We visited the Cairo Museum the day after having a ‘Nile River Boat Cruise’; I’m blogging about these two activities together as other two alternate activities can be found here.
Let’s start with the Cairo Museum visit. Relatively straightforward to find in central Cairo next to Tahir Square and 5 minutes from Steigenberger Hotel El Tahrir, which I highly recommend. Unlike the other activities in Egypt, we just turned up at the museum. As you enter and follow all the security processes, you will be approached by expert Egyptologists who offer a ‘tour,’ as we didn’t have a lot of time. I decided to invest in one as I didn’t fancy trying to read all the artefact labels. For the Cairo Museum, I would recommend taking on a guide. We had Mohamed Mahmoud – email@example.com take us through, who was excellent.
Mohamed and me!
The Cairo Museum has some incredible artefacts. We had a two-hour window, so we engaged Mohamed for the first hour to wander around and then by ourselves for the following hour. Mohamed ended up being with us for 90 minutes, which I think is right. Whether you are a museum freak or not would depend on how much longer you would need. For us, another 90 minutes would have been perfect. We were visiting in March 2022. There was still a lot of King Tutankhamun at that time, but a new museum is being built near the Great Pyramids of Giza, and I believe most of the Tutankhamun artefacts will be moved there. We’d probably wait until the new museum is built if we were going again. King Tutankhamun’s famous mask is in a room where photos are dis-allowed, absolutely dis-allowed. Still, a sneaky person might get away with one, and we did hear stories that the guard again might be in on some extra tips. Whatever the case, like the Mona Lisa, it is worth seeing live. The rest of the Cairo Museum will be left up to you to explore.
Tutankhamun’s Golden Mask
Nile River Cruise
Various Nile River cruises range from the evening dinner and belly dance, which we did, to the full weeklong up and down Cairo to Luxor and possibly more (please comment below if you have other variations). For the extended cruises, you can read about them here.
We booked our Nile River cruise through our hotel (Pyramid Eyes) and obviously with a fairly strict leaving time with our cab driver as the boat departs without waiting for anyone, around 6 pm. Since we were a bit tardy, the driver had to drive more manic. Our return trip was even more furious as Egypt played in a World Cup qualifier that night, and he was keen to watch. The driver is usually known on the boat and remains on deck. We spent the initial time waiting to be seated and bought some souvenir trinkets with the usual bartering on prices. We’re finally seated inside downstairs, very close to the buffet, and enjoy some memorable moments from the Cairo Crooner, hear him here. The boat leaves port without being noticed. We start seeing some different riverside views but nothing special. The food was a variety of dishes servicing chicken, fish, beef, and vegetarian with many sweets. You won’t leave hungry.
Nile Cruise Belly Dancer
The cruise seems to be geared around the entertainment, so much so that you forget you are actually on a boat cruising the Nile, so much so that if getting the sites of the Nile River is your thing, you should find another way (perhaps others have ideas – feel free to comment below). A buffet is served, and there is a mad rush to line up. As we sat next to the buffet, we waited until nearly everyone had plated up before getting ours. Soon after dining is done, our belly dancer comes out to do her show. I’m not a belly dancer specialist, so I can’t say how talented she was. The musicians were excellent! After the show, the dancer cruises around all tables to have her photo taken with you (which you get to buy later if you want), the next bit of the show is the dwarf doing the traditional dancing, followed by the final act of the authentic Egyptian traditional dancing, without question, they are professional and know their entertainment gig very well. So, the cruise is worth the money for the show and the food, but you could be anywhere in Cairo for this.
What we’d do again.
Use a guide when going around the museum; I would allocate 3 hours with half that with a guide and the remainder to view again items of interest.
What we’d change.
Find a different type of river cruise that focuses more on the river and sites.
Find a ‘land’ restaurant for a fix of belly dancing, something more towards a full-blown show.
Wait until the museum is built at the Giza pyramids to return to the Cairo Museum.