Events

Fri 06
  • Riverdeep Dt. Heavy Pins & Junior at Riverside
    Riverdeep Dt. Heavy Pins & Junior at Riverside
    Mar 06 9:00 pm to Mar 07 2:00 am - Riverside Restaurant & Lounge
    Zamalek's Riverside hosts one of the biggest editions of Riverdeep yet, as Greek duo, Heavy Pins, return to Cairo, on a line up that also...
  • Rainbows & Warfare at ROOM Art Space
    Rainbows & Warfare at ROOM Art Space
    Mar 06 7:00 pm to Mar 06 9:00 pm - ROOM Art Space
    Versatile local band, Rainbows & Warfare, perform a range of covers at ROOM Art Space in Garden City. Entry is free as part of 'With...
  • Eat to the Beat at Eat & Barrel
    Eat to the Beat at Eat & Barrel
    Mar 06 1:00 pm to Mar 06 7:00 pm - Eat & Barrel
    Giza lounge and bar, Eat & Barrel, start bright and early on Friday, with DJ Shady Ezz the music at Eat to the Beat.  For reservations,...
  • Kareem Auf & Miesh at Cairo Jazz Club
    Kareem Auf & Miesh at Cairo Jazz Club
    Mar 06 10:00 pm to Mar 07 3:00 am - Cairo Jazz Club
    Cairo Jazz Club welcomes DJs, Kareem Auf and Miesh, for a night of vocal deep house. For reservations, call 01068804764.
  • Oriental Night at Amici Zamalek
    Oriental Night at Amici Zamalek
    Mar 06 9:00 pm to Mar 07 2:00 am - Amici
    Head over to Amici Zamalek to celebrate all things oriental and leave the city behind. For more information, call 010-9332-3333.
Sat 07
  • Fashion Garage II at Eat & Barrell
    Fashion Garage II at Eat & Barrell
    Mar 07 11:00 am to Mar 07 8:00 pm - Eat & Barrel
    Giza bar and lounge, Eat & Barrel, hosts the second Fashion Funds charity event by Fashion Garage, where Cairo's fashion lovers can shop,...
  • The Blowers at Cairo Jazz Club
    The Blowers at Cairo Jazz Club
    Mar 07 10:00 pm to Mar 08 3:00 am - Cairo Jazz Club
    Cairo Jazz Club welcomes back unique Oriental brass band, the Blowers. For reservations, call 01068804764.
  • Shady Ahmed & Ousso Lotfy at Balcon Lounge
    Shady Ahmed & Ousso Lotfy at Balcon Lounge
    Mar 07 8:00 pm to Mar 07 10:00 pm - Balcon Lounge
    One of Cairo's most established singer/songwriters, Shady Ahmed, teams up with guitarist, Ousso Lotfy, for a laidback night of acoustic music...
  • Lebanese Love at Bamboo
    Lebanese Love at Bamboo
    Mar 07 10:00 pm to Mar 08 5:00 am - Bamboo
    Every Saturday, DJ Aly and DJ Kiko bring a little slice of Beirut to Bamboo as they play the hottest Lebanese and Oriental tunes aboard the...
  • Karaoke Night at Peking Lodge
    Karaoke Night at Peking Lodge
    Mar 07 10:00 pm to Mar 08 3:00 am - Peking Lodge
    Zamalek's Peking Lodge welcomes one and all for a night of karaoke, where prizes will be given out for the best three participants. For...
Sun 08
Mon 09
  • Helmi El-Touni Exhibition at Picasso
    Helmi El-Touni Exhibition at Picasso
    Feb 20 12:00 pm to Mar 17 10:00 pm - Picasso Gallery
    Zamalek's Picasso Gallery hosts an exhibition by revered Egyptian artist, Helmi El-Touni, who's inspiration and interpretation of...
  • Fifth District at Mashrabia Gallery
