If, like me, you are disgusted and upset at the treatment of some horses (and camels) at the Giza Pyramids but you’d love to have the unique experience of seeing the pyramids on horseback then I think you’ll like this blog post! Last weekend myself and some friends booked a 2hr desert ride with Cairo Horse Riding School. My friends are regulars at the stables, they have weekly lessons there and even sponsor their own horse, AJ. It can be difficult to know which businesses are trustworthy and ethical but as they have been visiting these stables for a while they know Tamer is completely committed to rescuing horses and rehabilitating them.
Tamer’s stables are located in Giza. The back gate of the property leads straight onto the desert South of the pyramids and catching a first glimpse of these ancient wonders was, as always, breathtaking. The stables house about 10 horses, the majority of which have been rescued from a terrible life giving rides at the pyramids in horrendous conditions. If you’ve been to Giza you will know many of the animals don’t receive adequate food and water, shade, rest or medicine. It’s hard not to see how emancipated they are, covered in sores and cuts from accidents and heavy handed owners. It’s beyond me why anybody with a conscience or any compassion would consider riding these poor things but I digress. Tamer also has a small menagerie of rabbits, sheep, dogs and a couple of donkeys! He’s more than happy for you to have a wander around while he gets the horses ready.
Our horses were brought out to us and we were fitted with our riding hats. The stirrups and reigns were adjusted to our comfort and safety then we spent about 10 minutes walking around the paddock getting acquainted with our horses. Riley, my horse was a ‘feisty female’ I have no idea why Tamer thought her and I would be suited!
Once we were all ready and comfortable we headed into the desert. The walk out took about 30 minutes and we could see the Pyramids very clearly. Tamer gave us instructions and advice throughout, checking on us often. He encouraged us to canter which was terrifying but exhilarating. You could tell the horses loved getting out into the breeze and having exercise.
Soon we arrived at a makeshift tent/cafe where we drank mint tea and sodas in the shade. The horses were tied up and given water although that didn’t stop them from sticking their heads under the tarpaulin to get to the dates and nuts we were eating. We sat with the view of the pyramids and the urban sprawl of Cairo before us then the Friday call to prayer rang out and it felt quite special.
After a rest we got back onto our four legged friends and took the same route back. It was amazing to be able to see Saqqara and Dahshur in the distance and really get a sense of the landscape. As soon as we arrived back at the stables we dismounted and the horses were given some time in the paddock, they threw themselves down, rolling in the sand to cool off.
As you can tell I loved my desert riding experience and it was made even better knowing that I was supporting a business which is committed to the rescue and rehabilitation of horses. My ride cost 400LE and this included all equipment, a drink in the cafe and supervision. Tamers Facebook page is called Cairo Horse Riding School here you can check out more photos, see the map showing the location and a price list for different services, there are also reviews on Trip Advisor. His English is excellent so if you have any questions you can contact him directly. Although I am really sore (I’m so unfit!) I really enjoyed my morning and seeing the pyramids from a different perspective.
*please note that this post was written in 2018*