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|−|Even cheaper and more interesting is taking the ordinary buses 900 or 997, for 1.00 LE, from the big central bus station under the overpasses "please consider that there's no timetable for it maybe you waiting 1 minute or 1 hour ", close to the museum. There are three lanes, and they leave from one closest to the rundown controllers' booth (as of late July 2010). Be careful when about getting down "near to the pyramids", you may encounter tour operators attempting to circumvent you to their camels and onward to the pyramids for a fee, but if you are not interested simply avoid chatting or looking at anyone and just go directly to the pyramids hill in front of you. For 997, the correct spot is along a long avenue, after you're spotted the Pyramids and the bus has done a U-turn and then turned left — get off when you a see a blue sign for the Light and Sound show. |+|
cheaper and more interesting is taking the ordinary buses 900 or 997, for 1.00 LE, from the big central bus station under the overpassesplease consider that there's no timetable for you waiting 1 minute or 1 hour, close to the museum. There are three lanes, and they leave from one closest to the rundown controllers' booth (as of late July 2010). Be careful when about getting down "near to the pyramids", you may encounter tour operators attempting to circumvent you to their camels and onward to the pyramids for a fee, but if you are not interested simply avoid chatting or looking at anyone and just go directly to the pyramids hill in front of you. For 997, the correct spot is along a long avenue, after you're spotted the Pyramids and the bus has done a U-turn and then turned left — get off when you a see a blue sign for the Light and Sound show.
"Not recommended for female solo travellers due to risk of harassment "''' |+|
'''Not recommended for female solo travellers due to risk of harassment'''
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Metro Line 2 now runs from Cairo to Giza, although it doesn't go all the way to the Pyramids. Get off at "Giza" station (not the terminus!). When you go out from the ticket machine you'll see the ticket window, take the left door then go down the stairs. You will find the pyramids road tunnel in front of you. A shared taxi can be hired, the old VolksWagen cars. A taxi to the pyramids wouldn't be so expensive, and if you take the white taxis they should have a meter. If the driver doesn't run the meter just open the door and pretend like you are getting off and he should run it (he should turn it on before the car moves). The cost is about 15LE for
Egyptions, though they will ask you for 50LE at least, so if you give the driver 20LE=3$ will be good for the driver. If you're in a group of 3 or 4 persons give him 5$ and he will be full of happiness. The Pyramids are 8 km, 15-20 min trip due southwest on the long Al-Haram Avenue that the train crosses over just before stopping at the station. That's effectively a 'right turn' from the line you've just been taking. Any number of minibuses and buses go to the site (known as 'al-haram' in Arabic'); they include the green public 900 and 997 buses, but I wouldn't recommend taking public transportation because you can get ripped off and recently Egypt hasn't been the safest place. |+|
Metro Line 2 now runs from Cairo to Giza, although it doesn't go all the way to the Pyramids. Get off at "Giza" station (not the terminus!). When you go out from the ticket machine you'll see the ticket window, take the left door then go down the stairs. You will find the pyramids road tunnel in front of you. A shared taxi can be hired, the old VolksWagen cars. A taxi to the pyramids wouldn't be so expensive, and if you take the white taxis they should have a meter. If the driver doesn't run the meter just open the door and pretend like you are getting off and he should run it (he should turn it on before the car moves). The cost is about 15LE for , though they will ask you for 50LE at least, so if you give the driver 20LE=3$ will be good for . If you're in a group of 3 or 4 personsgive him 5$ and he will be . The Pyramids are 8 km, 15-20 min trip due southwest on the long Al-Haram Avenue that the train crosses over just before stopping at the station. That's effectively a 'right turn' from the line you've just been taking. Any number of minibuses and buses go to the site (known as 'al-haram' in Arabic'); they include the green public 900 and 997 buses, but I wouldn't recommend taking public transportation because you can get ripped off and recently Egypt hasn't been the safest place.
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Revision as of 19:54, 13 December 2017
Despite the efforts of the Egyptian government, tourism has not returned to its pre-revolution (2011) status pinnacle and the 95% decline in revenues have helped plunge Egypt into economic crisis at a time when it can least afford it. There has been an increase of 5.5% in early 2015 however, with an increase in Arab state visitors and Eastern Europeans.