    Fifth District at Mashrabia Gallery
    Feb 22 11:00 am to Mar 19 8:00 pm - Mashrabia Gallery
    Having been inspired when working as a painter at a villa in New Cairo's Fifth Settlement/District, Ahmed Sabry explores how Egyptian homes...
  • 'Generations' Exhibition at Art Corner
    'Generations' Exhibition at Art Corner
    Mar 05 11:30 am to Mar 24 9:30 pm - Art Corner
    Zamalek gallery, Art Corner, hosts 'Generations; a new group exhibition by Egyptian artists, Effat Nagy, Esmat Dawestashy and Mohsen A....
Tue 10
  • Helmi El-Touni Exhibition at Picasso
    Helmi El-Touni Exhibition at Picasso
    Feb 20 12:00 pm to Mar 17 10:00 pm - Picasso Gallery
    Zamalek's Picasso Gallery hosts an exhibition by revered Egyptian artist, Helmi El-Touni, who's inspiration and interpretation of...
  • Fifth District at Mashrabia Gallery
    Fifth District at Mashrabia Gallery
    Feb 22 11:00 am to Mar 19 8:00 pm - Mashrabia Gallery
    Having been inspired when working as a painter at a villa in New Cairo's Fifth Settlement/District, Ahmed Sabry explores how Egyptian homes...
  • 'Generations' Exhibition at Art Corner
    'Generations' Exhibition at Art Corner
    Mar 05 11:30 am to Mar 24 9:30 pm - Art Corner
    Zamalek gallery, Art Corner, hosts 'Generations; a new group exhibition by Egyptian artists, Effat Nagy, Esmat Dawestashy and Mohsen A....
Wed 11
  • Helmi El-Touni Exhibition at Picasso
    Helmi El-Touni Exhibition at Picasso
    Feb 20 12:00 pm to Mar 17 10:00 pm - Picasso Gallery
    Zamalek's Picasso Gallery hosts an exhibition by revered Egyptian artist, Helmi El-Touni, who's inspiration and interpretation of...
  • Fifth District at Mashrabia Gallery
    Fifth District at Mashrabia Gallery
    Feb 22 11:00 am to Mar 19 8:00 pm - Mashrabia Gallery
    Having been inspired when working as a painter at a villa in New Cairo's Fifth Settlement/District, Ahmed Sabry explores how Egyptian homes...
  • 'Generations' Exhibition at Art Corner
    'Generations' Exhibition at Art Corner
    Mar 05 11:30 am to Mar 24 9:30 pm - Art Corner
    Zamalek gallery, Art Corner, hosts 'Generations; a new group exhibition by Egyptian artists, Effat Nagy, Esmat Dawestashy and Mohsen A....
Thu 12
  • Helmi El-Touni Exhibition at Picasso
    Helmi El-Touni Exhibition at Picasso
    Feb 20 12:00 pm to Mar 17 10:00 pm - Picasso Gallery
    Zamalek's Picasso Gallery hosts an exhibition by revered Egyptian artist, Helmi El-Touni, who's inspiration and interpretation of...
  • Fifth District at Mashrabia Gallery
    Fifth District at Mashrabia Gallery
    Feb 22 11:00 am to Mar 19 8:00 pm - Mashrabia Gallery
    Having been inspired when working as a painter at a villa in New Cairo's Fifth Settlement/District, Ahmed Sabry explores how Egyptian homes...
  • 'Generations' Exhibition at Art Corner
    'Generations' Exhibition at Art Corner
    Mar 05 11:30 am to Mar 24 9:30 pm - Art Corner
    Zamalek gallery, Art Corner, hosts 'Generations; a new group exhibition by Egyptian artists, Effat Nagy, Esmat Dawestashy and Mohsen A....

