Proceed with caution. Driving in Cairo is a crazy affair, and although it's slightly less nerve-racking in other parts of the country, it is more dangerous. Night driving should be completely avoided. That being said, some intrepid readers have reported that self-driving is a wonderful way to leave the tour buses in the dust.
A motorcycle would be a good way to travel around Egypt, but you must bring your own, the red tape is extensive and the risks perhaps greater than in a car. Ask your country’s automobile association and Egyptian embassy about regulations.
Petrol and diesel are usually readily available (there are occasional critical shortages) and very cheap. But stations can be scarce outside of Cairo. As a rule, when you see one, fill up.
Stock up on crucial spare parts and tyres. Cars in Egypt are also required to carry a fire extinguisher. Registration papers, liability insurance and an International Driving Permit, in addition to your domestic driving licence, are required.
Get multiple copies of a carnet de passage en douane. The carnet should also list any expensive spare parts you’re carrying with you.
At the Egyptian border you’ll be issued with a licence of the same duration as your visa. You can renew the licence, but you’ll have to pay a varying fee each time. The customs charge is approximately US$200, plus another US$50 for number-plate insurance.
An International Driving Permit is required to drive in Egypt, and you risk a heavy fine if you’re caught without one. Likewise, ensure that you always have all car registration papers with you while driving.
Finding a cheap deal with local agencies is virtually impossible – it’s advisable to make arrangements via the web before you arrive. Using international agencies is usually recommended. Read insurance terms carefully to see whether lower-quality roads are ruled out.
Driving is on the right-hand side. The speed limit outside towns is usually 70km/h to 90km/h, and 100km/h on major highways.
For traffic violations, the police will confiscate your driving licence and you must go to the traffic headquarters in the area to get it back.
Tolls are charged on the Cairo–Alexandria Desert Hwy, the Cairo–Fayoum road and the tunnel under the Suez Canal. Checkpoints are frequent. Be ready with identity papers and licence.
In cities, whoever is in front has the right of way, even if it’s only a matter of inches. In the countryside, keep an eye out for people and livestock wandering into the road.
Be aware of the risk of carjacking, particularly along the valley roads and at night.
If you have an accident, get to the nearest police station as quickly as possible and report what happened.
Note that because of security issues, foreign travellers are not allowed to use the Suez–Taba road, which runs across the middle of the Sinai Peninsula. You have to instead use the southern Sinai coastal route via Al Tor and Sharm El Sheikh.