I guess traffic will be around the clock in Cairo. Everytime we went out, we spent some time in the traffic. Many crazy drivers in here and they like to horn many times. Oh my. You can imagine how the traffic will be when everybody will horn.
You will find that the traffic is always hectic in Cairo, you see trucks with people hanging off them & everything, i once saw a truck which was loaded with lots of house furniture & there were loads of men sat on the back of the truck & it honestly looked as though the truck was going to tumble over.
Here is a photo i managed to take of two guys on a Scooter & the passenger was holding a stand up Fan on the back of it.... how dangerous is that??
Watching the traffic is very interesting but you got to be aware of all the hazards too.
When visiting Cairo you will notice that it is a very hectic city, lots of Cars, Motorbikes & Pollution! Its almost like a movie, people charging around the streets on bikes & cars driving allover the place, be careful when crossing a road because they do not stop for anyone..... however it is much safer to cross at a more quieter area of Cairo but not in the main town.
When you first get in a car driven by a local person you get scared for sure. (I was thinking that people in my city are not driving well but after the Cairo experience I feel better.).
The red light is taken into account as a "stop" sign (or even a "don't stop" sign - is there something like this?): they cut some speed, they look left, look right and move on. So be careful if you are a pedestrian, even if you are crossing the street where the traffic lights are - you are never safe :)
In order to understand Cairo traffic, you have to see it. Cairo traffic is never-ending! It can last all day and into the early hours of the morning. You will see the roads shared with cars, tour buses, taxicabs, mopeds or motorbikes, bicycles, local public transportation (VW Vans), and an occasional donkey and cart. Stop lights are rare so procede with caution!
If you must cross the street, do not expect the driver to stop for you. Instead, wait until the car has almost past you and proceed, DO NOT walk into oncoming traffic! Many streets in Cairo have no sidewalks, so you wiil have to walk on the shoulder of the road. When doing this, walk facing the traffic as often as possible, not with your back to it. It is best to watch oncoming traffic. Be Safe!
Cairo holds a population on 16.000.000 maybe more as we`re speaking,so you have to imagine the amount of cars all over the street and,yes,unfortunately parked on the side walks.
So if you are planning on walking,take care,because there are not many sidewalks,and if there were they are not in their perfect condition,so it maybe a hassle to walk with high heels and almost impossible with a baby`s stroller,specially in old Cairo area.
Don`t ever ride a taxi that parked infront of your hotel, this taxi will not move unless you pay big money,instead walk a couple of meters and other taxies will take you for less than half price!
becareful,,some drivers will say that they know the place & address that yo need to visit but then you will find yourself going in circles!
Traffic in Egypt is something crazy. There are always traffic jams and there are no rules ( i mean, it looks like that…)..
If you are walking trought the streets, take absolutely care of motorbikes, car, taxis and every kind of motor type…
They will never stop to allow you cross the street, there is no way to make it happend !
The city does cater to 18 million people after all and the infrastructure has not developed to the same level as the population. Taxis are everywhere and very cheap but I suggest to agree on the price before getting into the cab to avoid any disappointments. Every taxi seems to be battered (almost like dodgem cars) so sit in the middle in the back :o) Its not quite that bad but little bumps happen regularly. Get used to the sound of the car horn because they beep the horn to say hello, get out of my way, I am going first or let me through. After the first couple of days I actually started to enjoy it.
Obviously from news reports over the last year there seems to be a problem with tour buses travelling on the country roads. I would suggest engaging a local whom you can pre test their car with and also their driving capability/style.
Cairo is a crazy, insane city with 20.000.000 of population!
If there are some traffic rules, they will never be related to eternal eternally heavy nuts traffic in Cairo. Unfortunately,t here were lots of accidents, esp. with foreign tourists who were just run down.