Giza (الجيزة al-Gīza) is a Governorate to the west of the Egyptian capital Cairo - a city in its own right, but for a long time now absorbed as part of the heavily-populated and sprawling Cairo metropolis. Giza is best known as that part of Cairo closest to the world-famous Pyramids of Giza, situated high on the desert plateau immediately to the west of the urban district, itself located in the valley and centred around the Pyramids Road, linking central Cairo with the ancient wonders. One of the premier attractions of Egypt, if not the world, the Pyramids of Giza represent the archetypal pyramid structures of ancient Egyptian civilisation and - together with the Sphinx at the base of the Giza plateau - are the iconic image of Egypt.
The city / district of Giza is important as a secondary - and increasingly popular - option for travellers for food, accommodation and entertainment beyond central Cairo. Most of these services are concentrated along the local transport artery, El Haram (the Pyramids) Street.
Under the former regime, the desert plateau of Giza, adjacent to the Pyramids, was the projected site of the proposed Grand Museum of Egypt  (the competition-winning design conceived by an Irish architectural team led by Shih-Fu Peng), a long-awaited replacement for the long-standing, out-dated and under-sized Egyptian National Museum in Midan Tahrir. Completion was projected for 2013, but is now unknown as the project has been put on hold indefinitely.
Not much more than a century ago, El Haram Street existed as little more than a dusty carriage track amongst irrigated fields, leading out from the city to the then small peasant village of Giza adjoining the pyramid field. Given the rapidly increasing population of Cairo in the 20th century, and the obvious tourism opportunities that the Pyramids provided, Giza has now been transformed beyond recognition to those pioneering Western travellers of the late 19th century. Major arterial roads, apartment blocks, retail strips, restaurants and night clubs now replace what used to be palm-fringed farmers' fields, and the city has now spread to the very limit of the desert plateau. Such rapid development, of course, has not been without its costs - social, economic and aesthetic - and the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities is now making some efforts to control and channel future (re)development in areas closest to the Pyramids themselves.
The three main Pyramids of Giza are the focal point of the Giza necropolis, or cemetery, that served the elite of the Old Kingdom capital of Egypt at nearby Memphis during the mid to late 4th Dynasty (late 3rd millennium BCE). Three pharaohs were buried here in turn - Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure - their astounding burials attracted a number of surrounding, associated, burials of their queens, family members and nobility.
The Pyramids may be nearer than you think, so it's possible to take a taxi to the Pyramids from any part of Cairo at a reasonable cost, and it's certainly the fastest and easiest method. There are several options for this: private car or unmetered & metered taxis.
Use the Careem application (Middle East version of Uber) for Android or iPhones to order a car and professional driver. With real-time GPS tracking and credit card payment options for fixed rates, it is the cleanest, safest, haggle-free way to get around in Cairo. This option is especially recommended for women solo travellers.
Older black & white taxis are rare to find now - meters are not used, so you are forced to haggle. A one way ride from Tahrir square should cost you about 40-50.00 LE. Taxi drivers will nearly always want to take you to see their "brother's" perfume shop, or their "father's" carpet warehouse on the way - if you don't want to waste time doing this, and being put on the spot to make a purchase - just make it very clear that you only want to see the monuments.
A taxi from Giza railway station could easily cost LE 50 for a foreigner (2016), but theoretically should be negotiable down to LE 30?
Egypt is one of the most dangerous countries in the world in terms of road accidents. Non-use of seatbelts and dangerous driving are some factors to the death toll - heavy vehicles are a big contributor.
Solid-yellow are rare to find and solid-white taxis are the "most common" - These are metered and air conditioned sometimes. You might save yourself the hassle with the black and white taxis mentioned above, and at almost the same cost, if not less depending on your skill. On the other hand there are stories of drivers of white and yellow cabs fixing the meters, which would hardly be surprising given that it happens all over the world.
