The Best of Sandboarding

Sandboarding in Europe!
One would be surprised to find a sandboarding site in Europe, which is considered to be the hallowed turf of skiing. But Monte Kaolino in Hirschau, Germany, happens to be the host of the annual Sandboarding World Championships. It is also the only place to have a lift which ferries people to the top of the 120m-tall dune.
Sandboarding may seem like a fun sport, but wait until you hear this―in skiing, lifts take you to the top of the slope, and all that’s left for you is the thrill of waltzing down. Sand dunes, on the other hand, are a different ball game altogether, since it is impossible to build lifts in these areas. Therefore, sandboarders need to be extremely fit to climb these dunes (in the hot weather, mind you), before the fun part begins.

Well, there is the option of getting hold of a dune buggy or an all-terrain vehicle, but it kind of kills the macho-ness of the sport. So, let’s gather our wits, and draw up all the strength we can, before we head out to these fabulous sandboarding destinations.
The Middle East

Siwa desert Egypt
▶ Siwa, Egypt
▶ Big Red, Dubai

The most happening sandboarding happens where the deserts are―so the obvious place to begin with has got to be the Middle East. In fact, Egypt is actually believed to be the country where this sport originated. The Great Sea of Sand near Siwa, Egypt, is considered to be one of the top sandboarding sites in the world. With dunes rising as high as 500 feet, and slopes of 70 degrees or more, amateurs need to stay away from this one. Also, the area happens to be smack dab in the middle of nowhere, which means that only the truest sandboarders at heart can make it here.

Dubai is a hot-shot destination for all intents and purposes, as it even has a humongous skiing facility, despite being located in a searing, hot desert. But it’s these hot deserts that we’re interested in, at the moment, and Dubai sandboarding glory is the ‘Big Red’ (also known as Al Hamar), a massive 300-feet high sand dune. Dubai is also home to the Hugo International Sandboarding Championships, held annually in conjunction with the Dubai Shopping Festival in January.
Africa
Swakopmund desert Namibia

▶ Swakopmund, Namibia

Sossusvlei desert Namibia

▶ Sossusvlei, Namibia
Woman sandboarding
Cape Town, South Africa
▶ Cape Town, South Africa
▶ Johannesburg, South Africa

The southern region of Africa is home to the Namib desert, estimated to be the oldest desert in the world. The places which beckon sandboarders are Swakopmund, on the coast of northwestern Namibia, and the Skeleton Coast Sand Dunes at Sossusvlei, in the southern part of the Namib desert. The dunes here are massive, some of which can measure up to 900 feet. Needless to say, only the extreme thrill seekers head here.

Cape Town and Johannesburg in South Africa also have some fantastic sites for sandboarders. Close to Cape Town are the Fish Hoek Dunes, which are not as menacing as the ones in Namibia, and are suitable for beginners as well.