WHY YOU SHOULD GO ON A DESERT SAFARI IN DUBAI
Are you planning a trip to the United Arab Emirates? You want to see the Burj Khalifa in Dubai or the Sheik Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi? Good Idea – but did you know you can have the time of your life on a desert safari? No? Then go on reading, and I’ll explain to you what you have to expect and what you need to look for when you’re booking your safari.
1. Hotel pickup and jeep ride are included
Usually, the agencies offer a hotel pickup, so in that case, you don’t necessarily need to book it with your hotel’s concierge. Did you know that you need to hold a license for driving in the desert? That’s why you have to book a tour with an agency! I’d recommend not booking an extra jeep tour if you’re unsure if you like it since your driver will have to take you to the desert camp anyway, which will be an exciting jeep ride itself. It’s 2 for 1!
2. Quad tour
Most Tour Agencies offer a Quad Ride within their desert safaris, but here’s what’s important:
Make sure that you’re signing up for a tour where you can drive the Quad yourself, as there are many tours where you have to ride the Quad with someone else (and maybe that’s not someone you know, or you’re sharing one Quad with a tour guide).
Also, make sure the Quad Ride includes going into the desert. We’ve seen other travelers driving some loops in front of the camp and not even leaving into the desert.
3. Sand boarding
Our Safari Tour included sandboarding, and I have to tell you, this was amazing! Our Guide brought the board on the quad with into the desert, and as soon as we reached some nice dunes, he showed us how to do it, and we could try it on our own. I never thought I’d love it as much as I did!
4. Desert Camp
Any tour will usually include a stay in a desert camp. Our camp was in Lahbab desert, which was incredibly close to the Oman border, so it was a 1h ride away from Dubai. The camps offer different activities during your stay and here on the right are some I’d recommend looking for:
HENNA TATTOOS: You simply have to do it once you’re in the UAE. The girl’s in the camp were incredibly quick, and the Henna Tattoos turned out so beautiful!
ANIMALS: you can ride on a camel if you want, some camps also have horses. We also held a falcon (which is the UAE’s national animal) and saw some baby camels.
FOOD AND DRINKS: Make sure your tour includes food and drinks. Our Guide brought water everywhere we went, and at the Camp, we had Chai, Coffee, Softdrinks, and water unlimited. As a welcome, we had some delicious dates, and later that night, we could choose from a buffet of many delicious treats (some were western and some eastern foods)
SHOWS: during dinner and our camp activities, some shows were running like fire dance, belly dance, and other traditional dances. It was amazing to watch.
What should you bring?
If you already know you want to do a desert safari with quads before leaving your home, you’re lucky! Throw a pair of sneakers and some long trousers into your suitcase – you’ll need it! You couldn’t do sandboarding with sandals, and the long trouser will protect your legs to get burned from the quad’s engine (trust me, it’s so hot! My pants didn’t cover my ankles and guess what? I can still see a burn mark). Since it gets cold in the desert at night, I’d also recommend bringing a small, light jacket or a hoodie. You should also bring a light scarf and sunglasses for riding the quad since you should protect your face from all the sand.
And of course: sunscreen! But that’s an absolute must in the UAE anyway!
Other important questions
SUNSET OR SUNRISE?
Many tours offer either sunrise or sunset tours. I’d recommend the sunset tours since it can get a little bit foggy in the mornings, and you simply can’t enjoy all of the perfect views when there’s a lot of haze. Another reason I loved the sunset tour more was the darkness in the desert. They switched off all the lights in the camp at night, and you could watch the stars in the middle of nowhere. But what’s most fascinating: you can still see the lights of Dubai in the desert!
WHERE SHOULD YOU BOOK IT?
There are many possibilities to book a desert safari. First of all, you can ask in the hotel if they have activities to offer and book your tour with your concierge’s help. Other than that you can research on the internet for some tours. Tours like this are easy to find on tripadvisor.com or like we did on AirBnB. We found our desert safari tour in the experience section of AirBnB, so definitely check that as well!
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
That’s, of course, different for every tour agency. We paid 75€ per person, including the pickup at our hotel, the ride to the camp, the quad safari (duration around 1h), sandboarding, foods and drinks, shows, and the camel riding. The henna was also included, but you should bring money as a tip for the henna artists. For us, the experience was worth the price!
I can only recommend going on a desert safari once you’re in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Getting out of the pulsating cities for half a day and watching the sunset in the desert is simply amazing. We had so much fun trying all the activities and enjoy the pure desert. I hope you’ll enjoy your tour and let me know how you liked it when you’re back!
See you soon,