This is more like good advice, rather then a warning tip!. Local safari drivers are completelly inconsiderate regarding the passengers. When in jeep it is not the same if one is sitting in front or at the back, especially if sitts right above the wheels. All those who have spinal problems should never enter in the jeep if not on the front sit. This guys drive over 120 kilometres per hour, regardless holes and stones all over.
On my way back to the camp I was sitting above the wheels and it was among the worst 45 minutes I ever had in my life. Even today, year after that trip, I still suffer of big pains in my spine.
Not only in Hurghada, but throughout the rest of Egypt and the Middle East, you will find people offering "black henna" or Egyptian temporary tattoos. First of all, there is NO SUCH THING as black henna. Henna is a reddish-brown color. The substance used to create the black temporary tattoos most likely contains a chemical called "para-phenylenediamine" to enhance both the black color and the longevity of the dye. This chemical can be found in hair dye, printing ink and black rubber among other things.
It can be VERY TOXIC, even FATAL, if you have a reaction to the chemical. Typically, within two weeks of getting the temporary tattoo, (when you're probably home from your vacation), as the tattoo fades, it will begin to itch (a lot), and blister. If this happens, you should GO TO THE DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY, to obtain a prescription for a steroid cream (or whatever they recommend).
You may suffer permanent scarring in the shape of the tattoo, and will now, and forever, be allergic to para-phenylenediamine and possibly other chemicals used in skin care, makeup, clothing and other products including some medications according to the website listed below and others.
Mine began itching exactly two weeks after exposure, then blistering, and now, almost five weeks after exposure, it looks worse than in the photo below.
Bottom line, NEVER get a "black henna" temporary tattoo.
Woman cannot even walk in the streets, specially if it is a commercial area, the are extremely pushy, keeps talking to you even if they are talking by themselves, they just dont stop, and if you do not know how to impose yourself, you will have a very hard time over there. They practically obligates you to get into their shops, and they just keep annoying you and dont let you leave there. They will try to do everything for you, saying that "you can count on me, if you need anything tell me because everybody wants to fool tourists, but I am your friend now". They will be all over you, saying that you are beautiful, I want to marry you and all kinds of crap. Even in a 5 star hotel you can be all the time annoyed from the staff.
My advice is to whether go with a man (any male person that can be with you ALL the time) or if going by yourself (woman) dont be very nice, dont smile and try to show imponence. DO NOT start small talk. Make sure that if you talk to a man, it will be a very veryyyy long talk, and most likely a flert from his side. A good tip is to pretend you dont talk english and dont understand either. They will try to do anything to get you or your money, in really common situations, as taking a taxi, looking in a store, or even just walking somewhere.
Of course It is general, but it has exceptions. Very very rare, but it does exist some very good respecfull people
Only minutes after you have touched Egypt's soil at the airport of Hurghada the country is greeting you with the first scam. You enter the airport building and before you can queue up at the passport control you have to buy your visa. It is of course no visa in the proper sense at all because not even your name or nationality is checked before you obtain it. It is just a sorts entrance fee, like in some other countries, for example Turkey.
You see immediately after entering the Entance Hall of the airport big crowds in front of a line of counters and a lot of touts holding A4 sized papers with the logos of the various tour operators in their hands. You can not avoid to see your agency's tout as well and he and all the others will push you towards these counters. Above the counters is written in big golden characters on dark blue that the price of the visa is 15 USD. And as soon as you are at one of these counters you will be asked with which agency you are coming and you will immediately be asked to pay 25 EURO which is in reality 37,50 USD at the moment. And all what you get for it is the visa sticker into your passport. Nothing else, not even a receipt. So you are set back by 22,50 USD for exactly nothing.
The visa price is of course 15 USD and you can get the visa for 15 USD and without any scam. All what you have to do is to go to the Bank in the same hall, to hand exactly 15 Dollars over the counter and you get the visa. And you avoid this way the scam on which a few over-smart people plus their touts earn thousands of Dollars a day.
This is not really a warning or danger but just an F.Y.I. Sometimes, depending on where you are staying in Hurghada, the power may be intentionally cut off. It's no big deal really, I have been told varying reasons for this from conservation of energy to maintenance of electrical facilities. It's only a minor inconvenience and often last between 15 and 45 minutes. However, if you are lucky to be staying in a resort hotel where they usually have generators, then you lucked out!
Diving in Hurghada is big business and ANYONE is prepared to sell it to you. I talk about anyone, from the cleaner in your hotel to all the bazaars in the street and any taxi you stop. They all do it against commission and the places they take you to... well, they are not what a diving center should be.
1 When you buy diving, do it in a diving center where you can meet the people that you are going to dive with and where you can see what equipment you are going to use.
2 Check that the rental equipment look clean and well maintained, if you are going to use it. Broken gear do not get better 10 meter under the water!
3 Ask the instructor or divemaster to show you his/her certificate. For a PADI Diving Instructor it should say Open Water Scuba Instructor or Master Scuba Dive Trainer. For a divemaster it should say Divemaster or Assistant Instructor (and these are dive guides, not instructors... so they can not do your diving course!). CMAS elsewhere is a good organization, but in Egypt it is possible to buy licences... so if it looks like a homemade certificate it might be just that.
3 Ask how many people there are on board, what certificate they have and where they come from... a diving day with 20 - 30 Russian try divers are not what you want!
4 Mistrust ANY place where you have to pay your diving in advance. There might be something dodgy about places that do not trust you to be willing to be paying after your diving experience!
