Cairo Tours

Cairo was called the citadel or tabia or forte, i.e. stronghold. It looked like a square; 1200m2 in length and 1100m2 in width. It was surrounded with El Bahr El Azeim (the great sea) from the east, the gulf from the west, from the north gardens extended to Mataria and the mount Gabal El Guishi from the south.

Ah, to be rich. Simply step outside the five star hotel, and take the taxi which awaits me at the doorstep anywhere I want to go in Cairo. Unfortunately, there is perhaps no more expensive way to get about in this great city. Common taxis are much more affordable, and better yet, take the longer trips on the metro and leave the taxis for short hops.

There are three main types of Taxis in Cairo. The first type is the old black and white taxis. These have no meter, and the price of the trip is usually this known fact by everyone. It depends on the length of the journey and the traffic. Simply stand at the side of the road and at the sight of an approaching taxi point one hand towards the road. The taxi driver will slowly cruise past you. As he does, yell out a district or landmark near your destination (eg. “Al-Azhar”) and if the driver is inclined to head there he will stop for you.

Solo males should sit in the front seat next to the driver. It is customary for solo females to sit in the back seat. Once inside, name your specific destination. Only tourists discuss price at this point, as to do so ensures that the driver will spend the entire trip haggling for a high fare. If the driver insists on knowing how much you will pay, name your price. If he, or in the rare case, she, doesn't like it you can get out and find another cab.

Cairo Tours, If you follow these instructions and the driver protests vehemently, he is either exceptionally determined to gouge you, or you have genuinely underpaid him. If you are certain he is trying to gouge you, threaten to take the matter to the tourist police, something all cabbies fear, and he will usually back down. Keep in mind that many factors affect rates such as traffic, number of passengers, luggage, time of day, remoteness of destination. However, please note that the majority of taxi drivers are polite, shy and satisfied with what they get, providing the fair offered is close to reasonable.

Where you hail your cab does make a difference. The myriad of taxi drivers relaxing on their hoods in front of Cairo's five-star hotels can afford to rest. They usually charge double, sometimes triple, the going rate and even Egyptians are made to pay this rate. Walk 100 yards from the hotel and stand by a busy street and the prices plummet. Beware of the black and white big Peugeot 504 ‘service' taxis. While these extra roomy cabs are great if you have a large group or lots of luggage, they also charge twice the going rate and adamantly demand LE10 for short hops.

Here’s a list of standard black and white taxi fares (vary according to time and traffic. Note that Tahrir Square is central downtown, location of the Ritz Carlton and the Egyptian Antiquities Museum):

The second type is the new white taxis. These are the revamped versions of the black ones. They have air conditioning, a meter (make sure the driver sets it when you get in though) and are newer safer cars. However, when you don’t know the way they tend to take the longer route to get you to pay more. It’s not uncommon to tip the drivers of those taxis. Those two types of taxis you can stop on any main street. Try not to catch taxis right outside of hotels though as they tend to overcharge you.

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