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Wheeling Through Cairo, Egypt
Posted: 3 December 2008
Author: R.P. Liena


It was a quite an adventure travelling to Cairo, Egypt, with extremely friendly locals offering a myriad of “official” transportation, tours and cruises. Nonetheless, its always spectacular visiting the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx and of course the tomb of Tutankhamen and associated relics at the Egyptian museum.

Airport Transfers
Even as we passed through customs and immigration at Cairo International Airport, we were asked by bonafide airport staff The Egyptian National Museum if we had transfers organised – and whilst I must have inferred that this was in some way related to immigration concerns, it turned out that they wanted to 'assist' in getting us an official taxi. Anyway, about 100 Egyptian pounds later in a fairly new, air conditioned vehicle, we weren't too phased since it it turned out to be an hour long drive through chaotic traffic to our hotel. If you had the nerve to dodge the dozens of propositions along the way, you could flag down one of the black and white taxis along the roadside to the airport, but the saving would be small and really not worth the effort.

Tours
Almost all of the hotels we came across in Cairo offered guided tours to the key landmarks at typical western prices. Comfortable, modern and fully equipped coach tours are readily available, and well-spoken guides take you through the rich history of this ancient city. Its also easy to do organise The Great Pyramids of Giza your own itinerary covering the great attrations, or instance you could scout around the main streets for tour organisers and operators. You would be hard pressed to find a strict price catalog though, and even if you did you would find such prices highly negotiable. We found the best way to travel to hire a black & white taxi for the entire day for about 250 Egyptian pounds- and to make your way to the tourist attractions at your own leisurely pace.
Summary
For a very quick visit to Cairo, or if your'e not budget concious, it best to organise everything upfront – tours, transfers, local transport etc. Prices are relatively low anyway, and it would give you complete peace of mind. Otherwise, if you would want to travel at your own leisurely pace, its still quite easy getting around; just be on your guard and don't be charmed or take any 'free gifts' (you would be expected to offer a monetary gift in return)... if you are frank and prudent, yet polite and respectful, you will be sure to travel safely with very reasonable prices whilst enjoying the amazing sights of this fascinating city.
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