Cairo is one of the world's great megacities. It has amazing noisy markets and a history that spans centuries. Should you get tired of all the noise and pollution of the city take a relaxing break at a nature preserve, where scenery and wildlife reign. A day trip from Cairo may be just what the pharaoh ordered.
8 DAY TRIPS FROM CAIRO
Wowing travelers for centuries and one of the country’s major highlights, the pyramids are Cairo’s number one half-day trip. As the largest pyramid in the Giza group, the Great Pyramid’s narrow passages can be explored, except a plain tomb chamber with an empty sarcophagus. A ceremonial solar barques which was unearth in the area and restored to its original glory can be seen in the Solar Boat Museum directly behind the Great Phyramid.The Pyramid of Chephren and Mycerinus is further south on the plateau, both has an internal tunnel area that can be entered. Guarding these mortuary temples is the lion-bodied and pharaoh-faced Sphinx; one of the ancient world's iconic monuments.
Two notable pyramids, the Bent and the Red is located on the west Nile south of Cairo. The pair is among the oldest and best preserved pyramids in the country. The Bent was first attempt to build a smooth-sided pyramid, but it wasn’t successful. The Red was the second attempt and was successful. The pyramid’s name come from it’s red colour after a rainstorm. Tombs of royal women and other pyramids can also be found here.
Situated on the Mediterranean Sea and Egypt’s second largest city, Alexandria, served as the country’s capital for nearly 1,000 years in ancient times. In various landmarks and historic sites the remnants of Greek and Roman civilization can be found. Key is Pompey’s Pillar, a Roman column 30 meters tall and believed to be the famous ancient library was found beneath the acropolis the pillar stands on. Multi-level catacombs that contained a large Roman banquet room where memorial meals were eaten and the Temple of Taposiris Magna where it is believed Egyptians worship sacred animals can be seen nearby.
It’s the ancient burial ground for Memphis and has a 16 pyramids with kings buried in each one. The Djoser’s Step pyramid is the oldest standing building in the world and is built in levels or steps.Monuments for other important officials can also be seen. In 2011 the archeologists and researchers uncovered eight million animal mummies in a catacomb. The mummies were mostly dogs; researchers think their function was to pass along the prayers of their owners to the gods.
5.WADI EL RAYAN
Just over 2 hours by car you will find the nature reserve where you’ll see mountains, rock formations, oasis and beautiful waterfalls. It is also home to Egyptian wildlife such as gazelles, foxes and a whole bunch of birds, including migratory birds, eagles and falcons. Numerous whale fossils, among the first anywhere, were found here, giving the valley it’s name “Whale Valley”. It gets hot here, so bring sunscreen and lots of water.
Just 25km away and located at the mouth of the Nile Delta, you will find Memphis. As one of the most important cities in ancient Egypt, it was home to Egyptian rulers who built vast temple complexes. Little remains of their achievements today, having been ravaged by the depredations of time, the flood plain environment and the usage of its stone for the buildings of medieval Cairo. A huge limestone statue of Ramses II and a massive alabaster Sphinx is on exhibit in the Open Air Museum. There are other monuments you also can visit.
The island is just south of Gezira Island and home to the Monastirli Palace - once the residence of an Ottoman pasha. Right at the island’s southern tip inside the palace gardens, is Cairo's Nilometer – built in Ad 861, that was used to measure the ebb and flow of the Nile and predict the annual flood heights. The Island's streets still have some dilapidated mansion architecture of the early 20th century. Built between 1805 and 1818 in the time of Mohammed Ali, you will find the Manyal Palace on the north end of the island.
The majority of Cairo’s arty boutiques and hipster restaurants can be found in the city on the island of Gezira. Dating from the mid 19th century, the entire area has a distinctly European feel to its architecture with wide boulevards rimmed by Jacaranda trees and splendidly ornate Belle Époque mansions. Various art galleries can be explored on the southern tip of Gezira. On the former Gezira Fair Grounds you will find The Palace of Arts featuring a schedule of rotating exhibitions in its galleries. The Museum of Modern Egyptian Art nearby has a fine collection of 20th century Egyptian art including works by Mahmoud Said and Mahmoud Mukhtar. The 187-meter-high Cairo Tower, built in 1961 by President Nasser can be seen towering above everything on the southern section of Gezira. A trip up the observation deck at sunset to see dusk settle over the city is a must.
The best times to visit Cairo are from March to April and from October to November. These short shoulder seasons welcome comfortable temperatures.