Desert Safari Dubai: Into the Sands

Posted by on December 9, 2013

Desert Safari Dubai

When I realized that I’d be going TWICE to ‘Desert Safari’ experiences while I was in Dubai, I was initially a little less than enthusiastic. Especially given how cool some of the safari trips in Egypt were (i.e. top-speed on a quad bike through a gnarly stretch of desert outside of Hurghada), I just assumed the Desert Safari in Dubai would find it hard to measure up.

dubai desert safari

Selfies in the Desert.

There were times (to be completely honest) where this was the case. My first jeep tooled up tiny dunes and then perched at the top so a couple of Indian kids could hop out and pose for selfies. I can’t tell you how many times now I’ve seen people making those little souvenir jars filled with little individual stacks of colored sand that make up some iconic desert scene or emblazon the Burj Khalifa on a poor unsuspecting bottle.

dubai souvenirs

Bottles of sand…. in the middle of a desert.

But, to my surprise, there were also picturesque desert overlooks with towering mountains of sand in the background.

dubai quad bikes

Dunes for the buggies.

Drivers that really knew how to spin a pair of rear-drive tires and slide at the perfect angle down the side of a sand hill to where it feels like you just *might* need to keep the seatbelt on throughout the course of the journey (all while pounding techno plays in the background, for ambience)!

dubai desert safari

Too Quick to Capture.

At the end of a gut-wrenching and stomach-churning joyride, a beautiful sunset is still a cheesy but ultimately welcome thing. But even then, the night isn’t over.

desert safari dubai

The Home Road.

They also have desert camps. ‘Traditional food’ and ‘traditional camel rides’ and ‘traditional dancing’, and somewhere amongst these things was where it started to lose steam again.

dubai camel ride

Camp Camel.

The dune bashing? Totally fun, at least for those who like a quick rough adventure. The rest? Totally touristy. I met a couple of cool people (those same selfie-taking Indian kids, plus a Nigerian couple on their honeymoon who I actually ran into on three seperate occasions), but in the search for authentic culture in the UAE… this ain’t it.

dubai belly dancer

Golden Girl?

On the plus side, though, photos and a decent dinner!

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I was in Dubai and took these desert safari tours primarily as a photographer for GetYourGuide.com. The best one of the lot was probably the Morning Desert Safari, though if you really dig the belly dancing and camel rides I also did an Evening Desert Safari as well. This whole thing seemed to be managed and executed by one or two umbrella companies that farmed out bookings to contractors, so I doubt you could arrange it on your own unless you just hired a car and hoped for the best.

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2 Responses to Desert Safari Dubai: Into the Sands

  1. Escape Hunter

    I would love to try some dune-bashing in the UAE or Qatar…
    Perhaps sandboarding as well…

    • Stephen

      There are meant to be some amazing places to camp out in the Emirati deserts as well. If you get up to a road trip through there at some point, drop me a line and perhaps I’ll join you!

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