Have people been travelling in Egypt after March 2011? What's the situation like over there? The election is also happening at the end of November. Should I wait until after the election to book my tour? I'm planning to visit early 2012.
Egypt, as like much of North Africa and parts of the Middle East, is volatile.
The State Department of the US has a comprehensive website detailing the latest information on the country. It points out that while crime is relatively low, there has of course been several incidents of protests, riots and political upheaval over the past year.
In the end, it is always going to be a gut feel thing. Many tour companies are offering 2 for 1 deals to get people to return to Egypt. People point out that apart from an unfortunate incident with an American Reporter, the violence has largely not targeted foreigners.
Anecdotal information from friends who have been since the uprising say that they felt entirely safe. Tour companies are going to have the latest information and will know which areas to avoid.
The election may change things dramatically, but given it looks to be the first 'free' elections in decades, it may be a good thing, with celebrations rather than protests. If you're not going anyway until 2012, perhaps wait. I booked a tour over Christmas 4 years ago with 2 weeks notice, and given the situation, you shouldn't have a problem finding a tour or flights around then.
In the end, as the state department website says, "There is nobody better at protecting you than yourself.". Be careful, keep informed, be safe.
Warning: Anectodal evidence...
I just heard yesterday that it's an amzing time to visit Egypt right now while all the tourists are away.
A young Australian couple passing through my hostel were there recently and reported only about three other people were at the pyramids while they were visiting!
They felt very safe and highly recommended it. I was so impressed with their story that I immediately started figuring out what set of borders I would need to cross to get there via an overland route on my current trip.
Elsewhere I heard for safety to stay away from the main square in Cairo where protests were focussed and stay away from the vicinity of voting stations if you're there while the elections are underway.
If it were up to me and the cost of the transport was not too high I would take the gamble and book the flight (etc) based on the possibility of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I wouldn't book anything else in advance since everybody in tourism in Egypt right now has practically no customers and nothing will be booked out.
But when it comes to saftey, you must make your own decision!
I visited Egypt in August of this year, and although I didn't stay in Cairo (I stayed in Sharm El Sheikh), I never once felt threatened.
I partook in many activities whilst there, visiting the Bedouin, travelling to the pyramids, and quad biking in the desert, with 2 children.
While Sharm would tend to cater much more to the tourist, on a professional level I have also visited Cairo a number of times since the trouble last year due to work commitments - and I am still here to write this.
The best tip I can give you, is always keep your wits about you, as in any country.
I know it's a different period but some of the answers on a similar question are going to be relevant. I've re-read my answer there and feel it is just as suitable now as it was then. Therefore I'll quote:
No, I don't think so. I was planning a trip to Egypt a year ago (it was quite a tense period then as well) but decided to go to India this year instead. It was also suppose to be a backpacking trip and was planning to go solo. I joined all the travel forums I could think of and members there (both, traveler and residents of Egypt) told me that I have nothing to worry about. I'm sure you won't wander off to some obscure places and will mostly be visiting monuments and famous sights.
The only thing that could ruin your trip is that if the government introduces police curfew, you would have to get to your hotel/hostel/hut by then. It is quite unlikely that the curfew would last more than a week. Besides, curfews so far were only from 2 to 7 AM and that's usually the time when you would sleep anyway.
UPDATE: See this question!
protected by mindcorrosive♦ Feb 11 at 1:45
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