Travel

Dubai Desert Safari Experience – What to expect

Dubai Desert Safari-what-to-wear

Picture shot with my Samsung Note 5. No editing

When I booked my flight to Dubai, I knew that going to the Dubai Desert Safari was one of the things I had to do before I left. It’s not everyday you get to ride a camel or watch a belly dancer right? Finding the right company was a job of his own. Dubai is a tourist destination , the options are endless. There are some good ones and some not so good ones. Most tour companies offer relatively the same kind of experience. Depending on what you can afford, your experience might be slightly different. Do your research and read reviews before booking anything. I booked my tour via viator.com.

The safari desert tour included

  • A hotel pick-up and drop off
  • Dune bashing in a 4×4
  • Sand boarding
  • ATV rides, falcon (extra fees)
  • Camel rides
  • Photo oops in the middle of the desert.
  • A barbecue dinner with drinks and an evening entertainment
  • Henna decoration and shisha smoking

The tour driver came right on time to pick me up. We went to a few other hotels to pick up a few more people then headed to the desert. Our driver was very friendly and the car smelled amazing too. I am not sure if that was a good thing, because a lot of people are sensitive  to certain scents . It was ok for me personally, but I could not say the same for the woman behind me who was sneezing all toward our trip. The trip from my hotel to the desert  including other pick ups took about 1.5 hour to our first stop.

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We made a 45 minutes stop by this big place full of restaurants, small stores and atvs. Just another way to get you spend more money. By all means, if you’re up for a little shopping why not? You can also ride atvs, have a little time with a falcon and buy little snacks and souvenirs.

 To be honest I was bored to death during this stop. I was not interested in doing any of the activities and I had no one to chat with.
 Boredom was about to change when we hit the dunes for some dune bashing. I was not ready for the thrill at all. This was really one of the highlights of my trip even though my eyes were closed all throughout the ride. The other folks in the car seemed to enjoy themselves as they could not stop giggling. I was scared to death. Thank god, we got out there alive. I love adventures, however if i knew what was waiting for me, I would have chickened out for sure.

 To get the best view during this adventure, the front is seat is the best seat in the car. I was lucky because I was picked up first. Sometimes in the middle of the dune bashing we stopped to enjoy the beautiful desert, take some pictures and do some sand boarding.

 One of my concerns before I booked my trip  was  getting lost in the desert. ” What if we get lost in this massive desert ? “The truth is that you actually do not go far in the desert plus the drivers are well trained. For safety purposes 4 to 5 cars are always behind each other as they perform their stunts. They also wait in case one car  is far behind. I am thinking this is just in case a car get stuck in the sand or in case of an accident. Talking about safety, one of the cars had a flat tire right after the dune bashing. Our driver had to help him and because of that we missed the sunset at the camp. (Insert sad face)

 

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After the dune bashing, we headed to a Bedouin style camp. Right at the entrance of the camp were 3 camels in case you want a ride for a about one minute and or maybe take some pictures.  As soon as you enter the camp you are greeted with some an appetizer arabic tea or coffee. A little  further down are the tents and a stage in the middle.The floors in each tent  are covered with beautiful arabic style carpets. I was finally ready to  smoke some Shisha, eat some food, all while enjoying some traditional dancers.

 Oh! There is also a little spot under the tents were you given the opportunity to dress up in UAE national outfits for pictures. Once you get to the camp, you definitely need a strategy. You will not be able to enjoy everything. I missed the first dancer because I was on the line waiting to do some henna. I also almost missed dinner because I was still waiting for the henna lady. Thanks to Mohammed , our driver who came to warn me that the barbecue was going to finish if I do not make it in the line.belly-dancer-dubai

There was no shortage food in the buffet. You’ll find different kind of salads, rice, sauces and breads.The selling point of the camp was the barbecue, turned out you get only 2 drumsticks and one chicken kebab. I can’t say I was too impressed, but for the price I paid I should not have expected more. As we were eating, we were also enjoying a beautiful belly dancer.

I thought  the camp experience was bit rushed. From the time we got there, ate our food, it was time to hit the road again to go home. To be fair , this could have been because of our little stop to change the tires of the other car.
Although there is a lot of room for improvement, going to the desert was one of the absolute highlights of my trip to Dubai. It allows you to experience the Arabic lifestyle, something you almost do not get in modern Dubai.

 A few good to know tips

  • The tour takes approximately six hours.
  • I recommend wearing loose and comfortable clothes. As for shoes try wear wearing a pair of flip flops or flat sandals. The sand gets in everywhere.
  • Don’t forget your scarf, hat and sunglasses.
  • If you’re going between September and Feb, nights are cold, so dress accordantly by bringing an extra layer to bundle up.

  • Do not  eat anything right before dune bashing.

  • If want to purchase any souvenirs ( which I do not recommend ) from the camp site remember to always haggle the price.

  • Try to secure the front passenger seat for a magical view of the dunes.

  • This is a choice, but tipping your driver is always a good idea if they did a good job.

  • I do not recommend bringing your nice and expensive camera to the desert, unless you have a good place to secure it. Sand gets into everything. A phone such as the Samsung Note 5 or Galaxy Edge 7 are better options.

  • Bring some cash along to buy anything no covered by your tour company.

  • Because of the heat stay away from heavy make up.

  • Using some sunscreen before your departure is always a good idea.

  • Avoid going to this tour during the month of Ramadan. There would not be any kind of entertainment.

  • Alcohol is extra

 Will I go on this adventure again if I ever go back to Dubai ? Absolutely yes. I will just have to work harder to afford the luxurious tour companies.

A big thank you to Samsung for providing me with the amazing Note 5.  Every picture in is post were taken with my phone.

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