The Pyramids of Giza in My Hand

The Pyramids of Giza in My Hand

So last week I took myself on a fantastic trip down memory lane back to my favourite travel destination on earth, but next on the list just happens to be the only place in the world I have vowed never to return; Egypt.

I had always dreamed of travelling to Egypt, it is after all the land of the Pharaohs, the Great Pyramids, and Cleopatra, it must be a travellers dream. In recent years it has also been the subject of much media discussion about the treatment of women, for example it is a place where women were assaulted protesting against sexual assault. My experiences travelling in Egypt are some of my worst as a woman solo traveller, and that is why it is a place I will never return.

Taking a walk down the street, particularly in popular tourist areas, I was assaulted physically, verbally and through eye contact. It didn’t matter whether I was in crowded Cairo or relatively peacefully Luxor, the men in Egypt left very little to desire. Walking through the main bazaar in Cairo, it is crowded as to be expected. What I didn’t expect was to have hands coming at me from every direction possible, it was impossible to try and avoid it, so my only option was just to leave.

Men would yell out on the street, stare in a very unsavoury way or call out to grab my attention. 聽It was relentless, they wouldn’t just make a couple of attempts at contact and then leave you alone… no they would just keep going and going and going. The attention I got traveling alone in India was nothing compared to travels in Egypt.

Of course, it isn’t this type of behaviour that seems to impact tourism in Egypt, after all some of the most incredible places in the world exist here. The Great Pyramids are just something every traveller has to see, Abu Simbel was by far my favourite place, not only was it more peaceful, but it was also visually stunning. But that said, you have to travel in convoy to Abu Simbel for fear of being attacked by bandits.

Then of course there is Luxor. My favourite memory of Egypt (and unfortunately there are not too many), was waking up on a boat one morning, walking onto dry land, jumping on a donkey (yes a donkey) until we reached our hot air balloon, moving along the sky over the Valley of the Kings before being driven back into town and getting a train back to Cairo. I don’t think I have ever taken so many diverse forms of transport in a single day, and I doubt I will ever match it again (and unfortunately I don’t think you can travel by hot air balloon over Luxor anymore).

Hot Air Balloon Ride Over Luxor

Hot Air Balloon Ride Over Luxor

But of course back on the train the harassment starts again. Sigh!

I have travelled through many Middle Eastern countries and have always felt rather safe. A large part of Arabic culture is the separation of men and women, so in countries like Jordan, the UAE and Turkey I have found men tend to go out of their way not to come near me. They may stare, but its never in a way that makes me feel really uncomfortable, unlike Egypt, I don’t know what makes it so different.

What is more perplexing when you 聽travel in Egypt and learn more about the history of the country is how refined the Pharaohs seemed to be. So how did Egypt go from being a country that produced the intelligent and classy Pharaohs to one that is …well… producing the kind of men it is now? Like creationists can’t see the resemblance between man and ape, I can’t see how Pharaohs evolved into modern day Egyptian men.

I sure do feel sorry for the women of Egypt though. Whilst I have the choice to leave, they don’t. I admire those lovely women and give them all my strength, because they sure do need it.

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33 thoughts on “The Worst Place in the World: Egypt

  • November 8, 2017 at 5:49 pm
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    egypt is a shithole for everyone not just single women. Im a single male , hired an egyptian guide for 5 hour layover tour, never again. Constant security checkpoints, my female guide being harassed ans as a result myself inconvenienced. Male guide was driver and was also constantly harassed and stopped at checkpointd.

    The place is a total dump and egyptians are the most obnoxious ppl Ive met in the world.

    They barely have any tourist there these days expect a few russian and chinese groups who probably couldnt afford a better place.

    Pyramids are awesome but your guide will also keep taking you to shops on the way even if you say dont. Place is hella cheap and basically free tho.

    My greedy guides begged me for tips even after I tipped them heavily, like a months wage. Thats how people are there and dont get me started about their airport and business class lounge.

    Some jackass saudi prince or some shit in the egyptair lounge blowing smoke in my face, and people constantly cutting the line (even in business class).

    My guides also begged me to come back, i told them I would, yeah right lol.

    Reply
  • July 18, 2017 at 6:55 am
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    Not that bad in Egypt.
    I’ve used to organize tours in Egypt for so long time with guests from around the world. And they turn to be excited and happy.
    I think you may have needed to be with a local who will make life a bit easier for you in Egypt.

    All the best!

    Reply
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  • October 24, 2014 at 4:41 pm
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    you do know you just can’t say all men in Egypt are the same i live in Egypt and i’m a guy i sure as hell don’t like when i see other guys harassing women but it is only due to their ignorance nothing more nothing less just next time try not to categories men all together or people that is insulting .