Not recommended for female solo travellers due to risk of harassment
By Public Transport
From central Cairo, the optimum way to get to the Giza Pyramids using public mass transit options is by bus routes 355 or 357 - a large white, air-conditioned coach with CTA (Cairo Transport Authority) on the side. Travelling every 20 minutes from the airport and Heliopolis, the bus stops (or doesn't - you may have to flag it down!) at the Abdel Menem Riyad Station in Midan Tahrir, next to the Egyptian Museum, before continuing out to Giza and the Pyramids. Tickets cost a mere LE 2.00
An even cheaper and more interesting way is taking the ordinary buses 900 or 997, for 1.00 LE, from the big central bus station under the overpasses. However please consider that there's no timetable for them and you may be waiting 1 minute or 1 hour, close to the museum. There are three lanes, and they leave from one closest to the rundown controllers' booth (as of late July 2010). Be careful when about getting down "near to the pyramids", you may encounter tour operators attempting to circumvent you to their camels and onward to the pyramids for a fee, but if you are not interested simply avoid chatting or looking at anyone and just go directly to the pyramids hill in front of you. For 997, the correct spot is along a long avenue, after you're spotted the Pyramids and the bus has done a U-turn and then turned left — get off when you a see a blue sign for the Light and Sound show.
Not recommended for female solo travellers due to risk of harassment
Metro Line 2 now runs from Cairo to Giza, although it doesn't go all the way to the Pyramids. Get off at "Giza" station (not the terminus!). When you go out from the ticket machine you'll see the ticket window, take the left door then go down the stairs. You will find the pyramids road tunnel in front of you. A shared taxi can be hired, the old VolksWagen cars. A taxi to the pyramids wouldn't be so expensive, and if you take the white taxis they should have a meter. If the driver doesn't run the meter just open the door and pretend like you are getting off and he should run it (he should turn it on before the car moves). The cost is about 15LE for Egyptians, though they will ask you for 50LE at least, so if you give the driver 20LE=3$ it will be good enough for him. If you're in a group of 3 or 4 persons, give him 5$ and he will be very happy. The Pyramids are 8 km, 15-20 min trip due southwest on the long Al-Haram Avenue that the train crosses over just before stopping at the station. That's effectively a 'right turn' from the line you've just been taking. Any number of minibuses and buses go to the site (known as 'al-haram' in Arabic'); they include the green public 900 and 997 buses, but I wouldn't recommend taking public transportation because you can get ripped off and recently Egypt hasn't been the safest place.
There is a restroom located to the right of the ticket booth just before you enter the pyramids. Another restroom is located near the gift shop in the Solar Barque Museum, but you may have to ask the shopkeeper to open it for you if the attendant is away. A "W.C." sign located outside of the Sphinx exit will direct you to the right. At least LE 1.00-3.00 is expected for services (toilet paper, cleaning, soap and paper towels). Be aware that your tip is the attendants sole means of income.
The Great Pyramid and the Sphinx
See Cairo/Giza with children article for suggestions on visiting Giza with children.
All the worthwhile attractions within the Giza area are concentrated on the Giza Plateau at the end of Pyramids Road. Some people are shocked to travel down a street in Giza and see the tip of a Pyramid rise up over the golden arches of a McDonalds with a sign in Arabic - your idea of pyramids rising up out of an empty desert might not match the reality from this approach. Consider riding in from the southern desert instead if you want a more romantic approach.
There are two ticket offices: the first is near the main entrance; at the second, near the Sphinx, in the eastern part of the Plateau, it is only possible to buy tickets to gain entrance to the whole site, not the pyramids themselves. If you use the second one in the morning you will avoid crowds of tourists and will have a possibility to explore the Sphinx area all alone in silence. Entry to the site is LE 80. To enter the pyramids themselves costs another LE 60 for the Pyramid of Menkaure and LE 200 for the Great Pyramid of Khufu, payable only at the main entrance, not at the Sphinx entrance or the pyramids themselves. There is not much to see inside the Great Pyramid for LE 200, no wall paintings or inscriptions - just a confined space to 'climb' through: the Solar Barque (boat) museum next door at LE 60 is better value. Student IDs will come in handy, giving you a 50% discount. The interior of the pyramids can be hot, humid and claustrophobic, with the passages steep and hard to move through: those with a physical handicap will want to steer clear. There are only 2 pyramids open to the public at any given time, while the third pyramid is being restored and they rotate every 2 years. For those willing to brave these conditions, however, it may be an interesting and educational experience. Personally witnessing the interior walls and passage ways of the pyramids may give one a deeper appreciation of the achievement by the builders of these ancient structures. No cameras are allowed into the pyramids. For those on a tight budget, visiting the Pyramid of Menkaure is a very similar experience to visiting the larger pyramid and cheaper.
- Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) - the last surviving representative of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, originally 146 m (479 ft) high but now slightly reduced to a still awe-inspiring 137 m (449 ft). Over 2 million blocks of stone were used to construct this edifice, all through organized manual labour. Entry optional LE 200 payable at main entrance to site. Poor value to some?
- Solar Barque Museum - located immediately alongside the southern face of the Great Pyramid, an exceptionally well-done museum showcasing an excavated and reconstructed "solar boat", buried along with the Pharaoh for use on his daily journey with the sun across the sky. Entry LE 60.
- Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren) - slightly smaller than the Great Pyramid, though appearing from some angles to appear larger owing to a better position on the desert plateau
- Pyramid of Menkaure (Mycerinus) - the smallest of the Giza Pyramids at 62 m (203 ft) high (originally 66.5 m)
- Sphinx and the Temple of the Sphinx - the colossal, recumbent human-headed lion was conceived of by the ancient Egyptians as the sun god Re-Horakhty - "Horus of the horizon". The Egyptians call it Abu el-Hol, the "Father of Terror", and even the Greek name Sphinx is the less than pleasant "Strangler". 45 meters long, 22 meters wide, and carved from a single giant block of sandstone, the Sphinx is considerably smaller than the Pyramids around it. The missing nose is blamed on target practice by bored troops, commonly blamed variously on British soldiers in World War I or Napoleon's troops in 1798, but 18th-century drawings showing the nose already missing, pointing the finger towards the occupying Turks. ( in fact the damage is recorded as having occurred in about 1134 , as an iconoclastc act of a local religious leader )
- Various Queens' Pyramids and Nobles' Tombs, located in regimented cemeteries surrounding the royal pyramids. Especially the Tomb of Seshemnufer IV which you can explore from the inside, where you can descend to the sarcophagus and get an idea, how it looks. Since this is not the main object, there are few tourists and it make this visit very interesting.
Not all the Pyramids are equally accessible for interior exploration, the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities close them to the public at least one at a time for conservation and renovation measures.
Climbing the Pyramids, although once a popular tourist activity, is both now officially forbidden and extremely dangerous - several tourists have met an untimely death attempting it. Some Pyramid guards have been known to turn a blind eye in return for baksheesh (tip/bribe) in less frequented areas, but this practice has a very negative impact on the industry as well as the monuments themselves is now a punishable offence.
It's wise to arrive at the Pyramids at the moment they open, as tour bus activity and (in the summer) the heat quickly make the attractions overrun and difficult to fully enjoy.Since the post-revolution downturn in tourism, prices are lower and crowds are generally much less than in the past, but check for local holidays as they will be busy then.
Do not give up your ticket to anyone outside of the gate checkpoints. You will need to show it to enter through the metal detectors at the entrance to the Pyramids area, as well as the Sphinx area, the solar boat museum and to enter one of the pyramids if you choose to pay extra for the latter two. There are many folks who will walk up and claim to work for the government and ask to see the ticket/grab it, then take it and try to start a tour for you. Don't think that just because they are doing this in front of the police they are legit. They want to explain things at a fast pace, and then demand a tip. Do not give up your ticket and do not be afraid to stand up for yourself and refuse tip. If you want a tour, better ones can be booked in advance and will offer more accurate details of what you are seeing. (A favourite place for them to lurk is by the tombs outside the Cheops Pyramid.)
