CAIRO TO SIWA OASIS

HOW TO GET TO SIWA

BUS - CAIRO TO SIWA

The buses to Siwafrom Cairo and Alexandra are reliable, safe and take 9 hours from Alexandria and 11 hours from Cairo. The buses range from brand new to maybe 10 years old and a  bit tired but fully functioning. They generally have air conditioning and a toilet on board. The seats are reclining and the same as any coach seat in the UK. You have enough room to read a book and you normally get one movie in English and one in Arabic.

Cairo to Siwa: all buses from Cairo to Siwa now leave from Turgoman Station – you might see it advertised as the Cairo Gateway station but nobody calls it this. It’s a ten minute cab ride from downtown (get a white cab and watch the meter). If you telephone or your hotel checks the times they will tell you there is one bus a day at around 19:00 direct to Siwa. This is correct, but what they don’t tell you is there is a direct bus to Marsa Matruh every hour. They start at 07:00 and leave every hour, on the hour. The cost to Marsa Matruh is 155 EGP. Change at Marsa Matruh for a direct bus to Siwa. It’s very easy and you buy the ticket for the Siwa bus from the driver before you get on.

The cost is around 50 EGP per person from Alexandria and 65 EGP from Cairo. There are several buses a day to Siwa from each city. The buses from Cairo terminate at Marsa Matrouh but there is a simple connection there to continue on to Siwa. The timetable does change so I haven’t put the times here, but there is one around 07:00, 10:00, 14:00, 17:00 and 22:00. We can confirm all of this for you at the time of your visit. The overnight buses are popular with the locals and if you can sleep on a bus, this is a good option.

When we travel as a family, we take the train to Alexandria from Cairo and then catch the bus from there to Siwa. The bus stops three times on the way for tea and toilets. The toilet facilities are basic but a new half-way house is being built on the way to Siwa that will fix this problem. You will often meet other travellers on the bus and talk the hours away.

If you would like to come to Siwa by bus when staying at the Siwa Villa, please get in contact with us here at Somewhere Different and we will arrange everything for you.

BUS - ALEXANDRA TO SIWA

I have a Land cruiser, I know my way around the desert and I like nothing more than going out there. So when we are all up for it, we can go out for day trips at the weekends when we are not working and even sleep out there. We do full moon walks out in to the desert – its pretty amazing to walk for hours with just the moon to guide you. Then there are the hot springs – we visit them too at the weekends or sometimes during the week. The jeep has enough room to take us all and even the odd backpacker we find in town who wants to hang out. Quiet Neighborhood in Siwa – We are in a nice villa made of mud in a very quiet part of town behind the old Shali fort – yet only 5 minutes from the souk and restaurants and as much Siwan cultural experiences as you want.

BUS - MATROUGH TO SIWA

We can book you a car from Cairo, from Alex, from where ever you are in Egypt to Siwa direct.

PRIVATE CAR

Hiring a car in Egypt is not easy, they assume we cannot drive… but chauffeur driven cars are easy to book for us here in Siwa and the easiest way to come down to Siwa. Cairo is 800km’s but don’t let this put you off. The road is good all the way with little traffic at all times of the day once your out of Cairo and it is an easy and pleasant journey to travel. You have three options on how to get to Siwa Oasis. Air Conditioned People Carrier This is what most guests who stay with us come to Siwa in. They are fast, travelling at 140kms an hour and have enough space for every one to spread out and sleep, read a book or watch a movie. Air Conditioned Car If there is just two of you are car is cheaper and quicker reaching Cairo in 6 hours. A car does not have the space of a people carrier but if you don’t want to sleep is the quickest way of doing the journey. Air Conditioned Couch If there 10 of you and your coming fully loaded with bags etc, a small coach is the best option. We can get a 22 seater coach for you, all included if your on one of our all inclusive tours. This gives most people two seats to lie down on, sleep or watch the world go by as you count the camels you see or play “Eye spy beginning with S”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row] Internet speeds in Egypt when staying in hostels, budget hotels and co working spaces vary, but in general they provide the cheapest package from there ISP to cover all guests even if that’s more than 50 people. The speeds vary from nothing to 2mbs. For simple browsing and the non critical Skype calls it is fine if you are working at non busy times of the day or Friday. But it’s not reliable. No one sees the need for back ups when the power goes down for lighting, let alone the internet. We are in the process of contacting all co working spaces in Egypt to get a better idea of what is available here for digital nomads looking to work and travel in Egypt for a few months and will add the link here when it is done.

FLIGHTS TO EGYPT

There are no direct flights to Siwa during the winter. The two options in the winter are from: Cairo (which means you can see the pyramids) and Alexandria. If you are planning to visit Siwa in the summer, there are now direct flights into Marsa Matruh from Manchester and London Gatwick. For details of these flights visit Marsa Matruh flights section. Cairo BMI, BA and Egypt Air all fly direct from the UK and are the easiest ways of getting to Cairo. BMI flies to Cairo and has the best prices, arrival and departure times. Flights leave from Heathrow at 09:05, arriving in Cairo at 15.50. The return flight leaves Cairo at 14.40 and arrives in the UK at 19.50 every day and costs around £278 including all airport tax. Here is a direct link to BMI’s web site. Air Italia and several others have cheaper options that have stop over’s in Europe on their way to Cairo. For the more adventurous who want to travel as cheaply as possible (this is what we do) catch an Easyjet flight to Munich from Stanstead and then fly direct to Cairo on a TutFly flight. If you book these flights well in advance you can get a return for £125. Alexandria British Airways no longer flies to Borg el Al Airport. Alexandria can be the best option if you are not planning on visiting the pyramids. There are cheaper routes through Italian airlines around £250 – £300 return with direct connections or short stop-overs in Italy.

THROUGH THE DESERT

Before you get too excited, there is no train that goes all the way to Siwa, but if you want to combine a train journey with coming down to Siwa, this is how you do it. Trains – Cairo to Mara Matrouh There is a sleeper train that goes from Cairo to Marsa Matrouh three times a week. It leaves Cairo around 23:00 and arrives in Marsa Matrouh around 06:00, where we can meet you in our jeep early in the morning at 6.00am. This service only runs in the summer though. In the winter there is a slow train from Alexandria, but it is very slow and… not worth the hassle. Trains – Cairo to Alexandria If you are planning on stopping in Alexandria on your way down to Siwa, get the train. It is a pleasant journey in first class carriages, starting from Platform 8 in Ramis Station, Cairo. You will travel through the heart of the Delta through fertile agricultural land and palm groves, arriving three hours later in Alexandria. You can have dinner on the train, the cost for a first class ticket is around 60 EGP and dinner around 35 EGP pp. There are trains every hour on the hour during the week but this does change at different times of the day and on Fridays. For exact train times please check with your hotel the night before. It’s best to go to the station the day before and book tickets, as the trains are often full. If you just turn up, be prepared to wait an hour or two until there is space on a train. Your hotel can purchase your tickets in advance for you for a little baksheesh and reserve you a seat which is a good idea if traveling in the rush hour. Once at the station in Alexandria, ask a taxi driver for the hotel you have decided to stay at, we use the Swiss Canal, it’s basic but cheap and clean. This should be no more that 5 EGP and takes about 10 minutes. Make sure you don’t get off at the station that EVERY one else gets off which is one stop before the main station in Alexandria. If you do, it’s no big deal, you’ll just get a bigger taxi fare.