7 Popular Desert Adventure Sports

If you love adrenaline, heights, speed, and above all, fun, then desert adventure sports are for you. Read on to find out more!
7 Popular Desert Adventure Sports

Last update: 10 July, 2020

In this article, we’ve put together a list of popular desert adventure sports so that you can organize a trip full of adrenaline. In these large sandy regions, there’s a whole range of activities to get your blood pumping.

What desert adventure sports are there?

Whether you’re in Dubai, the Sahara, Atacama, the Gobi, the Ica, or Australia, they all have one thing in common – they’re great places to enjoy some desert adventure sports. Below, we’ve put together a brief list of typical activities that you can do on the dunes.

1. Sandboarding

Sandboarding is similar to snowboarding but, obviously, you descend between the dunes and sandhills. Supposedly, this sport first arose on the island of Santa Catarina, in Florianópolis, Brazil.

A woman sandboarding, which is just one of many desert adventure sports.

These days, people can do it on beaches or in the desert, as long as they’ve got some great dunes to plow through. Some of the best destinations for snowboarding include Duna Grande (Peru), the Atacama Desert (Peru), and the Great Victoria Desert (Australia).

2. Cycling: desert adventure sports

Did you know that every year there’s a 700 km race through the desert in the Moroccon Sahara? This competition is known as Titan Desert and tests not just the body but also the mind.

The race has six different stages, some more technical and others which test endurance, and it was created by Juan Porcar, the first Spanish driver to race the Paris-Dakar rally.

You don’t have to be a professional cyclist to cycle through the desert, but you do need to be quite well trained. Other destinations where you can ride through the sand include Mexico or Saudi Arabia.

3. Paragliding

You can take part in this desert adventure sport in various locations, such as Atacama, Namibia, or Morocco. This extreme sport was invented in the 20th century by mountaineers who wanted to fly down from the peaks, and you can do it anywhere where there’s enough wind.

A man falling with a parachute.

There are different types of paragliders, but the most popular is the cross country (where you use thermals in the air to travel long distances).

4. Buggies: desert adventure sports

This is another really fun desert adventure sport. Buggies are a widely used vehicle in the Ica desert, and they’re versatile enough to take you across all types of terrain and sand formations.

A quadbike driving through the desert.

This activity is also known as ‘dune bashing’ in the Qatar desert, using buggies or 4×4 trucks. Expert drivers travel to Khor Al Adaid, a nature reserve full of golden sand dunes. It’s an experience full of adrenaline.

5. Quadbikes

Quadbikes, or quads, are another option for having fun in the desert. They’re suitable for both experts and beginners, although beginners should probably stay on flatter areas.

A man on a quadbike in the desert.

If you go to Qatar, the best place to ride a quad is Sealine Beach, but you can also enjoy a real adventure by riding out into the desert.

6. Trail Running: desert adventure sports

The desert tests us both physically and mentally, and that’s what most people look for in a marathon. One great example of trail running is the 100 kilometers challenge in the Sahara.

A man trail running, which is just one of many desert adventure sports.

7. Trekking

You might not see trekking as an adventure sport, but if you’re in the desert, any activity becomes extreme. Trekking on the sand is a completely different experience from the mountains, forest, or urban landscapes.

For example, in Morocco, there are several different routes, with durations ranging from one to ten days. And whilst you travel, you need to live like a nomad!

There are other desert adventure sports too!

We can’t fit every sport here, but some other popular ones include motor racing and motorbike racing. The best-known example is the Dakar rally, which was originally held in Africa and then went to South America, but always in large sandy regions. These races are both extreme and exciting!

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