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.
Please be careful while negotiating with the Camel man, ask very clearly about the rates in Egyptian Pounds. Our guide told us it was 100 Egyptian Pounds ( 100 L.E. or about USD$20) per person and we paid for 3 of us. But the ride was only for about half an hour, I think it was a bit expensive for half an hour. The guide also told us that you may be cheated by them if we do not go through her as she spoke in Arabic to them. There are many instances that they ask for UK Pounds of US Dollar 100!
On way they will ask if you are intersted to get yourself photographed, who does n't? Then they will ask for 10 Egyptian Pounds for photographs taken, then he will ask for additional Bakhshis ( Tips)
Unique Suggestions: Please make sure before you start how much money he will take in Egyptian Pounds. Ofcourse, if you are filthy rich, or want to pay the poor man, you can always go ahead and pay as much as you want.
Fun Alternatives: Take the horse carriage, or another camel. But you will be mobbed here too! Be polite and take another willing person, I am sure there will be many!
Beware of camel owners/operators that try to extort money from visitors just wanting to take a short ride or pose for photos on a camel. Agree on a price and explain to the handler that you would like a short ride of 5-10 minutes and maybe a photo. The latest scam is they will agree on a price and take you quite a distance from where you started from in order ask you for more money to return you back to where you started from. It may not seem like that big a deal, but believe me, if you are out there in the hot desert sun, it will be.
Again, bargain and agree on a fair price, set a short time limit, that way you can get a nice photo of you on a camel and you can still leave with most of your money.
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.
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.
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.
We heard some one who took the 15 minute camel ride on Giza, the guy was forced to pay more money to come back after they had led him to far out which no one heard him screaming to let him go.......
I also saw 2 women arguing with a camel guy who did not give change to the ladies after the ride. The guy simply denied the women about he promised to give them change back.
Be careful on your way to the pyramids of giza - DO NOT give in to or start talking to anyone who tries to stop your taxi on the road or let your driver take you to a 'friend's' stable - he'll be getting commission. these horses are in general not well-cared for and neither are their customers (bridles and saddles won't fit or be safe and the 'guide' (normally a ten year old boy) will simply crack a whip behind them to make them run; ignoring anything you might want
Unique Suggestions: Just completely ignore anyone who tries to get you to stop the car, ride their horses/camels. Be firm that you know where you're going. Don't get stressed, just think of it as a battle of wills!
An ride around in the Giza pyramid vicinity on either horse OR camel should only cost LE 30-60. Anything more is a ripoff. Don't believe the stories they tell you about the pyramid being closed due to a special occasion and the president coming (blahblahblah); the pyramids are open for tourists all year round! So camel rides are always an alternative, not the ONLY WAY to see the pyramids.
Was majorly ripped off at LE 180 for a one hour ride. Please, don't break my record.
Unique Suggestions: If they start demanding more and tell you it's an honest price, smile and say, "lac, shukran" ("No, thank you") and head out. Either they will let you go without anymore hassle, or they will suddenly agree to your lower price and start hauling you on to the camel/horse before you can say "Lawrence of Arabia".
Best times for photography while riding: just before sunset so the shadows fall beautifully all around the structures. On that note, don't bring a camera you can't use with just one hand-- you'll need a steady grip on these rocky rides.
Camel rides around the Giza pyramids are great fun and taking one after 4 pm when the pyramids are closed allows you to take great panoramic photos of them without the crowds around. However be wary as the guide we went with stopped the group a fair ways out from the stables (we're talking the desert after hours) and demanded generous tips from everyone in the group before continuing on-i.e implying that if we didn't cough up he would leave us out there. Also when we got back the stable manager was quick to point out that we went over the 1hr and should pay more than the agreed price (although the pace and timing of the tour was dictated by his guide on horse back who'd earlier blackmailed us). These camel ride operators are notorious for this kind of caper and something should be done about this but it would seem that the tourist police get their backhanders from these operators so this will probably continue to happen.
Unique Suggestions: Do not get on the camels before agreeing on a price and the length of time you want to go out for. Often the stable master will say just get on the camels and to take a photo and then talk price later-once you're up on the camels the timer has started and he will charge based on time spent on them. Often people ask for an hours ride but the guide will take the group right around all the sites and bring you back hours later and then insist that you've done the full tour and have to pay the full price. Stick to your guns and tell the stable master up front how much you're prepared to pay for what length of time you want to ride for. If you come back later than the agreed time-this is the fault of the guide who does this intentionally to stretch out the bill and not yours so pay what you specifically asked for in the first place. We did this and when the stable master grumbled and asked for more I reminded him that I'd asked for an hour and his guide stuffed us around.
Allways negotiate the price before you get on the Camel. Don't give more than 10LE (usualy 1-2 LE will be enough) . One guy had to pay 25 euros in order to get off it.
Camel ride is most expencive near the Pyramids.
I dont like repiting the tips but I have to put this one on every of my Egypt pages
If your going to get a camel then there is one thing you have to remember.
Camels are not horses.
Do not try to sit astride it like it is one.
Watch the way your guide rides. Scoot all the way up to the saddle horn so it is flush against your abdomen and place your legs towards/on the downward slope leading to the neck of the camel. Hook your right leg upward a bit and get comfortable.
This may seem unstable when you first take yourself out of sitting astride, but there is a reason the locals ride this way. Give yourself two minutes sitting astride a camel in horseback fashion and you'll end up limping the rest of your trip.
When in doubt in Cairo use your eyes and your brain.
I saw a guy haggled his price in taking a picture with the camel in front of a pyramid. Then some guy will walked next to you and volunteer to be on your picture by putting his hand on your shoulder without asking for your permission to be on the photo. Then this guy will chase after you non-stop for a big tip & so was the one who rent you the camel for picture.......
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.
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.