There are hawkers of souvenirs and drinks, they can be very reasonable, so if you are interested, don't be afraid of bargaining. You can often get better deals here than anywhere else due to the recent devastating decline in tourism. Be aware that the majority of Egyptians, educated or not, professional or not, make about $150USD per month and have a hard time living on that, especially with a family as the cost of living has sky-rocketed, and the hawkers are currently making much less than that. The majority will be willing to negotiate a fair price for you, and some will take absolutely anything in their despair.
Before you get on the back of a camel or horse have a look around how they treat their animals (see below for more tips on this). You should change your mind if they are ill treated. It's recommended to arrange a ride through your hotel or with a trusted stable away from the entrance to the pyramids. There are many that can also offer a more peaceful experience by riding into the desert in view of the pyramids without having to pay the entrance fee or dealing with the hawkers, aggressive shop sellers and opportunists. But if you do wish an up and close view then the stables to the south of the entrance also have access to an entrance that does not involve riding through the streets in traffic which is a lot safer for you and the animals.
It is customary to be offered some hospitality, like a cup of tea or glass of hibiscus. It is polite to accept, expected to be offered free and a good opportunity to form an opinion of the tour operators and negotiate a price. If you do decide to take up an offer of a horse, camel, quad or cart ride, make sure you discuss the price and time first. Confirm that the price negotiated covers all members of your group if others are with you. Generally, 100 LE per person for 1-hour is usual. Watch your own time and when you have been riding for half of the time you have agreed on, tell your guide it is time to return.
At the end of the trip, get off the horse/camel, hand the man the agreed money and walk away, there is no need to stay for anymore tea as you have already accepted their hospitality, so it will not be culturally offensive. They may try to come up with all sorts of reasons why you should pay more, but if you kept to the time, and the ride went as agreed then do not accept this. They may also offer to show you a 'museum' or 'exclusive' Egyptian perfumes or something, and if you are interested, fine but be aware that it will drag out the time and whatever special price they originally offer you will be about 1/3 of what they will actually accept - so make sure to bargain.
If you are happy with the experience and you wish to give a tip, do it because you choose to. There are always visible or invisible (ie: grooms) 'assistants' who are often poorly paid and poorly treated, so giving one tip to the person you negotiated with and asking them to share the tip among the staff responsible for the success of your experience is appreciated. But don't feel pressured into giving extra if you do not wish to. It is okay to just walk away. They won't follow you.
- Go on a classic camel ride. A camel ride around the Pyramids is pretty cliche, and many have found the experience was not at all what they expected, but many are also thrilled by it. Be aware that there are many other places in Egypt to take a photo or a ride with a camel so if you find you are not happy with the guides or animals at the pyramids, don't feel pressured.
- Go horse riding in the desert to experience both the spirit of the Egyptian horses and the true majesty of the Pyramids from outside the 'circus ring' wall. Be careful of touts, however; it's best to ride from a reputable stable. Ride in the shadow of the Great Pyramids or even further afield on a half day trip to Saqqara or Abu Sir. Camping out over night or having a barbecue dinners and campfire in the desert are not currently allowed by the Egyptian army due to new security precautions being implemented.
- See the sunrise, the first sun beams colouring the Pyramids from the terrace on the third floor of a cafe or from the roof terrace of the hostel situated near the second western entrance and ticket-office.
- Picture: a good place to take picture of the pyramids is out in the desert or from the look out point inside. You can get all three pyramids in one frame. It takes at least a 25-30 minute ride to get there. You'll need a horse or a camel.
- FB Stables, Gamal Abdul Nasser St, Sphinx (Turn left after the sphinx KFC, then right in Gamal Abdul Nasser Street. FB is the last stables on the left), ☎ (+20) 0106 507 0288, . Ask to speak with Karim who has reasonable English. They offer a typical 'tourist' type ride to view the Pyramids and Sphinx from the desert, as well as the longer rides to Saqqara and Abu Sir. Everything can be arranged in advance, in addition to sunrise, sunset or romantic moonlit rides. They also have a rooftop terrace (with bbq) with decent views over the Pyramids where it is possible to arrange some relaxation with a drink, dinner and even shisha whilst watching the evening Sound and Light shows (see below) they have no add-on sales practise and have stables at Abu Sir as well.
