The Arabian Desert that spans within Dubai’s city limits is both majestic and mythical. It casts a distinct spell with its blend of refreshingly raw environs, untamed yet unmatched golden sands, and marvellous desert ecosystems. Not to mention, a desert safari Dubai promises you unparalleled adventure with the most inspiring cultural and epic thrilling moments. So if you wish to make the most of your desert trip in Dubai, this comprehensive desert safari guide has you covered.
Why Visit Dubai’s Desert?
Surreal Beauty: Dubai may be now best known for its unrivalled infrastructure and intricate architectural fineness, but it’s real soul still lies in its desert, adorned by compelling rolling dunes and breathtaking tranquility. So what better way to unplug from all and reconnect to nature?
Fascinating flora and fauna: For most people, a desert is nothing but a barren, lifeless land. Contrary to this view, it’s where you’ll find some of the region’s indigenous flora and fauna that fall under all categories such as mammals, reptiles, plants etc. Yes, the protected environment of the region’s desert landscape is a safe abode for Arabian Red Fox, Arabian Oryx, Caracal, and Gazelles to name a few.
Heart-racing Adventure: For adventurists traveling to this part of Dubai, we can assure that there will never be a dull moment. Whether you plan to drive on your own or go on a fully guided desert safari, you’ll get to try your hands in a variety of desert exclusive activities.
Revisit the Ancient Bedouin Culture & Lifestyle: The Bedouins are the region’s nomadic Arabs who continue to maintain a close connection with nature and practice the desert way of living. And most desert safaris allow you to glance into their modest lifestyle, inspiring culture and traditions, thanks to many activities included in it.
Where Should I Go To Experience The Desert Landscape In Dubai?
For a desert outing or adventure, there is no traveling for long hours or getting out of the city. All it takes to reach its desert is around 40 minutes to 50 minutes. Al Avir close to the Emirates Road is the venue for most desert trips in Dubai. Al Lahbab with its mysteriously magnificent red sands is also quite popular. For the most exclusive desert experiences, nothing probably beats a visit to the striking Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve; this immaculately preserved and untouched land is an absolute delight for thrill seekers, nature enthusiasts, and bird watchers alike. Hot air balloon rides are one of the best ways to experience it.
Is It Safe?
Dubai as a whole is a safe city, often lauded for its crime-free environment and stringent safety laws and measures. So if you want to take a self-drive across Dubai’s dunes, it’s never a bad idea, provided you’re accomplished enough to manoeuvre 4X4 vehicles as well as handle the desert’s harsh terrain and seas of fine sands. And of course, you should mandatorily possess an international driving license in order to drive your own in Dubai.
But, if you want to forego all fuss and speculations, it’s most ideal to undertake your desert journey through an experienced desert safari provider. Subject to your unique requirements, they arrange to and from transfers from your hotel and take care of every minute aspect of your desert trip, from adventure and cultural activities to food and entertainment.
Best Time To Take Desert Safari
It’s most perfect to go on a desert safari in the winter season (from November to April.) During this period, weather is generally cool, pleasant and may sometimes get freezing cold in the evenings and later into the night. So dress in layers or alternatively carry a jacket when you visit here.
What’s Included In A Desert Safari?
Dune Bash: This is one of the main reasons that draw most adventurers towards desert safari. It’s nothing but a super electrifying ride over Dubai’s unparalleled desert sands in a powerful 4X4 vehicle like Land Cruiser or Hummer. A dune bash session lasts for not more than 40 minutes, but it promises you a thrill of a lifetime as it plummets and ascends you over desert sands in high speed.
Sunset / Sunrise: Take any early morning or early afternoon desert safari – this allows you to take in the awe-inspiring views of the sun rising out of the horizon or disappearing down to the sands. With an overnight desert safari, you’ll get to witness both.
