When I chose to move to the beautiful country of Egypt, it was one of my biggest transitions and challenges that I had to face during my lifetime. Having to go through different traditions and understanding a whole new culture was definitely not an easy task. Living in another country other than your own isn’t difficult for you, only if you are ready to accept the challenge of having to adapt and grow with your knowledge towards learning the differences in living in your home away from home. Being well educated in the English language can assist you during the whole procedure but you would be surprised how many people in Egypt actually understand the language much less speak it when comfortable.
There is so much to cherish and appreciate about the country of Egypt and nothing comes close to the personal experience that you won’t fully fathom from a television screen. From the ancient history and the many temples that you can witness for yourself as well as the heat and the sand and not to mention the amazing view of the Nile and the Pyramids of Giza. From all along the tremendous Nile, you can witness the history of the Ancient Egyptians through their everlasting history and impressive designs which are carefully taken care of by the government of Egypt.
Obviously there are many foreigners and people who have been internationally educated to make your process easier to be organized with your new work surroundings and making friends along the way. Coming to Egypt really depends on one question in the end of the day, is it really safe to travel to Egypt during these times? Reading further within this practical guide that I have conducted, you would have a better idea of what is in store for you before making a huge transition towards your life and future lifestyle adjustments.
Furthermore, I have experienced certain situations that most people would consider difficult to face, but in the end with every difficult experience, there is a lesson behind it and you will learn to adapt when you know better when the time comes around. Known as the biggest metropolis in both North Africa and the Middle East, it was an experience that was completely different that I didn’t expect at first. Don’t worry, I did sleep in a regular sized bed and I was able to use my household appliances just like anyone else located in the world, but there are certain things that you will need to put into consideration when it comes to living in the ever so popular capital city of Egypt, Cairo.
As a foreigner in a new country, you are bound to experience a dose of different feelings at one time such as stress, loneliness and possibly feeling home sick from one time to another, but don’t worry all that is normal and with time it will change if you are willing to adapt and possibly get away from your comfort zone just a bit. You are not alone, many expats just like myself have experienced the same feelings and having to go through certain issues and being distant from certain family members and friends can be very difficult, but these issues can be avoided before you even decide to purchase your plane ticket to moving to Egypt.
With this practical guide, I will explain to you what makes living in Egypt so unique, everything that you would like to know before having to move to this historical country, having to understand all the traditional and cultural aspects that you will notice and sometimes might have to reconsider certain plans or attire. The main purpose of this guide is to provide you complete assistance to all those who need further information and would like to know where they are going before going there and feeling somewhat shocked with what they will experience or witness firsthand. In this guide you will find all the needed information about travelling documents, procedures and precautions that need to be taken as well as all the needed vaccinations and medicine that you will have to endure.
This practical guide is designed for the main purpose to avoid all unnecessary topics that probably won’t catch your interest and to be able to gain all the information that will seem beneficial for your daily life routines living in Egypt. However, if you are choosing to move to Egypt and not just considering visiting for a short while, I would recommend that you take the time to read until the end because there will be more for you to understand long term than those who are just willing to enjoy a vacation at one of the many resorts that are available all over the stunningly beautiful country of Egypt. In addition towards all the necessary information provided, I will also guide you with the best travel destinations, public transportation references and where are the best spots to dine and enjoy any recreational activities during your stay. I would hope that you enjoy reading this guide and that it would give you the information you need to require to make your visit or move worthwhile.
There are a few procedures and precautions that you will need to consider before having to declare your transition towards Egypt. You will obviously need to prepare all the needed legal documentation such as a valid passport so that you can apply for either a travelling visa (which isn’t difficult to obtain) or having to pursue a work permit in the case that you coming to Egypt to continue your career or even having to start one. You will need to research and consider all the right vaccinations and medicine that you will need because there are certain medicines that won’t be accepted upon arrival so it is best to know if any of the medication you are taking is acceptable there or not so you can possibly speak to your current doctor about making any necessary substitutes towards the medicine. For those looking to pursue moving to Egypt, you would obviously have to try to find the right apartment to rent in the process so that you won’t stay stranded in the hotel for too long.
