Cairo for Kids



Description:

Cairo is a super-hectic city, and if it’s overwhelming for adults, it can be doubly so for kids. Add to that the fact that not all children are particularly interested in the difference between Mamluk and Ottoman Islamic architecture, or seeing the church where the Holy Family stayed, and you need to think of some other ways to keep your little cherubs amused. Luckily, most children will have learned about ancient Egypt at school, and so will probably be more interested in seeing the Pyramids and Tutankhamen’s death mask than you are! The Cairo for kids trip lays out some of the other options available to you. It’s worth mentioning that Egyptians love children, so your kids will be welcome pretty much wherever you take them. Make sure, however, that you protect them well from the sun, and always have some bottled water handy. This trip assumes you are staying in one of the nice hotel resorts out near the Pyramids, which are much more child-friendly than most Downtown hotels.

Author: Nicholas Rowlands


Day 1 - Cairo


There’s really only one place to begin your exploration of Cairo, and that is by visiting the Pyramids of Giza! Your hotel will be able to organise a taxi to take you there, and wait for you. If you are concerned about the heat, make sure to ask for an air-conditioned car. Your kids probably know more about the Pyramids than you do, so give them plenty of time to explore the site. It’s well worth paying extra to enter one of the pyramids, but be warned that they are cramped, claustrophobic and very stuffy. There also isn’t much to see inside, although children love the Indiana-Jones style experience! Your kids may also want to do a camel ride around the complex, which can be great fun, and provides opportunity for some brilliant photos. Make sure you negotiate the price in advance, though: 20 LE is more than sufficient. Bear in mind that you have the chance to do a camel ride around the outside of the pyramid complex this evening (if your children are adventurous enough), so don’t worry if you decide not to take a ride right now. If your little'uns are at all interested in boats, don’t miss the Solar Boat Museum. After this, head down to the Sphinx. Inside the compound, if you get your angles right, you can take some great photos of your children kissing the Sphinx and patting him on the head! For lunch, have your driver take you to the nearby Felfela restaurant, on the Cairo-Alexandria road. This is a good introduction to Egyptian food – clean, and not too heavy. You should be able to find something that your kids will like here, and the staff are very friendly. If you are worried about introducing Egyptian food so early on, you could opt for a pizza at the Pizza Hut opposite the Sphinx instead. Spend the afternoon relaxing at the hotel pool – it's best to take things nice and slowly in the heat. In the evening, a lovely thing to do is to take a sunset camel ride in the desert next to the Pyramids. Your hotel should be able to organise something for you; if not, ask around at the stables near the Sphinx. Camels can be quite daunting sometimes for children, because they are so tall. However, once you are up, they are perfectly safe, since they walk very slowly and tend to be quite gentle creatures. It’s easily possible to fit two on a camel, so you can double up and ride with your child if you want. Sunset from the desert, as the Call to Prayer echoes around you, is a magical experience, made even better by the wonderful view of the Pyramids that you get! Spend the rest of the evening relaxing in your hotel, and perhaps take your dinner there too.


1

The Great Pyramid

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Location:

Giza Plateau
12561 Cairo, Egypt

Contact:

tel: +20 2 383 8823


2

Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren)

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Location:

Giza Pyramids Plateau
12561 Cairo, Egypt

Contact:

tel: +20 (0)2 391 3454 (Tourist Information)


3

Pyramid of Menkaure (Mycerinus)

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Location:

Giza Pyramids Plateau
12561 Cairo, Egypt

Contact:

tel: +20 2 383 8823


4

Solar Boat Museum

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Location:

Giza Pyramids Plateau
12561 Cairo, Egypt

Contact:

tel: +20 (0)2 391 3454 (Tourist Information)


5

The Sphinx

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Location:

Giza Pyramids Plateau
12561 Cairo, Egypt

Contact:

tel: +20 2 383 8823


6

Felfela

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Location:

Talaat Harb Street
11111 Cairo, Egypt

Contact:

tel: +20 (0)2 2392 2833


7

Camel Ride by the Pyramids

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Location:

FB stables
Gamal Abdul Nasser St
Cairo, Egypt

Contact:

tel: 20 (0)16 5070288


Day 2 - Cairo


Start day 2 by heading to the Egyptian Museum as early as possible. Aim to be there before 9 am in order to beat the tour groups. The museum is amazing, with ancient treasures around every corner, but it can be quite overwhelming. It may be worth hiring a guide here, to help you make sense of all the exhibits, very few of which are labelled. Your guide will also be able to answer all your children’s questions, and keep them entertained with lurid stories of ancient Egypt when they start to flag. From a child’s point of view, the big draw of the museum is the Tutankhamen exhibit: it’s probably worth heading there straight away, so the kids can get some time alone with the gold death mask before the hoards of other tourists arrive. Children also really like the spooky mummy room, although you do have to pay more to enter. A free alternative is the animal mummy room, for mummified fish, crocodiles and even a monkey! After the museum, have your driver take you to Khan al-Khalili. Your kids will love wandering around the narrow, winding lanes and rummaging through the piles of brightly coloured souvenirs. Perhaps even give them a budget and let them do their own haggling! Khan al-Khalili can be a bit full on, so keep a close eye on your kids to make sure they are not starting to freak out. If so, whisk them in to al-Fishawi coffee shop for a well-earned rest; it’s probably wise to keep them away from the shisha pipes though! For lunch, you could try the Egyptian Pancake House: they serve traditional sweet and savoury feteers, which are not dissimilar to crepes. You can eat with your hands, and make a fine old mess! Late afternoon, head to Maadi to take a sunset felucca ride. You can pick up a felucca near to the Sultana Boat, and spend an hour or so cruising the river. It’s a beautiful way to end the day, and Maadi is the best place to take a felucca ride since there are no bridges to obstruct you. Figure on paying about 50 LE for an hour’s sail (you can get it cheaper if you bargain hard, but 50 is a fair price for everyone involved). Either take dinner somewhere in Maadi, such as the Grand Café on the Nile cornice, or head back to your hotel for some rest.


