Three ladies, three camels, three pyramids, a Sphynx, a solar boat, and a day well spent! The Pyramids of Giza was on our bucket list, and I believe it is on yours as well. This famous archeological site in Egypt is noted as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, as well as part of the ‘Memphis and its Necropolis – the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur’ UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A few months prior to the world shutdown due to the pandemic of 2020, my friends and I took a multi-week trip to Egypt. We did not do a large bus tour but broke out our visit with small day tours with trusted guides. It is possible and highly recommended because you can pace out your trip, and see exactly what you want to see.
During our full day out in Giza we visited the pyramids, entered the Great Pyramid, rode camels, posed for tourist photos, saw the sphinx, and the solar boat of Khufu. Additionally, we did a fun and educational shopping trip for essential oils, papyrus, and jewelry. It was an extraordinary day!
This post on “A day in Giza” will highlight:
- Entering the Great Pyramid
- Camel riding
- The Sphynx
- The Solar Boat of Khufu
- The right personal guide
- Shopping in Giza
— Finding the Right Guide —
I will admit that at first I was checking to see if I could do this all myself without a guide. After researching more, looking at Giza maps, and reading stories, I realized that booking a private guide with transportation was essential to visiting the pyramids. First of all, there is getting to the pyramids, paying for the enterance and camel rides, navigating your way to visit everything, and knowing what you are seeing. A private guide with a car and driver was the most comfortable, and educational way for us to visit the pyramids.
There are many guides who will bring you to the Pyramids of Giza, and I always feel that the Universe will guide you to the correct one that fits your needs. If you are reading this than more than likely you are interested in a mature guide, who is an engineer, and an educated Egyptologist. Also, a professional guide who will drive you to each location in the comfort of an air conditioned car with an additional driver. This is where Khaled Mamdoh comes in, he was our extraordinary guide. My friends thought so too, they mentioned to me that Khaled was their favorite guide throughout all of Egypt.
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We learned a lot from Khaled Mamdoh, more than we would have on our own. Since he is an engineer and Egyptologist, my friends and I were treated to someone who was professional, educated, witty, and could answer all of our questions. We were also escorted and driven everywhere, plus he negotiated all of the payments for entrance fees. Khaled was also our photographer for the day, he knew exactly where all the great photo locations were, and he was taking fantastic photos of us during our trip.
—Inside of the Pyramid—
Yes, you can go inside the Great Pyramid and climb to the center, but it is no easy feat. Although there is not a height, weight or age requirement to go inside; it is more navigable if you are smaller, fit, and definitely not claustrophobic! My friends and I are all more or less 5’4″, and we were crouched down, sometimes hitting our head, at a quick uphill climb.
The small shaft enterance and crawlspace up to the top.
The enterance was a small hole, as well as the shaft during the first part of the climb. There was one way in and one way out. What this means was that not only were you climbing up in a crouched position, you had to be polite and squish over when others were coming down. It was the same way when you were exiting, although it was not as “comfortable” as going up. My friends and I were more than pleased to be of shorter stature that day.
Full standing position, finally!
About halfway up, you will enter another narrow corridor, but you will be able to finally stand. There are handrails to make the climb easier, but you should move at a proper pace as not to slow down the people behind you. If you need to slow down, they can walk around you if there is no one coming down at the same time. It is warm inside, and you will build up a nice sweat on your trek up the pyramid.
Once you get to the final destination inside the pyramid, there is not much to see. Sorry to tell you that, but you will find yourself in a windowless tomb with other sweaty people, who made that same climb. The reward though is that you made it into the center of the Great Pyramid of Giza- Bucket List ✔!
Like I mentioned, this would not a be a comfortable experience for those who are not fit, those who are tall, or are claustrophobic. It is doable for those who are taller, as I saw many tall people inside, and they just kept moving. That is all you can do, keep moving.
— Camel Riding —
Behind the pyramids is where you can ride camels for those great, and sometimes cheesy pictures of your trip to Giza. It is quite a distance, and you can walk it in the hot sun, but then you will have to negotiate the right type of camel experience. There are a lot of camels belonging to different people, and it could become confusing. This is where having a guide to negotiate a safe and fun camel ride is needed.
Our private driver drove us comfortably to the camel riding area, and then our guide negotiated everything. He knew the best guys with the best camels for our safe jaunt towards the pyramids.
Me and the camel I rode in on…
If you have ever ridden a camel before, then you know the experience is not like riding a horse. Camels are much taller than a horse, and move differently but they are very peaceful to ride. I will say that the camels in Giza were much taller than the ones that Nicole and I rode in Jordan. We kept saying to each other how much taller they were, while riding towards the pyramids. It was great fun though!
— The Sphynx —
What is the Great Pyramids of Giza without visiting the Sphynx? The Great Sphinx of Giza is one of Egypt’s most recognizable limestone monuments, and rests close to the the pyramids. It measures at a giant 240 feet by 66 feet, and is aged at 4,500 years old.
When we visited the Sphynx, we made it a quick picture opportunity because of all the people around who also wanted photos. Plus, you cannot go right up to it, and finding the right angle is critical for a good picture. Khaled had our driver bring us to the best place for photos, and even took fun pictures of us kissing the Sphynx.
— Khufu Ship —
Another great wonder to visit while at the Pyramids of Giza is the Khufu Ship, which is inside the Giza Solar Boat Museum. This ancient Egyptian ship is an intact full-size vessel which dates back to around 2500 BC. It was sealed into a pit at the foot of the Pyramid of Giza Complex, and was only discovered in 1954.
The function and past history this solar ship are not truly known. It is thought to be a type of ritual vessel that is known as a “solar barge”, that would carry the resurrected king with the Sun God “Ra” across the heavens.
This was another site that our guide brought us to. Our driver drove us right to the museum, where we got to view this magnificent well-preserved vessel. Khaled educated us on the finding and the making of the ship, plus gave us time to explore and take photos.
— Shopping —
As with many tours, there is usually a shopping trip involved although you are not obligated to purchase anything. These types of shopping trips I have found helpful on my travels around the world from Peru to South Korea. You are brought into a respected store or market place to shop for items that are special to the region. Also if you have a legitimate guide and tour, it works well if you are looking for a safe shopping experience.
We were brought to a jeweler where we purchased personalized Cartouche pendants; a store selling authentic papyrus where we learned how to spot fakes; and an essential oil store where we drank Turkish coffee, had lunch and purchased quality Egyptian oils.
Papyrus store with Free Book trade
Lunch, Turkish Coffee and Essential Oils
It is well advised on many platforms to find a reputable guide in any foreign country. My travel friends have told me terrible stories of being trapped inside stores until they spent all of their money, and then let out. This is why if shopping is on your agenda, to go with a legitimate guide that will escort you into stores, where there is no obligation to buy.
So my travel friends, this is how three ladies spent a full day in Giza! I hope this post was both helpful and inspirational for your future travels. This was just the start of our trip together that brought us into various parts of Egypt, where we saw incredible sites and had one of the best adventures of our lives.
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It’s not about the destination… It’s about the Journey!
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📸 Most photos were taken by me and are my intellectual property – Trixie Navarre