Highlights

Restaurants

Khayrat El Sham: Game Changing Syrian Cuisine in Maadi

Khayrat El Sham: Game Changing Syrian Cuisine in Maadi

Let's face it; there are at least three restaurants in your vicinity that can deliver you a shawerma. While we love a good shawerma, and the cuisine of the Levant in general, there are just too many subpar restaurants ruining the good name of Syrian food. It's not just about the meat or chicken; it's the little things like the tomeya, the saj bread and the marinade - the kind of things that truly elevate the experience. If you've been feeling like all the Syrian food you've been trying recently all tastes the same, rejoice because you won't believe how much better this restaurant is. Located at the very end of Road 233 in Maadi, Khayrat El Sham is a very modestly-sized restaurant that operates on takeaway and delivery. Don't be fooled by the size, or the modesty, because you're about to be blown away by flavour. The menu features shawerma sandwiches, meals and fattahs, as well as grill options that are served as meals or sandwiches including Shish Taouk, Msahab (boneless chicken), kofta and kebbeh. The appetisers include fattoush, tabouleh, kebbeh and a mean pomegranate molasses. We opted for a Shish Taouk Meal (31LE) as well as a Meat Shawerma Fattah (31LE) alongside an extra order of Yellow Basmati Rice (7LE), Coleslaw (8LE) and a Kofta Sandwich (19LE). The Shish Taouk Meal features two skewers of heavily marinated, including pomegranate molasses, chicken breast cubes, French fries, saj bread, Tomeya and coleslaw. The portion of chicken is very generous, and is hands down the most flavorsome Shish Taouk in town. While the French fries are just about average and the coleslaw decent, the Tomeya is phenomenal, and combining all together into the saj bread creates an incredible bite. The Meat Shawerma Fattah fared just as well. Again, the portion was very generous, the slices of beef shawerma just the right amount of crispy and the well cooked basmati rice combined with crunchy bread and the tomeya created another winning mix. The Kofta Sandwich, featuring parsley, tehina, onions and pickles, was also a hit, thanks to the tasty tehina and delectable and perfectly cooked kofta that fell apart before you even bit into it. The extra order of Yellow Basmati Rice and Coleslaw, which we had ordered in fear of not getting full, both surprised us in their portions in that they could feed up to three people.  While there is no option to dine in at Khayrat El Sham's Maadi branch, such good food may actually be best indulged in at home. We've tried so many Syrian and Lebanese restaurants, even those of a much higher caliber when it comes to presentation and the venue itself, but few churn out food as good as Khairat El Sham.

Shopping

Pop-Up Shop: Fashion, Art, Accessories & More at Downtown Katameya Mall's Quirkiest Store

Pop-Up Shop: Fashion, Art, Accessories & More at Downtown Katameya Mall's Quirkiest Store

Egyptian design has been booming across Cairo's unpredictable shopping scene over the last few years and designers and artisans have been flourishing in the new found appreciation of all things local and authentic. But with that has come a relative saturation in regards to it as a concept – the idea of locally made products has become somewhat of a gimmick. Pop-Up Shop has managed to bypass this altogether, however, by very carefully selecting some genuinely unique and original products. Located in Downtown Katameya Mall, the Pop-Up Shop boasts a large sign that literally makes the shop pop out against the mall's demure design. Once we stepped inside, our eyes frantically began scanning all the quirky knick-knacks the store offers before we were greeted by one of the sales personnel. The first thing we laid our eyes on were imported Moroccan, Indian and Uzbekistani ornaments and tables that clashed against Egyptian-made linens and decorative plant pots. The store focuses tremendously on showcasing the works of several Egyptian designers, all of whom, we can confirm, offer extremely unique products. One showstopper amongst the array of products displayed was a Bedouin-inspired, colourful mirror (1550LE) crafted by Egyptian brand, Ghada. We also noticed a few cosy-looking cushions with distinctive designs (160LE-210LE), as well as some Sugar Rush soaps, trays and a few decorative candles. Fashion-wise, this is a haven for all risk-taking fashionistas who are willing to make loud statements with their outfits. Several racks display items designed by Kojak, as well Air Marine, that can be complimented by the snug Siwa scarves, our favourite of which being a black one with bright Bedouin-inspired printed trimming (600LE). The Pop-Up Shop also offers the most eccentric accessories out there. Heel Up, a brand offering embellished bands (200LE-300LE) that can be attached to high heels to make them stand out, is also showcasing their original designs – yes, now you can add bright feathers to your heeled shoes.  We also loved the brass earrings and necklaces designed by Rafy that were on display, our favourite being a long, dangly pearl-adorned pair of earrings (1250LE). Climbing up the mint metal stairs, our breath was literally taken away by what was on display on the second floor; an array of beautiful surrealist paintings (6000LE-17000LE) by the super talented Amy Abdelbaky.  Perhaps our favourite of the truly impressive pieces is the "Forgiven" collection, which features intense, memorable colours and play on a theme of conflicting human thoughts. It is worth noting that the sales personnel were exceptionally helpful all throughout our visit, casually filling us in about the designers and their work, as well as readily listing the prices of the items when asked. On an ending note, we could literally describe everything The Pop-Up Shop has to offer for days – the products are endless and one-of-a-kind. Walking around the store was like inhaling a deep breath of fresh air, with the artsy designs completely standing out from anything we've ever seen before.  