2

Khan el-Khalili Bazaar

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Location:

Off Hussein Square
(Across from El Azhar Mosque)
11211 Cairo, Egypt


3

Al-Fishawi Coffee Shop

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Location:

El-Fishawi Alley
(Khan al-Khalili)
Cairo, Egypt


4

Egyptian pancake house

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Location:

Midan Hussein
Cairo, Egypt

Contact:

tel: 2024505871


5

Felucca Ride on the Nile

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Location:

Maadi ferry, next to Grand Café
Maadi Cornice
Cairo, Egypt


6

Grand Cafe

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Location:

Merryland Gardens
near TGI Friday
Cairo, Egypt

Contact:

tel: 20 2 451 2316


Day 3 - Cairo


Today it’s time to reward your kids for their patience so far! Spend the day at Dream Park, part of the Dreamland development near to the Pyramids. It’s the Middle East’s largest theme park, and is safe, clean, and very modern. It has rides and games to suit all ages, including roller-coasters, laser quest, and dodgem cars. There are plenty of restaurants there, and also nice, tranquil places to relax. Go on – unleash your own hidden kid! In the evening, head to the Wikala al-Ghouri to see the free Sufi dancing show. Sufis are Muslims who believe they can obtain a personal relationship with God through various religious practices, one of which is an ecstatic dance in which the Sufi continuously spins around and around. The show starts at 8.30, so you should arrive by 8.00 in order to get good seats. Spectacular spinning colours … you can have your own sufi dancing competition when you get back to the hotel! NB the show is only on Wednesday and Saturday nights.


3

Wikalet al-Ghouri

Location:

Muhammad 'Abduh Street
11211 Cairo, Egypt

Contact:

tel: +20 (0)2 2285 4509 (Tourist Information)
fax: +20 (0)2 2285 4363 (Tourist Information)


Day 4 - Cairo


Today it’s time to get pharaonic again! Head to Dr Ragab’s Pharaonic Village some time in the morning, and spend a few hours exploring this ancient Egyptian theme park. It’s a magical living museum, where you take a boat trip around the waterways of Jacob’s island, and are transported back to the time of the ancient Egyptians. The village is both educational and fun, and children absolutely love it. You can even get dressed up in pharaonic clothing, and have your pictures taken! After this, you may want to complete your visit by popping in to the nearby Dr Ragab’s Papyrus Institute. Although this is a papyrus gallery more than anything else, you do learn about how the plant is grown and made in to paper, and what its significance was to the ancient Egyptians. If you are planning to buy some papyrus, this isn’t a bad place to do it: it is expensive, but the papyrus is of high quality. If you fancy being adventurous, perhaps take a late lunch in Abou Tarek’s koshary restaurant. This is the most traditional Egyptian food, and very child friendly: a mix of pasta, lentils, chickpeas, fried onions and tomato sauce. Just go easy on the chilli! Return to your hotel to relax for the afternoon, before finishing up your time in Cairo with a final visit to the Pyramids: go to see the Sound and Light show, and listen to the Sphinx narrate the history of ancient Egypt. Perfect material for your children’s next history project!


1

Dr. Ragab's Pharaonic Village

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Location:

3 El Bahr El Aazam St
(Jacob's Island, Giza)
12561 Cairo, Egypt

Contact:

tel: +20 2 571 8675
fax: +20 2 568 9266


2

Dr. Ragab's Papyrus Institute

Location:

El-Nil Street
P.O. Box 45
11211 Cairo, Egypt

Contact:

tel: +20 2 336 7212 / +20 2 348 9035 / +20 2 349 9133


3

Abou Tarek Koshary Restaurant

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Location:

16 Champollion Street, on corner of Maarouf Street
Cairo, Egypt

Contact:

tel: +20 (0)2 2577 5935 / +20 (0)2 2576 1911
fax: +20 2 576 1911


4

Giza Pyramids: Sound and Light Show

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Location:

Giza Pyramids Plateau
12561 Cairo, Egypt

Contact:

tel: +20 (0)2 386 3469 / +20 (0)2 385 2880 / +20 (0)2 285 4509 (Egyptian Tourist Authority)
fax: +20 (0)2 384 4257 / +20 (0)2 285 4363 (Egyptian Tourist Authority)


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