Preparing your trip to Egypt, you should put further consideration in making a small investment towards your health and belongings by purchasing travel insurance that would be affordable towards your budget. Not only does this travel insurance have a strict policy that covers your travel baggage either being lost or stolen but it also covers all the issues in the case that your flight gets delayed or cancelled and not to mention obviously taking care of any medical or injury related issues that can occur. Which is great news for many travelers during such times as COVID-19 pandemic where many things were not determined ahead of time. Get the necessary coverage of the travel insurance and rest assured that you will be in good hands in case of any emergency that can happen during your trip towards Egypt.
VALID PASSPORT / VALID VISA
Keep in mind that your passport must be valid for the minimum of 6 months in certain countries and even 180 days for other countries during the day upon arrival. Some people who are not accustomed to travelling often, usually would purchase an e-visa. You can purchase these e-visas almost anywhere online, so it would be better to take certain precautions and making sure that the visa is legitimately valid and certified. There are many travelling companies that would sell their visa services online to charge you with additional costs towards their services, which in the end will consume a lot of your time and effort. The needed documents to apply for such a visa would be all of the following:
- Passport information
- National Identification Card
- Social Insurance Number
- Security Number
In most cases, it would be easier to apply for the visa yourself rather than having a travel agency dealing with your documentations and charging you an extra amount for the same time and effort that you can conduct on your own. You must know the visa requirements for yourself and loved ones regarding which documents you will need to present.
VISA UPON ARRIVAL
Most citizens that are coming from the western hemisphere on the globe can enter the country of Egypt by an entry visa on arrival. For example, when you once arrive at the International Airport in Cairo, there would be a counter provided before having to check your passports on arrival. With the assistance of that counter you can pay upfront for your visa regardless the currency but it would be best to carry American Dollars and Euros which is the two most accepted currencies in Egypt. The visa upon arrival would usually cost in the range of 25-40 Euros depending on the value of the current time which is practically equivalent to a minimum of 30 American Dollars. These terms and conditions are applied for all the countries from the European Union as well as:
- United States of America
- United Kingdom
- South Korea
- New Zealand
You will need to require a working permit (business visa) or student visa if you are looking forward to enroll as a student or continue your career within the country of Egypt. When you choose to enroll as a student in Egypt, there are a few different ways that you can receive your student visa and trying your best to make it remain valid so you wouldn’t have to face any legal troubles. You can either extend your entry visa every month which is quite a hassle but for certain people it would be suitable, while the other way would be applying for a residential visa that would make you safe for at least three months in advance.
If you are looking to pursue your career further and having to transition towards Egypt, you will require a business visa that can be complicated depending on each company and the services it can provide towards your assistance. You need to get approved by the Egyptian Labor Authorities as well as apply as an entry visa upon arrival and they must undergo an HIV test in the process to avoid any risk towards health of yourself and others. Here are some of the required documents that you will need to obtain to process a student visa/working permit:
- Valid Passport of the employee
- Copies of the Identification Card for taxes if any
- 5-7 passport photos
- HIV test
- Letter from the organization providing information of the importance of hiring a foreigner for the specific job or task at hand
- Copies of academic degrees and certificates
- Copies for the licenses required for the profession practiced
- Copies of the company’s register in the commercial department
- Information about the representative that will sponsor your visit or stay
- Permit fees that can be purchased which would be an equivalent to 1000 Egyptian Pounds
TRANSIT VISA AND EXEMPTIONS
A transit visa is a visa that allows a person to travel through a country without actually having to exit the airport and under some policies and international relations you might be allowed certain access towards the country if the 48 hours has been applied towards another flight exiting the country of Egypt. The specific traveler is allowed limited time in the country in case they have delayed flights or need to change their flight plans but still having to continue their travel journey and not making Egypt their end destination. If you are planning to leave the airport then you will need to obtain an Egyptian transit visa so that you wouldn’t have to risk any lawful undoing. But if you are planning to stay in the airport for just a few hours until your next flight, then an Egyptian transit visa is not needed.