Cafés

Häagen-Dazs: Cairo Festival City's Go-To Ice Cream Parlour

Häagen-Dazs: Cairo Festival City's Go-To Ice Cream Parlour

Summer in Egypt can be unbearable and the heat is all the excuse we need to self-medicate using the cooling and soothing properties of that delicious thing called ice cream. In colder months – example being the time of publishing – the temptation is just as great, even if motivated more by a visceral yearning for indulgence. One such source of frozen treats is Häagen-Dazs; the worldwide brand has had mixed luck in Cairo – with several braches having closing down – but the branch in New Cairo's Cairo Festival City Mall has a steady stream of customers. The café-like space Häagen-Dazs occupies is quite small, dimly lit with deep maroon walls and a huge display of ice cream favours and pastries. The seating area fairly small and was semi-occupied during the time of our visit. We were greeted by a friendly server who insisted on making us try a few of the flavours before making any decisions. Quite shamelessly, we readily obliged and accepted his cordiality – don't judge. The Raspberry flavour was lusciously tangy, light and tasted fresh yet a little too syrupy; whilst the Hazelnut Caramel Chocolate was mouth-watering, with the addition of caramel to the traditional mainstream hazelnut chocolate flavour elevating its overall taste. The Belgian chocolate was as sinful as it sounds, boasting the intense flavour of high quality, dark Belgian chocolate. We finally settled for a scoop of Caramel Biscuit and Cream and another of Midnight Cookie and Cream (18 LE/scoop) in two freshly baked waffle cones (4 LE/ cone); both did not disappoint. The former was light yet decadent with little crunchy biscuit pieces wrapped within its creamy layers and the latter tasting irresistibly chocolaty. Other dessert options Häagen-Dazs offers include muffins, cookies, cakes, tarts, pies, crepes and waffles, as well as special ice cream creations. We noticed a delicious-looking Blueberry Cheesecake (22 LE) alongside an oversized Double Chocolate Chip Cookie (13 LE). All in all, Häagen-Dazs passes with flying colours thanks to its evident use of high quality ingredients, as well as its amicable staff who went the extra mile to make our visit a pleasant one. Sure, the prices are a bit steeper than those of most ice cream parlours, but some things in life are worth an extra penny – or two. 

