Saqqara is the name given both to a village 32 km to the south of the Egyptian capital of Cairo and (more particularly) to the extensive ancient necropolis on the plateau above the Nile Valley, the location of tombs and pyramids dating to the Predynastic, Old Kingdom, New Kingdom and Late Periods of ancient Egyptian history.
The desert plateau above the modern village of Saqqara formed one of the main cemeteries of the ancient Egyptian capital city of Memphis for thousands of years. As such, it attracted a large number of royal and high prestige burials, the remains of which can be seen in pyramids and decorated tombs scattered across the area. The site of Saqqara is quite extensive, stretching 6 km north-south and 1.5 km across at its widest point.
By taxi / cab
Taxis can be hired from central Cairo to visit Saqqara. Negotiate with your driver for a daily rate. It is also possible to visit the Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid on the same trip. These are located near Dahshur, a few kilometres south of Saqqara.
Travelers may be told there is no bus to Saqqara. This is not entirely true.
Bus services do exist to Saqqara from central Cairo, but entail a lengthy journey and a long walk from the village up to the plateau.
Alternatively, it is possible to reach the plateau by taking a microbus from the Giza metro station. It should be expected to transfer to multiple microbuses as there is no direct microbus. Tell the driver you want to go to "Marishay" and then Saqqara" and he should indicate where to transfer. Prices vary based on where the transfer points are from 25 piasters to 3 pounds. Once in Saqqara village, take a tuk-tuk for a few pounds to the site.
Climb the Step Pyramid of Djoser. If the fence is open, feel free to enter and make your way up the wooden ramps to climb the pyramid. You will get a stunning view of the site, of the Nile River, and the stark contrast between the desert landscape and the lush, green arable land closer to the Nile.
Explore the necropolis. This section may have many closed doors. If they are not locked, feel free to open them and explore further.
Once you have paid for your admission, do not talk to anybody without an official badge on the site. Some scam artists will insist that certain sections of the site (such as the necropolis) require an additional admission fee. Just ignore them and keep on walking.