NO VISA REQUIRED
When choosing to visit the country of Egypt, most citizens and residents of these following countries can stay up to 3 months without a visa during their stay under certain terms and conditions that are conducted with their countries and Egypt. The following countries include:
- Hong Kong
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
There are other exemptions that can be applied in the case that the passport holder is diplomatic, official, service or having special passports issued by specific countries.
If you are looking for an affordable direct flights towards the capital of Egypt, then it would be best that you would book early and sometimes you would find the best suitable offer through Egypt Air Airlines. For the luxurious flights and travelling with style, you might want to stick toward the larger airline companies depending on where you are trying to arrive from such as Air France, Lufthansa and Emirates Airlines.
If you are looking to transit you would most likely reach closer destinations such as Istanbul or Amman, which in that case Nile Air also offers amazing offers concerning flight bookings. The cheapest flights would obviously include you to book early as well as transiting once or twice along the way. To many people, it would be seen as a Euro-Trip in the case they are coming from the west towards the Middle East which would make them excited to do some travelling and sightseeing during their journey to the land of the Pyramids. One of the untold secrets of booking affordable flights would be by booking as early as possible on either a Tuesday or a Wednesday during the week, you would be surprised of the deals that you can be granted.
When booking the flight tickets, it would be better to look up the flight with their search engine and book the ticket on the website of the flight company. This also applies when you are using other flight search engines. Using this method will save you a lot of time and avoid any unnecessary booking costs that can be taken.
VACCINATIONS AND MEDICINE
Egypt is not known to be one of the cleanliest places when it comes to many of the local places that you can visit and possibly reside if you are planning to stay. It is best to take your own precaution before visiting Egypt. You would be surprised by the amount of people that wouldn’t mind litter among the street and the hygiene factor in certain public places can have certain people not stay in these places in the first place.
Vaccinations can be expensive, but consider it an investment with the amount of time you will save from medicine and time wasted if you end up being sick under these certain conditions. Don’t forget to contact your insurance company if you are planning to have your vaccinations checked. They can possibly provide you with a contract with a certain vaccination institute where you can actually receive a discount or even possibly get it for free.
In the end, you must remember that it is for the best interest for the insurance company that you are well protected. You will need to show your vaccination passport at the border. The following vaccinations are highly recommended:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Yellow Fever
- Chicken pox
These vaccinations provide long-term protection as much as they are common in most developing countries, so when you are travelling, it’s definitely worth it in the long run. It would be recommended that Hepatitis B is handled with serious care because the virus is transmittable by having sex or by blood to blood contact which includes insect bites as well so there is high chance that you can get infected. Not every vaccination will subscribe a vaccination against Hepatitis B but there is a Hepatitis A & B combination vaccine that is available and it is just a little bit more expensive than either A or B but it is suggested that both are taken.
Another vaccination that should be taken with serious consideration is Rabies. Rabies, when untreated can be 100 percent fatal and has to be treated as soon as possible. The virus can be transmitted by infected animals, which in the country of Egypt would be a very high risk because it is not rare to see a street dog or cat. However, the Rabies vaccination is a little bit more complicated than most of the other vaccines available. Rabies is a problem throughout Egypt, so avoid touching stray animals such as cats, dogs, monkeys, and bats.
The pre-exposure vaccination which consists of 4 doses vaccinations that are spread over the period of two weeks. Even when you are vaccinated, you have to get another vaccination immediately after exposure. If you did the pre-exposure vaccination, you will just need two doses of the vaccination but if you didn’t take the pre-exposure vaccination, you will need 4 doses and a shot of Rabies Immune Globulin. You will not need the Rabies Immune Globulin when you are vaccinated before exposure.
This obviously makes a big difference, because Rabies Immune Globulin is often not available in developing countries. Summarized, the Rabies vaccine is expensive and will cost you time. However, when you are staying for a longer period, you should definitely consider this one. A last vaccine that you might want to put into consideration is typhoid. This is caused by the salmonella bacteria and is able to keep you in your bed for several weeks, fever, headache, and other symptoms are included. Especially during the summer there is a higher chance of infection.