5 If diving is the same price as you pay for snorkeling elsewhere... well... something is not right.
6 The divemasters should get paid in money, not girlfriends. Report serious sexual harassment to the tourist police.
7 Do not accept seriously bad behavior, broken equipment or activities that are dangerous for you and the coral reefs. Ask to get your money back and report severe cases to the police, the Red Sea association and Hepca.
In Egypt getting a drivers license is not easy. You can do a course that cost 3 monthly salaries and you will still need to bribe the police that do your check. Much easier is to find a friend of a friend in the police station and pay him a few hundred pounds... and voila, you got your drivers license!
Unfortunately this shows in the traffic. No one seem to have the slightest clue about traffic rules, but hey, somehow the traffic is still moving. Until someone crash and everyone stop the car in the middle of the road and start fighting, but that is an another story.
What is important to you to know, is that your taxi driver might not have the slightest idea about traffic rules... and those who have, might not follow any.
That is why you should never step in a taxi, that look like a bumper car - it is used as one and I am sure that you do not want to be in it.
If the driver drives like a maniac even after asking him to slow down: ask him to stop, get out and get an another taxi. Do not pay people that risk other peoples lives! If all the tourist visiting Egypt would do this, I think the drivers would behave a little bit more carefully.
All taxis in Hurghada have a taximeter and if it is not working, you can report the taxi to the police. The taxi have a number on the door, and that is the one you should report. But just mentioning this usually activates the taximeter, anyway. Or take an another taxi... it is not a problem to get one. Prices are very much less than what they ask you to pay otherwise, and the price is of course in Egyptian pounds and nothing else.
If you get robbed, sexually harassed or cheated badly - do report the taxi driver. The taxi number is the number you find on the door and there is a tourist police in almost all the hotels. (The guy with an uniform other than the ones your hotel staff is wearing and usually in front of the hotel). It is their job to take care of the drivers that do not behave properly. Do not suffer in silence!
Well, this is something the most of you already know. Avoid any contact with a tap water. No ice, no veg or fruits if you can't peal or cook them..
But if you get sic follow this advice please!!!
First day when you arrive in Egypt go to any pharmacy and buy ENTOCID ( pronounce- entoseed ) tablets. The pack of 8 costs only 2 LE . On the first sighn of sicknes drink at once 2 tablets and after take them for few days, one in the morning and one in the evening. (although the problems are most likely to stop in few hours after first two)
Belive me it is working. The advice was given to us from Serbian guide who lives there for last 8 years.
I have to put this tip on all of my Egypt pages.
I'll will warn other traveler to buy privat tours - the offers you sightsseing to Cairo or other places for the halv price what you should pay normaly by your ordinarie travelagency -
we have bee'n very disappointed making those Arrangements throgh privat local agencys - we paid the fare 1 day before and meet a little bus to get us to the place there the people come from all other hotels in the night about 2.00 AM but we never come to this place. The busdriver and a turistguide have a very hard discussion in a Languageviche we don't understand - so the keep driving untill we , that means , me and some of the other passangers call the police - after some discussion again the driver bring us back to the hotell's - next day we go to the agenct and after some discussion , again , we have the money back after I tell them that I will call the police.
I read before we come to Hurghada on the net tahat it's no problems to buy sightseeings by those local travelagencys and I'm shure its no problem many times but If you wan't to be realy shure that you have a nice remember visiting Egypt buy your Sight seeings by your travelagency , the price is dubbel upp , but it's worth it.
Don't touch the fishes when you are diving or snorkelling. Some fishes, like fishes in the scorpion fish family (Stonefish, Read Sea Walkman, Lionfish) have got venomous spines.
Have also heard stories about Triggerfish attacking divers or biting the fingertips of people snorkelling.
Please be aware of that you are not allowed to touch or stand of any of the corals. If you do they will die and that's what happend throughout most of the costline in Hurghada.
Also it's forbidden by egyptian law to bring anything "sea related" (seashells, corals, stones etc) out of the country.
If you are a female, and without male company, be sure you'd be harrassed to the point of annoyance! Men are going to yell after you, come on to you, pull your arms and try to touch and kiss you all the time. Don't feel awkward to be agressive, it;s the only way. Pretend you don't speak English and ignore them, and if it doesn't help, show your teeth. Unless you want to be in the spotlight, of course! ;-)
If you respond or begin a conversation, you'll never get rid of them. They will say you're beautiful, that they fell in love, that they want to marry you and all kinds of bulls**t, so try to avoid any communication. Even in the shops it's unbearable. They have everything on the streets, so you can pay and go, don't allow to be dragged inside the shop, especially if there is nobody there, as they are surely going to touch you, offer you a massage with special oils and so on.
My advice is you want to avoid all this is to BRING A MAN! Because not even saying that you're married with kids helps, they don't care for a husband if he is not around. You need a bodyguard!
It is NOT allowed! The guards might catch you. So stay away from the beach after the dark comes. There are some public beaches where you can go after dark, but swimming is not allowed either. Everything you do is on your own responsibility.
Very few hotels allow night swimming in the pools (I know only one actually, Sun&Sea).
It is forbidden to break corals and bring them out on the surface, and moreover, to bring them home! If you're caught in the airport (and they have the scanners to detect them), you will be fined. Tourist police is very strict! Imagine if everyone would be breaking the corals and taking them home, soon there would be nothing left!
It is well known that most visitors experience a real stomach flu when visiting Egypt. (including myself) Ask advice on your medical doctor and take some serious pills with you and even an antibioticum.
Don't drink the tap water and be carefull with vegetables washed in tap water.
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