Living in Egypt As An Expat (2021 Guide) – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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While Egypt’s rolling desert landscape and iconic ancient pyramids are on many expats bucket lists, the country has a lot to offer expatriates. Those who move to Egypt in today’s world tend to be adventurous, engaging, active, and interested in connecting with communities. But, why is Egypt a suitable place?
Of course, there are many benefits of living in this country. As mentioned earlier, the ancient pyramids are among the most exciting places to visit. That being said, expats considering moving to Egypt should pay special attention to the country’s political situation, safety, and COVID-19 precautions and restrictions.
Though Egypt is not characteristically unsafe as riots and violence have become a problem in the country since 2011. And this is why many expats would love to reside in Cairo, a metropolis where the malaise of city life can prove intimidating but still safe. But, Egypt still remains a unique expat destination today.
In fact, expat should have no problem finding their preferred choice of accommodation. This is because; there are a range of options from simple studios to fully furnished large villas and condos. In addition, Egypt can be an adventure as there are varied modes of transportation available for expat to get around.
However, in this article, we have compiled the concept of living in Egypt as an expat. We will walk you through the pros and cons of relocating to this country in 2021. Not only that, but you’ll understand interesting facts, cultures, and why this place seems to be favorable for expat to resides in. Read further!
10 Interesting Facts about Living in Egypt
Many dreams about visiting the Pyramids of Egypt, but we can tell you that there are many things to explore in the country. This country is home to the Great Pyramid of Khafre, the Great Sphinx of Giza, ancient cultural heritage, and many others, to mention a few. Let’s quickly talk about the most fun fact.
1. Makeup Is Not Only for Women
Did you know that it’s not only women that wear makeup in Egypt? This is because; it was fashionable for both Egyptian men and Egyptian women to wear it. And these trends often included detail around the eye, adding colour to the cheeks, accenting the mouth with a homemade lipstick remedy, and more.
2. Cats Are Sacred Animal in Egypt
Whenever you think of Egypt, you should always remember the ancient times. While cats are still very much loved animals today, they were considered sacred animals in ancient Egypt. More so, it was believed that cats were magical creatures that held good luck to those who cared for them. Aside from this fact, it’s noted that those who were rich would treat their pets to valuable gifts such as clothes.
3. Lover of Board Games
Have you ever seen a country with a passion for a board game, or do you want to experience one? Look no further! Egypt is among the best places to visit as a game called Senet is the oldest known board game in the entire world’s history. Aside from this fact, the game was discovered by historians in the tombs of those mummified, confirming their existence in 3100 BC.
4. Ancient Egyptians Invented Toothpaste
This seems to be one of the greatest histories of all time. The toothbrushes we are using in today’s world have their origin in ancient Egyptian times. For the toothpaste, ingredients included ash, ox hooves, burnt eggshells, and many others in an attempt to look after their teeth. Moreover, it was believed that people who existed during this time had difficulty looking after their teeth.
5. Egyptian Had Equal Rights
In Egypt, men and women of equivalent social status were treated the same way in the eyes of the law. With that being said, you should know that women could own, earn, sell, and even buy properties and inherit in the country. In fact, they could live unprotected by male guardians, and if divorced, they could raise their children on their own.
6. Egypt Could Have a Woman as King
Ideally, the king of Egypt would be the son of the outgoing or previous king. But in Egypt, this was not always possible, and the coronation ceremony had the power to convert any king to an unassailable king. As history disclosed, women have taken a king’s throne on at least three occasions in the country.
7. Home to Seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites
It’s no doubt that Egypt is home to seven UNESCO-designated World Heritage sites. And this is one of the reasons why the country became popular. Not only that, but there are various international rights groups, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and many others in the country.
8. Egyptians Kept Many Animals as Pets
This is another reason why Egypt seems to be the best expat destination. It’s home to ancient world history, and research has made it known that the Egyptians saw animals incarnations of the gods and were one of the first civilizations to keep a household pet. Moreover, they were particularly fond of cats, which were associated with the goddess Bastet, but they also had a reverence for hawks, dogs, and baboons.
9. They Marry Their Relatives
Like many royals through history, Egyptian pharaohs weren’t averse to marrying within the family to preserve royal bloodlines in the country. More so, the marriage to sisters and daughters was not unheard of. Aside from this fact, studies of Tutankhamun’s mummified body have revealed that he was a product of incest, a fact that undoubtedly led to health issues and undesirable characteristics.
10. Egypt Invented Breath Mints
While specialized medicine existed in Ancient Egypt, historical accounts mentioned that doctors in the country were trained in many medical fields, and there were no dentists. Moreover, their oral hygiene was so poor, which is why they suffered from tooth decay. To mask this, Ancient Egyptians invented the first mints: a combination of frankincense, cinnamon boiled with honey, myrrh and shaped into pills.
