The Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

Going to Cairo? A visit to the Pyramids is a must. Known as the Pyramids of Giza, the complex includes three pyramids: The Great Pyramid of Khufu, The Pyramid of Khafre and The Pyramid of Menkaure. The Khufu pyramid is the most famous pyramid in the whole of Egypt. It is also the largest, tallest, and most intact.  It contains around 1,300,000 blocks ranging in weight from 2.5 tons to 15 tons and is built on a square base with the sides measuring about 230m.

Khafre’s Pyramid, or the 2nd Pyramid, is easily recognizable by the layers of its original casing stones that still remain near its summit.  It is only 136 m tall, with sides of 214.5m.

Khafre’s son, Menkaure, built the smallest of the 3 main Pyramids on the Giza Plateau. This one was only a mere 65.5 m  tall, nowadays 62m, with sides of only 105m. Apart from the size, Menkaure’s Pyramid differed from the other 2 in the choice of casing stones. Whereas the Pyramids of his father and grandfather were completely cased in fine, white, Turah limestone, Menkaure’s Pyramid was only partly cased in Turah limestone.

How to get to the Pyramids

You can venture on your own and get a cab to the place where you can hire the guide. From the city center it takes around 20 minutes drive on a normal traffic day in Cairo. It can take longer if the traffic is worse. Have that in mind when planning the trip to the Pyramids.

I took a pre-paid tour of the hostel that included only the transportation: the price was $13 per person. But I had private assistance so the price was  fair. And the other good part is they know where the best and cheapest guides can be found.

Once you have arrived, you have 3 options: go on foot, by horse or by camel. Camels looked too scary to me and since I have wanted to ride a horse ever since I was a little boy, finally at the age of 30 I managed to do it!

Horse riding? It was a great and fun experience. I was afraid at the beginning, mainly thinking about how I was supposed to get off the horse once arrived at my destination. I have problems getting off a smaller bike; imagine getting off from the back of a horse! With the help of the gods, it was quite easy in the end and it was one of the most memorable experiences ever!

There are 3 tours available: the large one, the medium and the small. The prices start from 320 Egyptian pounds for the large one, 210 for the medium one and 170 for the small one. The difference between the tours is the distance and the pyramids that are to be seen. In the end, we choose  the large one on horse riding.  And the price paid was 180 Egyptian pounds which is around $24.  The price was inclusive of the entrance fee, which is mandatory: price 60EP. Good negations skills are needed in order to get the best price for the tours.

Funny fact: a few years ago an Egyptian man managed to climb the Pyramid of Khafre. He managed to climb it in a few hours, but he did not manage to get down as easily and was stuck on top of the pyramid until a helicopter was sent to get him down. Don’t try it even if you are a professional climber!

I never had the desire to visit Egypt. The pyramids were never on my bucket list. However, because I did have this one day stopover in Cairo, I didn’t want to miss out on seeing a world wonder so decided to do the tour as well. Have the Pyramids impressed me? To be honest, I was more impressed with the first time horse ride rather than, for instance, the Sphinx. Talking about the Spinx, it is off limits for all visitors and can only be admired from the distance. Surrounded  by fences, it is not quite such a nice view. And it is small. I imagined it much, much larger!!

by Sorin

Sorin is a freelance travel writer. He is an experienced travel writer and traveller. Since 2012 he explored more than 60 countries on 4 continents: Asia, Europe, Africa and North America. Currently is based in Romania after spending the last 7 years in Myanmar.