Saqqara Travel Blog

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Today was the big day, the horse ride to Saqqara, first we needed to organize the overnight train tickets to Aswan. This went surprisingly well, caught the metro to Ramses train station where we booked the tickets however we were told that only payment in USD was accepted, this alone proved to be an adventure trying to find a reputable place to exchange the cash without being ripped off. Eventually we found a bank which entailed crossing eight lanes of traffic at rush hour not an easy task. With out USD we were now able to purchase the tickets and move onto the fun part of the day. This however did not go exactly to plan, I rang the recommended who informed me that you could ride within sight of the pyramids of Saqqara but not visit them as the government has now restricted access.


We therefore opted to arrange a taxi to cover the 30km in rush hour traffic this alone took an hour and a half. Haggled with five drivers but eventually found Ahmed who after some time agreed on a fair price of 150EGP (20GBP) the ride alone was worth it traffic here is crazy, lanes have no meaning nor do the pedestrian crossing points or the traffic police. Ahmed could get his little heap of a Lada from 0 to 60 in about 10 feet taking advantage of any gap through which he could force his way.

after being spat at by angry tour guide
For the final 30 mins of the trip we drove through what appeared to be war torn parts of Afghanistan which then opened out into a palm tree oasis before breaking into open desert with the pyramids in sight. Got there in one piece however I miss seatbelts, bought the tickets once money had been exchanged we were then told that the site would be closing in half an hour for Ramadan. This led to Ahmed (the taxi guy) driving cross the desert rally style to get us there with as much time as possible. Jumped out the taxi ran past the people selling nodding camel toys and entered the sight. Big improvement on Giza but not enough bloody time, one guy kept grabbing at my arm trying to guide us round the site obviously wanting cash until I politely told him to bugger off at which point he spat at our feet and walked away countering to himself. Next came the tourist police who armed with their trusty AK47s seemed in a hurry to go home unless of course you were going to give them money. At one point one asked for a one dollar tip, now I am guessing that’s about 70p at the moment so I wouldn’t normally do this but I started arguing with the guy with the rifle and eventually walked away half expecting to be shot in the back, these pyramids or what we saw of them looked immersive and we will no doubt visit them again but as always the place was let down by the people. Regardless of the setback we had a great afternoon and enjoyed a formula one style ride home.

pbug31 says:
if u like a taxi driver that you like, u can ask him to be ur driver for the day or longer, usually u will get a better price and wont get ripped off so much. :)
Posted on: Sep 19, 2009
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after being spat at by angry tour …
after being spat at by angry tour…
photo by: Chiquitatina