- Pyramids Sound and Light Show (Son-et-Lumière) , admission: foreign languages shows LE 130, 90, 75 with discounted 45 ticket only available in the 75 section. The LE 130 and LE 90 tickets are for the 1st and 2nd-3rd rows respectively and may not be worth the added expense. Arabic show LE 11, private shows in foreign languages, LE 65 + LE 300 (covers operating expenses), Arabic private show, LE 16.50 + LE 150. More than slightly kitsch and frequently inaccurate in historical detail, but a worthwhile evening activity nonetheless. The "voice of the Sphinx" narrates the history of the Giza Plateau and its place in Egyptian history, as a dazzling laser display picks out the details of the Pyramids and displays historical scenes on the side of the Great Pyramid itself. If you eat at the Pizza Hut restaurant just outside the entrance to the Sound and Light Show, there's a good chance you'll be offered to watch the show from the roof of the restaurant for a small tip. While it's not as good as watching it from a front row seat inside the fences, it's excellent value for money. As of November 2009, extremely bright lights have been pointed at the roof of the Pizza Hut and various other buildings to get tourists to attend the show. They put projection lights towards the Pizza Hut so it's not easy to see much. Pizza Hut has replied by putting up a barricade on the roof to try to block the light.
|| First Show
|| Second Show
|| Third Show
| Winter (Oct-Mar)
|| 6:30 PM
|| 7:30 PM
|| 8:30 PM
| Summer (Apr-Sep)
|| 8:30 PM
|| 9:30 PM
|| 10:30 PM
|| no show
- Cairo Horse Riding School, Mansouria Road (ext 31 Maadi Ring Road), ☎ 01207362425, . This expat run stable is situated inside an Arabian horse ranch about ten minutes away from the Pyramids.
- Al Amir Perfume Palace, 9 Abu el Houl St. (near the pyramids in the Giza district), ☎ +202 385 4963. Overwhelming odours will hit you as soon as you walk inside, if you can stand them for more than a few minute you can find some great deals on essential oils and perfumes.
- Legends and Legacies, 20 Abuu Hazim St. (Near the pyramids in the Giza district). A relaxed indoor bazaar.
- Beymen, FourSeasons Nile Plaza (30-40 minutes drive from Giza in the business district of central Cairo). Upscale Designer Shopping
- City Stars, Nasr City (40-50 minutes drive from Giza central Cairo). Largest Shopping Mall in Egypt includes many international brands and duty free shop where you r air ticket will allow you to purchase item up to 49-hours after arriving and before departure
A number of Western fast food options exist immediately opposite the main ticket gates to the Pyramid enclosure, Pizza Hut and KFC included, so you can munch on a Tower burger and sip on a coke in air-conditioned comfort whilst gazing on the 4,000+ year-old Sphinx across the road! Many may prefer a more 'authentic' experience at on of the following:
- Andrea, """ (on the road back to Cairo from Giza). This is a well-known restaurant specializing in pigeon and chicken grilled a la plancha that is popular with both locals and tourists. NB: that busloads of visitors are often found here after visiting the pyramids, so it is best to avoid in the late afternoon and evening. Well known to all the local taxi drivers
- Fish Market, 26 Shar'a al-Nil (30-40 minutes drive from Giza off the Nile Corniche, in Ma'adi), ☎ +20 2 570 9694. This eatery is located on the Nile, in a docked ship. Popular with locals and tourist visitors, but the food is mediocre, overpriced, and service is haphazard. Moderate to High.
- Khan El Khalili, Mena House Oberoi hotel (Giza district, near the Pyramids). The restaurant has been open for over a century and is far and away the most stylish place for lunch or just a cold beer. Expect to pay Western prices for the privilege.
- Moghul Room, Mena House Oberoi (Giza district, near the Pyramids). An extremely good upmarket Indian restaurant. Reservations necessary.
- Nile Pharos (Dinner cruise), 138 El Nile Street (30-40 minutes drive from Giza in Zamalek). The boat features Pharonic decor, and offers a buffet with international and Egyptian cuisine, and belly dancing.