Pros and Cons of Living in Egypt
With so many things to consider when moving abroad, it’s too easy for expats to feel excited. Being fully prepared for what to expect can make the relocation process a bit less jarring. Therefore, to give expats-to-be a jump start on this process, we have compiled the pros and cons of living in Egypt. Check it out!
As research disclosed, Egypt is, on the whole, quite friendly and welcoming. They are quick to laughter and often enjoy interacting with expatriates. Of course, you’ll get the odd looney tune, like anywhere and wherever you go in Egypt, the common greeting is some variation of, ‘welcome to Egypt.’
Aside from this fact, the Egyptians are often interested in where expats come from and what you think of their country. Another positive trait about the locals is that if you’re ever confounded by something incomprehensible, you can be fairly confident that someone will rush to your aid in the country.
Weather in Egypt
The weather in Egypt is another thing to consider as an expat. With a winter temperature of about 15C, the country feels more like Yukon summer. This means you can walk out of your apartment at any time without facing weather obstacles. More so, no need for coats, mittens, scarves, and all the paraphernalia of a Canadian winter. And then, in the fall and spring, when Egyptians consider being cold, you can still go to the beach and have it all to yourself.
Vegetables in Egypt
You might think this is a bit weird, but the veggies in Egypt are just better. Moreover, it might have something to do with how fresh they are. In fact, the United Kingdom gets about 12 percent of its vegetables from Egypt, but they have to wait until it gets there. And sometimes, when you pick up a few kilos of veggies and fruits, it may feel weird to just paying 20 EGP.
Excellent Educational System
Although the educational facilities in this country are not the standard of the United Kingdom and America but the citizens cherish their own education system. And since education is a very important thing in Egyptians’ lives, everybody, including women and slaves, attend a certain level of schooling to ensure that they learn how to read and write. Besides, education is crucial to locals regardless of race or gender.
Cost of Living in Egypt
According to the research that breaks down the cost of living comparison between cities by personal care, entertainment, housing, and clothes, Cairo is 60 percent cheaper than Washington, D.C., the city I lived as an expat before moving to Egypt. With heavily favorable exchange rates, foreign currencies go a long way in this country. So, if you’re craving for a low cost of living, Egypt should be on your list.
Ease of Doing Things
Something Egyptians take for granted, but for most expats, it’s something special to them. Everything delivers at all hours you request for it. Forget the water cooler; the office boy will make you coffee at a reasonable price. And you can get pretty much anything you want in downtown Cairo. Would you love to change some Euro on the black market? There’s a sidewalk café on the left side at the end of Tallat Haarb Street.
Traffic in Egypt
It’s no doubt that this happens to be one of the major problems in the country. If you’re relocating from a western world where you’re not used to this system, it would be better to prepare ahead. And you know when you relocate abroad, and you find yourself doing a million things a day? Unfortunately, you’re lucky if you find yourself doing two things in Egypt. This is because; you might spend four hours a day staring at a Nissan pickup, which could affect your day but thank God it’s not like China traffic that could last for 12 days.
Sexual Harassment in Egypt
Why you may be happy to relocate to Egypt, you should also know that sexual harassment is a major problem. Besides, just on your 30-second walk from your car to the café, you can manage to get verbally assaulted by no less than ten lowlifes who have nothing better to do than shout obscenities your way.
Unhealthy Lifestyle in Egypt
Weirdly, even though the country has great access to fresh fruit, Cairo is a very unhealthy place to live, and we can tag them just like the Indians. Also, according to the survey disclosed by the World Health Organization, more than 62 percent of Egyptians are overweight. Also, Egypt has one of the highest child obesity rates in the world, and it’s of no surprise here because everything is cooked in fat and fried in oil.
Unlike other countries where animals are considered a pet, it’s quite different in Egypt. The level of animal maltreatment is on the rise in Egypt, and it’s just baffling. More so, there are hundreds of thousands of stray cats and dogs living on the harsh streets of Cairo. And by saying harsh, we meant that their whole life is a constant struggle for survival.
Bribery and Corruption
If you’ve been thinking that India is the leader when it comes to bribery and corruption, you’ve never been to Egypt. This is because; people cheat, and nobody and nothing are ever on time without bribes. Aside from this fact, always know that everything works through connections and money, both on high and low levels. So, be expecting embezzlement, nepotism, bribery, and corruption during your visit.
Cost of Living in Egypt
According to a website that tracks countries’ exchange rates worldwide using live mid-market rates, a single U.S dollar may be equivalent to £17.86. And given how said markets are always liable to change, this information is accurate as at the time of writing this article. Below are aspects of Egyptian life.
