I love taking taxis. It's so crazy! The way they drive in Cairo could give the faint at heart fits. But I was determined to figure out this insanity by watching the traffic and the taxi driver's. The driver's don't seem to ever get their feathers ruffled. The cacophony of music from the horn's being blown, the weaving in and out of traffic, turning 2 lanes into 3, 3 into 4. It just amazed me.
One of the highlights of our stay in Cairo was a couple of taxi rides. Drivers in Cairo are completely mad - and taxi drivers are no exception.
During a half-hour drive we had several near misses....with other cars, buses and pedestrians.....but it was so exhilarating!
For some reason I felt completely at ease - I (stupidly perhaps) had complete confidence that our driver would get us to our destination in one piece!
So if you you get the chance, jump into a taxi.....and hold on tight!!
The best way to get around an Egyptian town or city is by taxi but there are several problems. First, you must bargain for everything in Egypt taxi service included, so you have to be prepared and patient in negotiating a price. Second, there are no traffic rules the Egyptians obey while driving, they drive everything that can run on 4 wheels, cars with no lights, no breaks ... Their cars are nothing like the one in the photo. However, one thing must be ok and that is the sirene. They use sirens every now and then in order to communicate with others.
The Cairo Taxi should be your main means of trensportation when in Cairo. It is cheap so dont panic and think you will spend all your money on taxis.
If you are living in a 5 stars hotel and can afford a hotel taxi (normally more expensive) then go ahead it has the same black and white colors and in most cases there is an A/C in such cars. If you dont want to spend much money on this then i suggest you walk some 10-20 meters away from the hotel and catcha taxi that is wandering in the cairo streets. There are no such calling a taxi on the phone to pass by you.
The Taxi brands and models are not like in the west so dont expect the street taxi to be a mercedes model 1980 , but rather 1966.
The prices will differ due to the distances you will take. If from downtown to the Giza plateaux far from the hotel then you will pay 20-30 egyptian pounds which is less than 5 Dollars.
Who didn't hear about Cairo's famous black and white taxis?
We had the opportunity to experiment it two or three times and it was a great experience.
Particularly the one in the picture was the most "trendy" one and during our entire ride we were accompanied by Muslim prayers on the radio.
Luckily or not we were together with out Egyptian friend so we missed the part with the negotiation of the price.
There are plenty of taxis everywhere but agree about the fare before entering. It is a good idea to do the excursions to the pyramides or Sakkara with a taxi, your hotel receptionist should know the actual (low!) rates for this and if you are lucky the driver is even a reliable guide to the one or other attraction on the way. The traffic in Cairo is something one has to get used to - but in some way it works.
I have read the previous comments. Im an egyptian and i would like to help the tourists coming out here to find a better way instead of all the taxi hassle. I know how a taxi ride can ruin you experience. Anyhow, when you are in cairo, your best deal today is to call the city taxi. They are yellow cabs that come upon you request. They are not as cheap as the ordinary black and white ones. But they are still cheap. Their hotline number is 19155. I hope this helps you enjoy cairo more than usual and spare you all the annoyances of taxi drivers.
The easiest way to reach every part of the city is by renting a taxi for a day, or simply jump in a taxi when you do need it.
Remember to bargain for the rate, never accept the first price!!!
Taxi are common and safe, so you will never have a problem to run in the city, although I would suggest you to take the metro (if you are going in a direction covered by the metro…)
"My friend of the day" was Saakib, the taxi driver. We caught him on the Nile bank close o the museum. If you want great adventure, take the cab. All he time of the ride, he was only beeping and try to explain us how other drivers don't know to drive. We think that he is one of them.
For the ride from Museum to our hotel, which is close to the Pyramids, he took 25 Egyptian Pounds (7 E.P. = 1 Euro). And don't know the mileage but he was driving us about 45 minutes.
