Temperatures in Egypt vary widely in August based on where you are and what time of month it is. The first half is considerably hotter, bringing highs of 97°F to Cairo and sweltering 106°F-temperatures to Luxor and Abu Simbel.
By the end of the month, however, the capital city drops to around 91°F and Luxor, though not as dramatic, also sees a drop of a few degrees (down to about 104°F). The coast along the Sinai Peninsula is one of the more pleasant places to be—although temperatures there are similar (ranging 96 to 99°F), the ocean breeze makes it seem cooler—along with the fact that most activities are water-based).
The days begin getting shorter this time of year too, although the change is moderate and gradual. The sun typically rises around 5:15 am and sets around 6:15 pm, offering 13 hours of daylight to explore the sites.
Crowds and Costs
The silver lining to Egypt's intense August heat is the refreshing lack of people. Though there's no escaping crowds at places like the Pyramids of Giza, smaller attractions like the museums and mosques are considerably less packed. Plus, even at the larger historical sites there are fewer tourists than in January or February when the cooler temperatures bring them in droves. Another bonus to traveling in August is that the hotels offer low-season rates that are sometimes half the cost of winter prices or more. Airfare is often discounted, too.
Where to Go
There's no doubt that the Sinai Peninsula, particularly the Red Sea towns of Sharm el-Sheikh, Dahab, and Hurghada, are the most enjoyable destinations to visit in August. The temperatures are cooler and the abundance of ocean-based activities like snorkeling and scuba diving makes it feel more bearable. It's a time when the beaches aren't as packed and you can swim in the blue water and soak up the golden sunsets with fewer crowds. Plus, the big resorts—which are often very expensive—are more reasonably priced this time of year.
Cairo, home to Egypt's biggest attraction, the Pyramids of Giza, makes another fantastic choice. There, you can wander through the fascinating archaeological ruins in the capital city, along with the temples at neighboring places like Saqqara and Alexandria. Since the midday heat tends to be the most intense, opt to visit the ruins early in the morning when sunrise tours are often available, and escape to cafes or other air conditioned spots during the afternoons. Evenings cool down into the 70s and 80s so you can stroll through town again at dinnertime to check out the restaurants and nightlife.
As you move farther south, the heat gets more intense, especially earlier in the month. If places like Luxor, Aswan, or Abu Simbel are on your must-see list, it's best to plan them for the last two weeks of August when a few degrees makes a big difference. Book a cruise on the Nile River where the air is breezier and you'll have the option of ducking into to the air conditioned cabins when you need to seek respite, or even forgoing certain activities altogether if the weather is too unbearable. Just be sure to double check that your boat has air conditioning—most of them do but that's not something you want to gamble on this time of year.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
July is a wonderful time to visit the Red Sea towns of Sharm el-Sheikh, Dahab, or Hurghada. Lounge by the pool at any of the many luxurious resorts, or sip cocktails on the beach. Get a massage in one of the spas or pamper yourself to a facial. A huge number of water activities exist such as snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming, or sea kayaking. If you're into adventure sports, there's also a large variety of adrenaline activities such as surfing, parasailing, and kiteboarding. What's more, these beach towns are chock-full of amazing restaurants and top-rated nightlife. Check out belly dancers and international Arabic singers at Gu Bar, for example, or dance all night to electronic house music at the Electric Bar in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Cairo is another must-see, largely due to its beautiful architecture and world-class archaeological wonders. At the Pyramids of Giza, soak up the sights of the Great Sphinx, the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure. Take a camel ride at sunset or watch the famous nighttime Sound and Light Show. Or, head to the Egyptian Museum where you'll see more than120,000 historical antiquities. Just note that the museum doesn't have air conditioning so it's best to go first thing in the morning.
If you decide to go farther south to destinations such as Luxor, Aswan, or Abu Simbel, take a scenic Nile River cruise to temper the heat. It's a great way to see the ancient temples in Esna, Edfu, and Kom Ombo.
Events in August
Eid Al Adha: This event—dubbed the "Festival of the Sacrifice"—begins in late July and goes into August. Also called Eid Qurban, the Islamic holy celebration commemorates Ibrahim sacrificing his son to God. During the multi-day festival there's a host of prayer ceremonies, chanting, and feasts.
Traveling to Egypt in August? Check out this great itinerary
Cairo, Giza, & Alexandria - 5 Days: Rather than taking you to uncomfortable destinations in the south that are too hot this time of year, this five-day journey focuses on the cooler northern regions, making it an excellent August itinerary. In Cairo, for example, you'll see the ancient Pyramids of Giza. Explore the wondrous ruins and witness the world-famous Sound and Light Show—a colorful nighttime spectacular. Other highlights include the Egyptian Museum and a day trip to Alexandria to discover the mysterious Catacombs of Kom El Shoukafa and the Citadel of Fort Qaitbe, among other treasures.