Omar Samra was born in Wimbledon, London,1978 and moved to Cairo with his family only weeks after. At age 11, he suffered from a severe chest Asthma that would become the main motivator behind pursuing his dream in becoming the first Egyptian to climb Mount Everest, and continues to be his inspiration for much of his work and continued achievements.
Omar graduated with honors in Economics and did a minor in Business Administration from the American University in Cairo. After working for 6 years in investment banking he went back to earn his MBA from London Business School with a focus on Entrepreneurship. In 2016, Omar completed the Suborbital Mission Operations course at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the Rocket Science & Human Spaceflight course at MIT in his efforts to play a role in the burgeoning space industry.
His career began in London and Hong Kong at HSBC in investment banking and a t Actis, an Emerging Markets Private Equity firm. After 2 years in the field, Omar abandoned the corporate track to follow his passion in inspiring others to start Wild Guanabana (wildguanabana.com), an Adventure Travel company. A coalition of travelers that helps re-connect individuals with nature and ultimately themselves through authentic and ethical life-transformational experiences around the globe. Wild Guanabana became the Middle East and North Africa’s first carbon neutral travel company in 2010. With offices in Cairo and Dubai, the company won several regional and international awards including Travel Company of the Year at the London World Travel Market. The company is widely known in the region for disrupting the travel industry and boosting awareness of responsible tourism. Omar more recently founded Rock’n’Rope, which is currently developing Egypt’s first adventure mountain park in the Red Sea area, and an indoor rock-climbing facility in Cairo.
To date, Omar has visited over 80 countries. On the 17th of May 2007, he succeeded in becoming the first Egyptian and youngest Arab to summit the 8,850m Mount Everest after completing the grueling 65-day climb. Upon returning from Everest, Omar decided to set a bigger goal of climbing the 7-Summits, the highest mountain on every continent, a project he began in 2008 and completed in 2013, another first Egyptian ever to do so. In December of 2014, Omar successfully became the first Egyptian to ski to the Geographic South Pole and in April of 2015, he became the first Egyptian to reach the Geographic North Pole. He is now the first Egyptian and one of c.40 people in history ever to complete the Explorers Grand Slam. In January of 2017, Omar made 3 first ascents and consequently earned the privilege to name 3 mountains in Antarctica’s Ellsworth mountain range. The mountains were named Mount Samra, Mount Marwa and Mount Teela based on his family name, the name of his late wife and that of their baby daughter. He also set 6 new routes on the same trip and climbed a total of 7 mountains. Omar most recently attempted to row across the Atlantic Ocean; a 5,000km unsupported perilous journey from Spanish Canary Islands to the island of Antigua in the Caribbean. Along with teammate and professional triathlete Omar Nour, they spent 9 days rowing, completing c.900km, when their boat capsized and they were forced to endure 12-hours in the water with 45-knot gale force winds and 8 meter waves. A giant cargo ship ultimately picked them up after a harrowing rescue where they almost lost their lives. In 2018, Omar was the first Egyptian to get selected as part of an international crew of 5 for a 15-day moon analogue research space mission in complete isolation to provide insights into the human traits essential for future lunar settlement, particularly in long duration space missions. The Lunares 3 mission took place in Pila, Poland in which Omar was responsible for research pertaining to the crew’s health and physiology.
After the passing of his wife in 2013, Omar decided to continue her charitable work and founded Marwa Fayed’s Toy Run (MFTR), an organization that collects used and unwanted toys from multiple cities around the world and redistributes them to kids who need them more. To date they have distributed more than 100,000 toys to children.
In 2017, the UNDP selected Omar as their Goodwill Ambassador to work on environmental conservation and youth empowerment. He
also won the ‘Esquire: Man At His Best’ Award as Humanitarian of the year for his social and environmental work including MFTR.
Omar has received multiple awards for both his personal and professional work including: UNDP National Goodwill Ambassador;50
Powerful Arabs Businessmen by Inc. Magazine (2016);100 Most Powerful Arabs Under 40 by Arabia Business (2016);Young Achiever
Award from World Leadership Congress & Awards (2015); Top Arab Social Media Influencer for Travel by Sheikh Mohammed Al
Maktoum (2015); National Award of achievement from the Ministry of Defense (2013)