The Cairo Eye Ferris wheel will lift passengers up to 120 meters and will be the highest viewpoint in Africa.
At 135 meters high, the London Eye is not the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, but it is certainly the most famous. An icon since its inauguration in 2000, the London Eye held for 6 years the title of the largest attraction of its kind in the world, now fourth in this ranking after being surpassed by the High Roller in Las Vegas (168 meters), the Singapore Flyer in Singapore (165 meters) and the Star of Nanchang in China (160 meters).
While it won’t be able to match the gigantic observation wheel that Dubai is building, which with its 250 meters high will soon be crowned the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, Cairo is also building its own Ferris wheel in the hopes of adding a new attraction for the tourist recovery that is expected to come once vaccines are administered and international travel resumes.
It might not be the tallest, but the Egyptian Ferris wheel will have something no other can match: a panoramic view over the Pyramids of Giza.
According to local media, the first stone of the Cairo Eye has already been laid, adding that the structure will be ready to welcome visitors in 2022. 120 meters high and located on the Zamalek district, to the west of the city and settled on Gezira Island, this Ferris wheel will be the highest in Africa, offering panoramic views at a distance of 50 kilometers, meaning that the pyramids of Giza and The Great Sphinx will be in its line of sight.
The immense Ferris wheel will have 48 cabins with a capacity of 8 passengers each and is expected to receive 2.5 million visitors a year.
However, the project as a whole is estimated at around 26 million euros, making it a much more ambitious enterprise. In addition to the highest Ferris wheel, various attractions will be added, ranging from a wharf to a shopping area, cafes, fine dining restaurants and an events area.
New Tourism for Cairo
The attraction, as explained by the Governor of Cairo, Khaled Abdel Aal, “will play a strategic role in the development of sustainable tourism, in line with Egypt’s vision for 2023”. In this sense, it will join other ongoing projects that seek to remodel and improve the quality of life in the city, including the transfer of all ministries and other government agencies to a new administrative capital, thus freeing Cairo to become a more attractive tourist destination, with the “goal of positioning Egypt at world level”.
In addition to the wharf, Cairo Eye is also expected to function as a leisure area with cafes and restaurants. On top of the star projects in the Giza area, such as the opening (delayed once again) of the Great Egyptian Museum, a new visitor center for the pyramids, and the recently opened Sphinx International Airport, Cairo will implement the Ahl Misr Walkway, an elevated 5-kilometer walkway parallel to the Nile dotted with shops, restaurants and theaters overlooking the river.
Experts explain that Cairo Eye will cover an area of 20,000 square meters and is designed taking into account the environmental aspects of its surroundings. The project will preserve the wooded areas of the park and expand the green areas in the Zamalek district by 15%.
Issues such as traffic, which is very congested in the city, have also been analyzed to avoid further jams, and different taxi and Hop-On-Hop-Off services will be offered, as well as a new car park with room for 500 vehicles.
However, according to experts, the project has drawn strong criticism, especially from residents of Gezira Island, who fear even greater overcrowding of the area, where the Opera House and the Cairo Tower are already located, among others.