If you want to rent a car in Egypt, a number of things have to be taken into account. There are several requirements for renting a car. For instance, you must have a valid Egypt visa.
Book online or rent a car at the airport
Travellers can reserve a car on the website of a car dealer or rental company in Egypt before departure. Most international car rental companies such as Avis, Hertz or Europcar also operate in Egypt. The prices differ considerably and depend on the type and age of the car. On average, a rental car in Egypt costs between 40 and 50 dollars per day. It is not necessary to reserve a car in advance, you can also go to one of the branches of the various car rental companies after arrival. These can usually be found at the airport.
Tip: Always check the number plate of the car. Good rental cars have orange tourist plates. Always check in the boot if it has a spare tire. The roads in Egypt are frequently of poor quality, and it is also a good way to check if the car rental company takes the safety and comfort of its customers seriously.
Rules and conditions
To drive a car in Egypt, you need an international driving licence in addition to your own. Although the driving age in Egypt is 18, the minimum age for renting a car as a tourist in Egypt is 25 years and the maximum age 70 years. In Egypt, people drive on the right lane. All passengers must wear a seatbelt, both front and rear, and children under 7 years are not allowed to sit in the front. The speed limit is 60 km/h in built-up areas, 90 km/h outside and 100 km/h on the highway. Egypt is known for the high number of speed checks, so you can expect a fine if you do not watch your speed. The following documents must always be carried when driving:
- Registration certificate
- Driving licence (both your own and an international one)
- Car insurance certificate
Hectic traffic and priority rules in Egypt
It is sometimes said that if you can drive in Egypt, you can drive anywhere in the world. In general, tourists are not advised driving in Egypt themselves. Tourists often choose to travel by public transport or taxi, or to rent a car with a personal driver. One of the main reasons why it is better not to drive in Egypt yourself is that priority rules are mainly based on informal rules. The formal rules that exist are certainly not always followed either. In Egypt, pedestrians theoretically have the right of way, which means that it can happen that a pedestrian suddenly crosses the road. However, Egypt has thousands of traffic deaths each year, most of them pedestrians. A useful tip is to always make eye contact with pedestrians, as their body language often tells you if they want to cross.
There are many other “rules”, or rather customs, which are usually only known to people who have driven in Egypt before. For example, large vehicles take precedence over smaller ones, and it is important not to keep too much distance from the car in front of you (otherwise this space will quickly be filled by another car), but also not too little, as drivers often stop in the middle of the road out of the blue. Moreover, the car horn is indispensable in Egypt.
It regularly happens that traffic lights in Egypt do not work. In such cases, there is usually a policeman who directs the traffic. This is one of the few cases where there are concrete priority rules that everyone must follow, as the officer determines who has priority.
Tip: If you get stuck in the sand with your car, do not accelerate to get out of it. This will only make things worse. There are special aids, such as mats, which give the car tires more grip on the ground and make it easier to get out of the sand. If you do not have anything with you, you can put the floor mats of the car in front of the wheels to get out of the sand that way.
Applying for an Egypt visa
In addition to a valid driving licence (both your own and an international one), you need another document to rent a car in Egypt: a valid visa. Without a visa, British and Irish travellers cannot enter the country. The Egypt visa can be obtained online, making a visit to the embassy unnecessary. The Egypt visa comes in two varieties: a ‘single entry’ visa, which allows you to stay in the country once for 30 days, and a ‘multiple entry’ visa, which allows you to travel to Egypt several times with the same visa. However, even with a multiple entry visa, each stay may not exceed 30 days. Both visas are valid for 90 days.
To apply for the visa, you have to fill in an online application form, which usually takes about 5 minutes. After payment of the fee, the visa is processed and sent by e-mail and needs to be printed. If you want to stay with friends or family, you will need a letter of invitation in addition to the visa. On arrival in Egypt, you may also be asked for an itinerary which must include all flights and accommodation booked.