The Egyptian pyramids are a timeless piece of human history that can never be recreated. They date back to over 5,000 years which puts them at the very beginning of recorded human history. Nothing can beat that feeling of being so close to where civilization may have begun and millions of people make the trip every year to experience these wonders of the world. However, most people that visit the pyramids come back with negative reviews. Not of the pyramids themselves but the people and the experience at the sites which has been a cause for concern to many first-time visitors. It is still a must-see piece of history and if you plan right, you will have a great experience. Here are the top 10 things you need to know before going there.
Have Some Company If You Can
Being a tourist in Egypt can be a daunting task on its own, especially if you are from the west and alone. From the language barrier to lots of people looking to score money from your ignorance, there is a threat in every corner for tourists there and the Pyramids are not any different. If you are alone, those thugs will harass you. Many people have reported their tickets being snatched from them after entering into the pyramid complex and being asked to pay the scammers to get their tickets back. Some of the conmen at the entrance are so aggressive that they will force their way into your taxi if you leave the window open. If you have company with you, especially someone local, they will stay away from you. Talking of scammers…
Beware Of Conmen
Yes, Giza is one of the most crime-prone places in Egypt. Someone will come to you pretending to be a licensed tour guide and they will show you some shady IDs to prove it claiming they won’t ask for money from you. However, midway through the tour, they will forcefully ask for a tip and even threaten to take your belongings if you don’t pay them. Others will pretend to be taking you to the best places for shopping when all they are doing is taking you to their joints where you will be asked to pay lots of money for cheap stuff and they will get the commission. The bottom line is don’t trust anyone that comes to you from the blues claiming they will help you when you visit Giza.
Keep Off The Camels Unless You Really Want A Ride
When you visit the pyramids, you will be approached by another group of aggressive camel and horse owners who will tell you that you need an animal to move around. The truth is that you don’t need a camel or a horse to move around Giza, your feet will do just fine. Most of the prices for moving around on the animals are unnecessarily hiked and some of them will dump you midway through the trip and force you to pay more or you will have to walk. If you really want a camel or horse, because they help with the heat and also move around faster, you can take one. However, best approach someone who doesn’t seem too eager to get your money or get a local guard or fellow tourist to help.
Street Vendors Will Hassle You
As we said earlier, it is safe to buy everything you need from the supermarkets in Cairo before going to the pyramids. The price of everything skyrockets at Giza depending on how foreign you seem. Some of the vendors selling trinkets, art and other substandard items are just kids but they will be very persistent. If one gets you to give money, others will come and it may turn ugly, especially if the police are not nearby. Most people there don’t take no for an answer either, and being nice might leave you bankrupt. The best thing to do is ignore them and concentrate on the main objective of going to the pyramids, exploring them and going inside if you want to then leave. It may sound rude to ignore those poor hawkers but it is the safest.
Trust The Locals Over Tour Agents
The only thing worse than the scammers at the pyramids are the countless tour agents. Most of them are very expensive and some are fake agents who will scam you and leave you in trouble. Most people that have visited the pyramids actually confess that the so-called tour guides with affordable packages were scammers that stole from them. Most of the locals in Egypt are friendly and passionate about the pyramids and the tombs and they will be cheaper and more helpful than any purported agent you meet online. If you have a local friend or if you can make one while in Cairo or wherever you are staying, please do. They will help you navigate the country and enjoy fun places without getting fleeced.
It Can Get Very Hot Down There
Sunscreen and sunglasses have to be your companion when you visit the pyramids. Giza, like most of Egypt, is a desert where temperatures can hit 40° Celsius or higher between June and September so October to April are the coolest months to visit although they are not as cool as you may think either. To avoid the crowds and the commotion, it is best to visit the pyramids early, before 10 am if you can then leave before it gets too hot. You should also dress lightly if you don’t want to bake on your trip.
Crowds can be avoided at certain times in the day, but being one of the most visited places on Earth, you can be sure to meet some. At the base of the great pyramid or the others, you won’t have to brush shoulders with many people but during security checks and when buying tickets, you will run into them. If you are claustrophobic, it would be best to forego entering the pyramids, especially the great pyramid because you will have to struggle with so many people in the narrow pathways. The spaces inside are tight and stuffy, especially if there are many people struggling to get a glimpse of the same thing.
You Can’t Climb The Pyramids
In 2016, a German tourist climbed to the top of the Great Pyramid at Giza and was banned from visiting Egypt for life. To preserve the monuments, the government banned the climbing of the pyramids, so you won’t be able to do so. You can however go to the base and probably climb a few lower blocks for a picture if you want to. You will be arrested if you climb the pyramids though, and that will put you in lots of trouble.
Getting Into The Pyramids Costs More
It costs about $14 to get into the complex where the three large pyramids including The Great Pyramid and the Sphynx are located. Once In the area, you can walk around, touch stuff and take pictures. To enter the pyramids, you will have to pay more money. It costs an extra $20 or more to enter the Great Pyramid of Giza and $7 to 8 to enter the Pyramid of Khafre and Menkaure. Most people argue that the price is never worth it when it comes to entering the pyramids. They are crowded small spaces with almost nothing special to see anyways.
The Sound And Light Show Is Never Worth It
A trip to Egypt is not cheap, and you may have to part with way more than you planned for. The problem is that most things are not worth the price you pay for them which is why you should only pay for quality here. The pyramids usually close at 5 pm but every night, there is a sound and light show presented in different languages to favour most visitors. You will have to pay an extra $15 to 20, especially if you choose the pricy front row seats to only watch a face cast onto the Sphynx and listen to a crackling voice on the speakers narrating the history of the pharaohs and ancient Egypt.