Cruising in Egypt
The regularity and richness of the annual Nile River flood, coupled with semi-isolation provided by deserts to the east and west, allowed for the development of one of the world's great civilizations. A unified kingdom arose circa 3200 B.C., and a series of dynasties ruled in Egypt for the next three millennia. The last native dynasty fell to the Persians in 341 B.C., who in turn were replaced by the Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines.
It was the Arabs who introduced Islam and the Arabic language in the 7th century and who ruled for the next six centuries. A local military caste, the Mamluks took control about 1250 and continued to govern after the conquest of Egypt by the Ottoman Turks in 1517. Following the completion of the Suez Canal in 1869, Egypt became an important world transportation hub, but also fell heavily into debt. Ostensibly to protect its investments, Britain seized control of Egypt's government in 1882, but nominal allegiance to the Ottoman Empire continued until 1914.
Partially independent from the UK in 1922, Egypt acquired full sovereignty following World War II. The completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1971 and the resultant Lake Nasser have altered the time-honored place of the Nile River in the agriculture and ecology of Egypt. A rapidly growing population (the largest in the Arab world), limited arable land, and dependence on the Nile all continue to overtax resources and stress society. The government has struggled to ready the economy for the new millennium through economic reform and massive investment in communications and physical infrastructure.
Current Weather Report
Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between
Libya and the Gaza Strip, and the Red Sea north of Sudan, and includes the Asian
Territorial sea: 12 nm
Desert; hot, dry summers with moderate winters
Vast desert plateau interrupted by Nile valley and delta
Lowest point: Qattara Depression -133 m
Occupying the northeast corner of the African continent, Egypt is bisected by the highly fertile Nile valley, where most economic activity takes place. In the last 30 years, the government has reformed the highly centralized economy it inherited from President NASSER. In 2005, Prime Minister Ahmed NAZIF reduced personal and corporate tax rates, reduced energy subsidies, and privatized several enterprises.
The stock market boomed, and GDP grew nearly 5%. Despite these achievements, the government has failed to raise living standards for the average Egyptian, and has had to continue providing subsidies for basic necessities. The subsidies have contributed to a growing budget deficit - more than 8% of GDP in 2005 - and represent a significant drain on the economy.
Foreign direct investment remains low. To achieve higher GDP growth the NAZIF government will need to continue its aggressive pursuit of reform, especially in the energy sector. Egypt's export sectors - particularly natural gas - have bright prospects.
Airports: 87 (2005)
3,500 km; note: includes Nile River, Lake Nasser, Alexandria-Cairo Waterway, and numerous smaller canals in delta; Suez Canal (193.5 km including approaches) navigable by oceangoing vessels drawing up to 17.68 m (2005)
Total: 76 ships (1000 GRT or over) 987,524 GRT/1,467,139 DWT
Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals
Alexandria, Damietta, El Dekheila, Port Said, Suez, Zeit
Other Sailing Destinations in the Region
Albania - Algeria - Bulgaria - Croatia - Cyprus - Egypt - France - Georgia - Gibraltar - Greece - Israel - Italy - Lebanon - Libya - Malta - Monaco - Morocco - Romania - Serbia and Montenegro - Slovenia - Spain - Syria - Tunisia - Turkey - Ukraine