1. A backpack with Essentials
Unless you are going directly to another site after the Pyramids, you can pack light. These are some essentials you will need:
1. Water – This should be obvious, you’re in the desert! Now, there will be people selling water bottles if you happen to forget, but I recommend bringing your water in some kind of Thermos rather than a bottle, so it can stay cool the entire time you are there.
2. Camera – Again obvious, but I messed up slightly on this one. I accidentally packed a bad memory card, so I couldn’t take any pictures on my Nikon! Always check your battery and memory cards beforehand! Fortunately, I live 20 minutes away, so there will be future chances to bring my camera along. You may not have that leisure.
3. Tissues – There are public toilets in the Solar Boat museum just behind the Great Pyramid, and when I went in there were two ladies in charge of cleaning it and giving you a pre-selected amount of toilet paper. Should they not be there, or if the amount they give you is not enough, save yourself any embarrassment or discomfort and bring some tissues along to act as toilet paper. Also: tip the toilet ladies. They basically expect it, though don’t get offended if they’re not happy with what you give them since they might expect US dollars…
4. Hand sanitizer – There is dust, camels, horses, stray dogs, vendors and people from everywhere. Keep those germs away and stay healthy for your travels!
5. Snacks – Maybe a protein shake, or some oat bars, anything filling and preferably healthy that you can pull out when you start feeling hungry. We went out really early, so our breakfast was a protein shake that we had on the way there. You want to be able to last while you’re out there in the sun and not feel rushed to run to the Pizza Hut across from the Sphinx!
2 – Sun protection
We all know the song “It Never Rains in Southern California” by the Beach Boys. Well, it pretty much never rains in Egypt either, in fact, there is A LOT of sun. Surprise! There is also very little shade out by the Pyramids, except in shadows, inside the actual Pyramid, or inside the Solar Boat museum. Otherwise, you’re head to head with the desert elements.
This is not the time or place to try to get a tan! Sunscreen and sunglasses are essential, along with some kind of covering, such as a hat or a scarf, which you can wear over your head.
3 – About 160-400 EGP per person
The current entry cost to see the whole area (which includes the Sphinx) is 80 EGP per person, which is roughly 10 US dollars. To get inside the Great Pyramid, it costs 200 EGP per person, which is significantly higher. I am not here to tell you whether it’s worth it or not. I’ve heard both sides of the argument. Knowing that I will likely come to the Pyramids at least 2 more times, we chose to skip it for now. You, however, may be on a once in a life time trip, so you make the call.
4 – A good Guide!
A good guide will speak decent English, have a licence and suggest that the tour start at 8 am, which is when the Pyramids are open. You are in the scorching desert, and the morning is the coolest part of the day. Not only this, but going early means you beat a lot of tourist traffic and you can get some really cool shots without a dozen people photo-bombing.
5 – Proper Clothes
This is the desert, and If you are coming in the summer time (May-October) it is going to be hot! Especially during June – September. In October the mornings and evenings start to cool off, and in the winter it gets mild and a bit chilly. If you’re not coming in the winter, here are my suggestions for what you should wear:
– Loose Clothing : Nothing makes sweat more unbearable than tight clothing, except tight and synthetic clothing! Try to wear cotton or a looser pair of jeans so your skin can breath and the sweat and be absorbed.
– Bright Clothing : This goes back to what we learned in Science class. Dark colours absorb more light and heat, and light colours reflect more light and heat. Try to skip the blacks and dark navy blues.
– Closed, comfy shoes : Did I mention already that you are in the desert? In the famous words of Anakin Skywalker “sand is course and rough, and it gets everywhere!” So don’t come in flip-flops, sandals or high heels. I recommend either sneakers or TOMS. Certain flats could work too, but I suggest you pair them with matching socks. Also, watch out for the camel poop.
Note: You are in a Muslim country, so be respectful and lose the short shorts and spaghetti straps. Not only will you be doing yourself favour, as a female, you also won’t be exposing so much skin to the harmful rays of the sun!
There you have it. 5 things to have for your visit to the Pyramids! Want more information about travelling through Egypt? Check out my post on Planning a Trip to Egypt.
Have you been to the Pyramids before? How was your experience? Want to know more? Let me know in the comments!