- Nile City, (30-40 minutes drive from Giza in Zamalek). Stationary boat on the Nile that includes several international franchises (Chilis, Johny Carinos, Fish Market & Studio Misr) coupled with an Egyptian grill and a seafood restaurant.
Be aware that Egypt is a majority muslim country, and therefore alcohol is not as available as in Western countries. Alcohol is generally only served at foreign chain hotels, bars, nightclubs or restaurants frequented by coptic Christians or tourists.
- Seqouia, Abu El Feda (30-40 minutes drive from Giza in Zamalek). Upmarket , middle eastern modern lounge by the nile. Known for its posh crowd E£150-200.
- Abu El Sid, 26 July St (30-40 minutes drive from Giza in Zamalek). Egyptian Cuisine , favoured by tourists and expatriates E£200.
Reception: Mena House hotel
General accommodation options are somewhat limited within the Giza district - most travellers tend to stay in and around central Cairo itself and travel out to the Pyramids for at least part of the day. Although Giza is an option if you want a more laid back vibe and your fine with doing day-trips in to Cairo to see the sights. For people determined to stay in close vicinity and / or for whom cost is no issue, although cheaper options are springing up, there are a number of very comfortable options:
- Pyramids Loft Homestay, 3 Yehia Gabry Street, Nezlet Semman, Giza, 12111 Cairo, Egypt (Next to Desert Storm Stable, After Sound and Light Show Gate), ☎ +20 1224447875 ([email protected]), . checkin: flexible; checkout: flexible. This awesome hotel has a hostel-couchsurfing vibe with your own private home-stay style rooms.Some rooms (by request) have pyramid views and the rooftop hangout is one of the coolest on the planet with views of the Great Pyramids and the Spinx. Entrance to the pyramids is about 5 minutes walk form the hotel. Many cheap restaurants in the neighborhood and delivery (if your too lazy) is easily available via staff. Thomas is fluent in English and can help arrange any tours you are interested in doing, including into Cairo city. Way more chilled than Cairo and with-in easy access to all sights. Plus sunsets viewing the Pyramids what more do you want? Free wifi, laundry and tea-coffee. Airport, train transfers available. from $20.00 USD per night..
- Pyramids View Inn, 10 Sphinx St. Sound and Light Plaza, Giza, ☎ +20 01-009761770 ([email protected]), . This bed and breakfast was the owners childhood home and converted into a hostel after the revolution. It boasts a friendly staff who help travelers new to the region with everything from assistance in local shopping (including price negotiations with locals) to organizing tours to the pyramids and other locations. It is a very international friendly environment, with English, German and Spanish all spoken by the staff. There is free wifi and magic jack (which permits free international calls) services. Easy walking distance from the pyramids and great view of pyramids from the roof. Simple breakfast included and free pickup from the airport. from $35.00 USD per night based on double occupancy and up..
- Mena House (formerly Oberoi), El Haram Street, ☎ +20 2 383 3222, . Built in 1869 as a royal lodge for King Ismail the Magnificent, this magnificent palace has housed guests including Empress Eugenie and Prince Albert. Tastefully restored and located very close to the Pyramids. Rooms in the newer Garden wing from $150 USD, Palace wing rooms from $210 USD; be sure to ask for a room with a view of the Pyramids. The main Pyramids gate is only a 5 minute walk away. The Mena House as of December 31, 2012 is no longer managed by the Oberoi Group. The Marriott Hotel group is expected to take over management in 2015
- Le Méridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa, El Remaya Square. (across the street from the Giza Pyramids complex), ☎ +20 2 3377 7070 ([email protected], fax: +20 2 3377 1730), . Nonsmoking rooms and rooms modified for disabled guests are also available & most enjoy excellent views of the Giza pyramids from $60.00 USD per night based on double occupancy and up.
