Things to do in Cairo
Cruise down the Nile on a traditional felucca boat
In spite of its many attractions, crowded Cairo can become a little maddening after a few days. A trip down the Nile on a traditional felucca boat is the perfect antidote. Gliding serenely along the fabled river, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been travelling like this from the beginning. Some boats offer live entertainment of music and dancing, but the refined will enjoy wining and dining on the Nile courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Cairo (tel: +20 2 2791 7000; www.fourseasons.com/caironp). Those wanting an authentic experience should pick up a public boat from by the Ramses Hilton.
Explore Egypt's underwater bounties
The waters off Cairo make for great diving. If you require some training before heading off to the open seas, Maadi Divers, at 18 Street 218, Maadi (tel: +20 2 2519 8644) is the first PADI diver centre in Cairo. It teaches PADI courses, organises live-aboard diving trips and has equipment for sale or rent.
Learn to cook like a local
Time to brush up on your shish taouk (a traditional shish kebab)? The House of Cooking (tel: +20 100 680 0621; www.thehouseofcooking.com) in Nasr City is the place to go. Cooking classes here teach pupils how to dish up everything from a simple fattoush salad (a delicious pitta and vegetable salad), to an om ali and kunafa pudding with mango that will wow your mates. Italian, American, Thai, Mexican and Chinese cooking classes are also available.
Ride a horse around the pyramids at Giza
A canter around the pyramids at Giza is a must. There are plenty of horses at the entrance, but for quality of steed, try and find decent stables. FB Stables, at Sharia Gamal Abdul Nasser, (tel: +20 106 507 0288; www.fbstablesgiza.co.uk) come highly recommended. They have English-speaking guides and offer fantastic desert excursions. For lengthy tours, Ride Egypt (tel: +20 100 152 0345; www.ride-egypt.com) organise horseback trips to Sakkara pyramids.
Tee off at a championship golf course
It’s something of a relief to see a great swathe of green in Cairo. The city’s golf courses, usually affiliated with top hotels, are open to non-members. By far the best for location is the pyramid-side 18-hole course at the Mena House Hotel (tel: +20 2 3377 3222; www.menahousehotel.com), which also offers good rates on golf lessons. Non hotel guests are welcome. A little further out, luxury country club Katamey Heights Golf & Tennis Resort (tel: +20 2 2758 0512; katameyaheights.com) has an 18-hole championship course with PGA qualified professionals.