A weekend in Cairo


We’re just back from a two day trip to Cairo and believe me it feels like we’ve had a weeks vacation. We’re back in Dubai feeling exhausted!
The Pyramids of Giza have always been on our bucket list so we jumped at the opportunity to tag a vacation onto our business trip. The Pyramids are amazing and they didn’t let us down.  One of our favourite travel experiences.

Check out our photos.

Cairo is the largest city in Egypt with an estimated population of 12million people and believe me the traffic and the roads certainly confirmed the bedlam.

Things to do over a weekend in Cairo.

We stayed at The Conrad Hotel and paid just a little extra for a room overlooking The Nile. Yes, the view was awesome, especially the sunsets, however the street noise was crazy! Car honking seems to be a national hobby! A nice hotel but on reflection, we would take a hotel away from such a hectic roadside location. The Marriott, in the Zamalek district was a refreshing oasis of calm away from the hectic street life of  Cairo. Set in 6 acres of palace gardens still just a short walk from The Nile.

Things to do over a weekend in Cairo.
View from our hotel across The Nile

Crossing the roads you need to take your life in your hands and weave your way  between heavy traffic with confidence. A small price to pay to experience the energy of the city.

A short drive from the city takes you to the pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, a symbol of ancient Egypt, guarding these ancient wonders of the world.

Things to do over a weekend in Cairo.

We recommend privately hiring a camel or horse to trek across the desert to see the pyramids. It was definitely worth it for a once in a lifetime experience.

Things to do over a weekend in Cairo.
My first camel ride!

Things to do over a weekend in Cairo.

Things to do over a weekend in Cairo.

A few tips and changes we’d make if or when we go back.

  • Ladies, a shawl or cover up is an absolute must. Please remember that Egypt is a muslim country. Don’t wear short skirts or sleeveless tops. Believe me you’ll feel so much more comfortable if you avoid any tight fitting clothing, shorts and shoe string straps and dress conservatively
  • Visit the Egyptian museum late afternoon or evening when everyone else is heading back.
  • We’d definitely recommend taking a private guide and driver, avoiding the large tour groups and buses. They are reasonably priced and well worth the additional expense. we also found that the street vendors arn’t quite so annoying when you’re walking with a guide.
  • Pay the extra and take the camel or horse trek across the desert. Crossing the desert to the pyramids has to be one of my best all time experiences. Amazing!
  • At sunset take your camera and find yourself a spot along the Nile
  • Cross the Nile and wander around the Zamalek area
  • Find a reliable driver, hotel recommended, and visit the Egypt Museum and one of the many ancient churches. . Note: Be wary of unofficial guides!

Things to do over a weekend in Cairo.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – Abu Dhabi


If you are visiting the UAE, consider taking a 1.5 hr ride to Abu Dhabi to visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. The sheer opulence and beauty is truly breathe-taking. Entrance and guided tours are free. In our opinion, a definite Must see. Remember that this a holy place and be respectful. Appropriate dress can be provided.

Note: check the guided tour schedules as they vary throughout the year.

Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi

Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi
Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide

Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide
Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide

Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide

Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide

Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide

Interesting facts

1. The project was launched bySheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late president of the United Arab Emirates. He wanted to create a that united the cultural diversity of the Islamic world with the modern values of art and history.

2. The construction began in 1996 and was completed over a period of almost 12 years, covering an area of 22,412m2 and costing approx 2.5 billion AED.

3. The Mosque can accommodate 41,000 worshippers.

4. The main dome is the largest mosque dome in the world.

5. Seven gold-plated crystal chandeliers garnish the mosque in different sizes, embellished with millions of Swarovski crystals.

6. The main prayer hall features a 5,625m2 large carpet, hand knotted by approx 1,300 Iranian craftsmen using 35 tons of wool and 12 tons of cotton. It’s estimated value is 30 million AED.

7. Natural materials were chosen for much of the design and construction due to their long-lasting qualities. These included marble, stone, gold, semi-precious stones and crystal. It was built by an Italian company using 3,000 workers and approx 38 contracting companies.

8. The courtyard is made up of 1,048 columns and 82 domes. The domes are clad with marble and inlaid with mother of pearl.

9. The mosque is decorated with Greek and Italian white marble, considered to be the purest in the world.

10. Rihanna was criticised for posing in a provocative manner with the Mosque in the background during a private visit and was asked to leave by staff following the incident. Selena Gomez was also criticised for revealing her ankles on photographs taken at the mosque for her Instagram page.

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