If you haven't ridden a camel before, the temptation to do so at the Pyramids will be overpowering. It seems so romantic an idea - riding to or from the Pyramids on your trusty camel.
However, unless your guide actually arranges it for you I would have to advise very strongly against it.
I had done my camel thing in Tunisia many years ago, so I wasn't tempted, but in any event our guide warned us that many camel owners will take you on a long camel ride, but then will refuse to let you dismount unless you pay several hundred dollars. If you've been seperated from your group, the temptation to pay and get away would be irresistable.
The one thing that tourists would like to do while visiting the Great Pyramids of Giza would be to ride a camel and don on an Arabic headdress. There are plenty of camel keepers at the Great Pyramids who will try to offer you a ride on their camels. I went on one of the camels after agreeing on a price (forgotten what it was). The camel keeper started to take the camel further and further away from the tour bus. It was not until my tour guide intervened that the camel keeper brought me back to the starting point.
Unique Suggestions: It is difficult to avoid this trap. The camel keeper will try every means to extort money from you before bringing you back to your tour bus. Do not sit on the camel!
Fun Alternatives: Do not ride the camel. If you really must have a photo with the camel, just take a picture WITH the camel, not sitting on it. Negotiate the price with the camel keeper for taking the photo BEFORE you actually take the photo.
beware of people near the pyramids selling camel rides for expensive prices. do not let a cab driver arrange a camel ride for you.
Unique Suggestions: bargain the price down 50% at least. NEVER forget to bring water with you, its is extremely hot in teh sun, summertime approaches 40+ degree celcius.
Dont use any of the freelance camel or horse guides inside the pyramids of Giza. best to arrange everything outside the walls also considering it would take an average Egyptian 5 days to make what you just had to pay your guide for a couple of hours best to be hard when he hassles you for an exorbatent tip at the end. I didnt but I thought about it later and felt like I gave more to him than to about 50 street beggars in Cairo which felt a bit shameful really.
They will offer you a camel ride into the desert and extort you out of more money than originally agreed upon before taking you back. This works especially well when they know you are part of a tour group whos bus is leaving in less than half an hour.
Unique Suggestions: Either decline the ride outright if you are part of a tour on a tight schedule. If you're not part of a tour I suppose you can take your chances but at least negotiate hard upfront so they get the idea you are not easy prey. Secondly tell them you only want to ride around the pyramids. Failing that, if they ignore simply jump off the camel - if you're so inclined physically of course.
Fun Alternatives: Bring your own quadraped, but be sure it's one capable of bearing your weight.
when visiting the Pyramids at Giza, be prepared to be surrounded by or followed by men touting for customers for their horses or camels.
Unique Suggestions: the best thing is to ignore them. or say "La, shukran' [no thankyou] and then walk on.
Fun Alternatives: it is better to hire a taxi for the whole trip who can take you up to the viewing point and wait till you have finished your explorations. It will be costly, but less stressful and can be a blessing if the sun is too hot.
So you hear you can ride a camel in the desert near the pyramids? Sounds exciting? Sounds fun? Sounds exotic? Well, ok it WOULD have been if the camel guys would let you have more than a 2 minute ride...
I got onto the camel with my friend, really excited about our ride into the desert...and what did we get? Basically you climb on the camel, go around in a small circle, jump off the camel and pay the guy who'll rub your leg as you sit on the camel and ask for extra money. So not worth it. I was really disappointed, a total waste of money.
Unique Suggestions: Watch the poor sods who paid for a stupid 2 minute camel ride.
Fun Alternatives: Walk around the pyramids/desert yourself, you don't need to pay for a bloody 2 minute camel ride.
I haven't done this but the camel keepers are very aggressive inviting you to ride their camels. Be careful and negotiate the price before you get on a camel because they can ask for more money when you have to get off. I've tried riding a camel during a safari in the desert and believe me, an inexperience person can't get off a camel without help.
Many salespeople are trying to sell you something or ask money for a picture. Try to avoid these people (it will not be easy). They are very stubborn. Once you have looked at the product they won't go away until you bought someting. It can spoil the real purpose of your visit; watching the pyramids
Unique Suggestions: Stop the conversation with the people as soon as you know they want to sell you something. The will be angry, but don't feel embarrassed. It's all part of the act.
Fun Alternatives: Staying with a group might help a little. Especially when you have a good tourguide who knows about these practices.
The camel trap.
There is a popular trick they play on you near the Pyramids. You are offered a free photo on a camel just for the sake of doing you pleasure. But when you climb the beast, it gets up and its owner demands from 10 to 50 dollars from you to get the camel down. I jumped off, so got out without loosing my money. Just be careful and a bit more sceptical!
I was lucky to have an Egyptian national as a friend and guide. One of the best recommendations he made was. If you want to ride a camel, then wear cloths you are willing to burn after riding a camel. The smell permiates the cloths and can not be removed. Also never go out on a camel by yourself once the camel guide gets you out in the desert and your by yourself he may demand $100 american dollars to return you to the city. Make sure you are in a group and you have a responsible tourguide with you.
If you decide to ride a camel make sure that you agree about a price BEFORE you get on the camel or otervise it will be expensive.
Unique Suggestions: Agree about the price fist.
Friend of mine, lady, was in Egypt before me. She wanted to ride a camel. She paid and the guy took so far from the group. She thought that he will not turn her back. Be careful with that.