- 50% of people warn you that’s it’s dangerous and you’ll be harassed
- and the other 50% telling that Egypt is absolutely amazing and you’ll encounter the most hospitable people.
Well, let’s be honest, you can encounter both but you can avoid the first 50% mostly if you listen to what locals tell you and if you trust your gut when it comes to strangers.
To avoid the first 50% and enjoy Egypt, please now read through the following tips for solo female travelers in Egypt and find out how it is safe to travel Egypt alone as a woman:
Take Uber, avoid cabs
Cab drivers may charge you double from what the ride is supposed to cost – about 50 EGP at most for about 20-30 minutes. One guy tried charging 100 EGP.
That’s why your safest bet is Uber. Uber drivers also have to go through a background check.
However, it is not uncommon that Uber drivers to ask you for directions when you get in the car. Therefore, be sure where you’re going and have your own maps app ready. And if you’re a girl who doesn’t have a sense of direction (been there) – you better get some (done that)!
It is also not uncommon that instead of what was supposed to be 2 minutes of waiting time, they’ll turn into 10 to 15. Know this and plan accordingly. Most Egyptians don’t take time seriously anyway, so no problem if you show up late 😉[Read more about Egyptian time on 11 things you should know before traveling to Egypt].
If you’re a girl and want to get “the more real experience” on public transport, please do so in company of a local male friend. Do yourself a favor and avoid stares and “accidental” touching.
Get a SIM card from a legit store
When I got my first SIM card in Hurghada, I was wondering why the Vodafone shop I stepped foot into wasn’t shown on Google Maps.
Later on in Cairo, I got the explanation as I went to a Vodafone shop that was shown on Google Maps. When I wanted to recharge my phone, the clerk told me that I had received a fake SIM card. It was fake, but at least it worked; however, I still don’t know if I got the full 5 GB I paid for at the fake shop. I also found out that with a fake SIM card, you’ll never be able to check your balance, so you may run the risk of running out of data in a place where you shouldn’t.
Therefore, check the official website of the provider of your choice (I’ve frequently heard that Vodafone has the best signal), and look up a legit shop close to you.
Don’t dress like a h0€
Theoretically, you are free to wear whatever. I’ve seen girls’ booties and titties bouncing around the pyramids in booty shorts and spaghetti tops and exposed tummies and all three together. BUT if you’re not at a tourist site, you rather cover legs and shoulders, no matter if you’re in a big city or small town. If you don’t
- You’ll most def be judged.
- May be thought of as easy prey and promiscuous.
Yes, men shouldn’t do that, I agree, but you are in a predominantly Muslim country where the majority doesn’t see women walking around half-naked on a daily basis, so please keep that in mind.
In Hurghada, Dahab, and other beach towns it’s alright to wear dresses and skirts and all. In these towns, you’ll also feel much freer and not as stared at as a foreigner.
They’ll give you this great “Kermit-the-frog-priestress” outfit at Amir ibn al-As Mosque.
Make friends with locals
That’s not only a safety tip – that’s a tip that’ll guarantee you the best time you’ve ever had anywhere.
My best story of meeting a local who later showed me all over Egypt takes place in a hot air balloon over Luxor during sunrise. My Airbnb host introduced me to his friends who introduced me to friends in return. But I also met people through Instagram and Facebook before going to Egypt and while I was there.
Look for people from the AIESEC organisation – they’re the best!
So, be open, but beware because some people are only “after your foreignness” and want to show you off or put themselves on your good side for questionable reasons.
Be careful crossing the street
If you’re used to German-like order on the streets like I am (even after living in less orderly countries for 10 years), a big city’s streets can be scary because there are no rules. So, your best bet is to wait for a local to cross the street next to you and just walk with him. Let him/her stop the cars, let him/her walk first, and you just walk on the side next to him/her where cars don’t come from.
One time, my local friend hooked my arm underneath his and I still had to close my eyes. So I applaud you if you do it by yourself 😉
Don’t get caught with an Egyptian without a paper
You may wonder what in the world I’m talking about here. Well, Egyptians are supposed to have a paper that proves their relationship with a person of another sex.
In Cairo, that’s old skool and nobody on the street will be bothered if men and women hang out in a couple. Unless you’re an Egyptian guy with a white lady, then policemen may ask the guy for money in Arabic (#facts). And unless you’re openly showing affection even if it’s just resting your head on someone’s shoulder or leg. Then you may be told by a security person to go somewhere else.
In towns like Hurghada, it is common for police to show up and demand that paper; however, it is also common for young Egyptians to get with white ladies because they want their visa/nationality/money/passport/whatever.
Don’t wonder if there you see 20-something guys hanging out with old, big white ladies in bars or restaurants. Don’t wonder if the guys stare into their phones while the women look at them with utmost adoration while they do that. That’s just how it is.
Know about this and beware if you go to towns where you see this happening. Know that just like anywhere else in this world not every guy has the most sincere intentions.
Also know that if you’ve made a legit Egyptian guy friend you’re not supposed to stay with him in a hotel or Airbnb without a paper. You will most likely not get into to trouble if you’re caught, but he will. But he will also know ways to trick hotels/Airbnbs/authorities.
Can I take a selfie with you?
If you say yes to this question once, beware that you may find yourself surrounded by 20 more people who want to do the same. Families who want to place their babies on your laps and have their kids surround you so they can get a picture of them with you.
My recommendation is to say yes, but only with females. This will lead you to get to know locals. But when you’re surrounded by 30 people at the end, it can be hard to leave. Just stand your ground, say no to new requests and move on.
Why only females though? Because males may “accidentally” touch or grab you. Sadly, I’ve been there. So, please avoid taking selfies with Egyptian guys.
What if you are harassed?
In case some pig tried to harass you, yell “el hao’uni” (help) and curse at him hella loud, yell “police, police,” hit him if you can, and get away from him as fast as possible. Unlike other countries, you are not at fault when some d*ckh€ad messes with you, BUT it’s also not a country where female voices count as much as male’s. This is information from local ladies.
I can definitely say that it is safe to travel Egypt alone as a woman because I’ve done it twice within 3 months for one month each. I’ve been all over the country, to different cities, and I’ve never been alone for a long time.
Choose your new friends wisely and also ask them for tour operator recommendations. Avoid the name Loly and his Black and White Desert tours.
Both my friend and I took this tour to explore the Pyramids, Memphis, and Giza with two different guides and loved it both times.
More about Egypt on my blog:
Here are 11 things to know before traveling to Egypt.
Something you have to experience: Hot air balloon ride in Luxor: Book your hot air balloon ride here.