Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Is Cairo safe for tourists

Culture,Camels and Chaos

Jan 2012

I decided to travel to Egypt to see how safe it really was for western tourists. After much searching I found some one crazy person enough join my adventure. Eric my brother in law
was always willing for a challenge.

 Cairo was the centre of the Egyptian revolution . The uprising started on the 25th of January 2011. The uprising was mainly a campaign of non-violent demonstrations but since then many lifes have been lost . I do not want to go into the politics of the revolution.The media in the west has covered the story and reported everyday since the overthrow of the president of Egypt  Mubarak. 


A year on and still uncertainty remains and with many views on how Egypt will progress.               
Many times Cairo city centre has been described as a war zone and very unsafe for foreign
tourists.  Although the much hated Mubarak has gone, concerns continue as along as the military is in charge. We did mix with the protesters and never felt unsafe. In fact they were pleased explain their actions.

 Third to the left Eric chatting to a protester

OK is it safe for tourists. 
Yes we found it safe . Our hotel was next to Tahrir square where the main demonstrations are and we felt OK and in fact it was more dangerous crossing the roads.  The pedestrians have the right of way but it takes a bit of getting used to. The Drivers are crazy
The locals were friendly and keen to tell you their opinion on the whole affair. We met no other tourists from Great Britain. There was two guys from America who we met at the Pyramids.
Tourism is down. Really down but hopefully once a new elected government is in place people will return to such a wonderful country. 

The best day of our trip was the visit to the Pyramids

We take a Taxi from our hotel to the Pyramids. Our driver was Sherif . Sheriff asks us camel or horse
We were asked 45 Min's or 120 Min's at the Pyramids . We said 2 hours so off we trotted on the ship of the Desert .  My camel`s name was George . George started slowly . It seemed I was  about ten feet from the ground and was thinking will our insurance cover a fall of a wild beast. We were taken in the side door right in to the Desert.

The most famous Pyramids are at Giza, on the outskirt's of Cairo. The Khufu pyramid is the one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient world  The only one in existence. 
After a short while we get used to the camel but always hold on as if we are on a ride at Universal.
We have a guide on a horse next to us.  More people involved the more tips you have to pay.
It took a short while before we begin to relax . Then we see the desert in front of us.
What a site the Pyramids are and even better with little tourists about.

This  was a day I would never forget till I die and the camel riding added to the experience.
After two hours we are taken back to the office to get our taxi.
On route o back to the hotel we are taken to see the  river Nile.Never a dull moment
Two factories later we finally arrive back at our hotel.

At night we walk the streets of Giza . Take in the wonderful street life and enjoy a beer or two at a local hotel and finish the night with a burger at McDonald's. Bit of cost cutting. Fast food even in Egypt   

The next day we travel through to Cairo city centre.
We visit the Egyptian museum. The remains of many famous Pharaohs are stored in the Museum. The Gold Mask of Tutankhamen [11 kg of solid gold]  was the highlight for me. It`s up stair.      Please note you can not take any photographs inside  the museum.  

NDP building next door to Cairo Museum burnt during the revolution 2011
It was the   main headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party during the Friday of Anger in Cairo.
Hopefully I have gave you a small insight into how safe Cairo is. I would say it`s not perfect yet but if you are a bit adventurous you love Cairo now.

Here`s some photographs from my time in Cairo