However, the vaccine is only giving protection for 2-5 years and protects in general only 70% of the population. If you have a disease or if you are using medicines that are suppressing your immune system, always contact your doctor before you start vaccinating.
If you are coming to Egypt with children, vaccinations are the best known way to be effective towards the protection of children from any harmful illnesses, infectious diseases and other complications that might occur to their health. If children are not properly vaccinated, they can easily attract any diseases especially those that their body might not have witnessed before which might lead to hospitalization and even death under certain situations. Children who have not been vaccinated can also spread the disease towards other children around them who might be too young at age to be vaccinated yet or possibly people with an immune system that won’t be able to handle the virus with ease.
The Ministry of Health requires that all children to be vaccinated from the ages of 0-18 months, offering their vaccinations to be free of charge and they have a program that lists 10 vaccinations to be mandatory. These vaccinations for the specific diseases include:
- Hepatitis B
- German measles (Rubella)
- Chicken Pox
TRAVELLING WITH MEDICINE INTO EGYPT
When you are currently under a prescription of medicine, you should consider to check with the Egyptian Drugs Authority about if your medicine can be accepted in the country and will not be seen as a drug of choice. Most medicines will cause no harm but when it comes to certain painkillers, they can be seen differently and cause you some problems. For example, if you are using medicines such as Tramadol or codeine, you can get into trouble with authorities to the point of serving jail time if you don’t have the right prescription or valid medical passport present. Punishments for carrying illegal drugs can be up to 25 years in Egypt so it is best that you ask your doctor for a medical passport and eventually other evidence that can prove your right of this possession of your medicine.
EXTENDING YOUR VISA
If you are choosing to extend your period of time with visa matters, it would be best to contact your embassy and ask for certain procedures to be done as well as visiting Tahrir Square and you can extend your visa there. You can also be paying for a certain fine or penalty due to overstaying or expiration of the visa. This specific place carries enormous responsibility when it comes to governmental paperwork and registrations to be issued. You will find Mogamma in the heart of Tahrir Square.
HIRE A TOUR GUIDE TO GAIN THE BEST EXPERIENCE
Egypt, a well-known country for its enriched ancient history, it has always been a touristic attraction to many people around the world regardless the year or the generation. There are many touristic places that you should consider visit, which is why it would be best that you consider hiring a tour guide for the best experience possible. It is understood that it takes a lot of time to plan out the accommodations and transportation routes that you should take, which can take the whole vacation being more of a hassle than it should be stress-free.
Egypt is well known for being a country that can be on anyone’s bucket list of places to visit and if you don’t have any prior experience you might not enjoy everything that you might have planned. When it comes to having a tour guide by your side, they can easily save your time from one place to another knowing how to deal with locals and which is the best way to go to the next destination without having to face much trouble not to mention showing you and describing to you the best locations of Egypt and the history that is behind this unique country.
USE OF TRANSPORTATION
One of the major culture shocks for many foreigners is when they witness locals driving around the country, with most places not following certain rules and regulations but everyone will claim that nothing will happen if there is no harm being done. It is best to make your own precautions depending on the situation if you are visiting or planning to live in Egypt. The traffic in Egypt is just as difficult as the driving itself, but after a while most people get accustomed to the situation but you must be safe and look both directions on the street regardless if you are walking down the street.
If you are planning to go out for a tour, try to wear comfortable shoes or sandals (flip-flops) because you will be walking a lot in the hot weather most of the time so you are better off not having to deal with uncomfortable attire and actually enjoy the tour until the end. Obviously the most comfortable footwear in the Middle East is wearing flip flops or sandals if they aren’t needed for anything formal, but also put into consideration that majority of the Egyptian streets can be filthy, therefore you don’t want to return back to your home or hotel with a pair of dirty feet as well.
There are many common uses of transportation that you can use within the country of Egypt such as local taxis, Uber/Careem or even the Cairo Metro that covers majority of the city that would make it easier for you to commute to wherever you are planning to go.
