Top 10 Things to Do in Egypt for Kids
Egypt doesn’t necessarily spring to mind as a place to visit with children, which is weird given how scarily obsessed some kids can become with Ancient Egypt.
Yet whether you’re staying in a Red Sea resort like Sharm, with the full range of international watersports, grabbing culture in Cairo and Luxor, or getting off the beaten path into the Western Desert, there are a hundred and one great things to do in Egypt for kids.
Here are ten of our favourite things for kids to do in Egypt.
Run Down a Sand Dune
Apart from the Nile, Egypt is almost entirely desert. And a desert trip is one of the best things for kids to do in Egypt. One highlight? Running down a sand dune, the soft sand yielding below you as you leap into what feels like open space.
The best times for desert trips in Egypt are spring and autumn, which are, in fact, the best times for families to visit Egypt, since many kids struggle with summer’s savage heat and intense sun.
Climb Inside a Pyramid
Every child learns in school that pharaohs were buried inside the pyramid. And climbing inside a pyramid to see a ruined sarcophagus will bring out the Young Indy in any child, and has to be one of the top things to do in Egypt for kids, particularly those who’ve learnt about Egypt in school.
Our favourite? The bent pyramid at Sakkara, which families can have to themselves at some times of year. You can also climb inside the more famous pyramid of Cheops (Khufu) at Giza, but the price is hefty and the crowds are large.
Make Bedouin Bread
Like cooking? Like camping? Then one highlight of any desert or beach trip with the Bedouin will be making Bedouin bread, a simple dough of water, flour and salt that cooks like magic on a cast-iron dome over a campfire. Bedouin guides will also show kids how to find firewood without killing living trees – a vital skill in the desert.
Meet Nemo on a Coral Reef
The Red Sea has the best coral you’ll find within easy reach of the UK. And exploring coral reef is one of the best things for kids (and adults) to do in Egypt. Children as young as eight can discover scuba diving with a PADI Bubblemaker course, children from ten can learn to dive, while kids as young as four or five can get the hang of snorkelling.
All popular Red Sea resorts offer glass-bottomed boat tours, some of them rather misleadingly branded as submarine tours. A few have real submarines that can take you down as low as 70 feet – though after an accident last year, you should approach with caution.
Explore a Catacomb
An underground cemetery? Creepy! And wandering through the tunnels of the catacombs of Alexandria is one of Egypt’s true Indiana Jones moments, with gateways guarded by carved Egyptian sentries, ancient sarcophagi, mysterious pools of water and grave-lined tunnels winding down into the earth. Best avoided if your child is prone to nightmares, but amazing and mysterious for the hardened ghost-hunter.
See Papyrus Being Made
Papyrus is still made today the same way that it always was in Ancient Egypt – although the plant is rare, so many products sold to tourists are made of banana leaves. But watching plant stems soaked, sliced and woven into paper is a magical trip back to Ancient Egypt for adults and kids alike.
Make Some Art
Cairo can be pretty full-on for adults, let alone kids. But a trip to Fagnoon Art Centre, out in the suburbs near Giza, is pure zen – not just for the huge free play area with climbing nets and rolling platforms, and not just for the pet rabbits either. Activities on offer run from throwing pots on a real, live potter’s wheel to wood-carving, painting on glass and metalwork – at weekends, it’s also a great place to meet Egyptian kids.
Take a Boat Down the Nile
A trip on a felucca, the traditional flat-bottomed sailing boats that ply up and down the Nile, is one of the top things to do in Egypt for kids and adults alike. Whether you spend days cruising Upper Egypt and sleeping on the river, or just take an hour or so’s trip out of Cairo or Aswan, most felucca captains can be persuaded to show kids how to sail, let them take a turn at the rudder and more.
Meet a Baby Camel
Riding a camel is an experience that most people either love or hate – the lurch as it folds its knees to get up or drop down can be quite terrifying for adults, let alone kids. But it’s almost impossible not to love a baby camel, fluffy, furry, gangly-limbed and quite ridiculously cute. Some will stay still long enough to be petted, too.
Go for a Swim
From the warm, gentle waters of the Red Sea and the cool waves of the Mediterranean, from the stunning Nile beaches outside Aswan through to the salt lakes at Siwa – so salty that you can float in the sitting position – Egypt is a great place to swim.
Get bored of swimming? Try being towed in an inner tube behind a motorboat, windsurfing or bodyboarding.
Looking for more? Check out this post on Things for Kids to Do in Dahab and the Sinai.