Housing/Accommodation in Egypt
According to a survey, we discovered that you could rent a furnished 900 square-foot apartment in Cairo with an estimated cost of about £5,800 in what is categorized as an expensive area in the city. Also, the same accommodation in a normal area goes for about £3,0005 a month, while utilities for two tenants cost approximately £600 per month.
Utilities and Food in Egypt
If an expat wants to live in a furnished studio (480 square feet) in Egypt, you should be expecting to pay £4,000 in an expensive area and £1,800 in a regular area. However, a single tenant’s utility bill comes out to £500 while a high-speed internet (8 MBps) costs £300 per month. On the flip side, the food in the country tends to be over around £7, which is the two pounds of potatoes up to £55, and this is the cost of a fast-food combo meal in Egypt.
Transportation in Egypt
It’s easy to get around in Egypt, and a monthly bus pass runs at about £300. Moreover, taking a five-mile taxi ride during a business day is £34. On the flip side, if you’d rather have more control over the transportation, you can purchase a new car of approximately £420,000 with a liter of gas costing £3.92 in the country.
Schooling in Egypt
Egypt’s schooling system is affordable, and they adhere to the 6+3+3 framework, meaning 6 years of primary school, 3 years of secondary school, and 3 years of senior secondary school. More so, education is mandatory for children aged six to fourteen, and it goes from grades one through nine. According to Numbeo, private preschool costs £2,200 a month for a single child, and the yearly tuition at an international private school is listed as £40,800 for one child in Egypt.
Travel Tips to Egypt in 2021
If you’re planning a trip to Egypt, it’s no doubt that you’ll have a lot of questions. What are the latest travel guides to Egypt? Should I hire a tour guide? What do I need to pack? And the most popular question in recent times is; is Egypt a safe country to visit? Well, let’s quickly walk you through the tips.
Right Place to Visit
Of course, when it comes to the right place to visit, there are many recreational centers in the country. With that being said, we can’t tell you the night place as it depends on your budget and financial capability. However, everyone is familiar with the great pyramids on the Giza Plateau, but there’s a lot more to Egypt than just the pyramids.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Egypt is in the cooler months of the year: November through March. More so, in the southern part of the country, at Luxor and Aswan, rain is unlikely, whereas, in Cairo, haze can be an issue in the morning during the winter months. That way, it’s best to time your visit to the country.
Get your Visa on Arrival
Undoubtedly, most visitors to the country will need a visa. If you’re a citizen of the United States of America, Canada, the European Union, Russia, Norway, or New Zealand, you can obtain a Visa on Arrival at the airport. Also, in the Cairo International Airport, just before passport control, there’s a bank window where you’ll purchase your visa, so take the visa and your passport to the passport control.
Be Prepare to Tip Any Attendant
Since bribery and corruption are a norm in the country, it is customary to tip this attendant before or after you use the bathroom. In fact, you can tip anyone in anywhere, but it doesn’t have to be much because small change can be hard to come by, so save this for when you need to use the bathroom.
Discount for Children and Students
If you’re traveling with your children, you’ll likely get a discount. Research also revealed that at most tourist sites, kids that are 5 years and below could get free entry. Children ages 6 years to 12 years can also get a 50% discount. And for those aged 12 to 30 can qualify for a 50% discount.
Frequently Asked Questions about Egypt
What are the living conditions in Egypt?
Living standards in Egypt are low by international standards and have declined consistently since 1990. Meanwhile, some 20 to 30 percent of the population, according to United Nations, live below the poverty line. And this way, you need to check the living conditions before you plan your relocation.
Why’s Egypt known as a poor country?
Beyond illiteracy, there’s an increase in inflation in the country, and this has also driven many of the locals into extreme poverty. In June 2016, the yearly rate of inflation in the prices of consumer goods was 14.8 percent, so with this factor, the country has been living in poverty while still affecting the citizens.
Is Egypt the best place for expat?
Egypt is considered among the best places to live theoretically because of the weather and the demographic diversity it has. While Egypt is the biggest and the strongest in the Middle East despite all the problems they have, it’s far better than many other European countries if you have enough resources.
Is Egypt an Arab country?
Egypt is long known for its ancient civilization and is also known as the largest Arab county. Meanwhile, it has played a central role in Middle Eastern politics in recent years. This means we can conclude that Egypt is known as one of the notable Arab countries in the world.
Are all Egyptians rich today?
Based on our research and methodology with the official expenditure and income data from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), Egyptians have been placed into two categories: the richest 10 percent and the poorest 10 percent. In addition, the richest 1 percent of Egyptians own half the wealth of the Egyptians, according to the data revealed in 2019.
Indeed, the most resounding benefits cited by many expats to live in Egypt cannot be overemphasized. However, the cost of living is low; the locals are friendly and also welcoming. Nonetheless, you may need to consider the cons before relocating to this country. In other news, refer to this guide for more details.