Some safety info
Replies: 3 - Last Post: Jan 10, 2012 4:54 AM Last Post By: fourjandals
Jan 6, 2012 12:08 PM
Some safety infoThere are many questions here by travelers concerned with the situation in Cairo following mid-december's renewed unrest, so I'll try to tell you a bit about what we've seen.
In short: if you want to go, you should go - there's no reason to assume any immediate danger to tourists anywhere in the country, despite of what local tour operators may tell you. For instance, we booked a car by ourselves from Luxor to Abydos, in spite of 'problems' tour vendors mentioned, we didn't see any worrysome incident - outside of Cairo, that is.
We were in Cairo right after the unrest, and we have to say in good faith that while we had no reason to consider ourselves threatened at any moment, the atmosphere there is strained. Many people told us that unlike during the revolution, the objective and identity of the protesters who torched various buildings in the vicinity of Tahrir square - among them the Ministry of the Interior and parts of the American University in Cairo, which was closed for visitors during our stay - are unknown; the military accused radical soccer fans, which the media gobbled up, much to the dismay of many Cairenes who assume a plot of the old Mubarak gentry.
There is also much concern that, if the Muslim Brotherhood wins the elections as would seem very likely at present, the military may refuse to hand over power for constitutional concerns, which could lead to a permanent state of emergency. Nobody we talked to believed that the military will relinquish its hold on the government easily. So it is likely, yet by no means of immediate concern to tourists, that protests will flare up again in Cairo.
On Sinai, on the other hand, vigorous safety checks - 5 passports controls and one very thorough baggage check at the Suez Canal on the bus we rode in - should ensure that things keep quiet.
The up side of all this is that you can strike very good deals (we paid 100 pounds per night in Dahab, even though it's high season) and that many otherwise crowded attractions, such as the pyramids, are almost tranquil - a guide told us that business is down by 70-80% compared to normal times.
So once again: if you want to go, go. Just be advised to follow the news closely during the elections, and if your accomodation in Cairo is anywhere near Tahrir or Sadat metro station, it's a good idea to arrive early in the day, as protests seem to happen more likely after noon, and on friday.
Jan 6, 2012 1:06 PM
Jan 7, 2012 12:32 AM
2Thanks for sharing, it's very useful.
I wouldn't call the baggage check in Aswan "thorough", though.
Jan 10, 2012 4:54 AM
3We just got back and here are our thoughts :)
If you are worried about visiting Egypt because of the recent unrest then please don't be! It is a beautiful country and we never felt unsafe - http://www.fourjandals.com/africa/egypt-is-open-for-tourism/
If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch!
Cole and Adela
Travel Bloggers at http://www.fourjandals.com
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