Landing in Cairo International Airport, I felt a sense of calm wash over me. I was ready for this crazy adventure for ages, and so while the usual new country nerves were buzzing, the sense of relief I felt at having made a dream into a reality was stronger.
Cairo, the chaotic capital of Egypt, rich in world-famous history, a city that feels stuck between timelines. Donkeys, camels, and horses are walking on a dusty road where on the other side honking cars are polluting the city. It feels like you went back in time due to constantly seeing horses and buggies or just seeing people use the horses, camels, and donkey as their transportation only.
Where to Stay?
We found a magical place to stay for our time in Cairo, it was actually in Giza. We checked into our Airbnb, however our room wasn’t ready so we got to leave our stuff with the front desk. Our hosts took us to see the rooftop patio before our day of adventuring, and OMG those views were just incredible.
I felt so speechless, being so close to the pyramids was just wow.
The pictures on the website didn’t do it justice.
We paid about $30CAD/night The only thing we didn’t like was our walls were super thin, so we could hear all the people outside and the wild dogs kept barking so loud, it felt like they were in the building with you, so it was hard to get a good night’s rest. It is a busy area since it’s located on the road where you enter the pyramids. The room we had included our own balcony, bathroom, and a full kitchen. The building also had a basic gym, which was about $4CAD/PP.
What to Do?
There are so many things to do and see here in Cairo. Our Airbnb host got us a tour guide and a driver for 3 days. I believe you can go out on your own, but it is more valuable having a tour guide to give you all the information and neat facts. It also takes the stress away from having to plan your own activities, calling the cab, going from point A to point B, and waiting in lines. You do skip the line with a guide. We paid around $400CAD for our own guide and driver, they always supplied water in the car, our breakfast & lunch was included, except for our own drinks, and we did have to buy our own tickets. We could have gone cheaper, but it was all organized at our place, so it was stress-free.
Just keep in mind that every location you go to, if you have a camera you will have to pay extra, about $20-25 CAD extra, maybe more or less at certain places. It adds up very quickly! You won’t have to pay extra if you just use your phone.
Is a huge ancient burial complex well known for the Pyramid of Djoser or the Step Pyramid. This is this FIRST pyramid built dated back to 2649-2575 BC! This is a very neat pyramid with unique step design.
Saqqara is an awesome place to visit. There are also other pyramids surrounding this complex. There are some important tombs with incredible inscriptions on the walls. Lots to see here!
It’s also only an hour drive from Cairo! When we went it wasn’t that busy either. It’s not as popular as the other pyramids. Give yourself a couple hours to check this place out.
This is where you where you will find the colossal statue of Ramses II, who is known as the greatest Egyptian pharaoh. If you went to Saqqara, I highly recommend making a stop here! In 1821 this massive statue of Ramses was discovered, it was half-buried, laying face down in marshy ground. In 1887 a British army engineer raised the statue using a pulley and moved it to its current location.
This place was located in the desert about an hour drive from Cairo. A bit further South from Saqqara. These pyramids are also one of the oldest and well preserved here in Egypt. This was built between 2613-2589 BC, during the reign of the Pharaoh Sneferu, the 4th dynasty. The Bent and The Red Pyramids are rated to be very important, since this was used in their learning process for the built of the Great Pyramids of Giza.
Since this place is further out of Cairo, this place wasn’t busy at all! Not a ton of people visit Dahshur. Yup, so Jamie and I basically got the whole grounds to ourselves. A lot of room to take photos and actually get the whole pyramid in the picture without all the crowds. We also got to go inside the Red Pyramid, but it wasn’t all that exciting. Nothing to see in there.
Pyramids Of Giza
The Giza pyramid complex barely needs an introduction. The three main pyramids are world famous and the landscape shot with all of them on the foreground and with Giza and Cairo in the background has been seen countless times. You sure feel tiny standing next to the pyramids.
The Giza pyramids stands at 146.5 metres! (481 feet) This was the tallest man-made structure in the word for over than 3,800 years!
was the tallest man-made structure in the world for more than 3,800 years until Lincoln Cathedral was finished in 1311 AD. Originally, the Great Pyramid was covered by limestone casing stones that formed a smooth outer surface, however it’s changed a lot over all these years.
The Great Pyramids can be spotted when driving in a certain area out of Cairo. It was magical to see while being in the car. Every pyramid is a royal tomb! Egypt has stated that they have 138 of them! To this day they are still discoering mummies!
I highly recommend going to the Giza Pyramids when they open at 8am! The bus tours arrive around 10m, so try to get there before them. With having a tour guide, you can tell them your preference, so let them know you want to go earlier so you can try to miss some of the crowds. If you do want to check out the inside of the pyramid, you will have to purchase another ticket.
Next, check out the Sphinx. This statue is a head of a man and it’s body is a lion! It was made from a huge chunk of limestone.
If you want to ride camels, do your research first. We did ride on the camels, however we did research it and talked to our hosts / guides. We were aware of what was around us, no whipping sticks or accessories to hurt the camels. Before going with a company I do HIGHLY recommend researching EVERYTHING when it comes to animals! Camels here in Egypt are transportation for locals. Just like back in the olden days, people still use horse and carriages, donkeys, and camels for a way of getting around.
Is a Mediterranean port city and it’s the largest city in Egypt.Alexandria is located in the north of Egypt along the Mediterranean Sea! It’s about a 2.5 hour drive from Cairo.(depending on traffic).
We weren’t a huge fan of Alexandria, just because the day before we were at the pyramids and now our guide was bringing us to the library to talk politics and whatnot. The Library is a touristy spot, but to be honest I’m not really sure why.. Unless you like that kind of stuff then sure, maybe it’s for you, but we thought it was a bit boring.
Be sure to check out the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, which was huge! This was going back from the 2nd century AD. It’s like a maze, but a lot to see.
Don’t miss the museum! It’s massive! The museum is home to the world’s greatest collection of old historic artifacts! You have the ability to see REAL preserved mummies in the mummy room! Eeek! Remember it’s a museum, so take your time. Expect to stay for 2-4 hours! You have to purchase a separate ticket in order to get into the mummy room.
To this day, they still don’t know how mummies are so well preserved.
The Hanging Church
If you’re interested by all of the ancient history in Egypt, then you really have to get out and explore the Old Cairo. This is where you will find lots of shops, restaurants, and historic buildings, which are absoulty stunning. If you have a local guide with you, ask them about this area. There are so many nooks and crannies to explore. Old Cairo has seen such a complex history over the past 1000+ years, you can barely scrape the surface in a short visit.
This gorgeous church was built on top of a Roman fortress, hence why it’s name “The Hanging Church”. There are beautiful paintings inside. This church is one of the oldest churches here in Egypt. It dates to the 3rd century.
The Mosque of Muhammad Ali
This is such a stunning Mosque! I recommended checking it out. It also has a view overlooking the city!
The Khan el Khalili Bazaar
This is where you will find spices, fabrics, and perfume. You can buy pretty much anything here. Always remember to haggle. 😉
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