CAIRO METRO SYSTEM
Using the metro system in the capital city of Cairo is one of the most efficient ways to get around the traffic hours or even during regular timing as you won’t need to consume much time or be late on any appointments or outings. Be cautious that it is not common that you will run into other foreigners on the metro due to the fact that it is one of the cheapest ways to get around the city so most expats wouldn’t consider risking their valuables or their health with any issues with common locals. Put into consideration that you can be seen as a minority among the fellow people riding the metro as well but also remind yourself that there is no better way to enjoy the local treatment and getting around the city than using one of their popular ways of public transportation. Cairo Metro System is the first of one of the two built and completed metro systems in the entire continent of Africa and is growing in profits and expansions until this day.
CAREEM / UBER
The transportation service companies such as Careem and Uber operate in the capital city of Egypt, Cairo. While cabs are usually safe and easy to use, Careem and Uber is definitely your best option when it comes to looking to move around the city without any worries at all. Also keep in mind that you can use GPS location services to assist you getting around the city even if you don’t know the way, it’ll be better to use Careem or Uber, because most of the time the drivers will know the way and if they face the problem of not knowing the destination, GPS location services can definitely be useful then. Sign up for one of these applications and they can actually offer your first ride free.
BEWARE OF HUSTLERS
Beware of those who you can actually trust with certain tasks when it comes to living in Egypt. Many people can seem nice at first but they could be after something to benefit from you one way or another as many locals would see foreigners as a chance to gain a better hand with their lack of experience when it comes to prices, traditions and culture. It is quite easy to tell who is after your money or not from the first few conversations if you take in notice the details of the subjects.
For example, if a person mentions a single thing about money it is best to simply move along. Personally, I have met some of the most genuine people in the country of Egypt but that is after meeting many of those of those who are not but it is always best to initiate conversation with common locals to understand their point of view in anything you might need. Not all of them will come up with the same response but at least you will have a good amount of knowledge to make your own decision to what you might want.
ASK FOR PRICES
Always ask for prices of anything before you purchase anything or decide to open it. If you are used to paying a specific price somewhere, you would be surprised how it can be a different price somewhere else. Get comfortable with bargaining with shop owners to get the price you want or at least the one that is normal among the market. Personally, I would suggest that you use the same tactics when it comes to riding a taxi to wherever you want to go, it is best that you would negotiate the price of the fare before the riding the cab, just so you can save yourself the hassle of further disagreements.
LEARN TO BARGAIN
To have the best experience in Egypt, you will need to learn the art of bargaining. It is a skill that most Egyptians learn from a young age and that is to learn to get the best deal possible by negotiating under their own terms. Almost everything is negotiable in Egypt and it’s expected for you to question the prices of certain items so don’t be worried if you are thinking that you are offending anyone with offers.
But of course don’t consider requesting the same offers in main stream stores because their prices are not negotiable most of the time but it is best to check other stores as well just in case of sales or price changes. From buying products at the nearest corner store to shopping for souvenirs, bargaining is a must.
EXPECT TO TIP
When visiting or living in Egypt, especially in Cairo, you must learn to tip from time to time if the service that you have received was acceptable to your standards. That doesn’t mean that you must tip everything that you buy for but it means that you tip if you were happy with the services provided. It is common to tip around 5 – 20 EGP depending on the situation.
For example, if you are expecting a food delivery to your destination and the delivery person comes earlier than expected then it’s ethical to tip that person. On the other hand, if you ordered food and it came late for any reason or the food isn’t hot anymore then it is understood if you don’t tip the person so they can understand that you are dissatisfied with the service provided.
RESPECT THE DRESS CODE
If you are planning on traveling to Egypt soon, please do your best to research before you plan to leave because many foreigners arrive in Egypt and would be surprised that they don’t dress alike. This type of clothing or behavior can and will attract odd stares, undesired attention and perhaps even physical advances by wrongful people. In order to blend in among the crowd and avoid any disrespect from either party, my best advice is to choose your attire carefully.
Wearing shorts nowadays is acceptable when you are exploring among the city which isn’t a problem among the culture but it is best to wear long pants or jeans for evening events or being invited to someone’s home. The same can be followed for sleeveless shirts and gym clothing as well.
Think comfortable and light layers when it comes to breezy nights. Swim wear is only acceptable when you are around the resorts or around destinations that involve any form of water recreation.
