Cheap Flights to Cairo
- Area City : 528 km² (204 sq mi)
- Area Codes : (+20) 2
- Currency : Egyptian Pound (EGP)
- Population City (2011) : 10,230,350
- Official Language : Standard Arabic, Egyptian Arabic
- Time Zone : EET (UTC+2) / Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
- Airports : Cairo International Airport
Tourists visiting Cairo International Airport have a long list of airlines to choose from and planning ahead affords wonderfully cheap flights to Cairo from every corner of the globe. South Africans should check out promotional specials to Cairo on flights with South African and Etihad Airways, including flights operated by Egyptair.
Airlines landing at Cairo International among numerous others include:
- South African Airways
- Air France
- British Airways
- Kenya Airways
- Aeroflot Russian
- Austrian Airlines
- Air Sinai
Reasons to Visit Cairo
- Set along the east bank of the Nile River and surrounded by three deserts, Cairo is an exciting, wonderful bustling metropolis, the largest in the Middle East that drowns in history with of a cornucopia of sacred, religious and historic sites that mesmerise every first time visitor. Having found cheap flights to Cairo you will surely be able to take in some of these amazing scenes.
- There are wonderful relaxing cruises down the Nile where tourists make new friends over scrumptious dinners with music, belly dancers and the twinkling city lights in the background. Large, gentle camels adorned with colourful cloths take you into the vast, silent desert for a night’s entertainment under the stars. Visitors have more than 100 museums to spend time in, a fabulous variety of shopping opportunities, theatres, cinemas, concerts, shows and nightclubs. There are elegant restaurants for delectable Lebanese, Indian, Asian and other cuisines and for fun, oodles of wonderful outdoor activities of diving, Bungee jumping, rock climbing, kite surfing or desert cycling.
- Accommodation comprises all types of hotels from budget to extravagant, apartments and a great choice of excellent backpackers and hostels that are clean, comfortable and some including breakfast. Waking up to the sight of a pyramid in the distance through your window is an experience in itself.
- Being a predominantly Muslim country, Egypt is fairly conservative in its dress code and visitors should be aware of their attire. For men it’s not too much bother with trousers, shirts or t-shirts acceptable, but not shorts, tank or sleeveless tops, except in certain Red Sea resort areas. Ladies are best in loose linen or cotton trousers or skirts below the knee and sleeved non-see through blouses. When dining in a good restaurant, dressing up is the norm with ladies not showing bare shoulders.
- In Cairo there are two types of bars, the traditional Egyptian style bar, a cafeteria that only has male customers and the western style bar where both men and women can feel relaxed and at home
Places to Visit in Cairo
- The Pyramids of Giza are a complex of three pyramids, located some 25 kilometers from Cairo’s city centre with the most famous, the Great Pyramid built for the pharaoh Khufu and probably the largest structure erected on the planet. A sight to behold is the infamous part-lion, part-human Great Sphinx, one of the largest single-stone statues on earth.
- Plan half a day to take in the sites of the Step Pyramid of Djoser and others close by. It’s not overrun with tourists and camel rides can be taken around the pyramid, part of a complex that comprises the first stone-built building in the world and the world oldest graffiti at 3,500 years.
- The Egyptian Museum is the perfect place to start for visitors interested in Egyptology and can take more than day to truly appreciate all the antiquities. Be sure to arrive early and once inside head for the Tutankhamun galleries, the Old Kingdom Rooms, the Royal Tomb of Tanis and the Royal Mummy Room, before the tours arrive.
- Well worth a visit is the Bayt al-Suhaymi museum in a small alley near Muiz Street that’s a fine example of a rich man’s house with timeless memories and character. Well known for its wooden balconies and the Haramlek, the most impressive room in the house, it affords much for visitors interested in Islamic and Arabic architecture.
- A top attraction located in the Citadel of Cairo, is the immense Ottoman styled Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha that opened in 1848. Sumptuously decorated with Islamic motifs it comprises cascading domes, richly decorated ceilings, slender minarets, hanging lamps and reflections of French rococo influences including other styles.
- The Abdeen Palace Museum is deemed one of the most opulent of palaces in the world with its paintings, adornments and clocks of which most, are decorated with pure gold. The palace with 500 rooms took a little over ten years to build and was completed in 1874. Its upper floors are reserved for foreign dignitaries while the lower floors contain the Silver, the Arms, the Royal Family and the Presidential Gifts museums with the Historical Documents Museum opening in 2005 and home to some interesting decrees and certificates.
