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Is there Uber in Cairo? Yes! the popular ride-sharing app operates in Cairo, Egypt providing travellers with a safe, reliable transport option. Here is everything you need to know about using Uber in Cairo as well as the other transport options that exist here.

Cairo, the sprawling capital of Egypt, stands as an enigmatic metropolis where the echoes of history resonate through its bustling streets, where the tapestry of culture is woven into every corner, and where the relentless energy of its inhabitants creates an unmistakable vibe. As you stand on the cusp of your adventure in this ancient city, your first query might be a practical one: Is Uber available in Cairo?

In this comprehensive guide, we’re about to embark on a journey through the various aspects of navigating Cairo’s unique transportation landscape, taking you from ride-sharing apps to traditional taxi services as well as discovering alternative methods of exploring this famous city. Whether you’ve come to Cairo for archaeological wonders that span millennia, the vibrant markets teeming with treasures, or simply to be enchanted by the timeless flow of the Nile, you can rest assured that all your transportation-related questions will be thoroughly addressed.

Navigating Cairo

Cairo, “The City of a Thousand Minarets,” is a captivating blend of antiquity and modernity. It’s a place where the past mingles with the present, where grand pharaonic monuments coexist with the dynamic hum of a sprawling urban center. The city’s heritage stretches back to ancient times when it was a hub of knowledge, art, and culture in the Mediterranean world. Today, Cairo continues to be a vital epicenter of Arab culture and a reflection of Egypt’s multifaceted history.

As you traverse Cairo’s vibrant neighborhoods, you’ll encounter the grandeur of the Giza Plateau, home to the legendary pyramids and the enigmatic Sphinx. In the heart of the city, the Egyptian Museum beckons with its troves of priceless artifacts, and the labyrinthine lanes of Islamic Cairo reveal centuries-old architecture and the charming Khan el-Khalili bazaar. The bustling riverbanks of the Nile, which flows through the city, offer a serene respite from the urban clamor.

Cairo is a city that never sleeps, where the vibrancy of life pulsates through its streets at all hours. Amidst this whirlwind of activity, questions about transportation are not just practical; they’re fundamental to making the most of your time in this multifaceted city.

From the moment you arrive in Cairo, you’ll sense its distinctive energy. Whether you’re in search of the secrets of the ancient world, the flavors of traditional Egyptian cuisine, or the warmth of its people, Cairo promises an adventure like no other. As your journey unfolds, our comprehensive guide stands ready to ensure that every aspect of your exploration, from transportation to cultural immersion, is thoughtfully curated to make your visit extraordinary.

Is There Uber in Cairo?

cartoon of man ordering a taxi, a large phone shows the different options for different taxis
Image by storyset on Freepik

Yes, Uber is available in Cairo.

Uber is available in a number of Egyptian cities including Cairo. It has been extremely popular and has become an essential tool for both residents and travelers needing to navigate the city’s bustling streets. The introduction of Uber has revolutionized the way people move around the Egyptian capital. The Uber app offers a convenient, reliable, and often cost-effective means of transportation. For foreign tourists, it is especially valuable, providing security, peace of mind and stress-free transport in an unfamiliar land.

Some of the benefits of using Uber in Cairo over a standard taxi are;

  • Far cheaper fares than traditional taxis
  • Fixed fares compared to taxis which often require up-front negotiation
  • Protection and oversight from Uber including records of the driver, the route, and the fare
  • Far less chance of being a victim of a taxi scam

Why Do Drivers Keep Cancelling My Uber in Cairo?

One issue that travelers have with Uber drivers in Cairo is their tendency to cancel fares. If you are getting your ride cancelled this can be due to a number of reasons.

The first is if you are paying by credit card. Many drivers prefer to accept fares than pay cash as there can be delays in receiving funds from credit card payments.

The second problem may be that the route is too long or too short. Many drivers prefer not to take long fares to areas where they might not find a fare back. Conversely, some drivers will prefer not to take a very short fare and will prefer to wait for something more worthwhile.

A third issue could be your destination, some drivers might prefer to avoid certain areas or may be trying to attract a fare heading in the same direction they are trying to go.

To avoid this problem you can switch the app to paying in cash, or you can offer drivers a small tip to incentivize them if taking very short or very long trips. You can also try ordering an Uber comfort where drivers are more incentivized to protect their ratings. If all else fails try another ride-share app.

Do I Need to Tip My Uber Driver?

While your Uber driver won’t necessarily expect a tip, tipping is part of Egyptian culture and a tip between 10% – 20% for good service will be appreciated. Ideally, tip drivers in cash (EGP) because it can take up to a month for drivers to receive payments, including tips, through the Uber app.

As above, in some situations you may want to offer a tip up front if you are having trouble finding a driver.