Visiting Egypt or living in the country can make most women feel uncomfortable one way or another. This feeling mostly occurs in open public places. It’s mostly in the these places where you can find strange men walking alone or possibly in groups and the many men that are sitting on the side of the street that can attract unwanted stares. They will attempt to speak or harass at times but it doesn’t mean that you should degrade yourself and respond because in most occasions it would be best to just walk away from negative attention. Not all local men act such ways, but just enough to give most a bad name so it is best to take your own precautions to keep yourself safe and sound at the end of the day.
Be cautious to keep your knees and shoulders covered at all times unless the occasion is suitable for such attire. When visiting mosques and other religious sights, its best to bring a scarf to cover your hair and always remove shoes before entering any mosque out of respect. Swim wear is only acceptable to wear while at the resorts or around destinations that involve any of form of water recreation.
STAY COOL, CALM AND HYDRATED
Don’t even consider drinking tap water because nobody drinks it including most of the locals. During your visit or stay in Egypt, it is best to buy bottled water often because the weather doesn’t suite staying too long without hydrating yourself with any form of water.
When going around the city, you better bring your own tissues. Not just for the common hot weather but when visiting local restrooms, you can be surprised to not find much tissues at hand. To avoid such situations you can simply stop by a nearby local shop and pick up tissues whenever needed and keep when needed. It’s a good idea to carry hand sanitizer as well because you will constantly be touching doors, hand rails and exchanging things among locals and it would be best to wash your hands often.
When walking around the streets of Cairo, you should always watch your step because most of the roads aren’t properly maintained so you must watch your step to avoid any trips or falls. Beware of the random pot holes because there are some areas where the pot holes aren’t closed well so you can have a problem with such a situation if you don’t take proper precautions with your movement.
FINDING THE NEIGHBORHOOD THAT SUITES YOU BEST
Finding the right area to live in is the most important when it comes to moving to different country. Cairo contains a lot of places where there are only Egyptians living and where only a minority of the people speak English. In the case that you are moving to Cairo, there are only a couple of neighborhoods that meet the usual interests and requirements of most expats.
If you want to live in safe and secure area, good health facilities, top notch education nearby, these following neighborhoods will be most fitting for you or even if you are bringing your family along as well. These neighborhoods will be in discussion and you will receive my best advice when it comes to choosing the Apartments for rent in Egypt Cairo & Villas for rent in Egypt Cairo that suites you the most.
EXPAT NEIGHBORHOODS IN CAIRO
Maadi (Sarayat & Degla):
The destination of Maadi is located in the south of Cairo. The suburb is the home for approximately 90.000 people. Especially the areas close to the Nile, called Maadi Sarayat and Degla Maadi might be the most interesting places for you to live. The population in Sarayat and Degla exists out of well off Egyptians and expats. The streets are clean, calm and you will find here an easy-going nature and friendly environment. You will find that there is an obligation to maintain the gardens, that’s why you will find here a lot of green scenery. You can choose to read about Maadi from its amazing nature to everlasting history.
Especially in the summer, when it can be extremely hot, the trees provide fresh(er) air and shade. There are plenty of good schools, sport clubs, bars and restaurants. With Maadi Carrefour and the Grand Mall, there are two shopping malls very nearby. Besides that, you will find a lot of smaller supermarkets, tool shops, laundry service, etc. These parts of Maadi are the only neighborhoods in Cairo where you will find only villas lower build apartments and this is the main reason people prefer Maadi. The metro has three stations in Maadi and it has great access for cars or public transportation when needed.
Located in the middle of the Nile, Zamalek is considered one of the more affluent areas in the city. Although most Egyptians are not very fond of the football club, Zamalek is still a nice place to be. Good healthcare, shops, and other important facilities are nearby. Because it is in the heart of the city, there are lots of job opportunities and things to do. It is green, and it is home to many foreigners. However, for the last decade, Zamalek has become very crowded. In 2010, there were approximately 420,000 people living on the island. Furthermore, renting an apartment in Zamalek can be very expensive.
