This site uses affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Saqqara, also spelled Sakkara or Saccara in English, is the vast necropolis site of the ancient capital city of Memphis. Find out how to visit and what to see in Saqqara.

Where Is Saqqara and How to Get There

Saqqara covers an area of around 7 by 1.5 km (4.35 by 0.93 mi). And, this is the place where the building of pyramids first began in Egypt.

Saqqara is located on the west bank of the River Nile, about 30 km (19 mi) south of Cairo. It takes approximately an hour to reach Saqqara traveling by car from Cairo.

A trip to Saqqara can easily be combined with a visit to Memphis, the great ancient capital city of Egypt. Check out How to Visit and What to See in Memphis, Egypt (Guide to Visiting Memphis).


Image Credit: Map data ©2020 ORION-ME

I think that having a private driver and a guide is the best way to reach and tour Saqqara. This option gives you total flexibility. Also, having a knowledgeable guide by your side is simply invaluable.

Now, if you are staying in one of the hotels in Cairo, your hotel will probably be more than happy to arrange for you a driver and a guide. Needless to say, this is an expensive option, but it is all worth it.

You can ask your hotel for a bus tour that stops at all major attractions in and around Cairo or for a day trip tour from Cairo that covers several stops. It is probably one of the least expensive options. But, it does not give you much flexibility.

Another option is to just book a taxi and head to Saqqara. You will always be able to hire a guide right at the entrance to the Saqqara Archaeological Site.

What to See When Visiting Saqqara

Saqqara features numerous pyramids, including the world-famous Step Pyramid of Djoser.

In addition, there is several mastabas that are worth checking out as well.

Also, there is a museum, the Imhotep Museum, and your entrance ticket to Saqqara Archaeological Site covers the Imhotep Museum as well.

The Imhotep Museum is a great starting point for visiting Saqqara. So, make sure to start your Saqqara Archaeological Site tour at the Museum of Imhotep and learn all about the excavations and discoveries made at Saqqara.

NUMBER 1

The Imhotep Museum

The Imhotep Museum is named in honor of the Egyptian architect Imhotep who is credited with designing the famous Step Pyramid of Djoser as well as the whole complex around the pyramid.

The Museum has several halls with beautifully designed and well-signed displays.

You will be able to see archaeological findings from various excavations in Saqqara.

I especially enjoyed looking at ancient tools used for the construction of monuments. Other interesting objects were green and blue faience wall tiles that decorate the walls of the chambers under the pyramid complex.

The Imhotep Museum is open from 8 am till 5 pm during the summer months (May through August) and 8 am till 4 pm during the winter months (September through April). The admission cost to the museum is included in the entrance ticket to the Saqqara Archaeological Site.

NUMBER 2

The Step Pyramid of Djoser

The Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara was constructed by Imhotep. It was the first pyramid ever built in Egypt. In addition, as my guide told me, the Step Pyramid of Djoser is the oldest surviving stone building in the world! It was built in the period from 2630 to 2611 BC.

The Step Pyramid is 60 meters high (204 feet) and consists of six steps.

The Saqqara Necropolis

Saqqara Necropolis / How to Visit and What to See in Saqqara

Guide to Visiting Saqqara

A Quick Read: 

How was the Pyramid of Djoser constructed?

  • The building process went through many different stages and there were a few false starts.
  • Investigations have shown that the pyramid began as a square mastaba, instead of the usual rectangular shape, and then was changed to rectangular. Why Imhotep decided to change the traditional rectangular mastaba shape is unknown but it is probable that Imhotep had in mind a square-based pyramid from the start.
  • When completed, the Step Pyramid rose 204 feet (62 meters) high and was the tallest structure of its time.

Source: Ancient History Encyclopedia

The Pyramid of Djoser

The Pyramid of Djoser / How to Visit and What to See in Saqqara

Guide to Visiting Saqqara

NUMBER 3

The Step Pyramid Funerary Complex

The Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara was a part of a funerary complex consisting of temples, courtyards, shrines, and living quarters for the priests.

 

The complex was surrounded by a wall. And, interestingly, as my guide told me, the wall had 13 false doors which were cut into the wall. In addition, there was a trench surrounding the wall. All of this was done to protect, defer and discourage any invading intruders.

What remains today of the Step Pyramid Funerary Complex is still well preserved. Make sure to take some cool pictures of the beautiful Hypostyle Hall at the Temple of Djoser.

