Cairo, Egypt’s Mega City, is sure full of surprises and it really takes a true adventurer to get the best out of this buzzing city. As amazing as the history of the city is it can also get a bit crazy… The city is not only buzzing 24/7 but you can expect to be met by never ending traffic, a whole lot of scammers (if your negotiation skills are weak then be prepared to lose a lot of money lol) and pollution. Outside of these crazy little things you can also expect to find some of the most beautiful and historic buildings along with the amazing Pyramids of Giza, the Khan El Khalili Market and some of the most amazing restaurants in the country. If it’s your first time visiting the city then here are a few of my suggestions on things to do:
Visit The Pyramids of Giza & Sphinx & Museum: It’s definitely not possible to visit Egypt and not go and see it’s biggest tourist attraction. One thing to note, is make sure you have great negotiation skills because a tour to the pyramids can cost you anything between R1800 – R700 ($146-$56) depending on how well you negotiate. Once your tour begins be it on a horse, camel or car you will be given a guide that takes you through the history of the Pyramids and then you get to explore and enter some of the smaller pyramids while creating endless memories. Each tour can take anything between 1-3 hours depending on how many photo moments you stop for. Visiting the pyramids is quite magical but can at the same time be a bit overwhelming with all of the aggressive hawkers around trying to sell you the moon and the stars and refusing to take no for an answer while you are just trying to take in the special moment. (Pro tip avoid talking to anyone except your tour guide, don’t ask anyone to take pictures of you as they will charge you for that, rather get your guide or friends to do it. At the end of your tour your guide will also try to scam you lol but just be smart and woke as the cool kids say.)
If you would like to see al the artefacts from the pyramids then it is also a good idea to visit the Egyptian Museum as everything has been moved to there.
Explore The Khan El Khalili Market: If you are looking to explore the Egyptian culture while buying some unique gifts for friends and family, then Khan El Khalili is the perfect place for that. Here you will find everything from old antiques, handmade accessories, perfumes, handcrafts, shishas, spices, teas and lots of clothing items made with Egyptian cotton. The market can get a bit crazy so once again make sure you get a local to go with you to help with negotiating of prices and also just so you don’t get harassed into buying things you don’t want. The market is quite big so set aside 2-3 hours for yourself to enjoy it to it’s fullest.
Enjoy The Local Food: One of the things I regret not doing enough while in Egypt was trying out the local food. Unfortunately with all of my allergies I really had to be careful with what I ate which means I was limited, seeing as most places mixed a lot of different, herbs and meats in single dishes and with the language barriers it was difficult to get them to remove certain things. I did however come across a very amazing place called El Shabrawy which is an amazing little spot that makes some of the best sandwiches and meat dishes. Cairo is spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants so you will never go hungry just make sure you explore and enjoy the authentic dishes made with lots of passion.
When it comes to exploring Cairo there are lots of other amazing things to do you just need to be open to exploring them. I unfortunately didn’t spend a lot of time in Cairo but I would have loved to visit the Al-Azhar Mosque, The Coptic Museum and the Mosque of Muhammad Ali. If you are a shopping mall lover then you can always visit New Cairo for some luxury shopping and dining. In my next blog post I will give you all my tips when it comes to visiting Egypt so look out for that.