One of our resident Aussies, Andy Henderson, lived in Cairo for two years, and these are his top spots to see if you’ve got a few extra hours to kill on either side of your tour.
One of Cairo’s most recognisable landmarks, the Cairo Tower has had a full refurbishment and features a 360 degree viewing platform with a decent restaurant at the top. It’s a great spot to visit if only to get a feel for the sheer size of the city of Cairo.
Al-Ahly and Al-Zamalek are Egypt’s main rival football teams, and whenever they play against each other the city comes alive. Locals pour into the streets to drink coffee, smoke sheesha and watch the game on whichever TVs are available. The atmosphere is electric, and it’s the perfect chance to immerse yourself in local culture.
The Nile at Night
The river comes alive at night in Cairo as families and wedding parties take to the river on traditional felucca and motor boats. It’s a great time to be on the river for it’s the perfect viewing point to see the city lit up at night. There are many places along the river where you might find boats for hire, but try the river bank in front of the Intercontinental Cairo Semiramis Hotel.
Overlooking The Nile River, the Sequoia restaurant is is a great place either to have a really good meal or simply enjoy a sheesha and have a sundowner. With super views of one of the world’s most famous waterways, this is the ideal spot to unwind and reflect.
Da Baffo Restaurant
If you’re after a pizza and a few drinks, this is your spot. Under the guise of an Italian restaurant, Da Baffo is more or less a bar, with a huge canopy that shields patrons inside from passers-by. Alcohol is served here, but it isn’t advertised so you’ll need to ask for it specifically.
Cairo Jazz Club
This is a great little spot. An unassuming club, the Cairo Jazz Club is where you’ll see top local jazz musicians in action. It fills up really quickly and is quite small, so don’t get there too late. Their website is very helpful, and even provides you with a phonetic version of Arabic directions to tell your cab driver.
Have fun, but remember that whatever you end up doing, always be responsible in cities that you don’t know.