Children and Babies in Luxor
Is Luxor safe for children?
Most Egyptians love children. If you take children of any age to Luxor, you will find that they are welcomed just about everywhere and that they will receive a great deal of attention. Of course, in any country there are people who ignore all local and international standards and behave in a way that is inexplicable to the vast majority of people. Having said that, in Egypt children are at least as safe as they are anywhere and a great deal safer than in many 'developed' countries.
Do children need their own visas?
Children need their own visa if they have their own passport. If a child is on the passport of a parent, a separate visa is not needed.
The vast majority of hotels welcome children (we are not aware of any exceptions, but there may be some). Most do not charge for children under 2 or 3.
Open window 50cm above floor level
However, not all are equally suitable, especially for younger children. The hotels used by western package tour companies are generally checked by the tour operator for child as well as general safety. On the other hand, some of the hotels that are not specifically targeted at western tourists may lack basic child safety features. Examples are a lack of cots that meet western standards, safety rails that are not high enough and even windows from which children could easily fall. The one pictured is at the New Pola hotel in a corridor on the fifth floor and the threshold is just 50cm (about 18") off the floor.
Some of the best hotels for children are the out-of-town hotels, the Jolie Ville and Sofitel Karnak. These two hotels are away from the hassle. They have lots of space for children to run around in, pools for children and activity clubs. The Sofitel also has evening entertainment for children. The Jolie Ville has the best outside facilities of all. See the Jolie Ville review page. Of the budget hotels, the St Joseph has excellent baby cots, which meet current western safety standards, and high chairs in the restaurant.
Most of the larger hotels have a babysitting service.
Nearly all restaurants welcome children and most have highchairs. Unless they are impeccably behaved, you may feel uncomfortable with normally-active children in the restaurants that people dress smart to go to, such as those in the Old Winter Palace and Snobs. Otherwise, feel as relaxed about taking children with you as you would be in an adult-only group.
McDonalds is behind the Luxor Temple. Neighbouring Snacktime has a menu that is similarly attractive to younger people. Many restaurants have a children's menu.
Bebelac milk (bottom left) & more for babies
It is worth taking with you the things that you know you will need and that you can fit within your luggage allowance. Some things are priced competitively in Luxor, but some things, especially imported things, are more expensive in Luxor than in the UK. However, if you come without something there is no need to worry. You should be able to find all the essentials, such as baby milk, nappies, creams and lotions. Baby things that you might expect to find in a supermarket in 'western' countries are more likely to be found in pharmacies in Luxor.
The milk, an alternative to SMA in England, is made by Nutricia, a brand familiar to people who shop in Europe. It is sold in Luxor in 400g tins under the Bebelac brand name.
Pampers are available but a locally made version is quite a bit cheaper. You can also get Dentinox, baby oils, lotions, shampoos and talcs as well as toys and swimming accessories. All of the products we have seen have had instructions in English as well as Arabic and some other languages. These products may not be available in all pharmacies, but you should be able to find them in most.
The official line is that entrance tickets and transport in Luxor are free for children up to the age of six. We are not aware of anyone being charged for entry to any of the sights, including the tombs and the National ferry, for any child who is, or looks, six or younger. There is no need to mention the younger children. It is taken for granted that they do not pay. Just go to the ticket office, buy tickets for the adults and older children and don't mention the younger ones unless they do. A lot seems to be down to the official when assessing ages.
Officially, children between 7 and 12 (inclusive) pay a reduced rate which is around half the adult price but rounded up to the nearest LE5. Children who look 13 or more will need an international student card to get the reduced student rate. The young person's school or college should be able to help with this, but if not an application can be made online at www.isic.org. We understand that you can also get ISIC cards at an office in Sharia Ahmed Orabi if you don't get one before you go. You have to show passports. Take a passport photo too.
We all know that it is hot in Luxor and that the sun is strong. It is probably best to avoid the very hottest months, June - August, when temperatures can soar to the high fifties in the sun. Obvious though it is, it is worth saying that the highest factor sunscreen should be used. Current medical advice is that nothing under factor 30 is very effective. Avon and Boots sell a range of sun creams up to factor 50, including some especially for children. There can be fairly strong breezes on and beside the Nile. This can disguise the heat so you don't always realise how strong the sun really is. Protection is important all the time, even when it does not appear to be so hot. Stating the obvious again, don't forget the parasol for the pushchair and please use huge rimmed hats to keep the sun off faces and necks.
Many of the cruise ships have a minimum age limit and will not take children for safety reasons. If you want to do a cruise with children, you need to check this with the cruise company and be clear about the age of any babies or children. Most of the British tour companies will not book children under about 12 years of age. If you want to book a cruise and can't do it in advance, wait until you get to Luxor and ask at the various tour agencies (see a list on the agents page). They may be able to find you a cruise company that will take children.
There does not appear to be a minimum age limit for the balloon rides although they would need to be tall enough to see over the edge of the basket, which is about 1 Metre.
Pavements and roads
There are quite a few pavement hazards
The pavements in Luxor are not all flat and even. A lot of the curbs are very high. Ramps between the pavement and the road are scarce. These problems combine to make taking a pushchair on the pavements in Luxor quite difficult. It can be done, but many people with chair-aged children prefer to push them along the edge of the road, especially between the tourist area at the southern end of Luxor and the Corniche. Using the road may encourage the occasional car horn but it is not uncommon for people to walk at the edge of the roadside and is often preferred to climbing and descending the many high curbs along the way.
Updated February 2014
If you click any bright blue text you will link to a page with more information.
For information about getting around Luxor with a pushchair or with mobility problems, see the Accessibility page