Exploring Ancient Egypt: How to Spend 24 Hours in Cairo

Egypt is paradise for any history buff with plenty of ancient ruins, monuments, tombs and museums to encapsulate and educate.

There is no better place to start than the capital city, Cairo. With a population of almost 7 million, it is the 15th biggest city in the world. It is also one of just 2 cities on the African sub-continent to have their own metro system and exploring this busy bustling city can be an adventure in itself.

Here are our suggestions for how to spend 24 hours in Cairo

1) The Pyramids and the Sphinx of Giza

No trip to Egypt is complete without visiting the Pyramids. Built around 4,500 years ago, they are one of the last remaining wonders of the ancient world and they never fail to impress. What surprises many is their close proximity to the city. Whilst the most famous of photographs depict the Pyramids with the desert stretching far into the distance behind, if you turn the other way the sprawling urban mess of Cairo haphazardly clusters around them. It is a good idea to plan to spend at least half a day here. It is possible to go inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu, but it is not for the claustrophobic. Low ceilings, high temperatures and an endless stream of tourists make it an all-in-all unpleasant experience. Far better to view the Pyramids from outside, where you can pay a local to take you for a ride around them on a camel. Wander around the iconic Sphinx statue, with the body of a lion and head of a king, it has gone extensive restoration in recent years. Because the area is such a tourist hot spot, pick pocketing is common here so keep a close eye on your belongings.

2) The Egyptian Museum

Located in Tahrir Square, the Egyptian Museum houses 16,000 Egyptian artifacts making it the largest collection in the world.  One of the most famous pieces is Tutankhamun’s death mask, which is accompanied by a number of treasures that were discovered in his tomb, by Howard Carter in 1922.  The mummy itself however is located in Valley of the Kings.  There are plenty of other mummies to check out here.  Explore the Royal Mummy room where you can see Ramses the Great and other Pharaohs and Queens. Take a guided tour for an in-depth look at this collection or wander round in your own time, but best to allow at least 2 hours here.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

3) Khan Al-Khalili Market

For the most authentic Egyptian shopping experience head to a souk, a market with plenty of stalls selling a huge variety of souvenirs, foods, herbs, spices, clothing and more. Khan Al-Khalili is one of the biggest souks in the city and is not to be missed. Bring plenty of change and be prepared to haggle for the best bargains!  If you are worn out from all the shopping, head into one of the many shisha bars where you can smoke a range of fruit flavoured tobacco and grab a refreshing drink.

(Source: Flickr)

Health in Egypt

One of the main issues facing travelers to Egypt is contaminated food and water. It is vital to only drink bottled or fully sterilised water, even when brushing your teeth in a hotel, as tap water in Egypt is unclean and unsafe.  

If you do get sick, it is possible to treat yourself with one of our purpose made Tummy Kits that you can purchase in clinic. These contain antibiotics and other medications to not only treat the symptoms but treat the cause of the stomach bug.

It is also recommended that all travelers ensure their Tetanus, Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations are up to date at least 2 weeks before travel. If you are visiting Egypt for longer stays or going off the beaten track then you might also want to consider courses of Hepatitis B and Rabies vaccinations. These vaccine courses take a month to complete so be sure to plan early to ensure you are fully protected. Book an appointment with one of our specialist travel health nurses now!

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