Some ppl advise to take a taxi just for transferring you to the other side of the street:)
DONT even think of crossing the road! drivers will NEVER stop for you!
if you have to cross the road take a taxi and let him drop you off the other side,I`m not kidding!
or atleast ask the policeman to stop the traffic for you,they usually would do that for free,but a tip of one or two pounds with a thank you,wouldn`t hurt!
In this picture you can see yellow fonts written on the road in Arabic ?
It says,"Pedestrians",but everybody just ignores that!
If you were told that traffic in Cairo has very few rules you were told wrong, There are no rules. Of course no formal rules traffic is crazy, however within the city there are very few accidents compared to other cities and compared to the crazy traffic.
Drivers in Egypt however mange to circulate by a common sense commonly understood by local drivers and pedestrians, this is why it is very difficult for a first visitor to unveil this sense of "When to croiss" and "When not".
This sense will be acquired by time.
What to do to cross the street:
1. Ask Policeman to stop the traffic (possibly him give on Egyptian pound or two - Almost 1/4 Dollar)
2. Ask one of the locals to help you crossing teh streets (Better let foreign females ask local females) Because crowded areas are mostly local areas, otherwise traffic is much easier.
3. If it is a huge road stop a cab and ask him to drop you onm the other side.
4. Use the underground way to cross to the other side of the road.
This is only an issue with main roads and in downtown (Tahrir square) otherwise it is very manageable to cross the streets. And this is an issue only in Cairo and some parts of Alexandria, otherwise there is absoluetely no need to worry.
When is the traffic crowded? and when not?
1. The traffic is most crowded Rush hours which is basically from 1:30 till 7:00 during week days (Weekend is Friday and Saturday- In some places sunday, also Thursday for Gov. agencies). So try to be during this period in a museum or avoid long distance travel within Cairo. If you are going from one end of the city to the other do it early morning or evening, to avoid traffic jam.
Also traffic is crowded Thursday and Friday evening because people are going out, but uncomparable to the rush hours.
2. It is amazing to hang out in the mornings during Thursday (Government agencies are off), Friuday and Saturday, all the day.
Traffic is really a mess in Cairo and it is like this from sunrise till after sunset.
I had no idea that 23 milions of people lived in Cairo during the day, but you really notice each of them when you breath.
The first morning I opened the window in my room to change air, gave a breath and decided it was better to leave it closed.Most taxi drivers will keep the window opened and smoke inside the car which for me wasn’t a problem.
So my suggestion is, if you want to move a lot around the city by car, do that on Friday when streets are almost empty.
I guess I have said a lot about the roads, the local drivers, traffic signs, and now the traffic itself. You have to be warned especially if it is your first time in Egypt, especially in Cairo. This is about the traffic congestion.
There is a possibility that you miss your flight if you are flying out of Cairo or your train departure if you have a reserved seat going elsewhere. Although I did not miss my departure time which is 6:30AM from Cairo to Alexandria, I can figure out it would happen if my departure is later in the morning. There is too much traffic, I am telling you. Leave early from your hotel. Give ample time as allowance for the traffic. I do not want you to miss anything and spoil your holidays.
Pictures will be posted at a later date. Unable to upload.
Well, parking space will not be a problem if you are not driving by yourself in Cairo which of course I cannot recommend you do drive.
This warning applies to any foreigner or tourist who have the guts to drive in this crazy road of Cairo. Though it looks normal to locals, but to a tourist, you will be shocked. If you survive the road, then the more you can survive parking.
A day before my trip to Alexandria, I requested my hired driver to help me get train tickets for next morning departure. When we arrived at the Ramses train station in Cairo and after passing thru a very narrow space between cars, we lined up in a queau of cars waiting for a space in the parking lot. It was full, and it was at nightfall. It was not a problem though as my driver is an Egyptian. He asked the dispatcher to ask the car driver in front of us to give a bit of space and so he did. It took us more than 15 minutes to get the train ticket in the station and then went back to the parking area. Our car was still there and nobody touch or move it, lol. Now I realize what a local can do!