12 hours layover in Cairo

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Sep 23rd, 2014, 04:07 PM
  #1
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12 hours layover in Cairo

I am trying to get business award air tickets from JFK to Johannesburg for next August. There are none for the direct flight, but we could get them via Cairo, with a 12 hrs layover. It would be from noon to midnight. In August, sunset is around 7 pm in Cairo, so I’m wondering, would we have enough time to go through customs, go see the pyramids (and maybe the Sphinx) before the dark? We would probably grab some dinner back at the airport.
Anyone tried something like this?
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Sep 24th, 2014, 08:35 AM
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I did something like this on a trip this year, twice in fact. We had about 12 hours in Cairo twice, once coming from Jordan and then leaving for Istanbul (after getting off a Nile cruise in Luxor).

On the first day we landed, we went across town from the airport to Giza, which took well over an hour, maybe 90 minutes. Our guide told us it was preferable to get there in the morning, as the Sphinx is oriented towards the east, so after noon its face is in the shade, making photos more difficult. I would say it is an "easy" day trip unless there is really, really, REALLY bad traffic.

On our second day we landed quite early as well (maybe 8 or 9 am), and went straight to Memphis (via Giza), then grabbed lunch, then went on a tour of the famous mosques in and around the Citadel, then did a very quick tour of the Egyptian Museum before heading back towards the airport for an evening flight. This was probably a bit more than most people could expect to do on a normal day, because it was a holiday and traffic was lighter than usual.

I hope this helps.
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Sep 24th, 2014, 10:48 AM
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Suggest you contact Casual Cairo who is a wonderful guide. She hasn't posted in a while but she would be your best bet for a quick tour of Cairo.
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Sep 28th, 2014, 11:47 AM
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Thank you Jerry S for your endorsement. Must have been meant to be that I signed in today and saw this question.

Yes, Casual Cairo detours does this sort of tour often and we will work with you to do as much as you want to do in the time frame available.

If you land at noon and leave at midnight, you will hopefully be out of the airport between 12:30 and 1:00. I don't see where you mention the day of the week you will arrive, but that will be critical to how to tackle everything. Hopefully it is on a Friday. That would be perfect as there would be little to no traffic for the drive out to Giza. Traffic will be ugly any other day of the week probably and that 90 min drive someone mentioned will be common.
Guessing we may not get to Giza until 2:30 p.m. you will have just enough time before they close the gates at 5 p.m. to get a good tour of it including the Solar Boat Museum and a short camel ride if you want.
Things could be accelerated though and you might want to head to the Nile for a felluca sailboat ride that would let you get some (hopefully) great sunset pictures while enjoying a beer or wine and some snacks, or otherwise a trip to the Khan el Kahlili if you would like to pick up some souvenirs of your time in Egypt. (If you arrive on Sunday the Khan el Khalili can be included but it is mostly closed on Sunday. Keep that in mind when deciding what you most want to see/do.)

Please feel free to ask anything else here, and I'll try to check in daily or you can email me if you prefer.

Thanks again Jerry S.
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Oct 2nd, 2014, 01:44 PM
  #5
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Jerry and Casual_Cairo, thank you for all the info. Fortunately, we got direct flights, so we will not stop in Cairo this time. It would've not been a Friday, anyway. We are hoping for a longer trip to Egypt someday, and I know where to ask for help. Thanks again.
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