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There's one thought that goes through the head of a skier or a boarder when they first see a really big sand dune, but all too often there's nothing they can do about it. Packing your board along for your desert safari just isn't something that most people think about. Fortunately, there are now a small number of boards to be rented in Egypt.

Quad safaris, on the other hand, are a dime a dozen. On the whole, they offer a low-value combination of nonexistent safety standards and boring drive-in-a-line driving. KTM (below) is the exception.

The Desert Adventure Company, Amreya (tel. 03/4485883 or 03/4485882; fax 03/4482963; www.saharaadventurecompany.com), are the same guys who can take you surfing off Alexandria and also deal in the sandy variety of surfing.

KTM Egypt, Naama Bay (tel. 010/1794907; www.ktmegypt.com), may be a little pricier than most places, but it also offers top-flight KTM bikes (ranging from little 50cc kiddy bikes to full-on 600cc desert-eating monsters), quads and buggies, well-trained instructors, and full-on European spec safety equipment. The practice track at its elaborate facilities, on the edge of the desert outside Naama Bay in Sharm el Sheikh, is long and twisty and features one very imposing jump.

For biking the Western Desert, try Franco Picco's (if you don't know the name, do an Internet search for this well-known Italian rally biker before you get on one of his bikes) outfit based at the International Health Center (tel. 02/38472322 or 012/3212179; www.whitedeserttours.com) in Bahareya. At around LE1,265 ($230/£117) per person, per day (all-inclusive, mind you), it's not cheap, but there can be no better way to thrill than a few days of blasting over sand dunes on long-range 600cc Yamahas. Tours are tailor made, with a four-person, 3-day minimum.

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.