Egypt – Cairo Travel Safety Update

The civil unrest in Egypt is not new news, but things started boiling over again on July 3, 2013. The armed forced announced the removal from office of President Morsi and the installation of a new interim government. The situation remains tense as protests and violent civil unrest occur without warning.

On July 5, 36 people were killed, and over 1000 injured, most of the casualties being in Cairo and Alexandria. On July 8, as many as 40 people have been killed in a shooting incident in Cairo, according to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Should you visit Cairo?

The situation in Cairo is certainly different than what has happened in Istanbul .

Like Istanbul, Cairo is a large city and the protests have taken place in Tahrir Square. If you decide to go to Cairo, make sure you stay away from this area. If you have already booked accommodation in the affected area , it’s best to cancel it and look for a quieter area to stay in.

It is wise to know that foreigners are prohibited by law to participate in demonstrations. Not abiding by the law may result in arrest.

If you do decided to keep your travel plans, it’s a good idea to check other reports and social media , especially since you might be able to talk to someone who is in Cairo and has on ground experience. Exercise common sense and rely on first-hand experience to decide what to do next.

I have tried to contact people in Egypt and get their on ground feedback. On Twitter, someone in Egypt says it’s not safe to travel to Cairo and it’s best to avoid it as things are likely to get worse.

Alternatively, you can plan to spend some time in one of the resorts on the Red Sea coast (i.e. Sharm el Sheikh). You can still use Cairo airport as a transit airport as long as you don’t leave the airport grounds.

Is Cairo the only city affected?

Clashes have taken places in other places as well, including Alexandria, Luxor, Assyut, Suez, Ismaliyya, and Qena.

Are there any travel advisories issued by governments ?

The latest travel warning on the US Department of State website is dated on July 3, 2013 and advises “U.S. citizens to defer travel to Egypt”. They also advise those already in Egypt to depart. Because of the US Embassy’s proximity to Tahrir Square in Cairo, the Embassy has sometimes been closed to the public on short notice.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs has issued an advice for travelers , which says “reconsider your need to travel”. For the North Sinai area the advice is “do not travel”.

As for UK citizens, The Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommends against all but essential travel to Egypt except for resorts on the Red Sea or mainland.

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