New To Cairo? Here’s How You Can Get Around The Capital
With all its hustle and bustle, the 9th most populous city of the world can seem a bit unnavigable, but despite the intricate, intertwined roads, hours of traffic, and unfathomable Egyptian driving habits, locals are doing just okay.
Well, understandably, many of us are familiar with the complexities of getting around Cairo, because most of us have been living here for most of our lives. We run our errands, get to work on time, and rush back home without a problem. But many of Cairo’s residents are not Egyptian and have a hard time getting anywhere. I sympathize because I remember back in New York City when I couldn’t understand how far three blocks were or when I was utterly and hopelessly lost in its underground metro system.
We all get lost and hopefully, this guide will help you understand how things work when trying to navigate the country’s ancient capital. So here it goes.
Uber, Careem, and recently Swvl have been drastically changing transportation within Cairo with the relatively safe, punctual rides they offer. More and more Egyptians are getting used to the idea of ride-hailing apps, and even though these apps offer a bit higher cost, Cairenes are choosing them over traditional transportation because of their ease-of-use and convenience.
With Uber, you could either choose UberX, the regular car ride, or Uber Select, with a higher fare and more luxurious cars (not really but you catch my drift).
While in Careem, there are more options including Careem Go, the everyday-use car ride, Careem Go+, the more luxurious option, and White Taxi, a more-budget friendly option.
Swvl used to dominate transportation with buses, offering a wide variety of lines and pick-up points, but recently, Uber and Careem jumped into this niche as well. So, now we have three bus-hailing apps, which is altogether more convenient for the residents of Egypt.
Each company has its own bus lines and pick up points, and luckily, they are all on time.
Well, here, Uber and Careem dominate as well with both apps offering cheap scooter rides all over Cairo. It is recommended for short distances within areas like Zamalek, Downtown, and Maadi.
The best thing about the Metro is that it is the fastest way to get around Cairo with more than one line connecting the capital’s underground. More and more Egyptians are using it, but disregarding the third line, its only downfall is that at some stations, it can get very crowded.
For the ladies who are worried about using the metro out of safety concerns, there are female-only cars and at each station, you will find an officer present on the platform.
From Helwan to Al-Marg, passing by Helwan University, Maadi’s 9th street, Mar Girgis near the Religious Complex, Downtown Cairo, Ghamra, New Cairo, and finally Al-Marg.
This line connects the districts of Giza and Shobra; its stations include Gizah, Cairo University, Dokki, Zamalek near the Cairo Opera House, Downtown Cairo, Road Al-Farag, and Shobra.
The third line is the newest and most comfortable of the three metro lines. It is fast, very convenient, and further connects the different areas of Cairo. It is still under construction, but it currently includes stations from Downtown Cairo near Attabah, Nasr City, and New Cairo.
There are several stations under construction including the ones at Cairo Airport, Mohandesin, and Kit Kat.
The most budget-friendly of all the options; however, if you are a non-Egyptian, it could be a bit difficult to navigate through it. It is highly recommended also to bring an Egyptian friend with you. Public transportation can be considered inconvenient during rush hour.
However, despite all the hassle public transportation can put you through, the Egyptian government is taking positive steps to change this concept. The introduction of ‘Mwaslat Masr’, a number of smart, state-of-the-art buses that are convenient and safe, but unfortunately, it do not go everywhere.
Numerous and ubiquitous, White Taxis are everywhere, but once you are in, make sure the driver has the odometer turned on to avoid arguing over how much you have to pay for the ride when it’s over.