Africa, the second largest continent on earth and the second largest population. According to paleoanthropologists, Eastern Africa is the oldest inhabited place on Earth and the birthplace of the human species. The earliest human evidence being found in Ethiopia’s Omo Kibish area with fossil finds dated to some 200,000 years ago. According to the United Nations, there are 54 countries in Africa. Nigeria being the most populous and the Seychelles the least.
I start this leg of the trip in Cairo, Egypt. A sprawling city with a population in excess of 16 million, it is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The city looks like a building site. Skyscrapers half finished, major roads full of sand and everything else you can imagine. However, it is not as chaotic as say New Dehli or Tehran.
I’m currently staying in the Maadi district. It’s on the edge of Cairo, mainly home to expats and wealthy Egyptians. It’s a very peaceful neighbourhood and the road outside my accommodation leads directly south. They build the housing blocks right on top of the next one, with little gaps and then left half finished. I counted one tower block, 45 storeys.
Today I visited the world famous Pyramids of Giza.
Situated on the Giza Plateau, the Pyramids rise above Cairo. Some might find the views from the Pyramids less than ideal, expecting expanses of desert and that certainly isn’t the case.
I paid 120 Egyptian Pounds for my ticket to enter the complex and the first monument you come across is the Sphinx, the human headed lion. At this point, the hawkers are out in force offering camel and horse rides.
From the Sphinx you walk up a gentle rocky slope and the Khufu Pyramid greets you. Standing over 137m high and constructed using 2 million stone rocks, it’s some structure.
I then ambled about trying to dodge the attention of camel hawkers. To be fair I didn’t get as much hassle as I was expecting.
I stayed at the site for about 4 hours before making my way over to Tahrir Square.
Tahrir square (liberation square) is also known as ‘Martyr Square’ and has been the focal point of many demonstrations in Cairo. In 2011, 50,000 protestors gathered in Tahrir Square to protests against the former president, Hosni Mubarak. Unfortunately, Tahrir Square has also been the scene of sexual assaults against women.
Basically, Tahrir Square is a traffic roundabout. The Mogamma government building above, has been used in Egyptian cinema as a symbol of all that is wrong with Egyptian society with all its unbearable bureaucracy, I can relate to that.