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Trying not to get kidnapped
August 20, 2012 6:23 AM   Subscribe

Is it safe to travel to Egypt right now?

I've looked into government travel advisories which don't mean much because they say you can go but just be on "high alert". It doesn't say you should avoid "non-essential" travel - at least not the Canadian gov't website.

So, my question to the hive is: a) Has anyone traveled to Egypt in the last couple months? b) Does anyone live in Egypt who can share their opinions?

Also don't understand why the advice is to stick to "tourist" areas and yet, tourists are being kidnapped.

Planning to go in to Egypt in September. Want to hit Cairo and Aswan...and well, any other tips would be appreciated on where to go as well!

Thanks everyone.
posted by grak88 to Travel & Transportation around Egypt (8 answers total)
 
Also don't understand why the advice is to stick to "tourist" areas and yet, tourists are being kidnapped.

Presumably because those tourists are not sticking to "tourist" areas?

The UK Foreign Office says:
Two US nationals were kidnapped near Nuweiba in Sinai on 30 May. They were released unharmed the next day. There have been a number of incidents in February and March 2012 of kidnappings of foreign tourists and tour guides by armed tribesmen on the roads between Nuweiba, Dahab and St Catherine's in Sinai. All those kidnapped were released unharmed within hours. You should exercise caution when travelling outside resorts in the Sinai and take advice from local security authorities and your tour operator.
...
There have also been incidents of robberies and roadblocks on roads in Sinai and other areas of Egypt including near Abu Simbel, Luxor and Qena.


Their map advises you to avoid the north east of the country (the Sinai area).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:43 AM on August 20, 2012


Where are tourists being kidnapped? I only see news of two in the news and they were released quickly.

They tell you to stay near tourist areas because that is where the police and military are most in control.
posted by empath at 6:45 AM on August 20, 2012


The Lonely Planet Thorntree board is a good place to get on-the-ground info about travel safety in a specific region. Here's a link to their Egypt forum.
posted by apparently at 7:04 AM on August 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


My partner visited last month and did the tourist route (Cairo, Aswan, Nile cruise etc). He never felt in significant danger. He did note that because the upper reaches of the Nile essentially aren't being policed at the moment, the touts up at Aswan and Luxor are even more aggressive and over-reaching than they are famous for being under normal circumstances.
posted by pickingupsticks at 7:15 AM on August 20, 2012


Any time anyone here ever has a question about travel safety, I refer them to Thorn Tree. It's the most intrepid and realistic community of international travelers you could ask for, and the quickest and most reliable way to debunk (or confirm!) any hot gossip about travel safety. I strongly second apparently's recommendation.
posted by mykescipark at 9:45 AM on August 20, 2012


I think a word of caution about thorntree. A lot of the posters there severely downplay safety problems, at least in my experience reading their central American forums and then travelling here, and often they are basing their information on previous trips years before, and conditions can change rapidly.

I've found that talking to hostel and hotel desks and locals is the best way to get an idea of dangers in an area. You could probably even call ahead to hostels or hotels in the places you are thinking about visiting to ask how things are.
posted by empath at 9:58 AM on August 20, 2012


I think a word of caution about thorntree. A lot of the posters there severely downplay safety problems, at least in my experience reading their central American forums and then travelling here, and often they are basing their information on previous trips years before, and conditions can change rapidly.

I haven't found that anyone at thorntree puts up with people making bets on years-old advice... at least not in the Africa forum, which is where I hang out. I generally think people there recognize that what is required is information current to the news cycle, and there are plenty of folks on the board that actually live in the places mentioned, as opposed to just traveling there. YMMV, I guess.
posted by mykescipark at 10:25 AM on August 20, 2012


I went to Cairo a couple of months ago. It is generally safe. However, be aware that the Egyptians have lost a very significant portion of their tourist trade in the last few years and as a result you will get a lot of hassle. I was there for business and it made me really uncomfortable, presumably it would've been a lot worse if I was visiting the more touristy areas of the city. Unless you have a very thick skin I think it will have a negative impact on your holiday.

If you decide to go, don't stay in the area of the city near Tahir square as a precaution.
posted by Laura_J at 12:02 PM on August 20, 2012


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