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Reviewed 08 November 2012 10:50 NZDT
Still current at: 20 June 2013
There is extreme risk to your security in the Governorate of North Sinai, (including the Taba-Suez Road), due to the threat from terrorism and criminal activity and we advise against all travel.
There is high risk to your security in the Governorate of South Sinai (except for Sharm el Sheikh), due to the threat from terrorism and criminal activity and we advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel.
There is some risk to your security elsewhere in Egypt (including Aswan, Luxor and the Red Sea resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada), due to the unpredictable political situation, risk of civil unrest and threat from terrorism and we advise a high degree of caution at all times.
Political tension/Civil unrest
Egypt has experienced a tumultuous period since the Revolution in early 2011. In the subsequent months there have been large scale protests and unrest, in particular in central Cairo and Alexandria. These protests have tended to be localised in nature. Some have turned violent and involved clashes between protestors and security forces, resulting in deaths and injuries. New Zealanders in Egypt are advised to avoid all protests and large public gatherings as they have the potential to turn violent with little warning.
There are indications that outside of the Sinai the political and security situation in Egypt is stabilising. However, the possibility of further unrest cannot be discounted. Demonstrations are more likely to occur on Fridays. In the past some of these have escalated during the afternoon and into the evening.
New Zealanders throughout Egypt are advised to exercise a high degree of security awareness in public places, including when visiting sites of religious significance, monitor the media for any developments that may affect personal safety and security and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities.
Terrorism is a threat throughout Egypt and a significant threat in North Sinai (extreme risk) and South Sinai (high risk). Following an attack on a border post near the Rafah crossing resulting in the deaths of 16 Egyptian army personnel on 5 August 2012, the Egyptian military launched an operation against extremist elements in the Sinai.
Terrorist attacks could occur at any time in Egypt and may be directed at locations known to be frequented by foreigners such as embassies, hotels, bars, restaurants, resort areas, markets, shopping areas, tourist sites, public transport facilities and places of worship.
There have been a number of recent terrorist incidents in Egypt, mostly concentrated in the Sinai:
Since early 2011, anecdotal evidence points to an overall increase in crime in Egypt, including violent crime. There have been reports of taxi drivers mugging passengers, including foreigners. Reports of sexual harassment against women are common.
Due to the significant increase in criminal activity in the North Sinai area, we advise against all travel to the Governorate of North Sinai.
Kidnapping throughout the Sinai Peninsula is on the rise, with foreigners often targeted to draw attention to local grievances. Particular care should be exercised in the Governorate of South Sinai, especially along the road to Mount Sinai and St Catherine's Monastery as there have been a number of kidnappings in recent times in this area.
Due to the high threat of banditry and risk of kidnapping on roads throughout the Sinai Peninsula, we recommend travelling to the Red Sea resorts by air. If you are considering travel by road in the Sinai Peninsula you should exercise a high degree of caution and seek advice from the local security authorities before proceeding. We advise against travelling by road outside major urban centres at night because of the increased risk of traffic accidents and security concerns.
We strongly advise against travel to the Gaza strip because of the extremely dangerous and unpredictable security situation. Restrictions and rules on access to the Rafah border crossing are subject to change at short notice. New Zealanders considering travel to Gaza should read the travel advisory for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and contact the nearest Egyptian Embassy for the latest information on border crossing requirements.
You are required to obtain permission from the Egyptian authorities to enter and exit the Gaza Strip using the Rafah border crossing. People who enter the Gaza Strip through this crossing must leave the same way. You may be delayed in the Gaza Strip for an extended period (possibly weeks) while waiting for approval to return. The New Zealand Government cannot influence or hasten the granting of approval.
You should be aware that the ability of the New Zealand Government to provide consular services to New Zealanders in Gaza is extremely limited.
There are landmines in some desert and coastal areas, including in the desert areas around El Alamein. Travellers should seek advice from local authorities on landmine locations if intending to venture off well marked roads.
Piracy is a significant problem in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Mariners are advised to take appropriate precautionary measures. For more information see the International Maritime Bureau's piracy report [external site].
General travel advice
New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social traditions in Egypt to avoid offending local sensitivities. Modesty and discretion should be exercised in both dress and behaviour.
New Zealanders travelling or living in Egypt should have comprehensive medical and travel insurance polices in place that include provision for medical evacuation by air.
New Zealanders in Egypt are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Contact details are
Street Address 8th floor, North Tower, Nile City building, Corniche El Nil, Ramlet Beaulac, Cairo, Egypt
Telephone +202 2461 6000 Facsimile +202 2461 6099
Office Hours Sun-Thur 0900-1500 hrs