    Reply
  • October 22, 2014 at 12:41 pm
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    Hi 馃榾 I am mexican and I was living for 8 months in Cairo and yes I am a girl . I know whats harrasment in Egypt .i know what u mean about the market and all time people trying to Sell something to u but u I think is extremely STUPID call it the worst place in the world !!!!
    Seriously u can’t make that general idea.I know is ur opini贸n but u cant make it general of a country when u didn’t live the real culture of Egypt if u never has Being with a egyptian family most kind people ever!
    As traveler u should know u cant make that hard expressions or ideas about a country when u stay for short time.You have to real live the culture.
    That people who offer u things to buy dont forget they work with tourist and there not tourist in Egypt anymore but they have to eat.
    So please give a chance to yourself and toEgypt for show u there is mor茅 that what u see.

    Reply
    • October 22, 2014 at 10:35 pm
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      Monica, thanks for your comments. I understand what you’re saying, and there are great people everywhere. But for me, in terms of all the countries I’ve visited, Egypt is the one I consider the worst and the only country I’ve sworn never to return to. It’s just my opinion, nothing more, nothing less.

      Reply
      • October 23, 2014 at 4:42 am
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        I understand your point. Of course I hate harrasment but I can’t make a general idea of a country from one week or less that a month in a country.
        Is like if I say India is the worst country all of them ar茅 cheaters and they Wanna rape me is a rape country.
        There is mor茅 there is a background of the country.
        Egypt is a place that has Being a lot of bad experiencies they need Good comments about the country is a country who lives from tourist and they need to eat too so is Good to talk for the goodnes of others.

        Reply
    • October 18, 2015 at 4:22 pm
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      thanx for your fair opinion 馃檪

      Reply
  • October 20, 2014 at 6:29 pm
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    I exactly know how you feel..I live in Egypt and I get those stares all the time especially when visiting touristic sites. I try to refrain as much as possible from walking alone in the streets, its vulgar and disgusting
    However there are many men which would stan and protect you
    Most of the harassers are young boys who have unfortunately been brought up on that way
    It is indeed terrible and unfair

    Reply
    • October 21, 2014 at 10:16 pm
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      Thanks for sharing your experiences, and it’s great to hear that there are many men who will protect there as well.

      Reply
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  • August 17, 2013 at 7:05 am
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    Hey I have visited Egypt 3 months back. I went with my family. But I didn’t come across any harassment at all. I was in Cairo. I really don’t know which part you stayed and I am sorry to hear about the things you went through. But I would love to go back to visit Egypt again. 馃檪 Only issue they have at the moment is their political issues. And people do come after you for money in tourism areas, other than that I had no issues.

    Reply
    • August 17, 2013 at 8:44 am
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      Sounds like you had a luckier experience than me. I travelled to Cairo, Luxor and Abu Simbel and it was all the same for me unfortunately.

      Reply
  • July 31, 2013 at 3:37 am
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    Every woman I know who has been to Egypt as said the same thing: terrible experience, awful harassment, sexual and from tourist touts, dust and pollution, and really not worth the hassle and danger. Even women traveling with men are constantly harassed. Until they change their attitudes to females, I think all women should boycott the place, as should men who care about women.

    Reply
    • August 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm
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      I’m a man I’m definitely not boycotting Egypt, it looks like an interesting place! Sorry

      Reply
      • August 13, 2013 at 12:28 am
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        Don’t have to be sorry, it is your perogative to go where you want. I hope you look out for the women whilst you are there though.

        Reply
        • August 13, 2013 at 3:11 am
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          Travel writers are usually more elegant about strange and far away places they visit and try to understand what they see, however shocking that may be. Your writing sounds like impressions of a…tourist. I am sorry but you may wish to revise your writing style a bit.

          Reply
          • August 13, 2013 at 12:18 pm
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            Thanks for your opinion. You are entitled to it, and I am entitled to mine. This is my personal blog where I write my personal opinion, and that is exactly what I have stated on this post.

            Reply
  • July 30, 2013 at 8:28 pm
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    How awful, thanks for sharing your experience as a woman traveler. My mother used to live in Egypt in the 1970’s and she had the best time of her life and many fond memories. She had always wanted to return, with us, but the violence has just been increasing and increasing since the 90’s. I hope one day I can visit though. But I really appreciate you sharing your personal experience to give us women travelers a head’s up. The hot air balloon ride sounds absolutely incredible. Glad you got to at least experience that!

    Reply
    • July 30, 2013 at 11:51 pm
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      It is a shame that the country has changed so much. Do go, it is Egypt after all, but just have your wits about you.

      The hot air balloon was amazing, but there was recently an accident so I believe they have suspended the rides for the moment.

      Reply
  • July 30, 2013 at 11:23 am
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    Wow, I was surprised to know this. My aunt and uncle visited Egypt a few years ago. I never heard anything like this from them. You said that you have been to Egypt before, was it like this back then as well?

    Reply
  • July 30, 2013 at 5:51 am
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    This sure dampens my spirit. I was of the opinion that they must be good fellows 馃檨

    Reply

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