Is a camel ride worth it?
This is a pretty controversial question and since everyone has different experiences, you may not always get the same answer. Based on our experience, I would say YES (read more below), but know what to expect. Here are the pros and cons based on our experience:
- Some trails and vantage points are just not doable by foot but taking a long camel ride will give you more perspectives of the pyramids
- Amazing photos in general with the camels
- A memorable experience
- Like all of Egypt- this experience is prone to scammers and overly zealous tip collectors .
- Not all camels were in the best of shape.
- Riding down hill is challenging and camels might not be the most comfortable experience.
Tips for Camel Riding
If you are there with a guide, have them make the arrangements and agreements for you- especially the price and terms of the ride. Even if not with a guide, make sure it is clear how much you will pay AND where you will go before you get on the camel. DO NOT get on a camel thinking it is free or cheap before working out how much to pay.
About our camel ride
After we visited the Great pyramid, we visited panorama point with our guide and got some great photos there. Our guide offered the experience to us and worked out the cost with the local guys so we agreed we wanted to go. We started our camel ride from panorama point and rode all the way down to the Sphinx. It was about 40 minutes with a stop halfway to get a better perspective of the pyramids and more photos.
Cost: 400 EGP each (about $25 USD)
It was just the 2 of us on this ride and we started off with an older guy who lead us a couple hundred yards until a teenage kid took over leading our camels on the one way journey. About half way we stopped to get some photos (the kid did an awesome job of that I will say) and change camels with some that had been making the journey in the opposite direction. It wasn’t really explained to us why we changed camels and unfortunately my second camel’s saddle and gait were less comfortable than the first.
The second part of the ride went downhill – literally
At the halfway stop we also had a random hawker walk up to us popping the tops off soda bottles before he even got to us which was a little uncomfortable since we hadn’t agreed to buy the drinks or even noticed him selling them until he was right in front of us. We insisted to them we didn’t have any money on us to buy the drinks and that our guide had our money at the bottom where he was waiting for us.
This may have resulted in a different kind of fallout where the kid who was walking with us figured he might not get a tip so he actually hopped up on Braden’s camel with him, making Braden ride on the back for almost the entirety of the 2nd part of the ride. (I’m pretty sure they aren’t supposed to do that as he hopped back down just before we rounded the corner to the Sphinx area)
He spent the rest of the ride turning around every 5 seconds asking if “we were happy” and then saying something about a tip or asking where we were from (over and over and over again). He also supposedly was making some jokes to Braden about how many camels I was worth? (I didn’t hear that part) and Braden said the kid’s breath was horrible so needless to say, Braden didn’t have the best camel ride experience.
My experience – it was uncomfortable
For the most part I had a nice experience in contrast since I didn’t have to share my camel. However I struggled more to just stay on and found the downhill walk pretty uncomfortable. If I were to do it again I’d probably ask if there’s a reverse way to ride from the Sphinx back up to Panorama Point or maybe even go on a shorter ride just to that first viewpoint and then ride back up to panorama point.
The Positives (of our experience)
I know that sounds like a whole lot of negatives, but I do want to be real by presenting what actually is a decent experience compared to other people who get scammed out of the same amount of money to just sit on a camel for a quick photo or 2 minute ride.
The views of the pyramids from the back of a camel are just something you have to experience for yourself; I don’t think there’s a substitute. I loved the views we got from the path we took and it was SO cool looking out across the sands, seeing other people on camels or horses look absolutely tiny in front of the massive pyramids. It was really just unreal and crossed one of my last major Egypt bucket-list activities off my list.
If you’re considering going on a camel ride during your visit, I hope this experience sheds some light on what it is like so you can deem whether it is worth it to you or not. We would absolutely make the same choice again and deem this experience worth it. (we just might not want to hop on camels for another ride again for a while)