The Great Pyramids of Giza – Cairo, Egypt

Hello hello hello! We’re now (at time of posting) in lockdown stuck in our flat but at the time of writing I was in holiday in Egypt… so I thought I’d finally whap up this post to tell you about the Pyramids trip we went on. This was our first full day in Egypt and after a day of flights and a late hotel check in the night before, we were collected from the hotel lobby at 8.15am. Ouch!

We booked via Discover Egypt but the actual tour company for this excursion was Wings, in case anyone is interested. The day trip cost was included in our tour package (we had the 10 night Classic Egypt package and stayed on the MS Tulip) but you can find similar on Trip Advisor for around £50-70, which should include a visit to the Pyramids, the Sphinx and Saqqara. If you want to go inside any of the Pyramids it’s extra.

So I missed the hotel brekky because I needed sleep, was busy gazing at the Nile (plus smog covered Cairo) from our hotel room while trying to make myself presentable….priorities. We were whisked up at reception and once we were on the coach it  probably took us an hour or so to arrive after making a few stops at other hotels to pick up the rest of the day’s group. I quite like being coached about, not having to think about anything or worrying about catching buses or trains, or even whether the taxi you’re in will cost a bomb.

We could see the Pyramids peeping at us from the distance for quite a bit of the coach ride which was super exciting! Pyramid tops lurking over the city and trees… Living there you must just become so numb to these colossal beasts being so close. We got there at about 9.20am and there were already quite a few tourists and locals milling about. It wasn’t swamped, but pretty busy with other tourists and sellers trying to flog papyrus or mini statues. If you say no thank you or “la shukraan” then they go away pretty quickly. Remember to take nothing even if it’s “free” or “a gift” and if you take a pic of something novelty (like a camel) you’ll likely be charged for it.

First we stopped at the Pyramid of Cheops/Khufu, also known as the Great Pyramid(constructed c. 2580 – c. 2560 BC), which is one of the ancient seven wonders of the world. And no bloody wonder! The thing is HUGE. Standing next to just one of the blocks shows you the scale of it… I can’t even imagine what the view from the top is like! And it was 9m higher back in the day too, but the very top blocks have either eroded or just come off somehow. We got half an hour of free time to explore the Pyramid, if you wanted to go inside it was 400 Egyptian pounds pp (around £20) so our cheapness declined that one. You can go inside the Middle Pyramid for 100 (or £5), so we went for that instead.

I really would have liked some more time free roaming at the Great Pyramid but I think it seemed like less for us because I was constantly being swamped by very friendly Egyptian and Arabic kids, teens and the occasional family who wanted selfies. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it and totally understood how overwhelming it can be for celebrities now! Not that it’ll stop me trying to pap celebs in future, but still. Everywhere we went people were so excited to see us and especially me as a white tourist with very pale skin and red hair, plus colourful tattoos. I took probably over 100 photos with people and had to wade out of crowds which had gathered around me on several occasions. Everyone was so polite and happy to see us there I only said no on a couple of occasions but I did find it a bit frustrating when I was trying to get my own snaps and they’d be in the way. I’m a picture lover and sometimes we’d have seconds to get a shot before someone would come over to us, which would then attract the attention of other selfie wanting folks.

So that’s just a little warning when you’re visiting! Apparently tourist selfies are an honourable and exciting thing and the people taking them will go home and show their families so it is all really positive, especially as tourism in Egypt has been low for a few years now, but it will probably interrupt your trip.

The area around the Pyramid of Khafre, or the Middle Pyramid, (constructed c. 2570 BC) was a little less full of selfie requests so we had more ‘free’ time, but t’was still quite busy. We took a very short coach ride to get there and again once we parked up we had a short talk by the tour guide and then some free time. We chose to go inside the Pyramid first at the price of 100 Egyptian pounds a person and I’m definitely glad we had that experience!

To get inside you have a ramp (top left photo) with ladder rungs/grips on the floor and banisters on either side. The ceiling is maybe a slightly over a meter high and it isn’t too wide either but if you’re a medium sized person you’ll be okay. There’s only one passage for people coming in and out so sometimes you’ll have to squeeze to let people through. Obviously there’s no ventilation so it does get quite hot as you’re going down further but after a while you can stand up and the ground is flat, with a corridor (top right photo) leading you into a burial chamber containing one empty sarcophagus and a wall with a large piece of “graffiti” from a guy called Belzoni in 1818 (above middle photo). The roof is pointed and apparently is directly under the point of the Pyramid peak. Fun! You get out the same way you got in, via the laddery ramp.

Top tip: go backwards when you come into the Pyramid, you’re walking down so effectively its like going down a lightly sloping ladder, and coming back out you’re fine to go forwards. If you’re wearing a playsuit like I was, maybe get a friend to guard your behind 😁😅. You’re allowed to take camera phones in there but nothing more professional looking and no flash photography, by the way!

Once we were out we pootled about and took more photos. I could probably spend a day just taking photos of the Pyramids on their own really because they’re a lot to take in. It’s incredible to think how they were built way back thousands of years ago, truly incredible and something I think you can only appreciate once you’ve visited in person.

I’ve blabbered on a lot so will do a separate post about the Sphinx and Saqqara, but basically I would highly recommend visiting the Pyramids. I hope to go back one day but who knows when. If you can get there, please go!

Swooned at by Stefpuff

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