Dubai Desert Safari
March 20, 2020
Here is a very honest blog post about my experience doing a Desert Safari in Dubai. I try to keep it real and not sugar-coat things.
Hope you enjoy it!
One of the main things to do in Dubai is to go on a Desert Safari.
My friend booked the safari with a local company, which was a lot cheaper compared to the tours offered online.
However, as much as we saved money and the safari did include the same activities as other more expensive ones, I was not very impressed with the way things were organized.
A lot of the times, things were not communicated to us or we would just sit around and wait and no one would explain what was happening.
Having said that, I am not going to recommend or even mention the name of the company.
What I would recommend though is booking a legitimate tour online.
One that you have researched and one that has good reviews even if that means paying a little more.
The amazing Dubai Desert dunes
Pick up and traveling to the Desert Safari Camp
Most of the Desert Safaris start in the evening.
We were picked up around 3 pm at a mall close to where we were staying – Safir mall [it is located pretty far from downtown Dubai].
There were other pick-up stops, so no matter where you are there will be a stop somewhere near you.
It took us a while to find the vehicle because it didn’t have any signs or any indication that it is a tour group.
The other problem was that the bus had no AC and it was 40° outside. I asked the driver to turn on the AC and he told me that there was only a fan.
Considering the fact that you live in a desert country, not having AC on your tour bus is unacceptable, especially since we were all tourists and not used to the heat.
The bus driver and “tour guide” didn’t explain anything on the way, they were just talking among themselves.
From Dubai to the safari camp in the middle of the desert were an hour and a half of driving [from Safir mall].
The camp that we went to was located between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Amazing sky and the designated area for ATV riders
Once we arrived at the Desert Camp
Once we got to the camp, we had to sit around and wait in the scorching heat for someone else to come and pick us up in a 4 x 4 jeep.
Once our 4 x 4 jeep driver showed up, we got in and went for sand dune bashing.
You don’t go too far from the camp, so don’t worry, you will not be traveling even more.
I was a little worried about the sand dune bashing because I do have motion sickness but I was okay – I didn’t feel sick at all.
It was a lot of fun, the dunes are pretty high and it honestly feels like you’re on a roller coaster.
I felt perfectly safe the whole time, I didn’t feel like the car would topple over or that we are going to crash into the sand dunes.
I really enjoyed it actually, it was something very unique to do and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
If you want to see my experience with sand dune bashing, check out the two videos below:
The weather was very, very hot so make sure you have sunscreen, water, a hat and whatever else you need so you don’t get dehydrated or sunburned.
Go for loose-fitting clothes and breathable fabrics.
A view of the camp, with the stunning sky above
What else is there to do
When we were done, we were told to stick around the camp where they had a man with a falcon, camels, and a small building that sold water, scarves and also had a bathroom.
There was also an area where you can pay extra to rent an ATV and drive it around a designated area [flat area not in the dunes].
You’re also free to walk around and take pictures of the desert. Here is a video of our camp.
I love animals, so I had to say hi to the falcon and I was able to hold him and pet him for an additional 10 dirhams.
My buddy the falcon
If you want to ride a camel, there is an area where they have really short, free rides. Or if you want a longer ride you have to pay extra and the camel takers will take you on a longer one.
One thing I have to say is that the camels are very tall, taller than a horse. They are very calm and move very slowly.
However, when they get up and lay down they do it very suddenly so make sure you are holding very tight to the saddle.
The camel taker walks the camel and gives it instructions so you will know when to hold on because he will tell you.
There was also a single horse there, in case you were up for a horse ride instead.
We did spend some time walking around the dunes and taking pictures. I really like deserts, I don’t really know why they just seem so whimsical.
I thoroughly enjoyed being there; the sky was stunning and overall really liked it.
Here is my other buddy
In the evening
When it started getting darker, we walked to a different part of the camp where we would have dinner and a show. Here is a video of that part of the camp.
It is fenced in, but there is no roof so you can see the stars.
In there you can get a henna tattoo. A small one is included in the safari price, but if you want a bigger one, you have to pay extra.
There was even an option to get a sparkling henna tattoo. Like how exciting is that!!!
There is also a small place where you can get small souvenirs and clothes. And there was a stand where you can buy fruit juices.
So make sure that you bring cash with you to the Desert Safari as there are things that are not included.
This is the henna tattoo that I got, which was included in the safari price
This is also where you would find the shishas [if you are interested in smoking].
My friend was and we went to ask and they told us that they were setting up the shishas and to come back later.
When we did come back later, to make a long story short, we didn’t end up smoking the shisha because no one was there to help us start them up properly.
No one was able to smoke, maybe one or two people who gave the workers there a tip.
My friend was disappointed because shisha smoking was included in the price of the safari and no one bothered helping the people that showed up and were interested in trying.
We both have tried shisha before so it wasn’t the end of the world, but for some people, it might be their only chance to try.
Here is me, enjoying the desert
The dinner and the show
We found a spot to sit and get ready for dinner and the show. There were these very low, super long tables and instead of a chair you sit on a pillow.
Once it got really dark, the show started. It featured a belly dancer, a spinning day and a flame dancer.
All of the entertainers were very good, especially the spinning guy [never seen anything like this before]. I don’t really know how to explain to you what he was doing.
The best thing to do is to show you:
The other side of the camp, where we had the dinner and show
Halfway through the show, we were called to have dinner. The food was a buffet which had a lot of options. Most of it was traditional foods, which were really delicious.
The drinks available were water, Fanta Orange, Sprite and Coke [no diet or zero].
Keep in mind that alcohol is not served and is not available.
Once we finished eating and the show finished we went back to the bus [around 8.15 pm] and were driven back to the mall where we originally met.
It was a long ride to the desert and back and the heat made us really exhausted. Plan for a long, hot afternoon!
This was my food plate and my drink
In conclusion, you must do a Desert Safari when you’re in Dubai. The desert is beautiful and the sunset was out of this world.
The sand dune bashing, the shows, and the food were great.
I would just recommend booking with a better company than we did. There is more than one camp in the desert.
There was literally another camp on the other side of the highway. Research online, book a reputable tour company that would take you and you will have the time of your life.
I still really enjoyed the Desert Safari, even though there were quite a few things that I was not happy about.
If you want more ideas on what else to do in Dubai, check out this post.
If you want ideas on what foods to dry in Dubai, check out this post.