Nightlife

Red Onion: Maadi Bar Hasn't Changed One Bit, For Better & For Worse

Red Onion: Maadi Bar Hasn't Changed One Bit, For Better & For Worse

When it comes to Cairo nightlife, there's an increasing variety of bars, clubs and pubs to choose from. There are, however, staples that have become second homes to nocturnal Cairenes; venues that have been there for what feels like forever; ones that you can turn to when experimenting with the newer venues is just too much of a hassle. For Maadi residents, the Red Onion has been one such place. Looking quite small and demure from the outside, the bar and restaurant is located on one of Maadi's quieter side streets and is almost easy to miss. Stepping inside, you find yourself in a stuffy, dimly-lit space with off-white walls and several small tables occupied by loud crowds. A rather confusing and loud playlist does nothing to compliment what looks to be a traditional Mediterranean theme that the interior design is trying almost too hard to portray. Ragheb Alama sings his heart out on one of his 2007 tracks followed by Usher's infamous 'Yeah' – you get the picture. A waiter scurries amongst the clouds of smoke filling the air and is immediately by our side ready to take our order. When asked for menus, he simply said "we offer everything, just shoot" – a rather odd and quite perplexing response. Not actually wanting to order food, we dismissed the waiter's peculiar answer. Whereas a can of regular soda will set you back 13LE, a Stella beer will cost you 20LE – it doesn't make sense, but little in Cairo ever does. While cocktail prices vary, they do so within reason. We opted for a Tequila Sunrise (30LE) and a whiskey and Coke (69LE). Our drinks came within a few minutes accompanied by a small bowl of salted popcorn and another of Lupini beans, which were devoured within minutes and were, sadly, not refilled throughout the night. The Tequila Sunrise was very peachy and refreshing, while the whiskey and Coke had a surprisingly large serving of whiskey – we aren't complaining. Service wise, the waiters are quite efficient and you can always spot one standing somewhere nearby. The drinks arrived swiftly and were of sufficient quality, as well as comparatively very low prices. All in all, Red Onion has retained its satisfactory level of service and its interior hasn't changed at all. The loud crowds and even louder, outdated background music can, however, be a tad unsettling especially if you're simply looking to unwind after a long day. To compare the Red Onion with Cairo's more modern bars would be unfair, however; this is one nightlife spot that very much relies on a steady stream of regulars. You can by all means enjoy a night there, just don't expect five-star anything. Or four-star anything for that matter.

Arts & Culture

Safar Khan Art Gallery: Salah Abdel Kerim Exhibition

Safar Khan Art Gallery: Salah Abdel Kerim Exhibition

Located in a relatively hushed side street in the ever picturesque Zamalek area, Safarkhan Art Gallery has always been a leader in its field, hosting exhibitions for Egypt's most prominent artists and just generally being a must-go for all Cairene connoisseurs of the arts. All throughout the next month, till the 27th of February, the gallery is displaying the works of one of Egypt's most talented and renowned artists, the late Dr. Salah Abdel Kerim, including some never-before seen pieces. His works, which range from oil paintings to felt-tip portraits to shaded landscapes and theatrical sets to wooden and wrought iron sculptures all suggest surrealist muses. Being one of the most established names of modern art in Egypt, Salah Abdel Kerim's works have attracted a lot of local as well as global praise due to his use of several diverse mediums in his art and his versatility. Some of the national and international prizes the creative artist received include the San Vito Romano prize in painting and the prize for sculpture at the Biennale of Alexandria, as well as an honorary distinction in sculpture in Saint Paolo in 1959. On display front and center in the gallery is his most famous, award-winning sculpture 'The Cry of the Beast', which was featured in Rene Huyghe's book Art and Man alongside the works of Picasso and Muller - the former being an obvious source of inspiration and admiration. Visitors can also get a first-hand look at his design wirk, done in collaboration with Salah Jahin, in celebration of Cairo's first millennium. His illustrations for Al Ahram newspaper can also be seen hanging on the walls of the gallery's top floor, as do some of his drawings of landscapes. Some of the other truly breath-taking pieces currently being shown at the gallery include Abdel Kerim's owl sculptures, and the different décors he put together for theatrical productions. Dr. Salah Abdel Kerim's works are, without a doubt, some of the most striking in Egyptian art history thanks to his skill, creativity, talent and openness to experiment with countless methods and materials. Rarely does a single exhibition capture such a wide range of one single artist's work like this one does. As a collection, the links between Abdel Kerim's inspirations and style are obvious and the whole exhibition flows. 

