Your visit to Dubai is incomplete if you have not taken the Desert Safari tour. It is the most exciting thing you must have ever done in your life. It is a experience of a life time as one enjoys the roller coaster ride on the sand dunes. The action packed desert safari takes you on a journey from a desert to a mountain in a 4 wheel drive to an isolated desert camp where lot of activities and entertainment awaits you. The safari can last from a couple of hours to whole day or night, depending on how much of an experience people want. It makes the tourist feel as if they have been transported back to ancient times when for business or in search of oil people used to brave the never ending sea of dunes with their caravans.
There are many tour companies that organize trips into the desert with a wide variety of activities. You have options of morning safari, evening safari or overnight safari. It is ideal to take the evening or overnight safari to escape the harsh sunlight and scorching day time temperature. But if you don’t have time to spare in the afternoon or evening then morning safari is the right choice. It starts at 9 in the morning and its specially designed for those who love sports and adventure as one can enjoy dune bashing, quade biking, camel ride, sand ski etc. The evening desert safari generally departs in the late afternoon to take you across the desert. If you have time in hand you should opt for the overnight desert safari. This includes all the elements of the evening safari, however instead of returning to the city in the evening you gain an opportunity to spend the night at the desert camp site. You will have beautiful experience of sleeping in spacious tents under the starry night in your sleeping bags. You can experience the beautiful cool Arabian night and see the stunning sunrise in the morning. Before returning back to Dubai you can eat a hearty Arabian or continental breakfast.
I along with my husband and one year four months daughter took the evening safari. We booked two seats at Hourmuz Tours through our travel agent. When you book a desert safari, they will come to your hotel and pick you up. They came to pick us from our hotel at around 2.45pm. It was a Toyota Land Cruiser (usually a land cruiser is used). Then there is about a 45 minutes drive to a meeting point. All desert safari tour operators and individual vehicles will gather at this place, because all vehicles are going together to the desert. That’s the tradition. Here one can have refreshment or buy souvenir or buy the “shimagh”, the head scarf worn by Arabic men. I saw many tourists purchasing and wearing the scarf and enjoying the feeling of being Arabic. To drive into the sand dunes , the drivers deflate the tyres. There is about 15-30 minutes wait at this place until all vehicles are arrived. Remember, you are still on the road, not in the desert. But this is the entry point to the desert.
When it’s ready all vehicles start going into the desert. This is when the fun begins. The vehicles will go through sand dunes, climbing Dune Mountains, driving across sand dunes in a 45 degree angle…. It’s real fun. We halted for sometime after some ride in the sand dunes and took some nice pictures. To be honest it was little scary when the car was sliding on the dune slopes. My husband managed to take few shots even though it was impossible to hold the camera as the whole car was shaking a lot. After about 90 minutes drive in the desert all vehicles will be parked in a place to watch the sunset in the desert. It is an amazing experience. You should see this at least once in your lifetime. Then the desert safari continues and all vehicles will come to a central camp in the middle of the desert. There are tents, tables and chairs in the camp for people to sit and relax. After you reach the camp there are mineral water, soft drinks and variety of snacks awaiting you. It is suggested that while you reach the camp site you should taste the Arabic coffee and dates. Women can indulge in henna designing on their hands and feet. You can also try camel riding, sand boarding or ride a quad-bike. Or buy a sand art as a souvenir. You can also try the Shisha, which is the famous traditional Arabic hubly-bubly water pipe. The Arabs are perfect host and within couple of hours they start the barbecue dinner under the starry skies. Variety of continental and Arabian dishes is included in the menu including vegetarian and non vegetarian. As you have your dinner you will be entertained by a traditional belly dancer in the centre stage. She will mesmerize you with her moves and if lucky will be called on stage to dance with her. Both myself and my baby and my husband, were called separately, to try out few steps with her. We thoroughly enjoyed.
Once the dinner and belly dancing is finished, all vehicles start heading back. Don’t worry they won’t go for another adventure drive, because your tummy is full by this time. Depending on the desert safari package, you have the option to spend the night in the desert. The tour operator will organize everything required. You should select this option if you want to touch stars and relax in the middle of the desert. But if not, then you are driven back to Dubai and you are dropped off at your place of pick up at around 10pm.
A desert safari is an experience that you will cherish for a life time and truly worth every single penny that you spend.