“Only for those with a sense of adventure” was staring back at me as I filled out the application form. A day travelling through the Sahara desert under the blistering heat of the Egyptian sun. All on a quad-bike. Some people would think of this as a challenge but to me it just sounded brilliant.
Once my brother and I had been completely wrapped with the Shemagh (desert scarf) for protection from the sand and dust we were shown to our toys for the day. Big red 250cc quad bikes just asking to be thrashed around the desert for a few hours!
As we headed off into the desert at full throttle I had my iPod in my ear on full volume and found myself completely drifting away into a world of my own. I leapt over each bump and rock trying to get every last inch of power out of the bike but yet I still had the time to take in the amazing scenery; a combination of vast sand dunes framed by the hills in the distance.
Our fun was interrupted for a few hours as we stopped at a traditional Bedouin camp to see how they manage to get everything they could need from the desert and their camels. The real surprise however, was when they decided to show us the collection of snakes and reptiles that they kept in the camp to show to tourists.
Now there aren’t many things that scare me. I wouldn’t normally say that I am scared of snakes…when they are behind a nice thick piece of glass. However, when the case is open and your local guide is ushering your hand closer to a Cobra that has a bite which can kill you in minutes…I think you could say my heartbeat was slightly higher than normal! I probably should have had a cardiac arrest when our young guide decided to place the next snake on my head! Thankfully I managed to survive the encounter.
Yet over the space of the next ten minutes I managed to have a chameleon crawling up my arm, a baby Nile crocodile in the palm my hand, a pair of lizards attached to my chest by their tiny but razor sharp claws and an iguana perched on my shoulder! What other zoo in the world can offer an experience like that?
As we headed back across the dunes on my new favourite mode of transport, our guide decided to show me exactly what he could do on a quad bike. I spent the next minute or so clinging on for dear life as he pulled wheelies over and over again. Yet I am pleased to report my quad biking skills have definitely now improved.