The Giza Pyramids, being the main tourist attraction in Egypt, attract millions of tourists each year. They likewise attract a large number of the most determined opportunists for miles around. Report any instances of harassment by camel drivers and tourist touts to the black-uniformed (or white-uniformed in the summer) Tourist Police immediately, and be prepared for all manner of potential scams, possibly including "advice" from official-looking individuals that an attraction is closed or has an alternate entrance. Also be aware that any "favour" of any kind (offering directions, being shown something, etc) might be done in expectation of a tip, so be cautious when accepting unsolicited help (although don't let your holiday be spoiled by overzealous caution, you also might encounter genuine help). Also note that some Tourist Police might routinely offer to help you in the expectation of a tip. Many known scammers will operate right in front of the tourist police, who are either in on it or don't bother to intervene.
How to Avoid a Scene
Egyptians are well aware that many tourists feel it is impolite not to return a smile or a greeting. They are also well aware of how uncomfortable tourists are with confrontation or undue attention. Therefore they will take advantage of good manners and etiquette in order to pressure tourists into parting with some cash. They also prefer foreign cash.
- Walking in a group is better than walking alone - keep engaged in conversation with others and it will be more difficult for them to attract your attention
- If on your own, headphones make the incessant "Hello, where are you from my friend" conversation-starters easier to ignore, smiling and pointing at the headphones works well
- Don't make the mistake of thinking that speaking a language other than English will discourage them
- Be aware that engaging in any conversation, no matter how friendly or polite it may seem, is always a means to an end (your wallet)
- Expect any assistance with taking photos or offers for posing with you or sitting on a Camel or chumming with a police officer to cost you - if you are interested then bargain up front for the service
- If you are not interested in any assistance, photos or souvenirs, simply say "Shukran" while shaking your head (No thanks) as you do this, it shows you are making efforts not to be rude but are genuinely not interested
Safety Tips for Animals & Humans
Please do not perpetuate the poor treatment of working animals by accepting rides on ill-treated animals. Long-standing and reputable tour companies treat their animals well. Prior to 2011 there was such a tourism boom that many thought to join the industry to make quick money and do not have the care or knowledge required to work with animals. Riding an ill-treated animal is also unsafe
- if there are not enough horses/camels for your group others will be borrowed that might not be in such good condition - so ensure you make tour operators that you wish to check on the animals before agreeing to ride with them (camels tend to be kept in better condition than horses)
- check over your horse/camel and the tack he/she is wearing, especially the straps holding the stirrups and the girth (the one that goes underneath the horse and holds the saddle on), as well as the reins, and make sure they don't have any weak points that could break easily
- check the general condition of your horse/camel, if it is too skinny it will also be weak and more likely to fall, the condition should be generally rounded, no rib, hip, or back bones should be too obvious.
- ask to see under the saddle, many horses have back wounds hidden underneath
- If you have doubts on the condition of the horse/camel go with your gut feeling and if you are not happy please insist that you will not ride a horse in poor condition
- during the actual ride, most of the pyramid horses know the routine, like when to walk , or when to gallop etc but it is not advisable to gallop downhill or in the dark on the way back as horses regularly fall and break their legs doing this. It is not safe for you or the horse
- when galloping it is best to either hold on to the front of the saddle or the mane (the long hair along the top of the neck) please don't hold on to the reins for balance. Many of those horses have nasty bits (the metal thing in their mouth) that can actually sever the tongue so please be gentle when pulling on the reins to stop or turn
- many guides will offer to ride with you on a camel, if you are not comfortable with this, then it is okay to say so
- galloping on a camel is nothing like a horse - if it is your first ride and you are alone then it might be better to stick to a slower pace
- don't be intimidated by the 'donkey-mafia' that operate by the main entrance as they will adopt the most 'persuasive' and often bullish techniques to convince you to ride their animals or cart or whatever. They will cause such a scene when you say no, that it is their hope you will feel like you need to pay for the privilege of refusing their hospitality
- don't climb any of the Pyramids--officially forbidden and extremely dangerous!
- as anywhere else in Egypt, in hot months especially, take plenty of bottled water with you (and drink it!). There are hawkers selling cold drinks, but don't pay more than E£5.00, there are many.
- cover your head and wear sunscreen--sunglasses or sunblock for your lips are also a good idea!
|This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!