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Living in Egypt
A practical guide to the way of life in Egypt
Boasting miles of stunning coastline, thousands of years of history, as well as a rich culture, Egypt is one of the most fascinating countries in the world and a popular choice for expats looking to experience something a little bit different.
Life in Egypt
Though the country has undergone significant political upheaval since the 2011 Arab Spring, it remains an exciting, vibrant, and eye-opening place to live and work, with a range of social and professional clubs and networks across the country for expats to enjoy.
A cultural hub of the Arab world, Egypt is a prime location for expats looking to experience a unique corporate environment, start up new business interests, or enjoy the exciting activities and stunning scenery of the country’s coastal regions.
Healthcare in Egypt
Though many hospitals and clinics in Egypt offer a high level of service, there can be big variations in the level of care provided, especially when comparing private and government run establishments.
In general, private clinics, doctors and hospitals in Egypt offer a good level of care, with outpatient services available in most cases. In the event of an emergency, the number to call for an ambulance is 123, though it can be quicker to hail a taxi and make your own way to the nearest hospital.
As private healthcare can be expensive at the point of use, many expats living in Egypt choose to invest in additional health insurance. There are various packages available from a range of providers varying from minimal emergency only cover to fully comprehensive insurance.
Expats without private health insurance should look for hospitals attached to universities when they’re in need of treatment as these generally offer a higher standard of care.
Transportation in Egypt
The standard of public transportation in Egypt is varied and can be difficult to understand due to the Arabic script and complex timetables.
Though most cities have a bus system, timetables can be difficult to find and many bus lines are overcrowded and tricky to negotiate. The train network – the second oldest in the world and the oldest in Africa – fares a little better, with most main lines following the route of the Nile and just a few spur lines leading to outlying areas.
Cairo has its own metro system which is reasonably modern and efficient. Fares are very cheap by western standards and lines extend across the city.
Taxis are one of the most popular forms of public transport in Egypt and are readily available throughout the country. Fares generally need to be negotiated before the journey begins and disputes over the cost of a trip are not uncommon.
If you’re planning on buying your own vehicle while living in the country, you’ll need to obtain an Egyptian driver’s license after six months of living in Egypt. With the roads generally very busy and Egyptian drivers famously cavalier when it comes to the rules of the road, it’s advisable to invest in fully comprehensive insurance.
Culture and Leisure
With more world famous historical sites than you can shake a stick at, Egypt is a dream destination for anyone interested in ancient cultures and history. From the Pyramids at Giza to the temple of Karnak and the Valley of the Kings to the ancient city of Memphis, you could fill every weekend of the year with a cultural visit and still not see everything Egypt has to offer.
As well as its ancient history, Egypt also boasts a vibrant contemporary culture with a wide variety of events, festivals, and celebrations throughout the year. As Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country, expats should be aware of any religious sensitivities around drinking, clothing, and eating, especially at important times of the year like Ramadan.
As well as art, music, and history, Egypt has a wealth of other leisure activities to try your hand at. From diving in the Red Sea to quad biking in the desert and cruising up the Nile to exploring the sand dunes by camel, the country has plenty of exciting activities for expats of all ages.
A wide variety of watersports is also available at Egypt’s Red Sea and Mediterranean resorts including snorkeling, sailing, and windsurfing; perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and thrill seekers looking for a bit of fun in the sun. In most cases, activities are less expensive in Egypt compared to other Mediterranean destinations, though this can vary significantly between resorts.
For expats living in Egypt and looking to learn more about the culture and history of the country, there are a range of courses available at schools and universities across Cairo and a few located in other expat hubs. Arabic language courses are also widely available and offer a good opportunity to get to know the country and its people a little better.
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