Suitable apartments or houses (villas) can be found on the rental market. Local HR will provide you with a list of approved estate agents who will drive you around to find a suitable property.
Properties in New Cairo have usually been built within the last 10 years and tend to be unfurnished, some properties are partially furnished but the quality of furniture provided by the landlord varies, and local taste may be strongly evident in the furniture provided. Furniture can be rented for short term via the El Safwa apartments in New Cairo.
Fabrics for furniture and furnishings are widely available in Egypt. Lampshades, rugs and pictures are available. Furniture can be made from scratch or purchased locally, although prices are not generally cheap for European standards. Bed sizes vary from those in Europe. Beds and mattresses can be bought here (and indeed made to any size). Egyptian cotton bedding can also be bought locally.
Houses/apartments are mostly equipped with household appliances, including television, satellite dish and washer/dryer. In Katameya, Arabella and El Safwa, these vary although most landlords supply your white goods (fridge/freezer, dishwasher, washing machine, tumble drier) and satellite dish.
It can be cold in winter, so you will require both air conditioning and heating. Some air-condition systems have both settings.
In all cases, all requirements should be negotiated with the landlord before signing the contract. Shell can provide a contractor to check the safety of your chosen property, before signing the lease. Outpost strongly recommends that you do this. It is important that you check for the latest details with local HR.
Newcomers should be aware that rents in Cairo and especially in Katameya Heights in New Cairo, have risen alarmingly in the past year and demand has been high, so finding a property in the areas where existing Shell expats live may be difficult. However, there are new walled housing areas under coming available . El Sawfa for example) where rents are lower but which still offer a good standard of living close to NCBIS school and all the amenities.
Another compound is Arabella Country Club, smaller compound then Katameya Heights, also has sport club facilities and not far from NCBIS school.
Currently, Shell HR just approved a new compound is Lake View, located on Road 90 beside Dussit Tani Hotel, not far from BV office.
Many Shell expats live in New Cairo, an area which has been developed in the last 12 years. It is a 30/45 min drive from the offices in Heliopolis (depending on traffic) and properties in this area are usually rented unfurnished. This area tends to be quieter with fewer amenities and comprises of villas and a small number of apartments (usually ground floors of large villas) situated on the top of a hill where there is reputedly less pollution. The NCBIS British School (with Dutch Stream up to 12 years of age) is situated close by. Katameya Heights has a golf course with popular club house and tennis courts ( with a coffee bean and tea leaf franchise). It is served by a small Metro supermarket, as well as a hairdresser, bakery, newsagents and dry cleaners. There is also a small doctors surgery.
There are numerous British, French, and American primary and secondary schools in Cairo. Dutch children up to the age of 12 are catered for in the NCBIC (see below). There are American and German Universities in addition to many local ones. Most shell expats use one of the following but do ask Outpost for further information if you have specific requirements.
1. The New Cairo British International School (NCBIS) occupies a 25,000 square meter campus in Katameya. See http://www.ncbis.org/ This school offers primary and secondary education according to the British curriculum (with GCSE and A-Levels and IB) as well as primary education according to the Dutch curriculum (Dutch International Stream, which is offering bi-langual education). Classrooms are complemented by science, with computer labs, an art studio, auditorium and swimming pool. The school complex also encompasses a football pitch, and basket ball courts. School uniform is compulsory.
2. The CAC American School is in Maadi and follows an American schooling system and also offers AP classes and the International Baccalaureate Diploma. They cater from KG up to grade 12 and has nice facilities. They are in the midst of building a new Middle school at the moment and the coming years the High School will be refurbished and the Tracks are next. The school has good sports facilities and functions as a community school with an open campus for the community every weekday between 5pm-9pm and Saturday all day. See http://www.cacegypt.org/
3. The French school is also situated in Maadi See http://www.lfcaire.com/site.php
When you first arrive please make sure that you have the emergency phone number list, so that you can call for help if necessary. If you are not given one, then ask for one asap. In case of emergency, it is recommended to first call the SENV Country Health Manager; Gihan Badie : 0120-1111 512, who can assist you with any possible medical care you may need at a hospital.
It is advisable to know the way to a hospital soon after arrival, in case of emergency.
Malaria medication is not generally required unless you are visiting some of the remote oases. Check with the medical clinic before traveling.
There are good dentists, often trained abroad, and a wide range of dental care is available (orthodontists are also available) both in Maadi and Heliopolis. Some of the good ones are:
Most medicines are available and at a reasonable cost, yet it is wise to check availability before you arrive, if you need something specific. The cost of medicines is on your own account. Most medicines are available over the counter without prescription.
There is a limited range of cleaning solutions for soft contact lenses available in the local pharmacies. Cleaning solutions for hard/gas permeable lens need to be brought in. It is advisable to bring enough supply till you find out if they can support your brand here.
Opticians are generally good in Egypt, but you need a prescription from an eye doctor for glasses before visiting an optician to have them fitted. At the time of writing many people use Ghaly’s clinic in Maadi. Glasses tend to be a lot cheaper than in Europe.
Pregnancy. Several expatriate women have given birth in Egypt in recent years and have been happy with the experience. They have used Dr Sherif Hamza or CMC-Cairo Motherhood Centre Clinic in Mohandesseen for their check-ups and most deliver in El Nada Hospital.
Most baby items are available here. There is a Mothercare shop in City Stars Shopping Centre and City Centre the shopping centre where Carrefour is situated. However, prices of imported goods tend to be higher.