Although there are an estimated 10 million Egyptians with special needs, the country is not well equipped for travellers with mobility constraints. Ramps are few, public facilities don’t necessarily have lifts, curbs are high (except in Alexandria, which has wheelchair-friendly sidewalks) and traffic is lethal. Gaining entrance to some of the ancient sites – such as the Pyramids of Giza or the tombs on the West Bank near Luxor – is all but impossible because of narrow entrances and steep stairs.
Despite all this, there is no reason why intrepid travellers with disabilities shouldn’t visit Egypt. In general you’ll find locals willing to assist with any difficulties. Anyone with a wheelchair can take advantage of the large hatchback Peugeot 504s that are often used as taxis (though they’re rarer in Cairo now). One of these, together with a driver, can be hired for the day. Chances are the driver will be happy to help you in and out of the vehicle. For getting around the country, most places can be reached via comfortable internal flights. In June 2017 the transport minister announced a new initiative making wheelchairs available at some railway and metro stations.
Opportunities for travel will improve as the new initiative by Helm (www.helmegypt.org) expands: called Entaleq (https://entaleq.helmegypt.org/en) at the time of writing, it provides an online database and phone app of 500 hotels, restaurants and other facilities and activities that are accessible.
The following businesses in Egypt make a special effort:
El Nakhil Hotel Nestled in a palm grove, the Nakhil or ‘Palm Tree’ is on the edge of Al Gezira on Luxor's west bank. This resort-style hotel has three rooms that can cater for disabled guests.
Flats in Luxor Has been working with Helm to make two of their flats accessible to people with disabilities.
Camel Hotel Specific poolside accommodation and other facilities for divers with disabilities.
Egypt for All Agency specialised in making travel arrangements for mobility-impaired visitors, from day trips to complete Egypt tours.