Every year, Egypt attracts millions of visitors thanks to its unmatched archaeological treasures and the beauty of the desert and the Red Sea. Being so used to mass tourism, Egypt is pretty well prepared in receiving foreign tourists.
However, if you’ve made Egypt your next holiday destination, you may soon find out that you’re dependent on your hotel or tour operator when it comes to transportation. Egyptian public transport can become unreliable outside of main city centers and hailing a taxi can turn into a stressful (and expensive) experience during peak hours.
The independence of driving your own vehicle can take your holiday to a different level especially if you’re planning to move between cities or explore famous sites that are a few hours away.
In this short guide, you’ll receive practical driving information for Egypt including:
- Driving laws and regulations
- Documents necessary to drive in Egypt
- Emergency contact details.
Basic Road Regulations in Egypt Tourists Should Know About
Before you get behind the wheel, make sure that you are aware of the basic rules and regulations for driving in Egypt, including:
- In Egypt, you’ll drive on the right side
- The legal driving age in Egypt is 18, while 25 is the minimum age to rent a car
- Speed limits are as follows: 50 kph in urban areas, 90 kph in rural areas and 100 kph on the highway
- Children under the age of 7 cannot travel on the front seat
- Pedestrians have right of way
- Seatbelts are mandatory when the car engine is running
- Phones can only be used if you have a hands-free kit.
- Unlike other countries in the area, women (both local and tourist) are allowed to drive and rent a car in Egypt
Driving in rural areas in Egypt offers for a relaxing experience and stunning landscapes. However, it comes with some advice of its own like:
- Be aware of animals crossing the road unexpectedly
- Carry water and food with you as temperatures can get very high. An anti-dehydration kit could also be useful
- Don’t spin the wheels if you get stuck in the sand.
What Are the Emergency Numbers in Egypt?
If you find yourself involved in or witnessing an accident while in Egypt, the best thing to do is to call the emergency services and wait for their arrival. The number for all emergencies is 112 while by dialing 126 you will get in contact with the tourist police. You can contact the fire brigades at 180 and call an ambulance at 123.
Can You Drive in Egypt with a Foreign License?
Foreigners with a license issued in English can rent a car and drive in Egypt for short-term visits. After six months, they’ll be required to obtain an Egyptian Driver’s License. As some drivers won’t need to take the driving test for this, check with the local authorities whether your nationality is exempt.
Drivers with a foreign license in a language other than English and those who don’t have a photograph on their document will have to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP). Since the IDP is considered a translation, they’ll also have to carry their original license with them at all times.
Other documents and items you will need to carry with you in the car while driving in Egypt include:
- A warning triangle to use in case of accidents
- A Road map for the area you’re driving in (remember that the official language of Egypt is Arabic)
- A first-aid kit
- Proof of insurance coverage (this is often taken care of by the car rental agency)
- Car registration papers
- A valid Egyptian visa for the entirety of your stay in the country
- Your passport. Remember that if you cross any Egyptian borders, this will be checked and stamped. In the case of an Israeli stamp, this shouldn’t create an issue in Egypt but may cause you to be refused entry into other countries in the area.
Third-party liability insurance is mandatory for drivers in Egypt. This is obtained with the mandatory annual vehicle registration. This insurance is affordable but be hard to get because of the very limited numbers. Foreign drivers may want to consider additional insurance through a local insurer.