Hypostyle Hall in Saqqara

Hypostyle Hall at the Temple of Djoser / How to Visit and What to See in Saqqara

Guide to Visiting Saqqara

Visit to Saqqara

The Hypostyle Hall at the Temple of Djoser / How to Visit and Wha to see in Saqqara

Visit to Saqqara

The Hypostyle Hall at the Temple of Djoser / How to Visit and Wha to see in Saqqara

NUMBER 4

The Tomb of Ka-gmni

The tomb of Ka-gmni consists of eight decorated chambers and five storage rooms.

The decorations in the first chamber show scenes of fishing and fowling and splendid depictions of birds and animals, and beautiful reliefs of offerings bearers.

Tomb of Ka-gmni

Tomb of Ka-gmni / How to Visit and What to See in Saqqara

Guide to Visiting Saqqara

How to Visit and What to See in Saqqara

Tomb of Ka-gmni / How to Visit and What to See in Saqqara

Guide to Visiting Saqqara

Visit to Saqqara

Tomb of Ka-gmni / How to Visit and What to See in Saqqara

Visit to Saqqara

Tomb of Ka-gmni / How to Visit and What to See in Saqqara

A Quick Read: 

Who was Ka-gmni?

  • Ka-gmni was a vizier from the early part of the reign of King Teti of the Sixth dynasty of Egypt. Ka-gmni’s wife Nebtynubkhet Sesheshet was a King’s Daughter and likely the daughter of Teti.
  • Ka-gmni held a great number of titles. He was an overseer of the two houses of gold and an overseer of the two treasuries.
  • He also held several religious positions, including that of High Priest of Re and Stolist of Min.
  • Other duties were related to the royal palace: overseer of the two chambers of the king’s adornment, director of the Mansions of the White and Red Crowns and keeper of the head ornaments.
  • As vizier, Ka-gmni also held the positions of overseer of the scribes of the king’s documents, overseer of all the works of the king, and overseer of the six great courts.

Source: Wikipedia

How to Visit Saqqara - Things to Know Before You Go

  • How much time do you need to visit Saqqara?

In my opinion, you will need at least 1-2 hours to tour the Saqqara Archaeological Site. This includes visiting one tomb and then the funerary complex and snapping a few pictures of the Step Pyramid. If you are planning on visiting other tombs then you need to account for more time required.

  • How much does it cost to visit Saqqara?

First of all, you can purchase your ticket right at the entrance to the Saqqara Archaeological Site. It costs 180 EGP. The entrance ticket covers both, the Saqqara Archaeological Site and the Imhotep Museum.

  • What are the opening hours of the Saqqara Archaeological Site? 

Saqqara site is open daily for visitors. In the summer (May through August), Saqqara is open from 8 am till 5 pm. During the winter months (September through April), it is open from 8 am till 4 pm.

  • What is the best time to visit Saqqara?

First of all, without any doubt, plan your visit to Saqqara as early as possible. If you manage to get there by at least 8 am, you will be in good shape. You will practically have the place all to yourself and be able to get some great pictures without any tourists in them. It starts to get crowded by about 10 am.

In addition, if you are visiting during the summer months, then keep in mind that practically you will be outside in the scorching sun the entire time. So, it makes sense to get there early in the morning. Furthermore, wear a hat and hydrate.

Intrepid Scout's Tips for How to Visit and What to See in Saqqara

  • Is Saqqara worth visiting? If you are wondering if it is worth going to Saqqara? The answer is: yes! The pyramid of Djoser is an incredible sight. Plus, visiting the tomb of Ka-gmni was an unexpected surprise.

Here are a few pointers for visiting Saqqara:

  • Get there early, if you are visiting during the summer months. It is an open-air museum and the majority of the time you will be spending outdoors.
  • Make sure to have water, wear a hat, and layer on some sunscreen!

Traveling in Egypt can be challenging, even for the most seasoned nomad. There’s so much to know about Egypt and consider before planning a trip, however, make sure to read 14 Egypt travel tips, to help you make the most of your time,  avoid possible challenges, and ensure you have a safe and enjoyable stay in Egypt.

14 Egypt Travel Tips to Save You Time, Money, and Keep You Safe

Now, It Is Your Turn, I Would Like to Hear Back from You!

Are you planning on visiting Saqqara?

Please let me know! Drop me a quick comment right below!

Also, click on any of the images below to get inspired and to help you with the planning process for your trip to Egypt!

Did You Find This Useful?

Why Not Save How to Visit and What to See in Saqqara to Your Pinterest Board!

How to Visit and What to See in Saqqara
How to Visit and What to See in Saqqara

Leave an answer

Your email address will not be published.

The company processes your data to facilitate the publication and management of comments. You can exercise your rights of access, rectification, deletion and objection, among others, according to our Privacy policy.