Once you’ve tasted adrenaline’s buzz, it becomes pretty easy to see why some people just can’t get enough.
It’s exciting, it’s riveting and it’s damn fun. Luckily for us, Egypt doesn’t leave much to be desired in terms of heart-racing, blood pumping activities. From land to sea to Nile, there are plenty of people already taking advantage of these opportunities. Set aside extraordinary risk takers and trained athletes, the only ingredients needed to get the healthy kind of buzz are: average fitness, a dose of courage and in most cases, a desire to push personal boundaries.
Any avid diver will assure you that the Brothers Islands, two volcanic pinnacles located midway between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are one of the most thrilling diving spots worldwide. Easily identified by a red British-built lighthouse, Big Brother Island saw the sinking of two ships — the Numidia in 1901 and the Aida in 1957. Crew members of both ships survived crashing into the treacherous reef beneath the island, and the Numidia’s current position maintains a very theatrical flair. Beginning close to the surface at eight meters and plunging steeply down to 80 meters, it’s a wreck that satisfies experienced recreational divers as well as those who are more technical.
Aside from wreck diving, both islands hold the promise of seeing sharks and offer stark walls that drop down to hundreds of meters, reaching the floor of the Red Sea. A wonderfully eerie location, the Brothers Islands tantalize all those who venture out to them.
Recommendation: Red Sea Explorers
As the Brothers Islands are a minimum of 100 nautical miles away from shore and demand a long sail, the best way to visit would be a safari boat that organizes week-long dive trips. Based in Hurghada, Red Sea Explorers offers live-aboard diving experiences across the Red Sea, making a trip to the Brothers Islands a great opportunity to visit other sites as well as explore a magical place.
When to go
Diving in the Red Sea is possible all year round, but if you want to avoid using a dry suit and swimming in cold water, make your way over some time between May and October.
Still able to attract a significant number of tourists to the Red Sea – and a considerably popular sport among locals as well – kitesurfing combines some of the favorite pursuits of adrenaline buffs: speed, risk and a sense of solitary adventure. Although there are several locations suitable for kitesurfing in Egypt, including Ras Sudr and the North Coast, Gouna is equipped to take kiting to the next level.
Forget flying back and forth in front of a shore, or going round in circles inside a bay — by taking off from Gouna, kiters can make their way to an actual destination. Located about two nautical miles away from land, Bayoud is a relatively short distance away and promises turquoise waters to relax in before flying back to land. For the more experienced, the island of Tawila is another desirable kiting destination — located 12 nautical miles away, it provides a serene resting spot for in-between journeys. Few things speak adrenaline rush like whizzing through the sea en route to a tranquil reef or a deserted island.
Recommendation: Element Watersports, Gouna
Everyone needs to launch their kite from somewhere and a popular place to do so is Element Watersports in Gouna. Providing both kitesurfing and windsurfing lessons, the kite station also offers equipment rental and is a welcoming place to hang out. Regardless of your kitesurfing levels, this is an ideal place to go.
When to go
Kitesurfing is possible most of the year in the Red Sea but in order to enjoy a bit of sunshine and warm weather, the months of March and October are most advised.
An entirely new concept to Egypt, cross-country kayaking is causing quite a stir among the adventure-seeking community. A project that began in Cairo with Nile crossings that remained within the city’s stretch of the river, the itinerary has now expanded to include a 200 km kayaking expedition from Aswan to Luxor, as well as a more advanced 350 km trip from Taba to Jordan.
Kayaking from Aswan to Luxor takes four to five days, with an escort boat accompanying the trip in which participants eat and sleep. A novel way to approach a classic cruise, kayakers dock on several islands along the way, taking the time to visit ancient temples and indulge in the historic wonders of Upper Egypt. While the trip from Taba to Jordan takes less time – around eight hours there and three hours back –it is far more of a challenge journey, requiring meticulous study of the wind and waves beforehand, not to mention some hefty kayaking experience.
Recommendation: Nile Kayak Club
The only organization that plans cross-country kayaking trips in Egypt, the Nile Kayak Club was founded in February 2016 by adventurers Nouran Ashry, Ahmed Nayer and Sherif Khed. The team is continually developing more ambitious routes.
When to go
The time you choose to kayak really depends on the location that comes with it. Aswan and Luxor are far more possible during the winter months, while Cairo and the Taba crossing may be more wisely attempted when the weather is slightly warmer. Overall, summer is not an ideal time for kayaking, unless heat and intense sun are desired.
If you prefer an adrenaline rush that can be found on the ground rather than water, head to the mountains for a healthy dose of rock climbing. Sinai is known for its majestic mountains, and aside from mesmerizing beauty they offer great opportunities for novices and professionals alike to climb. Largely due to the locals’ involvement in the sport, Wadi Gnai – a Bedouin and National Park – currently has over 35 single and multi-pitch routes, each rated according to international rock climbing classifications. Bearing witty names such as “Sand Witch” and “Who Ate the Bolt?” these climbs broadly range from 3a to 7a in difficulty.
Set up with a harness and belayer for safety, there is no actual risk with this type of rock climbing, but the mental rush is gratifying all the same. Surrounded by a kind of nature that is nonchalant in its harshness, high above anyone else, a state of survival and self-motivation prevails. Perhaps it’s the sense of accomplishment upon reaching the top, or post-survival mode kicking in, but reaching the final pin and claiming your existence can be a powerful feeling.
Recommendation: Navig8 Club
What began as a side project for partners Adham Hamada, Rahim Hamada and Aya Sedky, Navig8 has matured to be an all-year round initiative offering eclectic trips that include exotic travel destinations, diving, fitness and in the cooler months, rock climbing in Dahab.
When to go
As with kayaking, rock climbing is better suited to the cooler months, as winter in Sinai is quite short. However, beware of the summer months because, while Sinai’s winter may be mild, summer in the peninsula is long and intense.
Competitive sports and racing are a dependable way to infuse some adrenaline into your system, and what better way to do so than participating in a triathlon. A medley of endurance sports — running, swimming and cycling — the competitive edge is an added advantage to keep you going. Participants are arranged according to age and sex, while the races within the event are organized according to personal ability, giving participants a choice of races at different levels of intensity. So, people of all ages and fitness ranks are encouraged to take part, and training is certainly part of the experience and may be catered according to personal needs and requirements.
In Egypt, the training required for triathlons typically takes place in a number of Cairo locations, while the event itself is hosted over a weekend at a seaside location.
Recommendation: The TriFactory
Led by partners Ayman Hakky, Mahmoud Abdelhakim and Seif Fawzy, the TriFactory specializes in triathlons, endurance sports and organizing mass participation sports events. The TriFactory has hosted events in several spots, including Aswan and Sahel Hasheesh. This May will see the fourth triathlon in Sahel Hasheesh, while in August the team will move to the North Coast.
When to go
The triathlons are organised throughout the year in varying locations, depending on the weather. For information on when the next one is and where to sign up, it’s best to keep track of their Facebook page.