I was in Cairo, visiting the pyramids. The idea of riding a camel never crossed my mind. What am I, an eight year old? It seemed vaguely odd that my own tour guide asked me about four times if I wanted to ride a Camel around the pyramids. I was trying to get a sense of 4000 years of history and those bugs turn it into some cheap, mawkish carnival ride. I simply refused every attempt. Only after reading the other comments did I realize what a scam I avoided.
Fun Alternatives: I told my guide I wanted to walk completely around the largest pyramid. Khufu? Cheops? Whatever. He was not pleased with this idea. He said it would take several hours. What, was he high? It took about 20 minutes!! And that's because I was having trouble with breathing. The entire country is full of annoying, money-grubbing bugs.
Even if you've been riding camels before (for me: Sfax and Petra) do take a camel ride to and around the pyramids (or a horse if you're really afraid of heights or have difficulty spreading your legs wide for a long time - not trying to be funny here, but you may get cramps). It sure helps if you have a tour guide present, even if like in my case he left the bargaining with the camel owner to me. Didn't have to bargain too hard: camel owner asked LE 120 including access to the grounds, entry into one of the pyramids and camera permit. As I didn't have a camera with me I told him 100 and that was alright without further ado (so less should be possible, but wasn't necessary for me). My camel driver entered the pyramids enclosure from the 'panorama hill' on the South side and didn't buy a ticket to the grounds. In my estimation he paid off three tourist police, probably for LE 10 each. Left the camel owner with LE 70 for himself which I didnt mind as it was magnificent. The camel driver asked me for a tip at the end (it was not his camel) and I gave him another 20. A lot? Not if you consider it's less than 3 euros.
Every guidebook warn you about it but the level of hassle is not understood until you go there and experience it yourself. People asking you to buy camelrides, drinks or maybe the need you to exchange something. They really dont take no for an aswer and follow you while they continue to offer their services.
The touristpolice are present at the pyramids and try to scare the "salespersons" off but they are hopelessly outnumbered.
Unique Suggestions: The salespersons dont give up easily and i found the best way to stop them was to repeatedly saying no thanks in a friendly but firm tone of voice.
Ok, you are in Cairo, and you must ride a camel, and they know it. Just be smart about it. If your with a tour guide ask him to negiotate for you. And no matter what you do don't take the first price they give you again they all speak ENGLISH, French, Italian, German, you'll be surprised. We took a 30 minute ride and the camel owner took great pictures of us, at the end we paid 100 LE for 2 of us, about $20 US dollars. Not as bad I thought it would be....but be warned the camel stink like you never smelled before, so make sure you don't have nice clothes on, if not you'll end up throwing them away !!!!!
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!
What trip is not complete without a camel ride. Sure it is a tourist trap.....so......just enjoy it. We did. Here is my wonderful Mom, can you believe it? I managed to get her on this camel (believe me, this is no small task, my sister tried getting her on a camel in Morocco but, hey, I am the special one, so I convinced her to get on this camel.
It was one of the highlights of our trip (along with the donkey ride which is another chapter under my Egypt trip). I am not sure what a camel ride would cost because we didn't pay for our evening ride which took us to the Pyramid Plateu and gave us the opportunity to see (for free) the Pyramid Lazer Light Show.
Can you believe that? There truly are very nice people in this wonderful world that we live in and I am happy that we had the opportunity to meet quite a few here in Cairo.
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.
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.
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.
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.
don't ever pose in front of camels around the giza necropolis area as eventhough you are not riding them and you are just in front of them and taking pictures, the camel herders wil pester you, rather aggressively to pay them for the picture! they will ask 40 LE (about 5 US Dollars) as payment, even though they are not the ones who took the shot and even if the camels are sitting far from them. If you are with a large group and a burly tour guides, then they would back off but if you are just a pair travelling, then they would pester you.
Unique Suggestions: take pictures of the camels far away using your zoom camera and a little bit of photo magic to make it appear that you are near the camel, this way you would not get any annoying people asking for money.
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.