Giza, the next-door neighbour of Cairo the capital city of Egypt, is home to the infamous Pyramids of Giza. The Giza plateau boasts a complex of pyramids, temples, solar boat pits and cemeteries that are 5,000 years old and counting.
- 1 Some facts about the Pyramids of Giza
- 2 Getting to the Giza Pyramids
- 3 When to visit the Giza Pyramids
- 4 Where to eat
- 5 What to wear
- 6 What to do
- 7 What to pack
- 8 More activities near the Giza Pyramids
- 9 Want to see more of Greater Cairo?
Some facts about the Pyramids of Giza
The Great Pyramids of Giza were built by three generations of Pharaohs; Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure between 2550 and 2490 BC. The notorious Great Sphinx was built by Pharaoh Khafre. It took 30,000 workers around 20 years to build the Great Pyramid alone. They used approximately 2.3 million blocks of stone.
There are rumours that the pyramid builders were indentured slaves. However, there is plenty of archaeological evidence to suggest that the workers were paid and fed well. They even had perks like healthcare and entertainment.
Getting to the Giza Pyramids
We arranged a private tour with Fadimar travel agency which I would recommend if you are a family with children. Our tour guide gave the kids some interesting fun facts as we explored the complex. She also fended off any nagging sellers in the area. We shuttled around in the van between the different points of interest which saved a lot of time and effort.
Another option would be to hire a car and driver or take a taxi and ask the driver to wait for you and shuttle you around. In this case you have to go through a security gate and have the car / taxi searched. You also need to pay a ticket for the vehicle (EGP 10 for a bus or EGP 5 for a van / car / taxi).
There are some wooden platforms to walk on but unfortunately most of the area is not accessible. You have to watch where you are walking to avoid stumbling on the uneven stone floors or stepping in some camel or horse dung.
When to visit the Giza Pyramids
The best time to visit the Pyramids of Giza is between October and May. Walking in an open desert in the summer is no fun at all. The ticket office is open every day from 8 am to 4 pm. Try to be there early in the morning to make the most out of the day before it gets too hot and busy.
Where to eat
We had a hearty Egyptian breakfast at a local rooftop restaurant called Cleopatra Bistro with a gorgeous view of the Giza Pyramids. The set menu included cheese, eggs, jam, molasses, “baladi” bread, “halawa”, “foul” and “feteer” and cost EGP 150 per person. There is a new restaurant on the Giza plateau called 9 Pyramids Lounge that I would love to try next time. But it needs to be booked weeks in advance because it is so popular right now.
What to wear
Make sure you dress in comfortable and modest clothes especially since you will be out and about in the desert most of the time. This is especially important if you are planning on riding horses or camels. Wear plenty of sunscreen and take sunglasses and a hat or cap too.
What to do
Our first stop after getting our tickets were the Khufu and Khafre pyramids. You can venture inside the pyramids if you are up for an adventure. You have to bow your head and move through a tunnel in a single file before reaching a burial chamber.
Our next stop was at a panoramic viewpoint of the three pyramids together. Our tour guide introduced us to some local guides. The kids were so excited to ride camels while the adults opted for horse-drawn carriages. We paid EGP 400 per person plus tips for the local guides who were so talented at taking cheesy photos of us.
Next, we rode to another viewpoint where we could see all nine pyramids together – the three pyramids of the pharaohs plus six smaller pyramids dedicated to their wives and children. Afterwards, we rode to yet another viewpoint where we could see the Great Sphinx up close with the pyramids in the background.
What to pack
- Cash – to buy tickets and pay for the rides and also any souvenirs or refreshments you want to get
- Water bottles – there are no water fountains to refill them though. But there are stalls that sell bottled water and other refreshments
- Snacks – to give you some energy after all that climbing, walking and riding
- Disinfectant spray / wipes – to use in the bathroom facilities and after dealing with camels and horses
More activities near the Giza Pyramids
Sound and Light Show
The Grand Egyptian Museum
Located just 2 km from the Giza necropolis, the Grand Egyptian Museum will boast more than 100,000 ancient artefacts. It is scheduled to open mid-2021.
This is an amazing experience for young and old alike. The minute you step foot on a boat and cruise through the mythological canal, you will be transported back in time to ancient Egypt. The Pharaonic Village is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm (7 pm in the summer). Admission fees are calculated based on the activities you want to do.