Visiting Cairo is a life changing experience, especially if you have never been to Africa or the Middle East before.
The capital of Egypt
is in the midst of those two regions, a city built along the banks of the River Nile and surrounded by the Sahara Desert, where around 25 million people of many creeds and colours live in hectic harmony.
It is unlikely that you will find more friendly people in any big city in the world. A real community feeling exists in Cairo and its inhabitants are always very willing to help, even if they don’t speak your language. That said, you will be on the receiving end of many a sales pitch. Anyone who starts talking to you as you enter some of the major sites such as the Pyramids will probably be trying to start a tour for which you will be charged at the end. Be firm and willing to say no if you don’t want a tour. If you decide to have a tour guide or buy anything, make sure that before going you have investigated what prices are acceptable and bargain hard – it is part of the culture and you will be more respected for doing so.
Cairo goes on and on – it is a vast city with many different districts. These include Old Cairo where there are awe inspiring mosques and beautiful citadels, as well as the world famous Giza which contains the Sphinx and the Great Pyramids.
Using a car in Cairo is the only way to get about as the city is too huge to walk around and the public transport does not cover all areas. This also saves you having to haggle (and most likely get ripped off) with the local taxis. But only drive here if you are very confident, it is unlike anywhere else in the world in terms of traffic.
The only rule to driving in Cairo is that there are no rules. Roads usually have between four and eight lanes, or at least they would if anybody paid attention to lanes. Instead drivers weave in and out of the numerous pedestrians and obstacles. Their cars are old enough not to be roadworthy in most countries, not least because few of them have seatbelts. Of course this is not the case with Rhino hire cars which come with air conditioning to combat the desert heat and comprehensive insurance to protect you against any mishaps.