For most people who live in Cairo, escaping the city is like a breath of fresh air, with a chance to truly enjoy the outdoors – whether that be through hiking the Sinai mountains, camping in the desert or relaxing by the beach.
What most people don’t realize however, is that they can already try to make the most out of the city they live in without having to drive hours out of town to find some peace and solitude. Cairo may not be known for its outdoor activities, however there are a number of things one could do to embrace the city’s outdoors – hustle and bustle and all.
While there may not be a lot of particularly exciting outdoor venues, the activities suggested below mostly revolve around outdoor activities that do not necessarily require going out to a specific place that has an outdoors area. The below activities are a mix of suggestion to stay active, as well as taking some time to relax and find some refuge in the city.
Spending the Day at Wadi Degla Protectorate
Located along the outskirts of Maadi, the Wadi Degla Protectorate is a haven for nature lovers – most especially those who love to embrace the beauty of the desert.
The protectorate consists of a large area of land that is made up of small hills and extends to about 30km. Many people enjoy hiking, walking, running, biking or even just having a laid back barbecue with friends or family.
The area is open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be accessed by foot or car with a 3EGP ticket fee.
Bike Riding in Maadi
Riding one’s bicycle around a quiet neighborhood is usually associated with childhood memories, but bike riding is well worth a re-introduction in adulthood.
Whether one digs out an old bike, rents or invests in a new one, having the option of bike riding short distances is something that may make a big difference in daily life. Other than making small local errands easier around one’s own neighborhood, one could also enjoy a quiet and serene bike ride along the tree-lines streets of Maadi.
Enjoying the soft breeze as one rides along exploring Maadi’s beautiful homes and villas on an early weekend morning could be a new form of weekly meditation.
Finding a Nearby Garden or Park for a Picnic
Almost every neighborhood in Cairo has a small local garden or park that one could enjoy and make the most of. In some of the more crowded areas of Cairo, it may be better to try to seek these venues out on less traffic-prone days – perhaps early during a weekday.
In newer areas such as New Cairo however, most areas have a large communal garden that one can enjoy a picnic on, the only problem would be figuring out a good spot for shade as most of these garden don’t have much trees yet.
If all else fail and one has the option of going to the local sporting club, having a picnic there with some friends could also be a good idea.
Exploring Downtown Cairo on Foot
Downtown Cairo is full of hidden gems. Pick a day and begin to embark on a walk around downtown at around sunset – make sure to get through any nooks and crannies and small eerie-looking alleyways – there’s almost always more than meets the eye.
From taking in the wonderful architecture of the surrounding buildings to coming across old bookstores, antique stores or even trendy new cafes or bars, downtown has a little something for everyone.
Watching the Sunset from a Felucca
Being out and about in Cairo can never be complete without a felucca trip along the Nile. This activity is incredibly easy and affordable to the point that it can be done on a regular basis. People usually enjoy taking their own music on board, as well as a few of their own snacks and drinks.
A felucca ride can be considered both a party or even an enjoyable, calm ride along the river, taking in a moment of calm as one muses at the sunsetting over the chaos that is Cairo.