Ah Egypt! Standing in the presence of the incredible pyramids on the Giza Plateau & the ever-intimidating Sphinx – sure, it’s the most obvious touristy thing to do when one visits Cairo but that’s all I ever really hoped to do if I ever got the chance to visit. I got way more than I bargained for.
I first experienced Egypt in 2014, I was booked to perform at a super-club on the North Coast, about 3 – 4 hours’ drive from Cairo (depending on who is driving!) It was just meant to be a quick trip; 2 nights of performances and then back to Cape Town. However, the club owner clearly liked my act and after the first night he asked me to consider staying for the next weekend too.
Performing in Egypt in 2014
Hmmmm, this meant I’d have time to get through to Cairo and go exploring. A bit of Googling told me it was perfectly safe to travel as a solo female – most sites and forums recommended hiring a guide (HIGHLY recommended guys and gals! Cairo is not for sissies; you need to be with someone who knows what they’re doing and where they’re going – I booked my adventure through Memphis Tours and they were awesome) and so I stayed on for the extra week and loved every second of it!
If you’re interested: here’s a link to a little Facebook album from my 2014 trip.
Exploring Cairo solo in 2014
When I got the call asking me to go again and to spend 4 weekends there this time around (between July and August 2016) – I was all for it. The club booked ‘DeVille’, the DJ/Violin collab act myself and Vaughan put together, which meant I’d have an adventure buddy for a change!
We stayed in a great apartment just a 5 minute jog away from a stunning private beach. It was too damn hot to spend much time out there though and I spent most of my time during the weekdays creating inventive ways to stay cool and binge watching Breaking Bad – which I’d never seen, I know right, what have I been doing with my life?
The beach near our apartment on the North Coast
The weekends were, of course, reserved for the club (well Thursdays and Fridays anyway because the work week starts on Sundays) It’s one of the most amazing night clubs I’ve ever performed in. We performed commercial house mainly but I love that Egyptians enjoy partying to their local music so much; they get loose when a local track gets played! Belly dancers, themed nights, aerial acts (me being one of them) – quite a surreal vibe.
We took to Cairo for 4 days to be tourists and stayed in the beautiful Mena House Hotel, I can’t imagine a better place to stay in Cairo short of camping under the Pyramids. The hotel I stayed in on my previous trip also had a high star rating and was near the Pyramids but the views had nothing on Mena House Hotel.
View of the Pyramids from Mena House Hotel at night
On my last trip I visited the Giza pyramids & Sphinx, Sakkara, Memphis, the Citadel, Coptic & Islamic Cairo. I watched the sound and light show at the Pyramids and spent hours in the museum. I had my favourites that I wanted to revisit this time with V but we also went on a Nile Dinner Cruise and had lunch whilst floating down the Nile on our own little boat; we went up Cairo Tower and wandered down the streets of ‘Old Cairo’ – it was all spectacular, I’d happily do it all over again.
The Nile Maxim Dinner Cruise
The Nile by night
It definitely felt like the tourism industry had picked up a little since my 2014 trip and there were more foreigners around in general but we still found ourselves in crazy situations such as having the inside of a pyramid all to ourselves! We didn’t feel threatened or in any sort of danger at any point during our stay. When adventuring in countries with different cultures I always dress modestly in public spaces and don’t go looking for unnecessary attention – I really do believe that if you stay aware of your surroundings and just generally don’t behave like a dumbass you’ll be fine.
On top of Cairo Tower
Taking it easy, floating down The Nile
This little video covers a couple of the events we performed at as ‘DeVille’ in late 2016 but from about 00:46 is all footage of us in Egypt. Enjoy!