Egypt photo by Flo P

Egypt Driving Guide

Egypt is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2023-12-13 · 9 mins

Ever dreamt of traversing through the mystical landscapes of Egypt at your leisure? Driving across this land of ancient wonders gives you the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in its rich history and culture.

Imagine journeying through sprawling deserts, past majestic pyramids, along stunning coastlines, and through vibrant cities, all while having the freedom to uncover hidden treasures at your own pace.

Egypt is a unique, beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit.

If this is your first Egyptian adventure, don't allow unfamiliarity to hinder your experience. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to navigate Egypt confidently.

How Can This Guide Help You?

Designed to offer indispensable insights for your Egyptian journey, this guide provides tips on essential elements like getting an International Driving Permit for Egypt, navigating car rental procedures, understanding driving etiquette, and complying with local laws.

Whether you're in the initial planning phase or have your tickets ready, delve into this guide to deepen your understanding, guaranteeing a memorable and seamless travel experience.

Let's Take a Closer Look at Egypt

General Information

Egypt is one of the most visited countries for its spectacular scenery of the pyramid, wonderful vast sea, historical destinations, and more that is beyond Egypt's photos you will see on the screen of your devices. It truly captivates the world's eye and invites millions of tourists to check in and discover its beauty.

Geographic Location

Egypt is located on the northern part of the African continent between the Gaza Strip and Libya, the Red Sea of Sudan, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including the Asian Sinai Peninsula. It has a total land area of 995,450 square kilometers and 6,000 square kilometers of water area.

Languages Spoken

Modern Standard Arabic, derived from Classical or Medieval Arabic, is the official language of Egypt. Predominantly used in written documents and schools, it has retained strict grammar and syntax rules since the 7th Century.

The language is largely described as literary and consists of various vernacular dialects. It serves as a written standard for a group of similar, mutually intelligible dialects.

Land Area

Egypt has a total land area of 1,001,450 square kilometers in size. Only 5.5% of Egypt's land area is used for inhabitation; the remaining 945% is an unhabitable desert. The country is bordered northeast by Israel and the Gaza Strip, the Red Sea in the east, Sudan and Libya in the south and west of Egypt, and the Mediterranean Sea in the north.


Egypt, globally studied for its historical significance, carries a civilization that has flourished since prehistoric times. This civilization has maintained continuity despite countless shifts in rulers, beliefs, religion, and climate over millennia.

Known as "Kemet" in ancient times, denoting the "black land" of fertile Nile soil, Egypt's rich culture today results from multiple influences, including the Persians, Greeks, Nubians, and Romans.


Egypt is a democratic state and its state religion is Islam. It’s also known as the Arab Republic of Egypt. Egypt's president is the country's head and supreme commander of Egypt's armed forces over six years and may be extended for a year term. The president is working with the cabinet, constituting an executive authority over the nation.


In Egypt, tourism is the country's leading source of income and crucial to its economy because the travel and tourism industry provides an extensive contribution to the Egyptian economy.

Egypt was ranked the third most international tourist arrivals among the Middle Eastern countries, where Egypt received more than eight million tourist arrivals in 2017. Cultural tourism is the most popular reason tourists visit Egypt, besides the variety of adventures and activities tourists can do.

International Driving Permit FAQs

Driving in Egypt is one of the best ways to explore and reach every corner of the country's top destination. To drive hassle-free in Egypt, you must bring all the required documents to the country's road.

An International Driver's Permit is a pretty convenient requirement because it dissolves the language barriers between you and Egypt's local authorities.

Is a Local Driver’s License Valid in Egypt?

A local driver's license is valid in Egypt but must be accompanied by an International Driving Permit (IDP). These two documents must be used in conjunction, as neither is valid alone while driving in Egypt.

Both are mandatory for driving in Egypt, and adherence to this regulation is key to Egypt's driving laws. While driving, Failure to carry both is considered unlawful and subject to penalties.

Do I Need an IDP in Cities and Districts of Egypt?

Absolutely! An International Driving Permit (IDP) is necessary for travelers intending to drive across Egypt. Used in conjunction with your national driver's license, an IDP allows you to drive on Egyptian roads legally.

