Cairo - Egypt
Cairo situated on the famous River Nile, is the largest city in Africa and in the top 20 worldwide for its population size. While most people are attracted to Egypt's capital due to the 5000-year history in the surrounding areas, the city itself was not founded until 969AD.
What to see and do in Cairo
While in Cairo, it is guaranteed that you will never run out of options of things to see and do.
If you love ancient Egypt then a must on your to-do list is a visit to The Egyptian Museum. This magnificant museum, which has founded in 1835 though only in its current building since 1902, is home to the largest collection of Egyptian antiquities in the world. There are over 120,000 pieces on exhibition with another 30,000 that are held in storerooms. The highlight of the museum is of course the treasures of King Tutankhamen which include his solid gold funeral mask. The museum is on the north side of Tahrir Square in the center of the city. (Note: Cameras must be left at the entrance - no photos allowed).
The Pyramids of Giza: The three most famous pyramids of Egypt as well as the nearby Sphinx. More information here: The Pyramids of Giza
Saqqara Pyramids: Around 32km south of Cairo, this large area contained the main cemeteries of Ancient Egypt. It is full of pyramids and monuments including the famous Step Pyramid of Djoser, The Pyramid of Teti, the Imhotep museum and some other tombs.
Dahshur: If you are sick of crowds of tourists and people trying to sell you everything under the sun but you still want to check out some pyramids then Dahshur is for you. Original in a military zone, the public wasn't allowed to visit these pyramids until after 1996. This is why they are off the typical tourist trail. Dahshur consists of the Bent Pyramid, the Red Pyramid and the Black Pyramid of Amenemhat III. It is only 10 km south of Saqqara (35km from Cairo)
Al-Azhar Park: For a pause in the madness of the city head to Al-Azhar Park which has great views of the city. You will also find cafés and restaurants here to chill out in. (Cost LE7 – Jan 2013)
Cairo Tower: located in Gezira, this is a 187m (614ft) tower offering a 360º view of the city (smog permitting) including the Giza Pyramids in the distance. At the top there is a rotating restaurant.
Birqash Camel Market (Souq al-Gamaal): If you like going off the beaten track, then the Birqash Camel Market could be for you. It is recommended to go with an Egyptian driver (it's about an hour from downtown) who knows his way around as this is not a typical tourist attraction. Note, the market only operates on Friday mornings (starting around 6am) and there are not bathrooms.
Getting around in Cairo
Metro: There is a flat rate for each trip without mattering whether you travel only one stop or the entire line. There are also multiple tickets that can be purchased to save lining up at the ticket office.
Note: There are two carriages that are reserved only for women (normally the 4th and 5th ones), though women ARE allowed in any, men are not allowed in those two.
Bus: The public buses, which are red, white and blue, are a cheap way to get around the city though are often crowded. They are also difficult for foreigners to understand because they don't normally have a destination sign in the window.
Taxi: Try and take the (completely) white taxis as they are more modern, have AC and meters. The black and white taxis are older and you need to negociate the fare before you take off (unless you speak Arabic, it is easy to get overcharged).
Driving: It is not recommended that you drive yourself in Cairo unless you have won the national demolition derby in your country and know how to swerve and avoid things that suddenly cross your path.
Weather in Cairo
The best time to visit Cairo is between November and March which are the winter months. It usually doesn't go higher than 25º during the day and there is the added bonus that the rain, which rarely falls (though if it does, will do so during these months), will help clear the smog. However in summer temperatures can easily be between 35 and 40º
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