Are There Other Ride-sharing Apps in Cairo?

In addition to Uber, there are other ride-sharing apps operating in Cairo, providing options and flexibility for travelers. Careem, which is now owned by Uber, is a popular alternative. Bolt (formerly Taxify) is also a prominent player in the Cairo ride-sharing market. These apps offer similar services to Uber, allowing you to choose the most suitable option for your needs.

🏡 Looking for accommodation in Cairo, Egypt? Get the best deal on your favorite platform.

Taxis in Cairo

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Traditional taxis are ubiquitous throughout the city and it is easy to hail one down. Despite some drawbacks, they can provide a quick and convenient option to travel in the city. However, you may need to be prepared to negotiate and haggle if you want an affordable ride.

Are Taxis Cheap in Cairo?

While more expensive than Uber and other ride shares, taxis in Cairo are generally inexpensive especially when compared to taxi fares in many Western cities. However, it’s essential to be informed about local taxi pricing to ensure that you’re not overcharged. While taxi rates are strictly mandated by the government, many drivers will insist on negotiating an upfront fare rather than using the taxi meter.

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How Much Do Taxis Cost in Cairo?

Taxi rates in Cairo, are set and enforced by an official ordinance and apply uniformly to all taxis and transport services within the city limits. Tariffs remain the same during the day and night. These rates are enforced through the use of calibrated taximeters in all taxis.

  • Base fee:10EGP
  • Price per KM 3.5P
  • Waiting time per hour 20EGP

For example, a metered ride from Cairo Airport to the Fortress of Babylon which takes 40 minutes and 25 kilometers should cost 10EGP + 87.5 EGP + 13 EGP = 110.5 EGP.

Despite these strictly enforced fares the reality is that drivers will often insist on a negotiated fare that will likely end up somewhere between 200 and 500 EGP.

Do Taxis Accept Credit Cards in Cairo?

Credit card acceptance in Cairo is not a common practice for taxi services. It’s advisable to carry Egyptian Pounds in cash to pay for your taxi fare. ATMs are readily available throughout the city, making it easy to withdraw cash when needed.

How Do I Catch a Taxi in Cairo?

Taxis are mostly individually controlled and there aren’t very many taxi companies you can call to order a taxi directly. You can hail a taxi from the street, particularly in busy areas, but to ensure you are riding with a reputable, registered taxi it’s better if possible to ask your hotel or accommodation to arrange a taxi for you. Many hotels have established relationships with reliable taxi services, ensuring that you’ll have a trusted ride waiting for you when needed.

Are Taxis Safe in Cairo?

Taxis in Cairo are generally safe for tourists, particularly when you use well-established and reputable services. However, as is the case in any destination, it’s important to exercise caution and follow specific safety measures.

To ensure your safety while using a taxi in Cairo, consider the following precautions:

  • Use official taxis: Opt for registered taxi services with clear branding and identification to avoid unregistered or dishonest drivers.
  • Agree on the fare: Before your ride begins, ensure that the meter is used or if not possible negotiate the fare with the driver as this can help prevent disputes upon reaching your destination.
  • Travel during daylight: When possible, take taxis during the daytime, as it’s typically considered safer.
  • Share ride details: Ensure that someone knows the details of your taxi, including the license plate number and the driver’s name.
  • Secure your belongings: Keep your bags and personal items well-guarded during the ride.
  • Track your ride: Use GPS to track your ride to make sure you are staying on route.

Common Taxi Scams in Cairo

When traveling in Egypt, it’s important to be aware of some common taxi scams to ensure a safe and fair experience. Here are a few to watch out for:

  • Broken Meter / Refusal to Use Meter: Many drivers will refuse to use or claim that the meter is broken and try to charge an inflated flat rate. While it may not be possible to compel a driver to use the meter, you should be prepared to negotiate an upfront fare or to look for another cab.
  • Overcharging: Drivers may take longer routes to increase the fare. It’s helpful to have a general idea of the route, and expected fare, or to use a GPS app to track your journey
  • Fake Currency: Be cautious when paying with large bills, as some drivers may switch them with counterfeit or smaller denominations and claim that you gave them the wrong amount.
  • No Change: Another scam to watch for if paying with larger bills. Drivers might claim not to have changed. Carry smaller denominations to avoid this issue.
  • Unofficial Taxis: Always use official taxis, which are marked and have a working meter. Unofficial or unmarked taxis may overcharge or worse be unsafe.
  • High Tourist Area Upcharges: In tourist-heavy areas, drivers may charge higher rates. It’s always good to know what a reasonable fare should look like for popular routes. Ask your hotel or a local for the usual fare to your destination.
  • Scams Involving Attractions: Some drivers might tell you that certain attractions are closed and offer to take you somewhere else, which can be a shop or a restaurant where they receive a commission.