Health & Fitness

Mohamed Al Sagheer: Men's Department at Zamalek Branch Botches Haircut

Mohamed Al Sagheer: Men's Department at Zamalek Branch Botches Haircut

For a man in Cairo, getting a haircut is something of a terrifying prospect. You risk all manner of calamities such as fauxhawks, excessive gel and god only knows what else. Luckily, more and more high-end options for males are cropping up, and what better place is there to test out than Cairo mainstay, Mohammed Al Sagheer. On walking into the popular Zamalek branch, you will be immediately greeted by well turned out doormen. The men's section is on the first floor, but that won't prevent the elevator attendant from shepherding you into their glamorous little box. When approaching the desk, the receptionists are more than polite, offering refreshments and asking if you wanted to see a specific stylist. The stylist leads you round the corner to where the seats and wash basins are. You are given the choice of whether you want hot or cold water, and the fragrant shampoo makes for a pleasant experience. However, the chairs for the basin are not adjustable, which may leave the more vertically gifted amongst you uncomfortably contorted. The stylist will then lead you the seat in front of the mirror and ask what you want.  The request was simple; a faded short back and sides, and a simple trim on the curly top; not an unusual or difficult request. However, instead of fading the lower sections, the stylist simply shaved it all one level on the sides, and applied a very rudimental fade to the back section. Instead of a trim, he took about a millimetre off of the front section of the hair. At this point, you will be directed back for a second wash, and then return to the seat for styling. Usually when you get a haircut, the stylist asks you how you brush your hair, and what, if any product you use. Instead, this stylist added a very heavy wax without as much as a word. The application was heavy-handed, uneven and left the final hairstyle looking rather greasy. When met with requests to trim the top further, he refused, instead trying to reassure this reviewer that it looked fine and then simply walked away. For 70 L.E., it's reasonably priced, but the customer service on this occasion left plenty to be desired. It wasn't until later in the day when the awful product was washed out that the full disaster became clear. It looked like a mess without being professionally styled and coiffed, with lower sections of the top still being far too long and the shaved back being noticeably uneven. The moral of the story? Be very clear, very firm and don't take no for an answer.

TV & DVD

Starred Up: Gritty, Award-Winning British Prison Drama

Starred Up: Gritty, Award-Winning British Prison Drama

Titled from a popular term which describes the early transfer of a young offender from a juvenile detention facility to an adult penitentiary, Starred Up is by no means an easy watch. However, as much as it is difficult to digest at times, there is a certain poetic beauty behind its seemingly violent and destructive quality that makes it difficult to look away from. Shot within the walls of an abandoned Belfast prison, the film opens with troubled nineteen-year-old Eric Love (O'Connell) undergoing an embarrassing admittance process, involving a complete body strip down, as he's transferred into an adult reformatory.   Immediately marked as a "single cell, high risk" type detainee, it doesn't take long for Eric – whose frequent and violent outbursts got him relocated there in the first place – to stir up trouble and make enemies both with fellow inmates and security guards.  After a mistaken attack on another inmate lands the young delinquent into the disciplinary hands of the law, Eric is soon approached – and rescued – by the in-house therapist, Oliver Braumer (Friend), who believes that he can help the young man rehabilitate. Unfortunately, getting to the root of Eric's problems - and getting him to open up - is no easy task and Oliver - together with the other rehabilitating convicts - often find themselves the targets of both verbal and physical abuse. To top it off, Eric has to find a way to learn to share the walls of his new confinements with his estranged father, Nev (Mendelsohn), who is currently serving a life-sentence in the same prison. Penned by first-time screenwriter Jonathan Asser – a former prison psychotherapist whose own experience with the British penal-system adds a hefty dose of authenticity and realism to the film – Starred Up, told through a series of wordless and violent expositions, is fuelled with gripping intensity which is hard to shake off. Relying on action, rather than words, the uniqueness – and the heart - of the story lies with the father-son narrative, whose bonding difficulties are depicted through the oppressiveness of life in prison. Contributing to the movie's relentless and uncompromising approach to despair and violence, O'Connell – mostly known for his role in the British TV-series Skins and recently seen as the lead in Angelina Jolie's war-drama Unbroken – is an absolute standout; feral and unpredictable, his performance carries the film, while Mendelsohn is equally superb as a man whose persona and motives are seemingly hard to read.  Powerful, emotional but never too sentimental, Starred Up is a true British-prison drama classic whose quietly yielding power and passion for storytelling will leave you feeling captivated and  moved. 

