Traveller reveals the four main scams at the Pyramids

Traveller reveals the four main scams for solo tourists to watch out for at Egypt’s pyramids, from the ‘whistle hustle’ to the ‘free gift’ con

  • Travel vlogger Sam Mayfair has revealed four popular scams at Egypt’s pyramids
  • The 39-year-old from Surrey shared advice on how to thwart these scammers 
  • READ MORE: Travel guide Fodor’s reveals its 2024 GO and NO lists

Drawing in millions of tourists per year, the Egyptian pyramids are a bucket list item for many travellers. 

Yet, for some, a trip to the ancient site involves wading through vendors and scammers who are eager to rid visitors of their money. 

To help tourists identify who’s genuine and who’s a con artist, travel vlogger Sam Mayfair has highlighted four popular ‘hustles’ to be aware of when exploring the pyramids in a highly useful – and fascinating – YouTube video.

The 39-year-old from Surrey explains that his advice is primarily geared towards solo travellers without a guide.

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Travel vlogger Sam Mayfair (above) from Surrey revealed four scams to be aware of at the Pyramids

‘You’re going the wrong way hustle’ 

One common scam to look out for, Sam explains, is the ‘you’re going the wrong way hustle’. 

In the video, as Sam explores the Giza pyramid complex, a man is seen in the distance slowly walking towards him, shouting that he is going the wrong way. Sam simply ignores him and walks away. 

‘You’re going the wrong way hustle’: This is a scam, says Sam, by someone who’s trying to get visitors to follow him – so he can take pictures of you and charge you

Sam explains: ‘If you’re walking around the pyramids without a guide, these guys will keep constantly coming up to you.

‘They try to confuse you by telling you you’re going the wrong way and out of the complex. All they’re really trying to do is get you to follow them so they can take some pictures of you with the pyramids and charge you an extortionate amount.’

To avoid being hustled, Sam advises his followers to say no and keep walking, explaining that there are ‘only two exits to the pyramid complex so you can’t really go wrong’.

‘The whistle hustle’ 

Sam describes the whistle hustle as his ‘favourite scam’. It involves a hustler using a whistle to convince tourists they are an authority figure. In the video Sam simply walks past the scammer

Another classic hustle at the pyramids, Sam says, is ‘the whistle hustle’, where a scammer will equip themselves with a whistle to confuse tourists – and to simultaneously project authority.

In the video, a man blowing a whistle approaches Sam as he walks towards the pyramids, and points in the opposite direction. 

Sam says: ‘The whistle hustle is probably one of my favourite ones. Tese guys will just come up, blow their whistle at you, and point and you assume that they’re an authority because they have a whistle.

‘Most people tend to just follow them. But again, all they’re trying to do is take you somewhere to show you something very quickly and then charge you for it.

‘The camel ride semi-hustle’

Sam says hustlers at the pyramids may try to get you to ride their camel or charge you for a photo. If you’re tempted to hop on, Sam says it’s essential to agree on a ‘return price’

Sam advises tourists to watch out for people approaching them on camels, as they may be involved in the ‘camel ride semi-hustle’.

The video shows a man on a camel trying to engage Sam in conversation, asking him where he is from and saying: ‘You look like [an] Egyptian brother.’ 

While it is often a ‘very friendly approach’, he says ‘all he’s trying to do is get you to ride his camel’. 

As Sam refuses and walks away, the scammer asks him to take a picture with him, but the travel vlogger warns: ‘If you do take a picture, you’re going to have to pay him.’  

He adds: ‘And if you want to go on a camel ride, make sure to negotiate and agree a return price. 

‘I say a return price because sometimes they can take you out into the desert and ask you to pay again to return.’

‘It’s a free gift hustle’ 

Sam says some hustlers ‘use different tactics’, such as the man above who tried to force the traveller into accepting a ‘free gift’ – if they managed to prise one into your hands, Sam says ‘just give it back to them straight away and walk off’

Perhaps the most blatant of the four scams Sam highlights is the ‘free gift hustle’. Sam claims that these hustlers use ‘different tactics’ to the other scammers. 

In the video, which shows the scam in action, a man approaches Sam, asks him where he comes from and tries to force a ‘free gift’ in his hand for ‘good luck’.  

But Sam warns: ‘Even if they tell you it’s a gift for good luck or whatever, it’s not free, so just bear that in mind.

‘They will sometimes even come up to you and put something on your shoulder and will just walk off. So just give it back to them straight away and walk off.’

Despite his experience with ‘persistent’ scammers in Egypt, Sam told MailOnline Travel: ‘I would highly recommend going to the Pyramids and exploring Egypt.

‘It’s one of the few remaining wonders of the ancient world and is a truly remarkable piece of engineering and an example of human determination.’

In his video, Sam also stresses: ‘Do bear in mind that not everyone is a hustler and not everyone is trying to scam you. Some people are just trying to make a living.’ 

He told MailOnline that scammers are not just ‘limited to Egypt’ and explained that he has encountered hustlers in many tourist destinations, including France, Italy and Turkey. 

According to Sam ‘not everyone is a hustler’ at the pyramids, and these scammers shouldn’t deter tourists from visiting ‘one of the few remaining wonders of the ancient world’. Sam is pictured above inside Bent Pyramid, an ancient Egyptian pyramid located at the royal necropolis of Dahshur

The travel vlogger claims: ‘Westerners have a fear of appearing to be rude to others so often scammers play on this and take advantage by trying to make people feel guilty and giving in to them.’

However, to completely avoid being hustled, Sam advises getting a ‘local licensed guide’. He said: ‘They will look after you and keep scammers away. Most hotels in Cairo can arrange guides.’

He continued: ‘Finally, my advice to all visitors to Egypt is just use your common sense – don’t be afraid to negotiate prices as it’s part of Egyptian culture.’

For more from Sam, visit him on YouTube or TikTok

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