Cairo is more than camels and desert, although they have that too. The areas around the Nile are green and lush with trees. Sometimes when I'm walking in Dokki or Zamalek I feel like I'm walking in my hometown in downtown Chico. Unlike the posh island of Zamalek, that's filled with expats, Dokki is quite authentic. This bustling very local area is full of interesting and unusual restaurants such as my favorite, the Yemeni restaurant. You can also find delicious Sudanese food nearby.
Just near Dokki in Cairo there's a little hole in the wall Sudanese restaurant down a random alley way. There's not much of a menu, but the food is FANTASTIC. Although my Persian roommate who speaks excellent Arabic can barely understand the woman taking our order, every time we are pleasantly surprised (we never know what's coming out!) by our meal. For only about 30 EGP per person (like $5) we have a grand feast of homemade Sudanese food. Although I had never had Sudanese food before, it's quite similar to Ethiopian food--spicy and delicious, and typically vegetarian.