Visiting Egypt's Pyramids at Giza and Saqqara.
Taking a day trip from Cairo to look round the Pyramids at Giza plus a quick visit to see Saqqara Pyramids in Egypt.
The following information assumes touring and visiting around Cairo for independent travellers rather than for tour groups since the latter are always (well should always) be fully organised about getting from a to b etc..
(Any prices mentioned will have probably already changed - upwards of course!).
These Cairo touring guides were created from trips to Egypt before the present disruption - care and proper advice
(and perhaps the use of a local guide?) should be considered before going off somewhere.
Giza Pyramids in Egypt (The Pyramids of Giza).
One of the
places in the world to visit the area contains the
Great Pyramid of Khufu and Queens Pyramids, the First and Second Dynasty Mastaba Tombs, the Pyramid of Khafre and Temple, a huge Sphinx and the Pyramid of
Menkaure and Queens Pyramids. The trip from Downtown Cairo to the area can be done using frequent buses from New Bus Station which is located behind the
Egyptian Museum or by minibus 82 or 83.
However a black and white taxi ride down is fairly cheap (around LE30 to 40) that this is probably the best option. (note
that there is no particular need to retain your black and white while you visit the pyramids since there are taxis available at the entrance for the ride back).
The final few kilometres of the drive to the entrance are on incredibly badly surfaced roads - rubbish everywhere and just generally scruffy which is a
shame. If you come or leave via the El Mansoria Road the route follows the fairly wide Mansoria Canal - this should be a beautiful area but the canal is
really polluted and we understand the Egyptian Government's answer to this is to fill it in rather than clean it up and make it a beautiful feature for the area.
There is a cafe and toilets (small fee) by the Ticket Office - there are no facilities within the Pyramids area. Entrance fee for the Pyramids is LE60 for
adults. Once having taken a walk round the Sphynx many people then head for the Great Pyramid.
There are loads of tourist police and other police around who seemed mostly intent on wanting to have their photos taken (for money of course) and seemed quite oblivious to the teenagers clambering 40 or 50 feet up the side of the Great Pyramid so to presumably impress their friends.
You can take a crawl down a tunnel into the chambers of one of the adjacent smaller Queens Pyramids if you grease the palm of one of the guards - this was quite interesting to do though (not the bribe bit!). It is also possible to go down the much longer tunnel inside the Great Pyramid - tickets are LE100 and only around 300 a day are meant to be issued. The tickets can be purchased at a ticket office near to the Great Pyramid's north-east angle.
Wandering around the area is not too bad but of course there are hawkers everywhere - also constant approaches by camel and horse riders (and more police) who want you to ride round instead of walking or have photos taken with them for money.
Saqqara and it's old Pyramids - guide and photos.
Situated around 45kms south of Cairo, Saqqara is one of the oldest archaeological sites in Egypt containing the
earliest ancient Egyptian structures through to Coptic monasteries. If not on an organised tour the best way to visit Saqqara is to hire a car and driver -
around LE350 for 4 or 5 hours is reasonable. The site is open daily 08:00 to 16:00 or 17:00 depending on the time of year. The ticket office is outside of the main site (there are toilets and a cafe there). Saqqara is a huge site and your driver will then take you to the entrance gate (LE2 for the car) - there are several different parts to the area and different car parks. At the site entrance you also have to pay a further LE30 which is meant to give you entrance to 3 tombs.
The problem here was that although you have payed for your tomb tickets you will find that the tombs are actually locked - there is no choice but to get one of the "guides" to take you
round and unlock the gates - a right fiddle because of course your "guide" will then want a tip. The Stepped Pyramid of Djoser is one of the main features of the site and it certainly is a very impressive brick-built structure.
Visiting Dahshur and then Memphis in Egypt.
After our trip to Saqqara we had time to continue south the few kms to Dahshur where there are
several other pyramids including the Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid. However as we reached the crossroads at Dahshur there were lots of armed police around
and our driver then said he was going to ask one of them for the correct route to the Pyramid area as "he had been here before and had gone into a bad area by
mistake". Anyway we then continued on to the entrance where there were again quite a few police around - this was at 1430hrs and officially the site was not
due to shut until 1600. However we were then informed that the site was going to close in 30 minutes. We therefore decided to give up the visit - which seemed to make our driver quite happy..
On the way back to Cairo our driver suggested we stop off at Memphis instead - this was well meant but he admitted after the visit that he had never been
inside site. The entrance fee was LE35 each and the open area is quite small with just a few albeit nice statues including Ramses II and a Sphynx. However there was little else to look at except around 10 million of us tourists
(Memphis is very much on the tour-coach itinerary) and of course lots of stalls and hawkers trying to sell rubbish souvenirs. In our view Memphis is not worth going out of the way to visit - too expensive to get in, badly crowded and in the event not a lot to see.
- These are some of our items about Egypt which may be of interest:
- Cairo Travel, Holiday, Sightseeing and Photos Guide
- Generally visiting Cairo, the airport, taxis, getting around and sightseeing, staying alive on the roads, eating in Cairo.
- Touring some of the various local Sights and Places in Cairo
- Trip to the Nile Barrages, wandering around Old Cairo, Coptic Cairo, The Citadel, mosques, Northern Cemetery.
- Visiting Wadi El Natrun Monasteries in Northern Egypt
- Touring Deir Anba Bishoi, Deir el-Baramus and Deir al-Suryani Monasteries at Wadi el Natrun in Egypt - Photos.
- Aswan Touring and Holiday Guide and Photos
- Visiting The southern Nile City of Aswan in Egypt - travelling to Aswan, hotels, restaurants, markets, things to do.
- Luxor Egypt Holiday and Sightseeing Guide and Photos
- Luxor is the starting point to see some of the world's most amazing archaeological sites and lots to see.
- Egypt touring and travel guides and Photos Our Home Page - shows all of our topics about Egypt.
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