In 1904 a Belgium Baron set foot in Cairo. He started to build the city of Heliopolis, 10 km from the center. The city differs from most other areas in Cairo, by its architecture. Trying to get a new architectural style, the whole city is built in a unique way. Although the architecture became world famous, the architecture is still well preserved.
In Heliopolis, the avenues are broadly designed. It is less crowded then more central areas in Cairo, and also greener. Moreover, you can find one of the most luxurious sport clubs of Egypt, and necessary facilities are nearby. Heliopolis is connected to the metro network, and therefore, most central areas in Cairo are within reach.
New Cairo, Sheikh Zayed City, 6th of October city:
These cities located at the far borders of greater Cairo, are different from ‘normal’ Cairo. Located more than 15 km from the center, you will find large compounds, broad avenues, some trees, and villas. The areas are widespread, and a house to the Egyptian middle and upper class. You will find large shopping malls, food malls, modern cafes, universities and sport facilities. The public transport is arranged by (micro) buses and taxes. Compared to Cairo, you will find that these areas are less crowded, cleaner, more modern and having their own societies. 6th of October city has a large industrial area.
Garden city is a calm residential district in the heart of Cairo. It has some historical places, and of course, Tahrir Medin, famous for its role that it played during the revolution. Garden city was built by private investors, aiming for a European vibe. Nowadays, there is a mixed population of foreigners and Egyptians, living a peaceful life. You won’t find a big sport club or shopping mall here, but there are plenty of smaller stores. The accessibility is good, since it’s close to the metro station and in the center of the city. Compared to most other areas in Cairo, the population is not so densely spread and it has some trees and broader streets.
A last neighborhood that I want to mention, is Downtown. Downtown is the Egyptian culture in one of its most extreme compositions. It must be one of the most crowded areas on Earth. People are selling stuff at every corner of the street, hanging clothes they sell on the fences of the street. The ground floor of every building contains only shop, so you won’t find a ground floor apartment in this area. In this area, almost everything is cheap. People on the street make fun all the time or will try to sell you something.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT NEIGHBORHOOD FOR YOU
Choosing the right neighborhood is very important. Taking into account different factors like environment, facilities and crowded, the most important factor in Cairo is distance. The city of Cairo is larger than you would expect.
You have chosen your neighborhood, now you need to start thinking about the right apartment. The easiest way is to rent a furnished apartment. When you want to stay for a longer period of time, you can also choose to furnish your residence by yourself. In the best areas, there are very cheap and very expensive apartments for rent, it really depends on your budget in the end. The cheap apartments are commonly very bad maintained.
When you don’t have so much requirements for living, such an apartment can be an easy choice. These flats can be found easily on Facebook. The better apartments, are easier found when contacting a real estate company in Maadi Cairo, Egypt.
When you are dealing with a real estate Agency, you need to know a few things. An owner from an apartment, can go to more than one brokerage office to ask him to find a tenant. The agent who connects a tenant to the owner, gets the commission. So real estate companies can be aggressive, trying to be faster than their competitors. Make sure this does not influence your decision. Second, make sure that you’ll find a proper company. Not all companies who are calling themselves real estate companies are professional. Take your time to check out the website. A professional company, will have the best apartments for rent in Maadi. Villas for rent in Maadi, & Villas for rent in Katameya Heights.
When you sign up for an expat forum, you will be contacted by some people with Arabic names, who are offering help. I can imagine that you are a very nice person, who is contacted by a lot of people. In this case, you can be sure that these people want to make some money. In a good or a bad way, if you are contacted by somebody, it would be best to ignore and stay away from such people or messages. It is good to know locals in Egypt and it is fun to have some Egyptian friends. However, in the beginning I’ll advise you to get your first help from expats and not from Egyptians. The unemployment rate in Egypt is very high at the moment, and the exchange rate of the Egyptian Pound is very bad. When you come as a foreigner to Egypt, these people will see you as a walking wallet.
