, Egypt does not allow the use of drones so forget the aerial shot of the Pyramids. They are very sensitive also with photography, especially of government buildings.
Anecdote time! When Karim and I started dating, a lot of people would come up to me in a hushed hushed tone with a very serious look in their eyes of concern and worry and say: ‘ Be careful when you go to Egypt. ‘ It happened more than once! And because I had never been I really thought someone would throw a bomb at me at any minute, and that thought stayed with me for the first 6 months of living here! I can tell you that has never happened, I’ve never truly felt unsafe. I am also selective about where I go, and with who. As a foreigner, you get a lot of attention, and I always prefer to be with someone else, unless I’m at a mall or coffee shop or something. A note to solo female travelers, I would not recommend coming to Egypt alone, unless you will be staying with someone you know, and in that case would be sightseeing with them and have company. This is more for convenience, and comfort than anything, going alone places you can get a lot of annoying attention as a female. I would also recommend to be aware in crowded places like the metro and Khan El Khalili with a lot of people around and especially behind you, you would be amazed at the audacity some men can have of a passing hand.
As far as wealth, social welfare, and education, it’s not very good for the majority of the population. People are truly poor, and struggling to make ends meet. Don’t be fooled by the gorgeous malls, maybe only about 5% of the population can actually shop there.
So to summarize, do I think that Egypt is a safe place to visit? Yes. Provided that you use common sense, preferably travel with at least one other person, and are aware of your surroundings, I think you will enjoy it. It is an experience to come for a visit, so don’t expect something relaxing, but more adventurous! Please comment down below if you have any other questions or concerns!
Have a lovely day!