Transport in Egypt

Transport in Egypt is centered in Cairo and largely follows the pattern of settlement along the Nile. The main line of the nation’s rail system follows along the great river and is operated by Egyptian National Railways. The badly maintained road network has expanded rapidly to over 21,000 miles, covering the Nile Valley and Nile Delta, Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts, the Sinai and the Western oasis.

In addition to overseas routes, Egypt Air provides reliable domestic air service to major tourist destinations from its Cairo hub. The Nile River system (about 1,600 km or 1,000 mi) and the principal canals (1,600 km.) are important locally for transportation.

The Suez Canal is a major waterway of international commerce and navigation, linking the Mediterranean and Red Sea. The ministry of transportation, along with other governmental bodies are responsible for transportation in Egypt. Major ports are Alexandria, Port Said, Damietta on the Mediterranean and Suez and Safaga on the Red Sea.

Egypt has one of the highest incidence of road fatalities per miles driven in the world. There are few, if any road markings. Most traffic lights in Cairo appear not to function, but rather intersections are staffed by policemen who use subtle finger movements to indicate which cars may move. Traffic rules are routinely ignored by impatient drivers: vehicles travel at high speed or the wrong way on one-way streets. Pedestrians constantly dodge in and out of traffic, and animals are commonly on the roads. Rare winter rains can cause extremely slippery road surfaces or localized flooding.

Intercity roads are generally in good condition, but unmarked surfaces, stray animals, and disabled vehicles without lights or reflectors are among the many hazards that can be encountered on highways, especially after dark.

Some roads, especially in the Sinai and southeastern part of the country, are off-limits to foreigners.

A popular form of transportation is by boat. Even though Egypt has expanded and developed its road system, people still travel on the Nile to get from place to place.