If you're curious about experiencing driving in Egypt but lack an IDP, you can easily acquire one from our website in as little as 20 minutes. Possessing an IDP and national driver's license will keep you compliant with local laws and enhance your Egyptian travel experience, allowing you to explore its spectacular roads at your leisure.

Does an IDP Replace Your Native Driver’s License?

No, an International Driving Permit (IDP) does not replace a national driver's license. Although an IDP contains your name and driving information, it serves primarily as a translation of your national license, and it's particularly useful when interacting with Egyptian authorities.

You must replace your national license if you plan to reside in Egypt long-term or apply for driving jobs. Egypt has driving schools where you can take necessary tests and obtain an Egyptian driver's license.

Are They Using Kph or Mph?

Egypt uses kilometers per hour (Kph) as the unit of measurement for speed limits, like 81% of countries worldwide. This might be confusing for visitors from countries like the US and UK, where miles per hour (mph) is the standard.

It's crucial to observe speed limits in Kph in Egypt to avoid traffic violations, fines, altercations with authorities, or worse, accidents. Being a cautious driver is key to a safe driving experience in Egypt.

How Do I Convert My License in Egypt?

  • For long-term stays in Egypt:
    • Conversion of your national driver's license to an Egyptian license is necessary.
    • You must be at least 18 years old.
    • Participation in an Egyptian driving school is required.
    • Passing the Egyptian driving test is mandatory.
  • For short-term stays:
    • Keep your national driver's permit and a valid International Driver's Permit (IDP) handy. This IDP should be valid for at least six months upon arrival in Egypt.
  • IDP specifics:
    • The International Driver's Association issues IDPs with validity ranging from one to three years, based on your choice.
    • If your stay prolongs beyond the IDP's validity, you can renew it online.
    • In case of IDP loss, you can get a free replacement service.

Renting a Car in Egypt

Egypt is full of beautiful landscapes and top destinations to visit, and to reach this destination most conveniently is to rent a car. Renting a car is a great way to explore Egypt if you're uncomfortable using public transport.

To first-time travelers in Egypt, renting a car can be confusing, especially since you're in a foreign country and don't know where to rent cars.

Car Rental Companies

Numerous car rental companies are available in Egypt to assist with your driving needs. Upon arrival at CAI airport, companies like AVIS, EuroCar, and VIP cars offer rental services.

Aside from the airport, car rental services are also located in larger cities like Cairo, Alexandria, Hurghada, and Sharm El Sheikh. For your convenience, consider booking a car online before your flight to Egypt to compare deals and options. Alternatively, rentals can be arranged upon arrival in the country.

Documents Required

Renting a car in Egypt is fairly simple. After selecting your preferred car rental company, you need to present specific documents, including an Identification card, a valid national driving license, an International Driving Permit (IDP), and an acceptable form of payment.

If you don't possess an IDP, you can easily apply for one on the International Driver's Association website. Meet the requirements and receive your IDP as quickly as 20 minutes.

Vehicle Types

Car rental companies in Egypt offer a variety of vehicles to suit different travelers' needs. Some options include:

  • Economy Cars: Ideal for budget-conscious travelers or couples. Examples include the Citroen C-Elysée, Chevrolet Optra, and Kia Forte.
  • SUVs: Available in standard, full-size, intermediate, and compact sizes, these vehicles offer more space and comfort for larger groups or families.
  • Luxury Cars: For those seeking a premium experience, options like the Chevrolet Aveo Sedan are available.
  • Minivans: Perfect for larger groups or families requiring extra space.

The vehicle you choose depends on various factors, such as the number of passengers, your comfort preferences, and your budget. Make sure to review the price range, policies, and capacity of each car type before making your decision.

Car Rental Cost

Car rental costs in Egypt typically vary from $19 to $45 per day, influenced by factors like the type of vehicle, its capacity, and the rental company's fuel policy. Additionally, insurance policies like collision damage and theft protection waivers are often included and can impact the total cost.

It's important to note that the cost structure can differ significantly among rental companies. So, when choosing a provider, look for one that not only offers a vehicle that fits your needs but also provides clear terms and comprehensive explanations of their fee structure.

Age Requirements

The legal driving age in Egypt is 18 years, but car rental companies typically require drivers to be at least 21, sometimes even 23, depending on the company. A valid national driver's license and an International Driving Permit (IDP) are mandatory, regardless of age. Your IDP includes crucial information like your name, zip code, and other driving details.

