- Download our Moving to Egypt Guide (PDF)
Known as the land of ancient civilisations, pharaohs and the Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt has much to offer expats making the move. With so many things to consider when moving abroad, it's all too easy for future expats to become overwhelmed.
Being fully prepared in terms of what to expect can make the transition a bit less jarring. To give expats-to-be a jumpstart on this process, here is our list of pros and cons of moving to Egypt.
Accommodation in Egypt
+ PRO: Lots of options
From sprawling villas to upmarket studio apartments, there’s plenty of variety in Egypt’s property market. Families and single expats alike should have a fairly easy time finding something right for them and their budgets, particularly if they're being paid in foreign currency like US dollars. Those earning in the local currency will have fewer options, but with a little effort, they can certainly still find something suitable.
- CON: It can be challenging to find a reliable real-estate agent
Expats are often seen as wealthy by locals, and this can lead to some estate agents charging higher fees than they would for an Egyptian national. Estate agents in Egypt are also known for showing expats a flurry of unsuitable properties without an opportunity to properly inspect these apartments, leading to expats choosing a home they may not have initially selected. Expats must stand their ground and try to avoid overzealous estate agents.
Lifestyle in Egypt
+ PRO: Incredible sightseeing opportunities
From the wonder of the pyramids of Giza to the awe-inspiring Sphinx, expats in Egypt have some of the world’s most sought-after tourist attractions right on their doorstep.
- CON: Not a particularly lively nightlife scene
Due to the prevalent conservative culture of Egypt, partying and drinking aren't a big part of the social scene. While there certainly are nightclubs and bars to be found, these are few and far between, so it can take a bit of searching to find a good spot.
Culture in Egypt
+ PRO: Friendly locals
Egyptians are known for being welcoming to strangers and will always be up for having a chat or helping someone out. It follows that expats who are similarly open and kind will likely make fast friends with locals.
- CON: It can be difficult to adjust
The patriarchal culture prevalent in Egyptian society can be a shock to expats. Western women in particular often have a hard time adjusting to this, as they find themselves the object of stares and catcalls in Egypt. Generally, the best way to deal with this is to ignore it. When an expat woman feels unsafe, she shouldn’t hesitate to ask for help from a local woman.
Getting around in Egypt
- CON: Chaotic driving
With one of the world’s highest road accident casualty counts, Egypt is a dangerous place to drive. Local drivers are often unpredictable and will often act without signalling, making it difficult for other drivers to react in time. Rather than braving the chaos of driving in Egypt, we recommend expats instead use taxis and public transport or hire a personal driver.
+ PRO: The Cairo metro
Though much of Egypt’s public transport can be uncomfortable, the metro in Cairo is efficient, fast and well-priced. Those outside Cairo are out of luck when it comes to this convenient public transport experience, as this is the country’s only metro.
Education in Egypt
- CON: Local education unlikely to be an option for expats
Public education in Egypt is generally of a low quality, and the language of instruction is Arabic. For this reason, most expats prefer to send their children to international schools.
+ PRO: Range of international schools
A variety of international schools are spread throughout Egypt’s major cities, offering parents some choice when it comes to selecting their preferred curriculum. Giza and Cairo, in particular, have a large selection of international schools.
- CON: High education fees and extra costs
Aside from already-pricey annual school fees, parents will often be expected to shoulder additional costs for things such as uniforms, extracurriculars, textbooks and school excursions.
Healthcare in Egypt
- CON: Lack of adequate public facilities
Public healthcare facilities throughout Egypt, but particularly in rural areas, lack the standards expats from Western countries may be used to. Treatment may also be substandard, so expats will likely need to invest in private health insurance that includes medical evacuation.
+ PRO: Excellent private healthcare and qualified professionals
While public healthcare in Egypt may be ailing, private health facilities in Cairo offer specialised care with highly qualified English-speaking practitioners on staff. Expats will typically be expected to pay for the services upfront and claim from their health insurance at a later stage.
Cost of living in Egypt
+ PRO: Highly affordable living costs
The cost of living in Egypt is one of the most attractive parts of living in the country. Expats earning in foreign currency will enjoy a higher quality of life than they would back home. Although costs will be slightly higher in major cities, everything from housing, transport and local food items are all reasonably priced in Egypt.
What do expats say about life in Egypt?
"My quality of life was very good. I had an enormous apartment with three balconies and three bedrooms in a very trendy part of town. You could take a taxi wherever you want and it would cost nothing. Food, produce and meat from the grocery store was also ridiculously cheap. Everything could be delivered to your house… Even beer." Read more about Marc, a Canadian expat, and the ups and downs of life in Egypt.
►To read interviews from expats already in the country, have a look at our page of Expat Experiences in Egypt.
Photo credits: Housing in Egypt by Julia Volk from Unsplash; Cairo metro by Omar Adel from Unsplash.
Are you an expat living in Egypt?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Egypt. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global Health Insurance.
Medical insurance specifically designed for expats. With Cigna, you won't have to rely on foreign public health care systems, which may not meet your needs. Cigna allows you to speak to a doctor on demand, for consultations or instant advice, wherever you are in the world. They also offer full cancer care across all levels of cover, and settle the cost of treatments directly with the provider.
International Movers. Get Quotes. Compare Prices.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.