North Africa

City Tours and Excursions in Cairo

City tours

Bus tours

Hotels usually offer their guests the usual tours, to which i. General The highlights include the Egyptian Museum, the al-Khalili Bazaar, the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Otherwise, tours can be booked at local travel agencies, such as American Express and Misr Travel.

Phone: (02) 370 34 11; (02) 393 00 10

Tours

There are only a few tours for tourists in the polluted Cairo, and none at all in the scorching hot summer months; however, personalized tours can be arranged by some of the cultural organizations based in Cairo, the Community Services Association, or the American Research Center in Egypt.

Official guides can also be hired through hotels and tourist offices, who receive a fixed hourly rate (plus a tip) for an individual tour. Unofficial guides offer their services on the street and can either be completely useless or excellent; here you can only rely on your own judgment. If you are not sure, you should politely but definitely refuse.

Phone: (02) 350 52 84, 376 82 32 (Community Services Association); (02) 354 82 39, (02) 355 86 83 (American Research Center)

Trips

Alexandria

The Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, named after Alexander the Great, the setting for Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandria Quartet , is a popular day trip destination from Cairo. Locals mainly come here to enjoy the beaches, the main promenade and the slightly cooler temperatures. The beaches are nothing special and often crowded, but there are also other attractions here.

The Qaitbai Citadel was supposedly built in 1479 in the same place and with the same stones from the lighthouse of Pharos, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. There are also several museums worth visiting, including the Greco-Roman Museum, the Royal Jewelry Museum, the Art Museum, the Maritime Museum, the Marine Biology Museum and the Cavafy Museum; but also the beautiful mosques and squares make the trip worthwhile.

A train ride takes two hours, a bus three, but you can also get a taxi in front of the Ramses train station. EgyptAir offers several flights a day.

Telephone: (02) 23 91 34 54/55
Website: http://www.egypt.travel

Memphis and Saqqara

These two historic sites are located approximately three kilometers apart and approximately 24 km south of Cairo city center. They can easily be reached by bus, a rented taxi or even on the back of a horse or camel, but you should plan a whole day, the Sakkara alone stretches over around 7 km².

Although the first pharaohs were buried here, the importance of this place is overshadowed by the Great Pyramids and the Valley of the Kings and Queens in Luxor. There are several pyramids here, and since the archaeological excavations in Saqqara are still far from complete, one day it might even become the most important historical site in Egypt.

When Memphis was the capital in ancient times, the necropolis of the pharaohs was in Saqqara. Memphis is the oldest known royal residence city in the world. It was built during the first dynasty in 3100 BC. founded, was the royal residence for five hundred years and lived for a total of 4000 years. Apart from a small museum and a few isolated statues that give a foretaste of the more impressive remains in Saqqara, unfortunately not much has survived of this city, which was once one of the most imposing in the world.

Telephone: (02) 23 91 34 54/55
Website: http://www.egypt.travel

Birqash camel market

The largest camel market in Egypt takes place on the outskirts of the village of Birqash, which is about 35 km northwest of the city center. Every Monday and Friday morning camel traders come from all over Egypt, even from Sudan and similar distant places, to sell their cattle in this loud tumult full of interesting impressions and smells. The camel market is now also a tourist attraction for which an entrance fee is required.

The easiest and most convenient is the 45-minute taxi ride. Visitors should schedule a wait because most taxi drivers don’t mind waiting or coming back at the appointed time.

Telephone: (02) 23 91 34 54/55
Website: http://www.egypt.travel