The Giza Pyramids, Egypt’s largest tourist attraction, draw millions of visitors each year. They also draw a significant number of the most determined opportunists from a long distance away. Report any harassment by camel drivers or tourist touts to the black-uniformed (or white-uniformed in the summer) Tourist Police immediately, and be prepared for a variety of potential scams, including “advice” from official-looking individuals that an attraction is closed or has an alternate entrance. Also, be aware that any “favor” of any type (providing directions, being shown anything, etc.) may be done in anticipation of a tip, so be wary when accepting unsolicited aid (though don’t let excessive caution ruin your vacation; you may also meet real kindness). Also, be in mind that certain Tourist Police officers may frequently offer to assist you in exchange for a tip. Many well-known fraudsters will operate directly in front of tourist police, who are either complicit or refuse to interfere.
Tips To Avoid Harassment
If you’re alone, headphones let you avoid the relentless “Hello, where are you from my buddy” conversation starters. Smiling and pointing at the headphones also appears to work.
Avoid establishing eye contact, beginning discussions, or accepting any assistance with taking or posing for photographs for you—they will regard you as an easy target for harassment.
Saying “La Shukran” (No thanks) indicates you know a little more than the ordinary visitor and will not be seen as hostile or impolite. Smiling while you say it doesn’t harm since it doesn’t seem as an invitation to chat, but it indicates you’re not trying to offend.
Additional Useful Safety Tips
When picking a native horse or camel ride, be careful; you might be taken advantage of or placed in risky circumstances. The “donkey-mafia” that operate near the main entrance will use the most “persuasive” and frequently forceful ways to get you aboard their animals, and they don’t seem to comprehend the meaning of the word “No.” When you say no and have to get off them, they will make such a commotion that you will have to pay for the pleasure of denying their hospitality. NOTE: During the revolution, some of these persons were part in the Battle of the Camels, which resulted in the deaths of innocent citizens. Use according to your conscience.
Climbing any of the Pyramids is strictly prohibited and highly hazardous!
Take lots of bottled water with you, as you would anyplace else in Egypt, particularly during the warmer months, and wear a hat and sunscreen—sunglasses are also a good idea!