Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Is it safe to cruise the Nile?
Friday 04 January 2013
Q. I want to cruise the Nile this year, and stay one night in Cairo. Is it safe to cruise the Nile - and also what about the problems in Cairo?
A. In the past two years, Egypt has undergone intense political turmoil, but to the best of my knowledge no tourist has come to harm as a result of the upheavals. Given the immense importance of tourism to Egypt, and the natural concern that the locals have for visitors' welfare, I do not see that changing.
Cairo is an enthralling city that deserves several days of your time, if you can spare it. The pyramids on the edge of the city at Giza are the main draw, and at present are relatively uncrowded. The Egyptian Museum is another "must" - except if demonstrations in Tahrir Square, alongside it, place it off limits. Keep an eye on the Foreign Office travel advice (at fco.gov.uk); over the past two years, it has proved well-judged.
The upper reaches of Egypt's Nile, where you are likely to be cruising, have remained calm - though life for the communities has proved extremely stressful because of the collapse of much of the tourism industry.
Tourists have been the target of deadly terrorist attacks over the decade from 1997, but the main focus recently has been on the Sinai peninsula - well away from where you will be spending your time.
My main concern for your welfare has nothing to do with political instability; it is the much more mundane matter of road safety. Egypt has an appalling death rate, and the less time you spend on the roads the better. Therefore choose a cruise where connections are made by air or rail, if at all possible.
Overall, though, this is an excellent year to visit Egypt.
Simon Calder: Until this disaster South Korea's ferry safety record fared well compared to its Asian neighbours
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
The 10 Best hiking boots
Where to go on holiday 2014: These are the top 10 destinations that everyone will be talking about this summer
The 10 Best city bikes
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 Big Bang Theory to get special Star Wars episode with help from Lucasfilm
- 3 Babies cry at night to stop mothers procreating, scientists claim
- 4 Pharrell Williams 'Happy': British Muslims dance to song in video
- 5 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: There are many small development projects in ...
Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Kaya Responsible Travel offer a variety of sp...
Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Volunteer with Kaya in Borneo and work on a p...
Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: If you have a passion for elephants and want ...