- Spend time meandering through the city’s Christian quarter, down narrow streets with churches, monasteries and convents and the Roman towers and high walls, artworks in themselves. Worth visiting is the Coptic Museum that houses an impressive and extensive collection of Coptic Christian artwork and enlightens visitors to this period of Cairo’s history.
- Dating back to the 7th century is the Hanging Church, rebuilt several times including major restructure during the 10th century under Patriarch Abraham. This exquisite church is one of the most beautiful and impressive churches in the city noted for its marble pulpit, murals, icons and inlaid screens. Its open daily for visitors from 09h00 to 16h00 except during services.
- Bustling and vibrant Khan El Khalili attracts tourists like bees, but in its side streets you’ll find marvellous spice stalls, gold and copper traders and more where you can put your haggling skills to the test.
- Walking through Islamic Cairo may have you feeling disoriented as you step back in time into a hive of traditional vendors, a wonderful blend of sounds, smells and sights. Starting from the Bab Al Futuh (Gate of Conquest) affords a great view of the impressive Al-Hakim Mosque with the enormous Qalawun Complex not far off. Rest your legs in the lovely green space of the Al-Azhar Park and have a bite or lunch from one of many pleasant eateries nearby.
- Part of Cairo’s National Cultural Centre is the Cairo Opera House, the city’s primary performing arts venue home to Egypt’s finest musical groups. Other theatres include the Gomhouria Theatre, the Arab Music Institute and the Damanhour Opera House.
- Bordering the Mediterranean Sea on the North Coast, just four hours outside Cairo, is Porto Marina with stunning white beaches, inviting crystal waters and the highest wet Bungee jump in the world.
- There are hundreds of wonderful tours for visitors to choose from, besides the norm. A trip to the Black or White Desert, accessible only by four-wheel drive, affords a beauty like no other with flat terrain and has you sleeping peacefully in a tent under the stars.
- The local bar After Eight offers visitors an authentic Egyptian nightlife experience with Arabian music, a variety of food choices and strong drinks. Over 30’s will enjoy a great night out at Pub 28 while Coco Jungle is a funky club with inspired jungle deco that has theme nights, offers salsa classes and couples-only nights.
Getting Around Cairo
Having found your cheap flights to Cairo whether it be direct flights from Johannesburg or Europe to Cairo, you will be faced with the choices on getting around Cairo. Egyptair johannesburg to cairo is a very popular route and great deals can be found on these flights.
Save time with a travel agent pre-booking your train and bus tickets including any other tours. You’re likely to pay more but getting through traffic congestion to purchase train or bus ticket can sometimes take hours. The city has thousands of travel agents but two with good reputations are Guardian Travel on Mahmoud Azmi Street or Garden City Travel at 20 Maamal Al-Sokar in Garden City.
Buses are fairly safe and reliable with air-conditioning and some, a video service (take earphones). They’re also the popular mode of travel for locals. The newer, more expensive Super Jet buses operate high-volume destinations like Dahab, Sharm el Sheikh, Hurghada and Luxor. The Turgoman bus terminal is located in the heart of Cairo, servicing all destinations in Egypt.
Tourists are not officially allowed passage on non-tourist-class trains to Upper Egypt.
The service between Aswan in the south and Alexandria in the north is pleasant affording sites along the way and there’s a train thrice a week to Marsa Matruh. Tickets can be purchased from the main city station in Ramsis Square where the majority of trains depart from. First class tickets afford comfort and cleanliness. Shorter
trips normally provide a snack and hot-drink trolley and you only pay for your purchases at the end of your trip. 1st and 2nd class tickets can be pre-booked.
Visitors wanting to hire vehicles or 4x4s can choose from plenty including well known names like Europcar, Sixt and Avis with desks at the airport and in the city.
Don’t hail a taxi outside an expensive hotel; it will cost you more, rather walk 100 metres from the hotel for a better rate. The old black and white taxis are rundown but the best and cheapest option for short trips and don’t have meters. Prices are dependent on traffic and the length of the journey and they can be hailed down in the street with you shouting your destination to the driver who’ll stop if heading in that direction.