10 Tips to Prevent Sexual Assault in Egypt as a Solo Female Traveller

It is a known fact that Egypt is world-famous for its historical monuments, mesmerising architecture, and mouth-watering local delicacies. While that is great, it isn’t sunshine and rainbows all the time! Every place has its pros and cons. And so does Egypt. Even though it is a beautiful country, it suffers from a horrifying issue of sexual harassment.

Harassment is an issue all around the world and can lead to severe psychological effects. It might also end up ruining your trip and leave a wrong impression about that country. But when you are travelling around the world, things like these hardly cross your mind. So, I will tell you everything you need to know about it and some tips to tackle it.

What do you need to know about sexual harassment in Egypt?

Street harassment and sexual assaults have increased exponentially in the last few decades in Egypt. A survey conducted by Reuters showed that around 98 percent of female tourists had experienced harassment in the country. That is no small number. It roughly means that almost every female that has travelled to Egypt has faced an assault!

It also stated that around two-thirds of men admitted to harassing women in public. And that’s just a number of those who admitted doing it! Also, more than eighty percent of local women said that they had been sexually harassed, and more than half of them said that it occurred on a daily basis. 

Most men stated that they were stressed and depressed due to unemployment and other reasons. This is why they resorted to harassing women and found a way to assert their power. 

All of this is really terrifying! I hope it never happens to anyone, but there is an extremely high possibility that one amongst us might face it on our solo trip to Egypt.

Challenges faced by women in Egypt

I have told you enough about numbers and percentages related to assault and harassment. These do tell a lot about female safety in Egypt. But what are the specific challenges that women face in the country? Here is a list of some of the most common things that female residents and tourists go through and you might also face in Egypt.

Being ogled/stared at

Being stared at on the streets of Cairo, Luxor and Alexandria is nothing out of the ordinary. You will find many young men blatantly staring at you while you’re simply getting around, at tourist attractions, museums, and cafes. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty common thing here.

The worst part is that if you end up going to a pub to grab a drink all by yourself, you will find innumerable men ogling at you and some throwing sexual remarks. The best way to deal with this is to ignore all of them and continue with whatever you were doing.


While some men simply stare at women, there are some who go a step forward and catcall or throw sexual remarks. The tricky part is that you will not be able to understand these remarks most of the time. Here’s a list of some of the most common catcalls.

  • Asal: It roughly translates to ‘honey’ in English and means exactly the same thing.
  • Muza: It is popular slang for a voluptuous and good-looking female. Basically, they are comparing the woman with a banana (muz) for her curves.
  • Ishta: It translates to ‘cream’ and is generally used to describe an attractive woman.
  • Sarokh: It is often used by young men to praise a woman by comparing her to a ‘rocket.’
  • Gazelle: Gazelle is a small animal of the antelope family. Locals consider it to be the most beautiful native animal and use it to compliment a woman.

These are some of the most common words that you will come across the streets. It is always good to know the meaning of the words rather than not knowing what these men are trying to say. But again, it is best to pay no heed and ignore them.

Assaults in public spaces

Crowded public places are harassment hotspots. These include jam-packed buses, local market areas, and even worse, front seats of taxis, among others. I hate to admit it, but these places are major groping zones! You might not even be able to take action because it’s hard to process everything so quickly.

The best way to prevent any assault is to sit next to a woman on a bus, or even better, sit near the window. Also, some taxi drivers might try and touch you unnecessarily, so it’s best not to sit in the front seat. Finally, while walking in and around busy shopping centres, you might find some people who will intentionally bump into you. So, beware of this trick!

The best way to prevent any assault is to sit next to a woman on a bus, or even better, sit near the window. Also, some taxi drivers might try and touch you unnecessarily, so it’s best not to sit in the front seat. Finally, while walking in and around busy shopping centres, you might find some people who will intentionally bump into you. So, beware of this trick!

Being asked personal questions

Egypt is a pretty orthodox country, and a lot of women are still confined within the walls of their homes. As a result, there aren’t many local women who travel around the world. So, you might be asked a few questions about marriage and your children. While you might not be married or have children, it is best to say that your spouse and children have gone shopping pointing in a particular direction.

Alternatively, you can also choose to ignore this question! Saying that you are a solo traveller can result in an unwanted interview. You can wear a wedding ring to show that you are married, even if you are not. This also helps in avoiding all the unwanted attention from men that you might receive otherwise.

Tips you can follow to prevent sexual assault in Egypt

Those were some of the various challenges faced by women in Egypt. It is always a nice idea to research a country before visiting it. You might encounter an assault, and it’s essential to know how to deal with it. While you can always ask for help or call the police, there are some things that you can do to prevent these things in the first place.