Experience Traditional Arabian Hospitality: Following dune bash and sunset / sunrise views, most desert safaris include a visit to their traditional campsite where you’ll be greeted Arabian style with fresh succulent dates and Arabic coffee. It’s also the jump off point to try your hands in all other heart-racing as well as cultural activities included in your desert safari.
Camel Ride: Did you know that camels were once the main or only source of food and transport in the region? Yes, a camel ride in Dubai is more than an exciting shaky ride; it gives you an intriguing insight on how life used to be for Emiratis in ancient times before the discovery of oil.
Sandboarding & ATV Ride: Depending on your chosen desert safari package, you get to ride an ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) such as quad bike or dune buggy. Another fun way to experience desert sands is to strap on to a sturdy sandboard which allows you to test your balancing skills on sands.
Cultural experiences: From Shisha smoking, falconry, and henna tattooing to the chance to click souvenir pictures in traditional Emirati attire, there are many activities and experiences which get you right under the skin of Bedouin culture and traditions.
BBQ Dining: There is nothing like dining amidst the secluded sand dunes. To enrich this experience, your desert safari mostly includes a vast array of starters, salads, soups, main course specialties, and desserts. But this is included only in evening and overnight desert safaris.
Traditional Entertainment: This comprises belly dance and Tanura performances and forms the highlights of most evening and overnight desert safaris.
Camping under the Desert Sky: This is mainly for those who want to completely retreat from Dubai’s bustling glamorous part and spend the night in absolute quietude and bliss!
Types Of Desert Safaris
Morning Desert Safari: This is especially for those who wish to take in the desert beauty and serenity in a few hours. This includes desert dune bash, camel ride, sandboarding, quad biking etc. A variety of cultural experiences, along with the free flow of cool refreshments, complement your morning desert safari.
Sunrise Desert Safari: This is for anyone who wants to capture the epic views of the sun rising over the desert in real life. It starts with a pre-dawn pick up transfer from your hotel and is rounded out with all other inclusions of a standard morning safari.
Evening Desert Safari: If you’ve the luxury of an entire evening to spare for your desert safari, be sure to go for it; it’s absolutely worth your time and money. Apart from dune bash and camel ride, you’ll get to enjoy a vast spectrum of traditional activities such as Shisha smoking, henna tattooing, falconry etc. Culminate your special evening in the desert with a BBQ dining session enriched by Arabic performances like Tanura and belly dance show.
Dinner in Desert: Who told desert safari is only for aficionados of action and thrill? Choose this desert safari which is especially created for those who want to skip all high-octane activities as part of a desert safari. Yes, this is all about a relaxed evening in the tranquil desert settings accompanied by delightful food and mind-soothing entertainment.
Overnight Desert Safari: Fancy a stay beneath the Arabian Desert stars? Overnight desert safari is a definite must-try. With all camping facilities, dining and other activities arranged by your service provider, this guarantees you an unforgettable night in the desert wonderland. That’s not all; wake up to the astonishing sunrise views and top it off with a hearty breakfast and a cup of flavoursome Arabic coffee.
HOW TO PREP UP FOR A DESERT SAFARI IN DUBAI?
- Wear comfortable dress for your desert safari, but avoid dresses like loose skirts.
- Apply sunscreen lotion and put on wide-brimmed hats.
- Avoid high-energy activities like dune bash if you’re pregnant or have any disease or undergone any surgery in recent times.
- Don’t hesitate to ask the menu and inform beforehand if you’re allergic to any ingredient or food. Make sure that your desert safari includes both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.
- You can opt for a desert safari that is shared or private (which means all aspects of your desert trip is exclusively crafted for you.)
- Alcohol is not included in most desert safaris but you can buy it on-site for extra charge.
There is more to Dubai than its architectural landmarks such as Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab and the palm-tree-shaped Palm Jumeirah. And a journey into the region’s desert landscape will give you a taste of its modest history, culture and traditions, enhanced by the most thrilling and fun-filled experiences. So don’t miss Dubai desert safari – this further guarantees you an energising break from the city’s glamorous sights and sound.
Article by Neha Singh.