Car Insurance Cost

If you're planning to rent a car, you must also consider finding a car rental company that offers car insurance. Most companies include insurance costs on their car rental fees; some do not and need extra payment to get insurance. The car insurance cost varies depending on the type of car insurance they offer and how many you will use.

Car Insurance Policy

Insurance is obligatory when renting a car in Egypt. Car rental companies typically offer third-party liability, collision damage waiver, and theft protection waiver insurance.

Given the frequency of traffic accidents in Egypt, comprehensive coverage is recommended. Renting a car grants you the freedom to explore the country at your own pace, barring certain restricted areas.

Road Rules in Egypt

To drive on Egypt's road to reach the country's countless top destinations is super exciting. Before you start driving in Egypt, you must be aware of and educate yourself on the Egyptian government's mandated driving rules and road regulations.

National Driver's License and IDP

One of the essential road rules you must follow is always carrying your national driver's license and IDP with your registration and insurance documents. It is one of the road rules you need to follow to drive. There will be checkpoints where traffic police officers will check your documents.

Bringing your national driver's license alone will not be valid for renting a car and driving in Egypt. You need to partner it with an IDP at all times because your IDP will be your national driver's license translator.


In Egypt, driving under the influence of alcohol is strictly forbidden. The permissible blood alcohol level is 0.05%; exceeding this limit can lead to legal consequences or accidents. Given the prevalence of road accidents in Egypt, maintaining sobriety while driving is crucial for your safety and compliance with local laws.


In Egypt's big cities, it is difficult to find a parking spot because of the lack of parking spaces. When parking your vehicle, you need to ensure that you are parking in the right place because if not, your driving license may be suspended for 30 days or more. Some people work and offer valet parking for a small tip.

Driving at Night and in Winter Rains

When driving in Egypt, you must avoid driving at night because there are many carts and pedestrians on the roads that you may bump into and get involved in an accident. It is also advisable to avoid driving in winter rain because the road can be too slippery, and there will be some localized flooding at that time.

Driving While Using Phones

Avoid driving and using a phone simultaneously, as it is illegal under the driving laws in Egypt unless the device is hands-free. Using a phone while driving can distract you and limit your response time to certain traffic circumstances. Thus, following this rule will help you avoid an accident.

Seatbelt Laws

To ensure the driver and the passenger's safety and avoid accidents while driving in Alexandria, Egypt, or driving around the country, everyone must wear a seatbelt at all times and throughout the ride from the driver and its passengers. You'll encounter aggressive drivers while on the road so it's best to wear your seatbelt for your safety.

Suppose you're driving from Egypt to Israel or generally driving to Egypt with a child. In that case, you need to use a child restraint that most car rental companies offer as additional car accessories for an extra fee. Children under the age of 7 are not allowed in the front seats.

Speed Limits

In Egypt, adhering to speed limits is crucial for your safety and to avoid legal issues. The Egyptian government has implemented speed regulations to reduce the risk of accidents.

Typically, the speed limit on open roads and freeways is 90 km/h, while built-up areas mandate a limit of 60 km/h. Specific roads, like the Alexandria Desert Road and the Ayn Sukhna Road, have higher limits of 100 km/h and 120 km/h, respectively.

Driving Directions

In Egypt, particularly outside city limits, utilizing a map or GPS is recommended for navigating as road signs may be scarce. For a smooth journey, carry a map and compass, and prepare a detailed itinerary outlining your destinations. Understanding road conditions in advance can lead to a hassle-free journey.

Both automatic and manual cars are available for rent in Egypt. It's important to familiarize yourself with your chosen vehicle and follow all safety precautions before hitting the road.

Traffic Road Signs

Egypt's traffic signs are similar to those in other countries, with texts in Arabic, English, or both. Egypt uses three types of road signs: regulatory, warning, and guidance signs. While some Egyptians disregard these signs (which should not be the case), they are crucial for safe driving.