How to Avoid Taxi Scams in Cairo

Although Cairo is generally safe, taxi scams can occur, as they can in many cities worldwide. To minimize the risk of encountering such issues, consider the following tips:

  • Research fares: Prior to your journey, research the typical taxi fares for the routes you plan to take. This knowledge can help you negotiate a fair price.
  • Agree on the fare in advance: Always confirm the fare with the driver before your ride commences to avoid any disagreements later on. Be prepared to stick to your guns at the end of the ride in case the driver tries to renegotiate.
  • Use licensed taxis: Stick to well-known taxi services and those with official markings to avoid unregistered or unscrupulous drivers.
  • Carry small bills: Ensure you have small-denomination Egyptian Pounds to pay for your fare, as some drivers may claim not to have change for larger notes.
  • Be aware of common scams: Keep in mind the scams mentioned above so you can recognise if a driver tries to pull one.
  • Trust your instincts: If something feels off, be prepared to ask the driver to pull over and find another cab.

Do I Need to Tip Taxi Drivers in Cairo?

Like, Uber drivers, tipping taxi drivers is not obligatory but of course, it is kind to tip your driver 10-20% for good service.

Other Ways to Get Around the City in Cairo

While taxis and ride-sharing services offer convenience, there are various other modes of transportation to explore Cairo:

Cairo Metro

Cairo has a functional and affordable metro system that connects many parts of the city. It’s an excellent way to avoid traffic and explore key attractions.

Catching the Cairo Metro is simple but not always convenient:

  • Coverage: The Cairo Metro is crucial for residents but not always convenient for tourists, as many attractions aren’t accessible by the metro. For instance, the Cairo Citadel and the Mohammed Ali Mosque are 3 miles from the nearest station, requiring additional taxi travel​​.
  • Operating Hours and Lines: The metro operates from 5 am to 12:30 am. Cairo’s metro consists of three lines: the Red Line running along the Nile’s right bank, the Orange Line which crosses the Nile to Giza, and the Green Line under construction towards Cairo International Airport​​.
  • Fares and Tickets: Ticket prices vary based on the number of stations traveled, ranging from EGP 5 for 1-9 stations to EGP 12 for 25+ stations. Tickets can be purchased at ticket counters or vending machines, though queues can be chaotic. A smart-card option is also available​​​​.
  • Safety and Comfort: Special carriages are available for women and children to address issues of sexual harassment. Also, it’s important to be cautious of pickpockets and keep valuables secure. Carriages lack air conditioning but have fans, and they can be densely packed, especially during rush hours​​.
  • Navigation: Information signs in the metro are in English and Arabic, but metro schemes at stations are often only in Arabic, so tourists may need to count stations to reach their destination​
  • More Information: Find more information at cairometro.gov.eg/en

Cairo Microbuses

Microbuses, often referred to as “service” or “micro,” are shared minivans that operate on set routes throughout the city. These are budget-friendly but can be quite crowded.

  • Identification: Microbuses are white and blue minivans seen throughout Cairo.
  • Operation: They are a nongovernmental form of transport, offering no fixed stops but rather picking up and dropping off passengers anywhere on the street.
  • Hailing a Microbus: To catch one, ask locals if microbuses to your destination are available, then hail one by waving or making eye contact with the driver.
  • Fares: Once aboard, ask about the fare to your destination, which varies. Pass the fare forward to the driver through other passengers, and expect change to be returned the same way.
  • Communication: Specific hand gestures indicate specific destinations, commonly understood by drivers.
  • Starting Points: If starting from a microbus station, locate the lineup for your route and wait for the microbus to fill up with passengers.
  • Safety: Stations can be crowded and chaotic, so be vigilant about your belongings to prevent pickpocketing.
  • Driving Style: Microbus drivers are known for their fast and sometimes reckless driving as they take shortcuts to optimize trip times.

Using Cairo’s microbuses can be an exciting way to experience local life, but its not for the faint of heart and requires some adaptability due to the chaotic nature of this mode of transportation​​​​​​​​​​.

Cairo Public Buses

Cairo has an extensive bus network, with various routes serving the city. These are cost-effective but can be quite crowded during peak hours.

  • Public Buses: Run by the Cairo Transit Authority, these buses are identifiable by their colors (blue, red, green, or yellow) and display the route number and destinations, sometimes in both Arabic and English​​.
  • Hailing a Bus: To stop a bus, make eye contact with the driver and use a hand signal, or call out your destination in Arabic​​.
  • Boarding and Payment: Enter at the designated doors and pay the fare to the ticket seller or driver upon boarding. Fares range from 5-15 Egyptian Pounds​​.
  • Disembarking: Signal to the driver when you wish to get off and be prepared to exit while the bus may still be in motion​​.