City Life

RUSH: Egypt & the Middle East's First Eco-Sports Festival

RUSH: Egypt & the Middle East's First Eco-Sports Festival

On April 2nd of this year, Egypt is set to host a one-of-a-kind sports festival – an 'eco' sports festival to be exact. The brains behind it are Dune Raider Sandboarding – an adventure-seeking collective of adrenaline junkies that have played a huge part in bringing the sport of sandboarding to the forefront of Egypt's collective consciousness over the last few years. The suitably named RUSH is set to welcome droves of like-minded, similarly adventurous Egyptians to Magic Lake Fayoum for three days of adrenaline-inducing sports and activities in an event like no other. With everything from sandboarding, rock-climbing and hiking, to fishing, kayaking and horseback-riding on offer, Dune Sandboarding haven't left anything out. One of the biggest features of the festival, however, is the Dune Rider Sandboarding Word Tour, which is set to hold its first event in Egypt during the festival, bringing some of the best sandboarders in the world along with it. Why is this big deal? It's a big deal because Dune Rider is the world governing body for sandboarding. "RUSH is a dream," says Dune Raider's Kareem Hossam. "We've always dreamt of Egypt hosting a world-tour championship, but as communities built around a love for outdoor activities have grown, the idea evolved into bringing them all together for an annual festival." The festival is the product of a lot of work on the part of Hossam and co. "I travelled to USA in the summer of 2014 to take courses on how to host this type of event. I got certificates as an instructor and international judge, which helped me in pursuing the goal of having a world championship event in Egypt." But for Hossam, it's a labour of love first and foremost. A snow-skiing trip inspired him to share and expand his experiences back in Egypt. "In 2007, I tried sandboarding for the first time in Egypt. I used a standard metal board that I'd made myself – but it didn't work. It didn't move smoothly and I kept sinking! I eventually managed to fabricate a wooden board in a carpentering workshop and it worked –I was finally able to fly over the sand." This was the trigger in starting what would eventually come to be Dune Raider. As Hossam's personal friends begun to accompany him on his weekend trips to the dessert, a small Facebook group inviting others to join them on their first organised trip spawned what is now a huge community of enthusiasts. Impressively, Dune Raider has secured full government backing for the festival; something that has lead to the group being anointed the sole representative of sandboarding in the Middle East by world governing authorities. But seven years on from his first official Dune Raider trip, Hossam admits that sandboarding in Egypt still has some way to go. "Sandboarding is still treated as an activity rather than a sport. But after many months of negotiations, paperwork and bureaucracy, the Ministry of Youth and Sports now officially recognises it as an eco-sport – we're now even in the process of having the first official sandboarding association of Egypt approved," Hossam says proudly. The progress is remarkable when you consider the fact that sandboarding only really took off in the early nineties. Since then, the global sandboarding community has grown rapidly, with Egypt emerging as an ideal destination. "There are plenty of suitable locations in Egypt. The nearest one [to Cairo] is Al Qataneya, which is about 70km away. There are also places like Siwa and Wadi El Hetan, which are all remarkable sites in their own rights."  It's easy to assume RUSH, then, as the pinnacle of sandboarding in Egypt. But Hossam refutes that idea, instead considering it  just the beginning. "RUSH is just the first of a series of events that we're planning to take all over Egypt. In 2016, we're hoping to go one step further and take the world tour to both Egypt and Dubai. 2017? Maybe another destination!" Even as a sandboarding aficionado, Hossam hasn't lost sight of the bigger picture; again, sandboarding is still a very young sport and one of the keys to maintaining its steady growth is to make it accessible to all – something that RUSH is all the better for. "We want RUSH to be a hub for all eco sports; we want to create a platform for other adventurers to showcase and practice their outdoor passions." RUSH has already riled up plenty of interest, from both avid outdoorsmen/women and those who dare dip their toes in for the first time. Dune Raider have made a conscious effort to make the festival welcoming and inviting to those without experience – the promise of live music and barbeque feasts, as well as Zumba, yoga, sand-sculpting  and pottery classes pay testament to that. It also pays testament to the enormity of the festival and what a fantastic achievement bringing RUSH to life really is. For more information on RUSH, click here.
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