Regulatory signs include:

  • Stop sign
  • U-turn sign
  • Roundabout sign
  • Yield sign
  • Turn Left sign
  • Turn Right sign
  • Keep Left sign
  • Keep Right sign
  • No parking sign

Warning signs include:

  • Pedestrian sign
  • Wrong-way sign
  • Slowdown sign
  • No passing/overtaking sign
  • Dangerous turn sign

Guidance Sign includes:

  • Distance sign

Right of Way

There is no written law or concept of the right of way in Egypt. Rather, this is considered an unspoken rule. The larger vehicle has the right of way over smaller vehicles; this applies to driving in Egypt intersections and different roads.

Since traffic lights don't always work in certain areas, pedestrians are also vested with the right of way when crossing different roads. Donkeys and carts are also considered pedestrians with the right of way.

The minimum legal driving age in Egypt is 18 years old. When you're driving, bring essential documents such as a passport, national driver's license, international driver's license, and proof of insurance that will cover damages and costs if you get into an accident.

But if you plan to stay in the country for longer than six months, you need to get and apply for an Egyptian driver's license, attend driving schools in Egypt, and take a driving test Egypt requires for foreigners who want support in their country.

Laws on Overtaking

Overtaking is not strictly regulated in Egypt and unmarked lanes often lead to aggressive driving. If space opens between cars, it's common for other drivers to quickly overtake and fill the gap. Even in marked lanes, some drivers might push their way through to overtake.

Despite the lack of enforcement, safety should be a top priority. Be on the lookout for sudden overtaking, especially in heavy traffic, and ensure there's no oncoming traffic before you attempt to overtake, safeguarding the well-being of you and your passengers.

Driving Side

Driving in Egypt follows the right-hand side convention, a norm in many countries. This may require adjustment for drivers used to left-hand side driving.

It's important to anticipate pedestrians, especially during busy evenings. Always have your national driver's license and an International Driving Permit handy. This right-side driving rule also applies to side trips, such as driving from Egypt to Israel.

Driving Etiquette in Egypt

Unexpected situations can happen to you while driving in a foreign country, and driving in Egypt is no different. To avoid dire consequences, it is essential to know what to do in particular situations.

Car Breakdown

Despite diligent maintenance and adherence to driving standards, car breakdowns can occasionally occur in Egypt. While this can be stressful, it's important not to let panic affect your judgment.

Egypt offers a variety of roadside assistance apps to provide help in such situations. After sharing your location and concerns, simply wait for help to arrive. It's also beneficial to know Egypt's emergency services number for potential breakdowns or other issues.

Police Stops

Egyptian police may stop you for traffic violations or routine inspections. If caught breaking traffic laws, you'll receive a ticket and may be asked to present your identification card. Tickets can typically be paid at the police station or online.

In these situations, compliance is important. Pull over as directed and provide the requested documents, like your national and International Driver's License in Egypt. Always maintain politeness when interacting with the police and Egyptian authorities to avoid unnecessary trouble and ensure a smooth driving experience in Egypt.

Asking Directions

While GPS and maps are convenient, driving outside city limits in Egypt may require asking locals for directions. Local taxi drivers are generally willing to help, although English isn't commonly spoken.

A basic understanding of Arabic can be helpful in these situations. Here are some useful words:

  • Near – areeb
  • Far – Ba'eed
  • Left – Shimaal
  • Right – yimeen
  • Straight ahead – 'ala tool
  • Here – hina
  • There – Hinak
  • Where is – feyn
  • Feyn il-mataar? – the airport?
  • Feyn il-mustashfa? – the hospital?
  • Feyn funduk (name of the palace)? – (name of the place) hotel?
  • Feyn mat'am (name of the palace)? – (name of the place) restaurant?


Checkpoints are common in Egypt and used for maintaining security. When approaching, stay calm, be polite, and follow the officers' instructions, such as lowering your car window for inspection or presenting documents.

Always carry your national driver's license and IDP. If you don't have an IDP, you can conveniently apply online at the International Driver's Association website by submitting basic requirements and filling out an application form.

Additional Tips

  • Running out of fuel: Always check your fuel levels, especially when driving long distances. If your tank runs low, use roadside assistance apps for help. Regular refueling ensures a smooth, uninterrupted journey.
  • In case of accidents: If you're involved in or witness a vehicular accident, call emergency services and wait for them at the accident site. Emergency numbers in Egypt are:
    • General emergency: 112
    • Tourist police: 126
    • Fire brigade: 180
    • Ambulance: 123

Always adhere to traffic laws to ensure safety and a memorable travel experience.

