Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead

The Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead are the burial grounds of Memphis, Egypt’s ancient capital. This place is also known and spelled as Sakkara or Saccara. Unlike the Great Pyramids of Giza, the ones you see here are smaller but older than the former.

Off-the-beaten track

While tourists mainly flock to the three great pyramids, only few come here for a visit. I saw only one big tour bus in my two hours of exploration here. Most of the visitors were on private tours, like me.

How much to get here?

I hired a driver to get me here because I didn’t want to be with a vast group. I paid around $30. He took me here and then to Dashur, where the Red Pyramid, the world’s first true pyramid, is located. The whole trip lasted 5 hours.

The most famous of all Saqqara Pyramids is the Step Pyramids of Zoser.

Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).
Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

As you can see, its base is rectangular, and if you move closer, you’ll find several benches.

Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).
Sakkara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

And, of course, you’ll find photogenic camels chillin’ in front of it.

Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).
Sakkara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

The area isn’t that big, and you can explore it in less than an hour.

Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).
Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

It took me almost two hours here because I walked around the Step Pyramid of Zoser.

Sakkara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).
Sakkara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

The surrounding area is full of pyramids in a different state of devastation.

Things to do and see in Cairo (Egypt).
Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

Most of them look like just mounds of sand.

Things to do and see in Cairo (Egypt).
Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

And most of them, too, was built with sandstone clay of poor quality.

Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).
Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

You’ll see these two pyramids: the Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid.

Step Pyramid of Zoser at Sakkara (Cairo, Egypt).
Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara (Cairo, Egypt).

You’ll see part of Cairo’s skyline and the lush dates plantation next to the vast desert in two different directions.

Step Pyramid of Zoser at Sakkara (Cairo, Egypt).
Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara (Cairo, Egypt).

Aside from Zoser, the ruler of the 3rd Dynasty, the other 16 Egyptian Kings also built pyramids here.

Step Pyramid of Zoser at Sakkara (Cairo, Egypt).
Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara (Cairo, Egypt).

All visitors must pass through this funerary complex.

Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara (Cairo, Egypt).
Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara (Cairo, Egypt).

The funerary complex has rows of columns that will lead you to the Step Pyramid of Zoser.

Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara (Cairo, Egypt).
Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara (Cairo, Egypt).

Travel Tip: 
Explore the Great Pyramids of Giza in the morning and then visit Saqqara after lunch. They’re a 20-30 minutes drive from each other.

How to Save Time and Money in Cairo

Cairo is still cheap, and Egypt is the second cheapest country I’ve ever been to. However, taking public transport is a challenge – crowded and hot. If you’re a solo traveler and you’re up for it, then I recommend you to do it. Taxi? Good luck! Either the driver will pretend to take the shorter route or fool you with the meter. Both happened to me. And not to mention lousy driving skills. 😂

On the other hand, if you have little time in Cairo and want so much to explore – join a tour! It’s more informative and hassle-free from harassment in public transport and avoids the scorching heat.

Where to stay in Giza with Views of the Pyramids

If you are on a budget, I recommend three guest houses/accommodations: Giza Pyramids View Guest House, Giza Pyramids Inn, and Comfort Pyramids Inn. All these three guesthouses have views of the pyramids. Jimmy’s Pyramids Views and Marvel Stone Hotel will suit you if you can afford more.

KeepCalmAndWander

A wanderer. A frustrated photographer. Hiker. Lover. Half extrovert, half introvert. Solo traveler.

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KEEP CALM and WANDER