The official language of Egypt is Standard Arabic, but people speak Egyptian Arabic. There are special booklets available for a holiday in Egypt. In tourist areas most Egyptians speak reasonable English.
Egypt uses 220 volts and two-pin plugs. UK visitors will require a 2-pin adaptor and US visitors may need a transformer for any electrical equipment they want to use.
The climate in Egypt
Egypt has a desert climate with very little rainfall – hot summers and mild winters. The summer months are hot in Dahab, but fortunately there is always a breeze, which helps to cool things down. In the spring and autumn temperatures are around 30 to 35 degrees Celsius and in winter the average daytime temperature is between 25 and 30 degrees. In the evening it cools down a bit, so a light jacket might be handy. In the desert at night it cools down very much.
The temperature of the sea is pleasant all year round and even in the winter months it does not fall below 22 degrees.
Shopping – negotiate
To buy something for a reasonable price is a matter of good negotiation: it is a game often accompanied by tea and cigarettes, where the retailer takes all the time they need. You should see the fun side of it and this will help you come a long way to getting what you want. Roughly, you can say you have quite a good buy if you pay half the original asking price.
Alcohol (beer, wine, spirits) is not sold in most restaurants. There are a number of liquor shops in Dahab where you can buy alcohol and then take it with you to the restaurant of your choice. Nobody will be surprised. Beer (Stella and Sakara) costs about 1 euro and a bottle of wine about 5 euros or more.
Special vaccinations are not compulsory: jabs against DTP (= diphtheria, tetanus, polio) and Hepatitis A are recommended. Diarrhoea ‘the curse of the Pharaohs’, occurs when the intestinal flora is disturbed. Make sure that you don’t dehydrate. Take some bags of ORS with a glucose-salt preparation with you. We recommend Antinal, on sale for a few pounds at a number of pharmacies (indicated by an illuminated green cross). Antinal is a course of antibiotics and so you should finish it. During one of our trips through the desert, by the way, we got the advice from the Bedouins to eat dry tea leaves: not tasty but very effective!
Also, wash your hands frequently. Take Wetties and/or a bottle of ‘clean hands’ disinfectant. Drink plenty of water (not very cold) because you lose fluid through the heat. Tea is also a good thirst quencher! Turn the air conditioning to not less than approximately 23 degrees. You can use tap water to brush your teeth, but do not drink it! Stick to mineral water which is sold everywhere. Drink every day if possible a can / bottle of Diet Coke to avoid intestinal problems. Protect yourself from mosquito bites and take anti-mosquito stuff with you.