Like the Cobra, Cairo is Beautiful — But Beware

Written by | Travel

I love Cairo. Absolutely love the adventure. It is probably one of my favorite adventure destinations.

Because I am a seasoned traveler, I like to explore on my own. Travel photographers rarely go on tour groups because we don’t know when inspiration will hit us. Well, in Cairo, inspiration is . . .. everywhere.

Cairo, Egypt

We also try to avoid crowds and love going to off the beaten path. However, I advise you not to visit unless you are on an arranged tour group managed by a reputable company. Egypt is still experiencing an unsettling political climate, and it’s so much better to be safe than sorry.

Dealing with local tour operators, taxi drivers, shop owners, camel herders and vendors in Egypt, even those that were recommended by the concierge at the 5-star hotel where I stayed, were nightmare negotiators. Many vendors were either pushy or difficult. Haggling is a way of life in the tourism industry there and if you’re from the western world, this could ruin anyone’s vacation. For me and my travel companion, it was one bad incident after another.

But if you join an organized tour group, you can avoid easily avoid this and have a great adventure with all the beautiful sights and incredible culture without all the haggling.

Cairo, Egypt

I remember waking up in the morning, getting off the tour bus to reveal the very first sight of the pyramids. I don’t recall ever seeing a monument in person that gave me such exhilarating feeling (and I have pretty much seen it all). I almost wanted to pinch myself to ask if I was really there, climbing the big stone blocks of the pyramids, riding a camel around them and snapping selfies with Egyptian school children. It was incredible.

Cairo, Egypt

While in Cairo, we were set back in time to see one of the remaining wonders of the ancient world the Great Pyramids of Giza and their grand guarding Sphinx. We also visited The Egyptian Antiquities Museum, Saqqara Pyramids, and several noteworthy Islamic mosques. One of my favorite moments of my visit to Cairo was spending the afternoon at The Khan El Khalili Bazaar, the oldest market in Egypt. Here you can shop for souvenirs, antiques and jewelery, and there are many traditional goldsmiths craftsmen workshops still working here.

Aside from the shops, there are several coffeehouses where you can people watch while sampling Arabic coffee and traditional teas, try out Egyptian restaurants, and street food vendors around the market. It was truly magical.

Enjoy new highlights of travel photographer Edwin Santiago’s journeys each week.

Last modified: July 11, 2017