Like with every other mode of transportation in Cairo - there really seem to be no rules. The lines on the road are decorations as are the lights, if they are working. The same is with my taxi ride. This may be the normal way it happens, or maybe it was a special case. I had missed my flight back to Canada after a series of unplanned events that made me late for checking in. My friend and I had to find a place to stay, I had rescheduled my flight for the next day. We flagged a cab and hopped in. Ehab the driver was very friendly and although my friend Ahmed spoke Arabic they both spoke in English out of respect for me. We told him we needed to get to the Capsis Hotel at 117 Ramsis Bridge, Cairo Governorate. Great all during rush day (I swear their rush hour is a lie, it's always a traffic rush there) As the two men chatted and made friends, Ahmed telling Ehab how my day had went, well he seemed sympathetic to my chaotic day. He drove us to the hotel and offered to pick me up in the morning to return me to the airport. Ahmed and Ehab made the arrangements, and Ahmed pre-paid the trip. Ehab would return to the hotel at 0630 to take me to the airport. I was concerned that he wouldn't be there, but I came down a few minutes late from my room and there sitting in a chair reading the paper what Ehab, ready to take me to the airport. We had a pleasant talk on the way back to the airport. He waited to see if I was able to get on this flight before leaving. There was a problem with my ticket. I told him I would go to the old terminal 2 where there was a wifi connection and figure it out. He had to go collect another fare but he would come back to find me and see if I had managed to get on my flight. I said if I'm not here, that means I've sorted everything out, but if I'm here then I was still working on it. I managed to sort out my flight problems and ran back to the other terminal, through security and grab my boarding pass.
I know Ehab came back to check to see if I was there but I was gone. He had called Ahmed to confirm this. I wish I had a way to send Ehab a tip. He was the rock when I needed emotional support to make my way home. I would recommend Ehab my taxi driver to anyone!
I learnt to avoid taxis that wait for you out of hotels restaurants or tourist sites, they never use the meter and charge you also 3 or 4 times the normal rate.
Ask someone to write for you the place where you want to go in Arabic and then stop the taxi on the street, I was surprised to see as most of them turned on the meter without any pressure from me as it was just normal, this is really a werid habit for taxi drivers anywhere in the world.
From the airport to the hotel I got to pay 90 egyptian pounds and a local friend said it was a good price.
Although all the little black-and-white taxis have meters, i didn't encounter a single one with a meter that worked. I did travel in one with a modern electronic meter, but that didn't work either. So the price is negotiable. In practise most journeys about downtown Cairo should be five or at most ten LE, the pyramids or the airport 40 or so.
If you're a Cairene, you know what a fair price is and simply hand it over when you get out. This takes a bit of confidence (and a good supply of small denomination notes) so if in doubt agree beforehand. If the driver won't accept what you want to pay try another. If the first driver is being exorbitant, he'll lose the fare!
If in doubt, any hotel will be able to help you with an idea of what a fair price for a particular journey is.
We took taxi's to most places we wanted to go in Cairo... One word of warning...don't get a taxi out the front of a hotel...always walk down the street a bit first...they'll charge you extra or try to do something dodgy if you get a taxi in front of your hotel.
It is really cheap to take taxis in Cairo...almost too cheap... We paid around 20 LE (about A$5) for a half hour drive for 4 - 5 people most times.
Taxies in Cairo are one of the cheapest ways to get around,and it can be picked up at all major locations.
Few have meters, but there`s a trick,if you can blend in as an Egyptian DO NOT bargain with the taxi driver about the fare,just give him what you think is acceptable,after leaving the car and walk away.
It is 1 USD$ for a 15 minutes drive or 4 USD for a half an hour drive,if your going from or to the airport 7 Dollars is more than enough,
you could still be generous by giving more!
Note that Cairo traffic can be extremely problematic. What should be a 10-min car journey sometimes takes an hour.
Taking a taxi ride in Cairo is in itself an exercise in haggling. It's probably the first form of haggling you'll get into upon arrival in Cairo. I must admit it could be frustrating and exhausting for first timers - and it took me considerable amount of time and patience to adjust to the practice, despite my having lived in Manila (the Philippines) for more than a decade and criss-crossed Bombay (India) several times. But Cairene taxi drivers are in a class of their own - more shrewd and more engaging, to say the least.
To conserve energy for better things, I've developed a simple formula for haggling (or to avoid one). Using Midan Tahrir/Nile Hilton as a reference point, I pay in multiples of EGP 5 (which is more generous, I know, but come to think of it, this is not even one US dollar!) everytime I cross the bridge on the Nile. So from Midan Tahrir to Zamalek, which takes on bridge crossing, I pay EGP 5, and continuing to Mohandissen (total of two bridge crossings), I pay 10.
I think it works since only a few drivers argued with me when I started using the formula - or was I paying too much? Please let me know. Also, it helps if you know Arabic numbers and use these to haggle with taxi drivers. They become friendlier and easier to deal with once they hear you speaking a sprinkling of Arabic.