Driving Conditions in Egypt

Aside from knowing Egypt's driving rules and etiquette, travelers should also need to see the country's driving situation and road conditions. It could prepare you for the possible difficulties you may encounter while driving on the Egyptian roads.

Accident Statistics

Vehicular accidents are a significant issue in Egypt, which is not recognized for its road safety. According to the World Health Organization, Egypt witnesses approximately 12,000 fatalities annually due to traffic incidents, primarily involving passengers of four-wheel vehicles and pedestrians.

Poor enforcement of driving laws contributes to these incidents, with speeding, sudden U-turns, reckless overtaking, drunk driving, and neglecting seatbelts being common causes. Egypt ranks 98th out of 183 countries for traffic incidents. These statistics underscore the importance of adhering strictly to driving rules and taking extra precautions for safe travel in Egypt.

Common Vehicles

When you travel to Egypt, you will see the country's streets and the roads filled with different vehicles. Standard cars used in Egypt are a mix of brand-new and second-hand cars, private cars, microbuses, and minibusses. These are commonly used vehicles in Egypt, often used as transport vehicles. Of course, there are trucks on the roads as well.

You will encounter these vehicles on Egyptian roads as you drive in countries where small vehicles like cars always give the right of way to larger vehicles like microbuses and trucks.

Toll Roads

Egypt has over seven toll roads charging fees for transit between various destinations. Major toll roads include the routes from Cairo to Alexandria, Ismailia, Port Said, Ain Sukhna, and El Fayoum.

Other toll roads include the Kaistep to Belbis Desert Road, the Ahmed Hamdy Martyr Tunnel Crossing the Suez Canal, and the route to the Mubarak Peace Bridge Crossing the Suez Canal. Toll fees depend on the road and include the basic toll, sales tax, accident insurance, and improvement charges.

Road Situation

Egypt, known for one of the world's highest road fatality rates, presents challenging driving conditions due to loosely enforced traffic rules and chaotic local driving habits. This is especially true in busy cities where traffic can be overwhelming.

Although intercity roads are generally in good condition, they can be treacherous due to unmarked surfaces, pedestrians, unexpected animal crossings, and unpredictable vehicle maneuvers. Extra caution is necessary, especially during rainy winters when roads become slippery and prone to flooding.

Driving Culture

Egyptian driving culture is marked by a frequent disregard for traffic laws due to lax enforcement, leading to increased traffic incidents. Reckless behaviors include unexpected overtaking, U-turns in heavy traffic, and ignoring traffic lights, although not all Egyptian drivers follow this trend.

For foreign tourists, driving in Egypt can be an intimidating experience. By familiarizing yourself with local driving habits and road conditions, you can navigate safely and enjoy your Egyptian adventure to the fullest.

The Top Destinations in Egypt

Egypt is known for its fascinating history and spectacular ancient monuments. A country blessed with natural attractions that attract and beckons travelers to come and discover its beauty. The country is considered one of Africa's top travel destinations and the world's oldest.


Hurghada, a scenic resort town by the Red Sea, tops Egypt's most visited destinations list. It offers appealing coastal road trips, idyllic beaches, and a myriad of water activities. With attractions like the Hurghada Marina and Mahmya Island, coupled with its rich marine life, the city presents unique tourism. It's a perfect getaway from Egypt's bustling city life.


One of Egypt's most iconic destinations, Giza, holds an unmatched place on travelers' itineraries. The remarkable preservation of its pyramids and ancient monuments makes Giza a journey back in time. Renowned for its rich history, the Giza Plateau houses awe-inspiring structures like the Pyramids and The Sphinx.


Alexandria, Egypt's second-largest city and leading seaport, stands out for its ancient charm. Fascinating history enthusiasts worldwide, its pale shade hues and seaside location make it feel like a walk into the past.

Start Your Egyptian Adventure with an IDP

Eager to experience the thrill of your Egyptian driving voyage? Equip yourself with an International Driver's Permit from the International Driver's Association. It's your ticket to a hassle-free and confident journey across Egypt's historical routes.

Don't delay; kickstart your application today! Secure your International Driving Permit here.

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Valid for 1-3 years

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