Kempinski Blog Article
As one of the largest cities in Africa, as well a historically important one, Cairo is a vibrant and fascinating place to visit. From the Nile to the captivating structures this civilisation built, modern-day Cairo is a city that has a challenge on its hands - after all, it is not easy to maintain such an archaeologically important centre and still develop as a modern city. There is no easy answer to the task that faces this enigmatic capital of Egypt, but one thing we do know for sure: Cairo is like nowhere else on earth.
Cairo is a very large city and with over 20 million residents, Cairo has to make sure that both its inhabitants and its visitors can travel around adequately, both locally and internationally. Fly into Egypt's capital, and you will land at Cairo International Airport, which is the second biggest airport in Africa - a testament to how popular this nation is. The airport has three terminals, and you will find a shuttle bus that runs between them, as well as a newly-opened APM (automated people mover).
Getting into the city centre from the airport is straightforward if you opt for a white meter taxi that sit just outside the terminals, or you can arrive in style with the range of limousine services that are also available for hire.
Once you are in the city centre, you can get around using Africa's first extensive metro system, by taxi, or by bus. Additionally, you can hire a car - but unless you intend on exploring outside of the city limits, you might find it less hectic to use public transport when travelling around the city.
When it comes to looking for somewhere to stay, our friendly staff will be more than happy to welcome you to either of our Cairo-based hotels. The Kempinski Nile Hotel, Garden City offers unparalleled views over the iconic river, and the Royal Maxim Palace Kempinskioffers visitors something truly special in terms of architecture.
From schoolchildren learning about the culture in history classes to experts keen to discover yet more of the land's secrets, Ancient Egypt is intriguing to many, for a wide range of reasons - and you will find the remains of this past civilisation in busy, bustling Cairo.
From the iconic Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx to the Egyptian Museum, there is arguably more history within this corner of Egypt than there is in some entire countries. If you are keen to see it all, consider booking a private guide to take you through the sites, and enjoy the contrasts between the old and new ways of life.
Egypt has a long-standing tradition with food. It has been the centre piece at many a social occasion, and some archaeologists even claim that food was once used as payment. While you will not get very far trying to trade some legumes in Cairo these days, food can still play an important part in your visit - if you know what to try.
For something savoury, the halawa is a popular option. You will find it as a pâté-style treat, or as an energy bar or spread, and it is made primarily from sesame paste, and often flavoured with pistachios, almonds and pine nuts. You might sample it as a snack, or it could appear as a component in a larger meal - halawa is used far and wide in Egypt!
Those with a sweet tooth will enjoy a slice of konafah. The noodle-like strands are made from a sweet pastry that has been coated in a buttery mixture. You can find konafah with a nutty filling, or sometimes served with cream, but always with a fruity syrup on top. Enjoy as an afternoon treat or as a dessert.
As you would expect from such an old land, there is plenty of historical and cultural attractions explore when in Egypt's capital.
Great Pyramid of Giza
Also known as the Pyramid of Cheops or Keops, this structure is the largest of the three pyramids in Giza, and is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World to stay mostly intact. It is certainly an iconic site of Egypt, and one that definitely should not be missed on a visit to Cairo. Bring along a little extra money to see inside one of the most amazing structures on the planet.
Some of the most important relics of Ancient Egypt lie within the walls of the Egyptian Museum. From King Tutankhamun’s death mask to any number of sarcophagi, the vast amount of things to see here means that opting for a tour guide can really help. Visit later in the day if you want to avoid the crowds, and perhaps pack a fan if you are prone to feeling the heat - the museum does not have air con.
It is not just pyramids that count as impressive structures in Cairo. Sitting just on the edge of the airport district, Cairo Citadel is an Islamic fort. Built in the 12th century, the citadel was once used to protect Cairo and neighbouring Fustat from the Crusaders. Today, you can explore the decadent interior as well as the perfectly landscaped gardens - a fantastic example of medieval architecture in Egypt.
With such a high population, it is entirely understandable that you might want to seek out a little peace and quiet on your visit to Cairo. If that is the case, then a trip to Al-Azhar Park might well be in order. It can be very popular on public holidays and weekends, but from Monday to Friday, the park has a relaxed atmosphere that is favoured by families and friendship groups alike.