Cairo is huge, there’s no doubt about it. With nearly 20 million inhabitants in the city, the number increases drastically during the day from all those who commute into the city for work, not to mention all the tourists visiting the city. Being such a crowded city, most foreigners and expats could find most of the city to be overwhelming. That’s why most expats living in Cairo opt to live in the district of Maadi.
Maadi is perhaps the calmest area of the large metropolis. It’s kept the same name of the ancient town located on the same spot. The more modern Maadi was established in 1905 along the railway line connecting Cairo and Helwan. Captain Alexander J. Adams, a retired Canadian officer, was responsible for the town planning, which explains its western feel.
Maadi is so full of villas and houses along with plenty of gardens that you often forget that you’re still in the concrete jungle that is Cairo. Most houses are only a few floors tall, and the streets are so peaceful you can only hear the children playing in front of their homes.
The overall atmosphere of Maadi, with its calm streets and abundant greenery, gives a feeling of being in another world. No doubt, living in Cairo is overwhelming, even for survivors of other intense cities like NYC and Shanghai! If you’re living as an expat in Cairo, Maadi is the place for you not to be overwhelmed by life overall.
And Maadi likes being known as expat central. With embassies such as the Mexican, Peruvian, Japanese, and Mongolian embassies, as well as others, located in Maadi, many of those foreigners who work at the embassies also live in Maadi. As a result, it has maintained a relatively western, or at least foreign, feel to it, which makes it ideal for many expats who have made Cairo their home. Maadi is also very family friendly, with calm neighborhoods, and an abundance of international schools, from nurseries to elementary and high schools.
It offers many services also available throughout the rest of the city, like dry cleaners, shops, and restaurants. The difference is that many of these establishments cater more to foreigners (i.e. they speak English, they carry more imported products, etc.) which may make life a bit easier for expats sometimes.
Here are a couple of suggestions of where to go in Maadi if you’re living in Egypt (Maadi) for a bit.
1. Carrefour: the French giant has a Carrefour Express in Maadi, as well as a huge hypermarket located on the Ring Road, which has everything from food to cleaning supplies to clothes and electronics.
2. Masoud Market: located on Road 9, near the Maadi metro station. It offers Egyptian products, as well as many, many imports like Pop Tarts and Quaker Oats Oatmeal.
3. Metro Market: another great market often frequented by foreigners for their selection of high quality products and imported goods. It’s located on Road 9, with another location at Lasilky Street.
1. There is Maadi Grand Mall, which has some shops, but most brand name shops located in Maadi will usually have individual locations around the district and not really be collected into a mall.
1. Maadi is full of restaurants and cafes. While there are all sorts of foreign chains like Chili’s, there are also many smaller international restaurants that are family owned. Restaurants like Bua Khao, Little Italy, and Maison Thomas offer everything from pizza to Korean, and everything in between. There’s no shortage of restaurants, cafes, or bakeries to pick from.
1. If you’ve just moved, then your first stop should be the Community Service Center in Maadi. This expat community center offers lessons and seminars, as well as recommendations for doctors. Check it out for lots of tips as well
Hopefully that gave you an idea about life in Maadi and Cairo, and where to go for some of your basic needs!