For the first time visitor, arriving in Egypt is often the realization of a lifelong dream. The pyramids strike all tourists with a kind of awe, once they are standing in the shadow of the colossal structures and their sheer size and magnificence becomes clear. Plan your first visit to the land of the pharaohs carefully, to make sure you get the most from the experience and have memories to last you for years.
Planning the Visit
Arrive early. The pyramids are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Egypt, and arriving before the crowds will give you the chance to enjoy them in relative peace, and to get one of the limited 300 daily tickets to enter. In the Mediterranean climate the heat gets more intense as the day progresses, so try to see the outside areas and surroundings before it is too hot. An official tour will give you the advantage of being in a group with others, guided by a local person with knowledge of the area, but if you prefer to view the pyramids at your leisure then going alone or with a few travel partners is ideal.
Viewing the Pyramids
Giza has three main pyramids, each of which was the resting place of a different king of Egypt. These are the Great Pyramid, the resting place of Khufu (or Cheops), the Pyramid of Kafhre, and the Pyramid of Menkaura, which is smaller than the other two. You can walk, take a horse and buggy, or ride a camel to view the pyramids from the outside. Viewing the inside depends on whether construction or repair work is under way, but you should be able to enter at least two pyramids on any given day. Inside, the structures have steep, narrow stairs and passageways, and are hot and dark in spite of artificial lighting.
Seeing and entering the pyramids is something you will never forget. Keep a record of your visit, however, to relive the memory of the trip and the history and workmanship of the structures. You will not be allowed to use a camera inside the pyramids, but picture postcards are available with photographs taken by professionals, and you can take as many photos or video as much as you like outside.
Avoiding the Hustlers
The pyramids attract a multitude of hustlers and beggars, from people who offer to take your photo with your own camera and then demand money for doing so to those who try and sell you a hard-luck story. Do not wear expensive jewellery, and keep items, money and cell phones out of sight as much as possible. Wear your camera on your person rather than carrying it in a bag or hanging around your neck, and call on the ever-present tourist police if you feel you are being intimidated.
Sabina, “Visiting the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt as a Solo Traveler,” Solo Female Traveler
Jimmy Dunn, “Tours to the Pyramids of Egypt,” Tour Egypt
Keith Martin, “To the Land of Pyramids and Baksheesh,” Travel Blog