Before I went to Egypt, I knew I wanted to visit the Great Pyramids of Giza without organising a guide or tour. I really wanted to spend a full morning roaming around the pyramids at my own pace, without having the pressure of other people waiting on me. I did a lot of research but there wasn’t much information online, so I went and hoped for the best.
The good news is visiting the pyramids without a guide is totally doable. Here are all the tips and tricks I learnt from my experience so you can do it yourself when you visit Egypt.
How do I get to the pyramids?
The easiest way to get to the pyramids is by Uber. It’s best to put your drop off location as the ticket booth, as this is where you’ll need to enter. If you search on google maps for ‘Giza Pyramids Ticket Office’ you will find the location of the ticket booth. It’s directly in front of the Pizza Hut. You’ll buy your admission tickets (200 EGP) and enter through the metal detector at the ticket office into the Giza complex. If you want to go inside any of the pyramids, you’ll need to buy seperate tickets at this point before entering the complex (more info about going inside further down).
When should I arrive at the pyramids?
I’d recommend arriving at the pyramids in the morning when the complex opens at 8am, or as close to 8am as you can. If you go in the morning, you’ll almost have the place to yourself, which makes for a special experience. It also means you’ll have done the majority of your walking before the midday sun starts beating down. Nobody likes a sweaty selfie.
Where should I start exploring from?
Most organised tours drive further up the road and start exploring the site near the base of the Pyramids, but by entering down at the ticket booth you’ll be treated to a panoramic view of the 3 main pyramids and the Sphinx as soon as you walk in. This view is what you came to Egypt for!
How do I get to the Sphinx?
To get down closer to the Sphinx, turn left to walk past the bathrooms and through the open gate (as if you’re exiting the complex from the side). Straight after the gate, take a right and follow the path where you can see the row of souvenir vendors set up. From this path you can go right (straight into the dirt) and walk around to get an iconic picture of the Sphinx head-on. Alternatively, you can jump the barriers to the left of the bathroom entrance and get to the same position. The security situation is hit and miss, and it really depends on the time of day and if the guards are bothered to punish you or not!
To the left of the Sphinx is the stone mummification temple with two entrance doorways. Go through the entrance on the right to go inside the mummification temple. This the only place where you might need to show your ticket to the guard, as they do have guards here most of the time (usually in civilian clothing which can be confusing). Once you go in, you’ll go around the corner and head up a ramp into the section where you can take the typical pictures kissing the Sphinx from the side!
How do I get to the base of the pyramids?
Once you’re done here, exit through the gate and head up the pathway towards the middle pyramid of Khafre. If you look to your left you’ll see ruins of priests’ tombs. If you look back toward the entrance, you’ll start to see a great view of Giza city.
When you reach the top of the path, you’ll be at the base of the pyramid of Khafre. From here, you can step over the barriers and go right up to the pyramids and touch the stones!
Where is the best view of all 3 pyramids?
If you walk around the base of the pyramid of Khafre towards the smaller pyramid of Menkaure, you’ll start to get some amazing vantage points of the pyramids without many tourists in the way. You can keep going through the dirt all the way over to the pyramid of Menkaure for a great view of all three great pyramids. This area is probably the best place for pictures. You’ll get some unique angles that most people won’t get to due to time constraints of a regular tour.
When you’re ready, you can head back through the dirt towards the great pyramid of Khufu.
Can I go inside the pyramids?
It’s possible to go inside the pyramid of Khafre for 100EGP and the great pyramid of Khufu for 400EGP – just remember to buy your seperate ticket down the bottom when you start, otherwise you’ll have to walk all the way back down to the entrance ticket booth. Many people say it’s not worth going inside the pyramids since there’s nothing inside, but I really enjoyed going inside the great pyramid of Khufu! You can read more about going inside the pyramids and what to expect here. You’ll only need to go inside one pyramid, since they’re all very similar from the inside.
Can I climb up the pyramids?
By law you aren’t allowed to climb the pyramids, although since the security is minimal many people do (or at least try to). I witnessed a man blatantly ignoring the guards screaming at him to get down. There are plenty of stories of people going to jail for climbing the pyramids, so climb at your own risk. At the end of the day, I think being respectful of these amazing structures and their history is more important than a few pictures for your socials. If you really want to get a picture of you climbing, it can be done around back side of the Great Pyramid of Khufu on your way inside the pyramid.
Is it safe to visit the pyramids solo?
The biggest problem you’ll have going to the pyramids without a guide is being touted by the local vendors. While it can be annoying and difficult to deal with, it’s important to understand that Egypt is a developing country where these people are trying to make ends meet through tourism. They will be very persistent, so make sure you are well prepared so it doesn’t rattle you and spoil your experience.
Beware of anyone who asks for your ticket and says they’re there from the Ministry of Tourism to help you. Their famous lines are “I’m not a camel or a horse man, you don’t need to worry, I don’t want money”. They can be extremely pushy trying to guide you around and even tell you that you can’t visit certain areas without a guide (which isn’t true). Be firm with declining their help and they’ll eventually leave you alone.
The men with camels and horses will ride up to you offering a cheap price for a trip to the top of the complex or out to the panoramic view – again, be polite but firm in saying no and they’ll continue on their way. If you come in the morning they’re more likely to target you since the complex is quiet and there are not many people to hustle. If you do happen to find a friendly guide or camel man and wish to have them help you, make sure you negotiate a good price before setting off.
You’ll be able to snap a few pictures of camels around the complex as there are plenty around, but if you want to pose with a camel be prepared to pay a tip for doing so. Although if you’re nice and the camel handler likes you, he might let you take them for free – that’s what happened to me!
What should I do once I’m finished exploring?
Once you’re finished exploring the site, you can walk down the sealed road back to the front entrance where you entered.
It’s easy to order and catch an Uber from here back into downtown Cairo. If all the walking has made you hungry, you can grab a pizza from Pizza Hut, or walk around the corner to have some traditional Koshary from a local restaurant called Koshary Hekaya (64 ش ابو الهول السياحى، Nazlet El-Semman, الجيزة، Giza Governorate, Egypt).
Hopefully this guide helps you to enjoy the Great Pyramids of Giza solo!!
Need more pyramid inspiration? Check out my post on going inside the pyramids: what’s inside and what to expect.