Expats moving to Egypt for work will generally be heading to Cairo, the cultural and financial center of the country. However, there are expat communities in other major cities and tourist destinations as well. As with many countries, the easiest way to relocate is with the help of a specialist agency, however, it is possible to arrange everything by yourself with a little bit of determination and knowhow.
Covering an area of more than 100,000 square kilometers and with an estimated population of over 87 million, Egypt is the 30th largest country in the world by size and the 15th largest by population. Stretching from the Mediterranean Sea in the North to the Red Sea and Sudan to the south, the country straddles the border between the Middle East and Africa both geographically and culturally.
Demographically, the country is fairly homogeneous with 91% of the population considered to be ethnic Egyptians. Of these, the vast majority (90%) is Sunni Muslim with just 10% identifying as Christian.
The largest city in Egypt is Cairo with an estimated population of around 12 million and most expats moving to Egypt are likely to find themselves in the capital. After Cairo, the port city of Alexandria is the most populous with over 4 million residents, followed by Giza (over 3,348,000) and Shubra El-Kheima (approx. 1,073,000).
Most national and international businesses are based in Cairo, though some companies focused on tourism are located in the resort towns of the Mediterranean and Red Sea.
As an important center of tourism, culture and business, Egypt has long played a major part in world events ,with the political upheavals of 2011 still leaving their mark on the country. Foreigners moving to Egypt should therefore take particular care to do in-depth research on their destination and the current political situation before they leave.
One of the least cloudy and least rainy countries on earth, the climate of Egypt is generally warm, sunny, and clear; something that will make a welcome change to English expats and other northern Europeans moving to Egypt.
South of Cairo, the average rainfall is just 2 to 5mm per year. North of the capital, the Mediterranean Coast can see as much as 410mm of rain per year, almost all of which will fall in the winter months from December to March.
Surprisingly, the country can see some snow, though this is generally confined to Mount Sinai and the coastal cities of the north.
During the summer months, the weather is almost exclusively hot and sunny. Northern regions experience cooling winds from the Mediterranean which help to moderate temperatures however during the day it can still easily exceed 40˚C.
The center of the country sees the highest summer temperatures with 50˚C not uncommon during the hottest months of the year.
The ease or difficulty of finding accommodation in Egypt will depend on your budget, your chosen area and the type of property you’re looking for.
In general, the internet isn’t the best place to start your search as scams are relatively common. Instead, you’ll need to get in touch with a local estate agent in order to begin your property search, unless you’re using a relocation agency, that is. An agent should be able to advise you on what you can expect for your budget and the type of rental contracts available.
There are a few agencies with listings in English and most high-end companies will have properties catered towards the expat market. Before setting up a rental agreement, you may need to get your banking and visa information in order, though your agent should be able to give you detailed information on local requirements.
There is a wide choice of accommodation available across Egypt, ranging from small studio apartments in the city centers to large seaside villas and gated communities.
Foreigners often find that they are charged a little more rent than the locals, especially in the popular expat areas of Cairo, Alexandria and the Red Sea, and when using agencies that are targeted towards people moving to Egypt.