Riding buses can be a unique experience and offers a glimpse into daily life in Cairo. It requires a bit of courage and adaptability​​.

Nile Ferries

Cairo’s strategic location along the Nile River allows for water transportation. Nile ferries provide an alternative perspective of the city and can be a pleasant way to reach specific locations.

  • Time and Cost Efficiency: Nile ferries, like al-Gawhara, are time and cost-effective compared to other forms of transport such as microbuses. They can significantly reduce travel time and cost, especially during heavy traffic periods​​.
  • Underutilized Route: Unlike most Egyptian transportation that runs longitudinally (south to north or vice versa), Nile ferries operate across the river, offering a different route that is less trafficked compared to parallel streets​​.
  • Scenic and Pleasant Journey: Passengers often find the ferry ride more pleasant than other forms of commuter transit, offering a scenic view of the Nile and a respite from the city’s noise​​.
  • Widespread Availability: While Cairo itself has several Nile bridges, there are about 130 ferries across Egypt, with a significant portion dedicated to passenger traffic, particularly in the Nile

Walking

Exploring Cairo on foot is a fantastic way to soak in the city’s vibrant atmosphere. Particularly in the older parts of Cairo, like Islamic Cairo and Coptic Cairo, walking allows you to appreciate the historical architecture and cultural richness.

How Do I Get from Cairo International Airport to the City Center?

Passengers with luggage in airport flat illustration
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Upon arriving at Cairo International Airport, there are several options to reach the city center:

Airport Taxis

Official airport taxis are readily available at the airport. These licensed taxis offer fixed rates to various destinations in Cairo. It’s a convenient and reliable choice, especially if you have a lot of luggage. However, like elsewhere airport taxi drivers will try to negotiate aggressively. If you hold out and are prepared to talk to a couple of drivers you should be able to find a ride 200 – 250 give or take.

Uber and Other Ride-sharing Apps

If you can’t face the hassle of haggling, ride-sharing apps like Uber and Careem operate at Cairo International Airport, providing convenient and budget-friendly transportation to the city center. You can use the app to request a ride from the airport. The downside of using the apps is trying to find your driver when you don’t know the airport, don’t speak Arabic and may not have internet access.

Private Transfer

Private transfer is a great way to avoid the hassle of haggling with taxi drivers or trying to find Ubers. While this may be a more expensive option than either taxis or ride-share, it is still affordable and extremely convenient.

Airport Bus

Airport buses provide a budget-friendly option for traveling from the airport to the city center. These buses connect the airport to various locations in Cairo and offer a cost-effective means of transportation.

Car Rental

If you plan to explore Cairo and beyond, you can rent a car at the airport. This gives you the freedom to travel at your own pace and reach remote locations.

🚗 Consider renting a car– Check out DiscoverCars to search, compare, and save up to 70% on car rentals!

Does Cairo International Airport Have WiFi?

Cairo International Airport does offer WiFi access HOWEVER you may need an Egyptian phone number to access it, making it next to useless to travelers that arrive without an Egyptian sim card.

How to Travel Between Cities in Egypt

If your travel plans involve visiting other cities in Egypt, you have several transportation options to consider

Trains

The Egyptian National Railways operates an extensive rail network that connects many major cities and towns across the country. Traveling by train in Egypt can be a convenient and affordable way to see various parts of the country. The train system offers various classes, including sleeper cars for longer journeys.

Buses

Long-distance buses also provide an economical way to travel between cities in Egypt. Operators like SuperJet and Go Bus offer comfortable buses for intercity travel.

Flights

For long distances or to reach remote areas, domestic flights are a convenient option. Egyptian airports provide numerous flights between cities, and airlines like EgyptAir and Air Cairo serve these routes.

Car Rentals

Renting a car allows you to explore Egypt at your own pace. Several car rental agencies are available at major airports and cities, offering a range of vehicles to suit your needs. However, be prepared for local road conditions and traffic.

🚗 Consider renting a car– Check out DiscoverCars to search, compare, and save up to 70% on car rentals!

Is There Uber Eats in Cairo?

Yes, Uber Eats is available in Cairo, making it a convenient way to explore the local culinary scene from the comfort of your accommodation. Uber Eats offers around-the-clock delivery service in Cairo, Egypt. Enter your address to see what 24 Hours Food delivery options are available to you in your specific part of Cairo. Other delivery apps such as Otlob and Glovo also operate in Cairo. Additionally, many restaurants offer delivery.

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Whether you opt for the efficiency of Uber, explore the multitude of other ride-sharing apps, or choose to immerse yourself in the tapestry of the local transport scene, each mode of transport unfolds yet another layer of Cairo’s charm.

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