Egypt: 72 hours in ... Cairo

Clive Walker recommends a three-day incentive itinerary in the Egyptian capital.

DAY 1

09.00 The group starts the day with a leisurely breakfast at the 247-room Fairmont Towers, Heliopolis, where they checked in the previous evening. Opened in February 2008, the hotel can hold 2,100 for receptions.

11.00 Travel by luxury coach to Dashour to see the pyramids built by King Snofru, father of Cheops. Drinks and light refreshments are served in a Bedouin tent. World Events account executive Sarah Butler says visiting the pyramids on camels adds an authentic twist, while Excel Travel can organise a helicopter flight over the pyramids for smaller groups of up to 30.

13.00 Egyptian Tourist Board (UK and Ireland) regional director Khaled Ramy recommends lunch at Mena House Oberoi Hotel, overlooking the pyramids. The property offers six banqueting suites, seating up to 520.

17.00 Delegates return to the hotel to relax in the atrium garden before changing for dinner.

19.00 Sunset dinner at the Giza Sphinx. Sakkara Travel Group assistant chairman Rania Grais suggests a tented banquet with snake charmer, music, belly dancers and Bedouin costumes for guests.

23.00 The group returns to the hotel to relax over drinks at the Fuze bar.

DAY 2

08.30 Champagne breakfast served on feluccas (wooden sailing boats) cruising down the Nile (right). "This is also great for gala dinners, accompanied by a band and Egyptian dancers," says Butler.

10.30 Delegates tour Cairo's prime city sights, beginning at the Egyptian Museum and Mohamed Ali citadel. "Museum tours include Tutankhamun's tomb and the Pharaoh mummy's room, which are great experiences but can be very crowded," says Butler. Off-the-beaten track highlights, suggested by Excel Travel, include Sultan Hassan and Refa'i mosques and the Al-Ghouri Mausoleum.

13.00 Lunch at the oriental Khan el Khalili Naguib Mahfouz, seating 120, is recommended by Angela Wierstra, marketing manager at Excel Travel, whose clients include L'Oreal, Microsoft and Oracle.

14.30 Delegates experience Khan el Khalili souk and the City Stars Mall. "It's very in your face, but exciting, and with a good DMC you always feel safe," says World Events' Butler. The tour includes Tentmaker Street, one of Cairo's last covered mediaeval streets, and a souk team-building treasure hunt.

17.30 Back to the hotel to recharge in the Willow Stream spa before dinner.

20.00 The tourist board's Ramy suggests an 'Arabian Nights'-themed dinner at Abou El Sid in Zama, while Wierstra suggests Al AzHar Park, which seats 120 and overlooks the city's oldest synagogue, mosque and church.

23.00 Drinks by the Nile at Shisha Bar, Zamalek to round off the day.

DAY 3

09.00 Breakfast in the Egyptian Museum's gardens is a favourite with Abercrombie & Kent Europe and Middle East planning manager Janine Ostermeyer. "The lush gardens are scattered with original statues and monuments," she says.

10.30 The group has a choice of activities, such as a round of golf in New Cairo at the Marriott Hotel, or quad-biking or horse-riding in the desert, which can be followed by a guided tour of conservation projects in Islamic Cairo.

14.30 A farewell lunch at Grand Hyatt Cairo's 41st-storey revolving restaurant (right) - the Middle East's tallest eatery - which goes full circle in 75 minutes and seats 140.

16.30 Guests return to Fairmont Towers.

18.00 Departure to Cairo International Airport.

DIRECTORY EGYPT
Egyptian Tourist Authority
Contact: Khaled Ramy, 020 7495 6489
Email: info@gotoegypt.org
Web: www.egypt.travel/

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