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Surfing: Kite, Wind & Water

Both kitesurfing and windsurfing are quite new to Egypt, but they fit naturally with the long, windy coastlines of both the Red Sea and Sinai Peninsula. For a while, it looked like the failed beach-resort industry along the western coastline of the Sinai might be revived by the sport, but so far the enthusiasm of tourists for the relentless wind there seems to have been insufficient to overcome their distaste for the terrible hotels. For now, the three main centers of the sport are Safaga, Gouna, and Dahab.

Surfing, meanwhile, hasn't really caught on, perhaps because the North Coast -- about the only place in the country that gets any real waves -- has been developed primarily to serve a domestic market. There is one company (Sahara Desert Company, below), though, that might be able to make your African surfing dreams happen.

Safaga

A combination of friendly pleasant staff, excellent up-to-date equipment, and great wind and sea conditions make the Club Nathalie Portman, at the Menaville Hotel on outskirts of the old town (tel. 012/1170793; www.fun-kite.com), Gouna's only competition for windsurfing.

Dahab

The Harry Nass Center (tel. 069/3640559; fax 069/3640559; www.harry-nass.com) in Dahab City is a one-stop shop for anyone (beginners to experts) looking to spend some time on the lagoon.

Gouna

Mangroovy Beach, a little to the north of town, offers first-class facilities on a beach that combines a long, shallow walkout for beginners and some big waves farther out for experts, all within a 5-minute tok-tok ride of Gouna's great hotels, bars, and restaurants. A number of companies there teach and rent equipment, including Kitepower (www.kitepower-elgouna.com) and Red Sea Zone (tel. 01/02955209; www.redseazone.com).

North Coast

If you've got a hankering to hang ten while you're in Egypt, contact the boys at Sahara Desert Company in Amreya, Alexandria (tel. 03/4485883 or 03/4485882; fax 03/4482963; www.saharaadventurecompany.com).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.