Cairo - Post Report Question and Answers

What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

One that you don't mind getting dinged. Driving here is crazy and your car will probably get scratched by other cars, dogs climbing on it to sleep, pedestrians, kids playing ball off your parked car, etc. The parking garages are small. I'm grateful to have one and not have to park in the street, but I have to make a 4-point turn to get in or out of the garage and I "may" have scraped the front bumper once or twice... We drive to the Wadi Degla with our dog and travel a bit so we are happy to have a vehicle with a high clearance. Lots of potholes and huge speed bumps, rocky roads driving in the wadi. Embassy mechanics can take of a lot of work for you during their off time. - Feb 2021


We have a Prius and it's fine for driving in Cairo, though we scrape bottom on many of the gigantic speed-bumps throughout the city. People drive all kinds of cars here and since we're not allowed to go into the Western Desert or really do anything "off-road" pretty much any car is fine. Our apartment doesn't have a parking space assigned to it which was problematic for our first year. We had to pay what we refer to as the "parking mafia" in our building to park the car on the street. But after we found out they had been sitting in the car with the air conditioner/heater on, smoking in the car, and driving it around without our permission we made arrangements to park it elsewhere. But for the year it was parked on the street we never had issues with it getting more dinged than it would have anywhere else. It's definitely not in perfect condition but because we don't drive a ton and because people are used to driving in narrow/weirdly designed/bumpy spaces I've found drivers here to be pretty good at avoiding parked cars. :) - Jun 2018


You want a car with high clearance as there are many potholes, speed bumps, etc. It will get banged up, hit, scratched, etc so bring an older one! Older 4 wheel drive Nissan Pathfinders and Rav4s are popular. Thinks cars that will be safe in accidents and can manuever well. We prefer a 4 wheel drive car that can off road if necessary. If people can't find parts here, they often order them.

There are not really burglary/car jacking risks (well, none higher than normal). We don't actually use ours that much. We'll use it for the commissary and sometimes sightseeing or shopping but parking can be an issue as there are often no parking spots. Be prepared for parallel parking in tight situations. - Jan 2018


Most people brought SUVs. The roads in Cairo are not great and there are unmarked speed bumps all around the city; you'll eventually learn where they are. We worked through the embassy mechanics, during their personal time they will be able to help with your vehicle. I did not hear of any problems with break-ins or carjackings, but many people experience fender benders, bumps, nicks, and scratches to their vehicles during their tour. I would not suggest bringing a new, an expensive, or a car that has any sort of sentimental value. On the upside, vehicles have a very good resale value in Cairo and many people were able to sell their cars after 2-3 years for the original purchase price they paid. - Sep 2017


The roads are a little rough, but they're navigable with most kinds of vehicles. Parking and traffic are both nightmarish in Cairo, and taxis/Uber are relatively cheap. It is feasible to do without a car. - May 2017


There are a lot of large potholes and speed bumps, so it would be easier to have something with decent clearance, although we had friends who were fine with sedans. The most common brands are Hyundai and Toyota. It's pretty likely your car will get dented, although repairs are cheap. - Jan 2016


A sturdy vehicle is best suited for some of the rough roads, but a very large vehicle might be difficult to park, even at your residence. Cars usually get scratched or get into fender benders, so best to not bring a car that you mind getting dinged up. - Jan 2016


Bring something old and dinged up to save yourself heartache. Some of the most challenging and unexplainable driving on the planet. You can get by without a car but he taxis are a story in and of themselves. - Jan 2016


We have a Toyota Sequoia. It is hard to get into our small garage below the apartment building but we manage. It is a large car that has high clearance. Expect to ding your car a bit while here. Egyptian drivers are CRAZY! No carjackings that I know of. You can order some parts from home if you need to. We have an APO. - Oct 2014


We brought our minivan. It is kind of big for the tight roads and traffic here. Although there are Toyota dealerships here, our particular car is not part of this market so things have to be ordered and it can take a long while. - Aug 2014


Traffic is a complete nightmare (worse than your worst dreams) so something already dinged up will save you a lot of stress. Road conditions are abysmal (potholes, crumbling infrastructure). Street parking is a challenge- the city and suburbs are so overcrowded that sometimes you have to navigate with less than 1" on each side and your side mirrors touched in....Bring as small a car as you can manage. It is totally possible to live car free and take taxi's. - Aug 2014


They advise getting a car with "clearance" but I am not a fan of SUVs. You need 4-wheel drive to go out to the desert camping, but you can easily find one of many companies to rent you the driver and vehicle for such trips. A vehicle is convenient; gas is dirt-cheap (but not for much longer). Just read of a carjacking, but generally your car is more likely to get dinged than stolen. - May 2014


Large SUV that you don't mind getting dented. If possible, bring a car whose brand is popular in Egypt (Toyota, Nissan, Kia, Hyundai, others). - Apr 2014


Since you can't go anywhere, don't bother bringing a POV. - Mar 2014


4wd SUV. The roads are terrible and speed bumps are huge. You will need high clearance. The bigger the better. - Jul 2013


For some reason, Egyptians have a national obsession with over-grown speed bumps, which -- combined with the potholes -- argue for a car with high clearance. There's an increasing carjacking problem. - Jul 2013


