Put your tennis rackets away, forget about the gym for a moment and step away from that home treadmill: it’s time to venture outdoors and explore the weird and wonderful world of unusual sports in Cyprus!
Lend your hands, feet and probably muscles that you never knew existed to trying out these challenging outdoor pursuits that will make your hearts race and your muscles ache. Read on as My Cyprus Insider gives you a lowdown on great must-trys for a truly unforgettable day out.
1. Donkey Polo at Golden Donkeys Farm
Yes, you read it correctly! As quirky as it sounds, Golden Donkeys Farm in Skarinou now offer Donkey Polo matches. Visualise a regular fast paced polo match, then picture it in super slow motion, and there you have Donkey Polo! It’s promised to be slow, a lot of fun, and surprisingly tiring.
Not a typical pastime by any stretch of the imagination,the farm offers knock out tournaments for teams between 10-60 players, with winning teams taking home trophies to adorn their mantelpiece. Each group consists of two players; one on the donkey holding a polystyrene broomstick trying to hit the ball, whilst the other navigates the donkey around to goal scoring heaven.
The play commences for five minutes, whereafter players swap over, and continues for a further five, taking ten minutes in its entirety. Be advised, strong core muscles are required to stay on the donkey, therefore players must weigh less than 100kg and be of a good fitness level. Keep in mind that you’ll need to give 3-days notice to take part. Quit ‘donkeying’ around, enrol some friends, and go win some trophies!
Where? Follow the Golden Donkey in Skarinou village! http://bit.ly/1L7hqBU
2. Orienteering through Cyprus
Nothing beats the feeling of a truly great work out incorporating both body and mind, except one that also uses maps perhaps. Orienteering put simply, involves finding the fastest way around a cross-country course via hidden checkpoints whilst employing maps.
As a physically invigorating, mentally stimulating and all terrain sport, it can be quite demanding. However, participants can follow the routes at their own pace, making it suitable for every age and fitness level. A typical beginners course takes one hour.
Cyprus’ mild winter and spring climate help ensure optimum orienteering conditions. Although courses currently exist in Troodos and Athalassa National Park, new ones are being created in Paphos and Cape Greco and its the perfect way to flex all those muscles whilst enjoying the country’s natural landscape.
Registration is free and in addition to regular league fixtures, the Orienteering Club organises weekend novice events; visitors will need to book in advance. So grab your compass, plastic whistle, comfortable attire and don your best thinking cap: remember, the clock is ticking!
Where? Various locations around the island. www.cyprus-orienteering.com
3. Conquering new heights at Sparti Platres Adventure Park
If you have a stomach for heights and tight rope walking, then Sparti Platres Adventure Park is for you.
Set in the stunning mountains of Pano Platres, Sparti – inspired by the Spartans for their spiritual and physical training – is the first rope adventure forest park in Cyprus.
Kilometres of poles, platforms, tunnels, bridges, cables and ladders entwine through the branches as far as the eye can see. All have been carefully prepared with health and safety as a primary importance for all to swing, zip and shimmy through. With safety of paramount importance, everyone is supplied with a helmet and safety harness. A compulsory 30 minutes training session is required before any attempts on the courses, which range from easy to super tough.
The whole course usually takes two hours to complete, and is physically and mentally challenging, requiring focus to navigate around the branchy landscape. For real adventurous souls, there’s always the option of manoeuvring the course in the dark with a torch!
Where? Phaneromenis 50, Pano Platres. www.spartipark,com
4. Ultimate Frisbee at the English School
Ultimate Frisbee or ‘Ultimate’ as it’s known to its fans, is a game of speed, accuracy and athleticism. It’s a no-contact team field sport played with a flying disc. Points are scored by passing the disc to a team-mate in the opposing end zone and it’s deemed one of the fastest paced games around.
One thing that it doesn’t need much of apparently, is skill! As long as you possess strategy, coordination and cooperation, then its game on. Don’t be intimidated, it’s a lot of fun and the group are a perfectly delightful bunch!
Where? Meetings occur on Sunday mornings in Nicosia at the English School hockey pitch in Nicosia at 10am. Contact Soteris Christofi 99 585605 for further information. http://on.fb.me/1G8uGXX
5. From karting to archery and off road buggies, at Sayious Adventure Park
Fancy a wild and bumpy trip through nature on an off-road buggie? How about drift go-karting or archery? Adrenaline junkies will love Sayious Adventure Park, where you can let loose in the great outdoors with friends or family. Looking at across undulating countryside and endless greenery in the winter and spring months, this place in the village of Asgata will please nature lovers just as much as fans of all things sporty.
Once you plan what activity you’d like to try, do call up in advance as this popular spot gets rather busy. Just be sure to wear comfortable clothing and prepare for a day unlike the rest!
Where? Asgata Village, Limassol district. Tel: (+357) 25-633163.