TIPS FOR TRAVELLERS IN CAIRO
When you are travelling to Cairo, I recommend using the app or website from hostel world. This application is one of my best friends during travelling. It has a map with all nearby hostels and its price. You can easily click on the location, which will show you the internet page and contact information of the hostel immediately. Compared to Europe, it is in some areas hard to find a hostel. So I suggest that you check if there is a hostel available before you are travelling to your destination. When you are travelling through Cairo, I can recommend the Dahab hostel. It is located in the very heart of the city, close to Tahrir square. Furthermore, it has a big roof terrace with a nice view over the city, friendly personal and it is not expensive.
TRAVEL SAFETY IN EGYPT
Now that we are part of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is quite difficult to remain safe anywhere actually and travelling hasn’t been much of an option for most of the year of 2020. Besides the pandemic, Egypt is quite a safe country depending on where you are choosing to reside. There are many secured places due to military being in control but it would be best to take these certain precautions such as:
- Stay alert at all times when you are walking the street due to street thieves.
- Avoid demonstrations and protests that can attract a large crowd.
- Review the Crime and Safety Report daily in Egypt.
- Review your Traveler’s Checklist when it is about a contingency plan for emergency situations.
Besides all that is stated above, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t met many locals during my visit whether I was in a hotel, restaurant, supermarkets and even the common nearby koishk (small store) that have been very kind and friendly and quite helpful during any process.
BASIC PHRASES YOU CAN USE DURING YOUR STAY
Knowing the common language and lingo, can actually change many experiences during your stay in Egypt. The first language in Egypt is Arabic and it is well known to have their own way of saying and speaking things unlike the original Arabic language that can you learn from the traditional sense. When you show to the common local that you can speak a bit of their language and recognize certain words and numbers, you will avoid many chances of scammers to wanting to pull off an easy one on another foreigner along the way. Here are a few phrases that you can use along the way during your stay in the beautiful country of Egypt:
Hello Salam / Ahlan / Marhaba
Peace Be Upon You Al-Salāmu Alaykum
Thank You Shokran
Please Min Fadlak-Fadlek / Baid Esnak-Esnek
Yes Aywa / Ah
How much is this? Be kam
This is expensive Ghaly
I don’t understand Ana mesh fahem – Ana mesh fahma
THE BEST TIME DURING THE YEAR TO VISIT EGYPT
The best time during the year that you can visit Egypt would be during the summer which is around May – September because otherwise if you are not a fan of the hot weather then it would can be considered unbearable to many. Many people who consider travelling to Egypt would usually want to be around a pool or relax around the beach so these are the right months to visit the country and its many tremendous resorts.
If you choose to visit Egypt during the spring season, the weather can be felt as pleasant and the many attractions of the Great Pyramids of Giza, Luxor and Aswan are still quiet which would be a great time to enjoy the visit even more. You can benefit from the cheaper prices towards bookings of hotels besides the high prices that would happen during December to February. No matter what season you choose to travel, it would be best to avoid travelling during the holy month of Ramadan because the experience wouldn’t be the same as any other month as many residents in Egypt would be referring to their religious beliefs and would be fasting from sunrise until sunset.
Here is a video posted on YouTube by the ever so popular Ricky Moreno who is the "American Tourist" that visits the largest city on the African continent which is the capital city of Egypt, Cairo. He will give you a further insight with travelling towards the beautiful country of Egypt as well as his own personal guide that you will find wasn't too far from the experiences written throughout this article as well. He will show you all the most popular tourist attractions within the city and why he loved Cairo!
His experiences start from the arrival at the international airport and then he will visit Tahrir Square, The Pyramids, The Citadel, Al Azhar Park, Egyptian Musem, Saqqara Tomb, Khan El Khalili Market and the times during Ramadan and will give you further knowledge about the culture, traditions and religion along the way as well.
I am hoping with all the information I have spoken about that this guide
would assist you to feeling more prepared towards your trip to Egypt whether
you are planning to stay short-term or long-term. If I ever get the chance to
go back to Egypt, I would take it without a second thought because everything I
witnessed has either taken my breath away or has blown my mind. It is such an
incredible country that is enriched with amazing ancient history as well as the
residents and many locals are friendly and welcoming. Considering that most of
the exchange rates can be higher than the Egyptian Pound, you can consider it a
very cheap experience regarding certain situations and products that can be
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