When I got the program for my press trip to Egypt and saw that we'd be going quad biking in the desert in Hurghada, my reaction was hesitant. “A quad safari in Hurghada? AWESOMEBALLS!” meets “A quad tour in Hurghada? You mean I'll have to drive a quad bike in the desert???”.
You can read about my experience doing a desert quad biking tour in Hurghada below but if you're short on time, you can find information about a similar tour to the one I did and book it here.
Quad biking in the desert in Hurghada
Of course, my excitement won and when we drove up to the Hurghada Quad Safari Park that first morning in Egypt, I was all ready to rumble. First things first though: I needed to get wrapped in.
Yes, wrapped in.
Because the desert is sandy (no, really?) you have to protect yourself when quad biking in desert terrains. So the tour guide helped us wrap a scarf around our head (it's amazing how many techniques there are for binding a scarf!), gave us protective glasses and adorned us with a helmet.
I've never looked so fly. Check out my desert face wrap:
If you're wondering what to wear quad biking, that isn't all, though. You also need to make sure you protect your legs. When riding desert quads, the sand will fly up and against your legs as well!
We learnt how to drive desert quad bikes!
Then off we went to get some instructions on how to drive a quad in the desert. A switch to turn them on, a button to get the engine going and a thumb gas pedal.
A thumb gas pedal. As in, you had to hold something in with your thumb the entire time to move forward. If you wanted to go quicker you had to push it harder, if you wanted to slow down you had to release the pressure. No dirty jokes here.
We'd been warned that this thumb gas pedal would be tough, and it was. After half an hour my thumb was super stiff from pressing it the entire time and we hadn't even gone that fast!
But let's keep things chronological here. We were getting instructions. After the instructions, we all mounted our quads and before we took off there was the obligatory posing for the photo.
We first did a couple of rounds to get the hang of it and were soon divided into two groups: the fast ones and the not so fast ones.
Yes, I was in group two. Not because I didn't go fast enough but because I kept too much distance between myself and the person riding in front of me. I didn't mind, though. These machines were heavy and I found it hard to make big turns as I really had to use all of my arm strength (which isn't a lot).
We would drive 25 km to a Bedouin camp where we would drink tea and rest a bit before turning back. That drive was pretty okay as everyone was still learning and the guy leading us changed speeds regularly.
Still, I was happy when we arrived at the camp and I could get off for a while. My arms were pretty tired and I felt shaken, not stirred because of the bumpy ride. I really think you have an advantage riding a quad if you're a little bigger, as it's easier to stay in the saddle.
At the Bedouin camp we got to rest in the shade, drink some tea and mount a camel. I didn't mount one though. I found it a bit sad how people in my group were put on the animals, taken for a two-minute ride and then dropped off again. I wish I could've asked the bumped ones how they felt about giving rides.
I felt even more awkward when our guide approached me and told me I could take pictures of the Bedouin kids playing and the women taking care of the camels. There were some great photo opportunities there, but I didn't feel comfortable taking photos at all. As if taking those photos would reduce those people to less than people.
Does that make sense?
So I snapped a few and then returned to the shade for a few minutes before we had to start our journey back. This time our caravan leader really put his thumb to it though. We drove a constant 50 km/hour and I felt like I would be thrown off of my quad a couple of times. One time I didn't even have enough strength to fully take a turn and so I drove straight on, out of the line we were driving in.
Luckily I managed to rejoin the group quickly and got back to the “Safari Park” in one piece.
The verdict on desert quad biking
I was exhausted, but it was SO much fun! The only thing I regretted a bit is that, when driving and following a group, you don't really have the opportunity to admire the view. And the view is amazing.
I know because I did check it a few times, but when I did I immediately dropped speed and had to catch up again.
So if you're looking for things to do in Hurghada, Egypt, I'd definitely recommend quad biking in the desert!
Beautiful, isn't it?
4 Tips for a safe desert quad tour
Desert quad biking is quite an extreme activity so there are a few saftey tips you should keep in mind before your tour.
1. Don’t forget travel insurance
Plan for the best, prepare for the worst. Travel insurance has you covered if anything were to go wrong.
Check out SafetyWing. They offer super flexible plans that you can even sign up for while you're already on your trip.
2. Make sure you have the right safety gear
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, the tour company made sure we were all suitably equipped for the extreme sport. We had protective gear and a helmet. If your tour company doesn’t offer you this, ask for it.
3. Stay hydrated
It’s hot in the desert, don’t get dehydrated! Make sure you drink enough before you start your tour and maybe even take a bottle of water with you for the trip.
4. Don’t drive dangerously
It may go without saying, but don’t be reckless when driving a desert quad! Most tourists aren’t used to driving in such terrain and get carried away with their driving skills. Drive in a way that makes you feel safe and you’ll enjoy yourself to the max!
Want to do your own Hurghada quad tour?
If you want to go quad biking in the desert in the Hurghada area as well, these tours come recommended:
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I was offered this tour by Thomas Cook. Know that I'll always write honestly about comped experiences like this one.