1. Dress conservatively in crowded public areas

I know you would have heard this a thousand times. But trust me, it works. Also, Egypt is a pretty conservative country, so it’s not the best idea to show a lot of skin. A rule of thumb is to cover your shoulders and knees. In addition, it is best to wear long pants or a skirt with a t-shirt, preferably full-sleeved. This will help you avoid all the unnecessary attention and also help you in blending with the crowd. Finally, make sure that you always carry a scarf with you. You can use this to cover your head at religious places, which is very important as well!

2. Be cautious with strangers

Sometimes, a friendly talk with a stranger can be misinterpreted as flirting. You might just want to be friendly with a person, but they might not think the same way. If you feel uncomfortable at any point, feel free to end the conversation and walk away, even if it seems a little impolite. If your instincts say that something is wrong, it probably is!

3. Choose reliable modes of transport only

There are many options to choose from when it comes to travelling on a budget. However, only a few of these are safe and reliable. There have been some reports of assaults in taxis when women sit in the front seats! Taxis are indeed some of the safest ways to get around, but make sure that you take the back seat, arrange them from your hotel or book an Uber.

4. Stock up on sanitary products

Finding sanitary and personal care products in Egypt can be challenging, especially in non-touristy areas. And even if you end up finding them, you’ll have to pay a ton of money because these are pretty expensive here. So, instead of running around and wasting time finding these necessities, it is always a good idea to carry some extra. Also, check out my blog on essential things that you must pack for your solo trip.

5. “Let’s take a selfie!”

When you are a foreigner in a country, it can be hard to know about some behaviours. For example, you might find some young men who would ask you to click a selfie with them. There is nothing wrong if you are comfortable with it. Well, I felt like a celebrity when a lot of school kids wanted to take a selfie with me during my visit to Cairo Citadel! 

However, I have heard about some instances from social media where the pictures were used for dubious purposes. Nobody knows if it is true or not, but it is always better to be on the safer side.

6. Don’t go to secluded places with a stranger

This is a no-brainer. You shouldn’t go to secluded places with strangers no matter where you are on this planet! However, you might meet some good-looking young men who would like to take you out to a restaurant or a hidden non-touristy place in the country. Please reject all such offers as these are, more often than not, nothing but a hoax! 

7. Head to your hotel before sunset

I know this can be very tough. But whenever it is not necessary, do not step outside after sunset. There might be some secluded areas that you would need to get through to reach your hotel. And this is where the chances of sexual assaults are exponentially high! While it is rare in metropolitan areas, you never know when the street lights fail, and it all turns dark.

8. Save emergency numbers on speed dial

I hope you never have to use these emergency numbers! However, it is always better to save them on speed dial rather than having to find them when you need help instantly. For example, the police phone number is 122, and the tourist emergency number is 126. Alternatively, if you need counselling or legal advice, you can reach out to El Nadeem Center for Victims of Violence and Torture (010-0666-2404) or Nazra for Feminist Studies (010-1191-0917).

9. Don’t be scared to speak up

Undoubtedly, it is best to ignore things at most times. But sometimes, you need to speak up if things go out of control. For example, if you encounter multiple touches, or find someone ogling at you, or anything else that makes you feel uncomfortable, do not hesitate to make a scene. This will immediately make the offender repent their actions. You can also say haram aleik, which translates to SHAME ON YOU, or imshi, which translates to GO AWAY. Further, you can always ask for help, and the general public will surely help whenever you need it.

10. Don’t take unnecessary ‘assistance’

You will come across many people at tourist attractions who pretend to be staff or guides and take you around even without your request. These people are nothing but fraudsters. Usually, they expect a tip from you for the ‘services’ they provided. They might also take you to more secluded areas of the site, away from the crowds. There have been various such cases reported by tourists. It is always best to go on group tours or walk with a crowd. Whenever you meet such fraudsters, firmly decline services and guidance!

That was everything you need to know about sexual assault in Egypt. I hope it never happens to anyone, but you might need to face it even if you take all necessary precautions. In times like these, do not hesitate to take help from the public or call the police if needed. If you would like to know what it is like to visit Egypt as a solo female traveller, click here.

how to prevent sexual assault in egypt

It also doesn’t mean that you should cancel all your solo travelling plans to Egypt. I travelled solo to Egypt in 2019, and I felt completely safe as I respected the local traditions and took all the precautions! And there are many other fantastic things to see and do in this beautiful country, all of which make the overall experience a wonderful one!


An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.

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