Today’s blog post is by avid trekker and explorer Neha Singh, a travel writer who specializes in contributing Dubai content. She lives by the Gandhian principle “simple living, high thinking.”
Dubai’s desert is part of an unspoiled region where old-world charm is still intact and beautifully preserved. In fact, this special section of the country forms an indispensable part of the fascinating Emirates’ culture, heritage, and traditions. There is no better way to absorb its infinite beauty and stillness than with a desert safari. Read on to learn all about this off-road adventure that promises a refreshing escape from the urban congestion of modern Dubai.
Types of desert safaris
Morning desert safari
Who doesn’t love a sunrise? And in the Middle East, they are magical. This is one of the most refreshing ways to catch the desert’s compelling morning views and get a heavy dose of fun and adventure (whether a dune-bashing ride, a journey on camelback, a quad-biking session, etc). Go on a sunrise desert safari for a firsthand look at the light scattered over the expansive, rolling sand dunes.
Evening desert safari
Evening desert safaris include the same things as in the morning, plus a full barbecue meal cooked to perfection and cultural experiences, such as henna, falconry shows, and smoking a sheesha (hookah), and traditional Emirati cultural shows (like Arabian belly dancers and tanoura dance performances). Of course, you’ll be enjoying all of this while basking in the awe-inspiring desert atmosphere awash with the orange-pink-golden hues of the setting sun.
Overnight desert safari
Immerse yourself in the glory and majesty of Dubai’s desert at night. Take part in a whole lot of desert-inspired activities, fill up on a scrumptious meal, watch traditional shows, and enjoy a soulful stay beneath the canopy of the Arabian desert sky. Most of all, this option gives you the chance to take in the spectacular views of the sun setting and rising over the desert.
Dinner in the desert
If you wish to experience the raw exquisiteness of Dubai’s desert while staying away from the nerve-wracking adventure activities included in a standard desert safari, this option is for you. This allows you to not only sink your teeth into a lavish barbecue dinner in the middle of the desert but also participate in a flurry of activities that recall the region’s age-old Bedouin culture and traditions.
Red dune safari
Want to experience a different kind of desert safari in Dubai? Take a red dune safari, which brings you deep into the desert, to the burnt red dunes of the Lahbab region. It’s filled with very distinct natural beauty. The whole atmosphere feels like a vibrant painting coming to life.
What is a typical desert safari like?
A desert safari is a marvelous mix of heart-stopping adventurous activities, authentic cultural experiences, and lip-smacking culinary cuisines. Subject to your desert safari choice, you can expect to have the following included in your most-awaited desert trip.
This is the most exciting part of a desert safari. You’ll drive over and through the unthreaded trails of the dunes aboard a powerful 4×4 vehicle like a Hummer or Land Cruiser. You’ll feel a rush of adrenaline as this drive blasts you across the golden sands at exhilarating speeds. A dune-bashing session typically lasts for 45 minutes. Note: Dune basking can also be stomach-turning and anxiety-inducing, so prepare yourself for a wild ride!
For an alternative way of marveling at the desert wilderness, climb on the back of a camel and journey over the dunes. This wobbly yet exciting ride lets you to experience how the early settlers and ancient Bedouins used to traverse the Arabian Desert.
Quad biking and sandboarding
If you’re looking for more rip-roaring ways to discover Dubai’s desert sands, you can choose to hit the isolated dunes in an easy-to-maneuver quad bike, which is even perfect for beginners and first-timers. Just make sure that you’re over 16 years old and don’t suffer from any ailment that bars you from trying this rugged activity.
Alternatively, you can sandboard. Test your balance as you try to stay standing while you glide down the massive sand dunes. All you have to do for this is to strap your feet into a sturdy sandboard and let the sands guide you down!
Visit a Bedouin camp
Relax and take in the classic Emirati hospitality and traditional welcome in a laid-back setting, furnished with low-lying seating. It’s so comfortable that you might find yourself slouching for a long while as you digest your hearty barbecue meal.
On every desert safari, a wealth of cultural experiences await you at the camp! From henna tattooing and shisha smoking to and falconry and photographs in traditional Arabian attire, the list is quite vast and interesting, offering a glimpse into the long Bedouin past.
Traditional barbecue dinner
On evening and overnight desert safaris, prepare for a feast. But what’s included in your dinner menu depends on the quality of your service provider. But whatever you’re offered, it’s sure to fill you up!
Extreme fire shows, sensational belly dance performances, and dizzyingly intricate tanoura shows add to the vibrancy of an evening desert safari. Be sure to sit back and drink it all in. They’re very entertaining!
Camping in the desert
This is the high point of any overnight desert safari! All of the camping gear is included (tents, sleeping bags, and pillows), as well as unlimited refreshments. Your job is to enjoy sleeping in nature and camping underneath the sky full of stars. Not to mention, this is a legendary experience that shouldn’t be missed, especially if you’ve got enough time.
How to choose a desert safari?
- Before you book a desert safari, be sure to consider certain aspects, such as your budget, what’s included, and the time of day that you would like to go to the desert.
- Consider a morning safari if you’re short on time, while evening and overnight desert safaris are most perfect for return visitors or anyone who loves to to experience adventure.
- Know that desert safaris differ in price. The rates you pay are largely a reflection of the safari’s adventure activities, and the vehicle you pick, along with extras, such as shared or private ride transfers to and from the desert.
- Finally, make sure that you opt for a reputable service provider for your long-awaited desert voyage. Rayna Tours and Platinum Heritage Tours are my favorite companies for organizing value-packed and seamless desert safaris.
Best desert safari tips
- Book your safari in advance. Don’t forget to look for special discount deals online.
- Before buying a desert safari package, don’t hesitate to ask for what’s included (and exactly what’s not included).
- Be sure to opt for a guided desert safari that includes round-trip transfers, so that you can enjoy this journey with peace of mind.
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. Make sure you have a wrap or something to cover your shoulders. Complete your look with a comfy pair of sneakers, a pair of sunglasses, and a hat.
- Dress in layers if you plan to visit during the winter months. It can get very chilly at night!
- Also, make sure if the dining includes both vegetarian and nonvegetarian dishes, if that’s what you require.
What are you waiting for?
Time to plan your desert safari in Dubai! This scenic journey into the Arabian Desert will guarantee you an escape that is far from ordinary and packed with fun-filled moments that will turn into treasured memories. Do not leave this quintessential Dubai activity off your list — it will surely be one of your favorite activities!
Avid trekker and explorer Neha Singh specializes in contributing Dubai content to ETramping, Love and Road, Mapping Megan, and Once in a Lifetime Journey. She lives by the Gandhian principle “simple living, high thinking.”
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