It's better not to bring one. The embassy makes you park on the street. As gas becomes scarce, expect it to be stolen from cars. And a lot of road confrontations, it's just not worth the risk. - Jun 2013


That depends. Do you want to drive in the city and find parking? Then bring something small. Will you primarily want to go desert camping and off roading? Then you will need a 4x4. Either way, bring something that you don't mind getting scratched up, since - if you drive often - you will be in numerous little accidents. You can find parts for most cars here - although they won't be the originals! - Jun 2013


I recommend a small 4X4, such as a RAV 4, Explorer, or Honda CRV. I brought a sedan and regretted it. - May 2013


Bring something that can handle bumps and potholes well (something with high clearance). Be ready to get in accidents - multiple accidents. And remember, Egyptians will blame you and get hostile, even if they are at fault, because they are looking for a payoff. - May 2013


A 4x4 would be good. We have a CRV, and it is good. We don't drive outside of Maadi except to go to the beach, because the driving is absolutely crazy. Do not bring a new car or a nice car. - May 2013


Pretty much any car will work. We have a small SUV and like the clearance it gives us over the Cairo traffic and potholes, but I know folks who have sedans and are comfortable with those as well. As most other folks note here, traffic and driving in Cairo (and Egypt in general) are pretty wild, so whatever you bring, expect that it will get banged up a bit while here. That said, body work is really cheap! Car parts can be found for most cars - Hondas, Toyotas, Kias, and Hundais are all very common here. In terms of restrictions, USG personnel have never been allowed to be on the roads outside Cairo after dark - it simply is not safe from a driving perspective. Immediately after the revolution, USG personnel did have other restrictions on their driving in Cairo proper, but most of those have been lifted. However, there are no-go areas for driving outside Cairo for USG employees, including the entire Sinai, and some areas in Upper Egypt. - Feb 2013


I brought a vehicle, but I've sort of resigned myself to the idea that it is going to get hit at some point here. In retrospect, it is probably better to come without one. Drivers are cheap, and you can find one with his own car. So, unless you have a family to cart around, you may want to think twice. I hear service can be an issue, and carjackings can be a problem depending on where you are and the time of day. - Feb 2013


Bring an SUV that you do not mind getting dinged up. Traffic is crazy here. Beware: Egyptians usually do not use headights while driving at night, and they get mad if you have yours on. - Mar 2013


Drive a small SUV at your own risk. Due to security concerns, post dictates that USG employees travel in armored vehicles when using GOVs, so you may wish to consider why that policy exists when evaluating whether to bring a vehicle to post. - Mar 2013


Don't bring a car. It will get trashed, you will absolutely get ripped off on maintenance, and they are already starting to have diesel shortages. Regular gas is soon to follow. - Feb 2013


The drivers here are worse than in any country I have ever been to. They will hit you and just keep going. Do not bring a nice car here. Traffic is so bad that you never really drive fast. I would suggest a small car because parking is hard to find. - Jan 2013


I haven't dealt with repairs yet, but I was happy to find a gas station with Nitrogen to refill my tires! The cost was less than $1. It's bumpy here, and there are unpainted/unmarked speedbumps to control traffic (no stoplights and VERY FEW street signs). - Nov 2012


Most expats drive SUVs due to road hazards (poor road conditions, but mostly poor driving habits of local people). A sedan or small SUV would make it much easier to park and fit down too-narrow city streets, but would provide less visibility. I hated driving there, to be honest. - Sep 2011


Bring a vehicle that looks good with dents. High ground clearance is good because of random speed bumps and potholes. - Aug 2011


Not too large. Pathfinders, Land Cruisers, Pajeros are huge for Cairo streets. Good ground clearance is better than 4WD. - Aug 2011


Any car would be fine unless you plan to do a lot of desert driving and then you would want a 4-wheel drive. The driving is difficult, crowded, and often counter-intuitive, so many people use SUVs so they will be sitting a bit higher. Most parts are available here for Japanese and American cars. I see a lot of Chinese and Korean cars on the road, so I'm assuming those parts are available as well. - Jul 2011


Something sturdy with four-wheel drive, like a Land Rover, Pajero, Toyota, Suburban. Something that can take atrocious road conditions and the harsh desert landscape. Their is a serious lack of parts in Egypt. I'm not sure I've seen many repair shops. Carjacking isn't a problem. But repairs - if available - will be very expensive. But on the plus side, gas is dirt cheap. - Jun 2011


A 4x4 with a high clearance is best. There are many high speed-bumps and large potholes that can ruin standard cars. Korean cars from KIA and Hundai are the most popoular with the locals. - Sep 2010


Small and rugged. There is the occasional carjacking here but not too often. Roads have HUGE speed bumps, but there is no parking, and parking your SUV may be difficult. - Jun 2010


In my opinion, a small SUV is perfect for Cairo. It's big enough to handle the uneven, pothole-filled roads but small enough to drive down and parallel park on narrow streets. The roads and traffic here are absolutely insane (donkey carts on highways, cars parked on bridges to take wedding photos, no use of headlights at night, trucks piled to impossible heights with any number of things until they nearly tip over) but you can get used to driving here. - Dec 2009


We have a mini van out of necessity, and it's ok. Hard to park sometimes. - May 2008


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