Whether you’re a resident of the UAE or coming to Dubai or Abu Dhabi on holiday, there’s one experience not to be missed and that’s a desert safari!
There’s been amazing leaps and bounds during the build of the metropolises of the UAE over the last 40 years so a desert safari is the perfect activity to get a glimpse of the old way of life and exploring the desert.
The deserts in the UAE are truly impressive, with rolling dunes and sand coloured from palest yellow to a Mars-like red and are definitely not be missed. Going on an organized safari is a really easy way to experience these vast expanses with experienced drivers and guides.
At Cobone we always have a wide variety of desert safari deals (link) available, with great discounts that we’ve negotiated for you in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, so you’ll have lots to choose from and here’s our guide on what to expect when going on safari- there are different varieties but we’ve tried to give you the best general overview of what to expect and how to get the most out of it.
Most safaris will arrange to pick you up either from a hotel, mall or your residential location. You’ll normally be picked up on a 4×4 and unless you’ve booked a private safari or are a group of around 5 or 6, there may be other explorers in the car with you.
You’ll be driven out to the desert and will soon see the skyscrapers of the city disappear. Only a 10 to 15 minute drive can bring you into the start of the desert. The safari organisers will have a camp and an area around this camp that they are allowed to dune bash around. So there will usually be a pit stop whilst the tyres of the 4×4 have air let out of them- this is essential for driving in the soft sands.
Then you will be driven out to the deeper desert in what can be a very exhilarating ride! You’ll be surprised what cars are actually capable of as you summit vast dunes. It’s all part of the thrill of a desert safari but if you have young children or don’t like too fast a ride you can request for a more sedate route.
There will usually be a visit to camel farm where you’ll get chance to meet camels close up and some local desert dwellers. If you’re going for a sunset safari the driver will take you to a really good spot for sunset over the dune photos. There may also be a spot of sand boarding, which is a lot harder than it looks but there’s a soft, sandy landing if you fall off.
After this if you’ve booked a safari with a dinner buffet you’ll be taken to the central camp area to experience Arabian hospitality. Most camps have a simple but delicious buffet dinner, drinks and other activities like quad biking, henna tattooing, local dress to try on, falcons, camel rides and even sometimes entertainment by drummers and musicians. If you’re really lucky there may even be a belly dancer, who may rope you in to copying her moves!
The desert camps are a really lovely place to chill out, sitting on low level , Arabic style sofas and cushions. Be sure not to forget to lay back and look up as the views of the stars are amazing away from the bright lights of the city.
After all that excitement and chilling you’ll be whisked back to your pick up point with some great memories and a camera full of amazing shots!
1. Wear comfortable clothing and sensible footwear- trainers are best, high heels a definite no! Trousers would be better than a skirt or a dress and remember to consider local sensibilities and not wear anything too short or revealing.
2. Take sun screen with you- you need factor 30 minimum here- there’s no hiding from the desert sun.
3. Take a hat with you too to keep that sun off your head and don’t forget your sunglasses!
4. If you’re going during the winter months from November to March you might want to take a cardigan, light jacket or shawl with you as the nights can get relatively chilly during this time and especially in the more exposed desert.
5. If you have a bad back, very small kids, elderly relatives or don’t like driving fast see if you can request to be in a slower car. It can get quite bouncy in there! Also, if all of you don’t want to do the drive, see if that person can be taken directly to the camp instead.
6. There may be small fee for some of the activities or they may be included- make sure you check at time of booking- this would usually be for something like quad biking for example.
7. Do not forget to charge your phone for pics or bring your camera- you’re going to get to see some amazing things and you don’t want to miss out.
8. Check that the company you’re booking with has insurance that covers this type of excursion and make sure your own insurance covers you too.
9. Make sure you’re in the right place and on time for the pick- up- the cars tend to all meet up before entering the desert and you don’t want to keep everyone else waiting.
10. There’s toilet facilities at the camps but if you need to go before you enter the desert tell the driver he’ll stop at a garage or small shop for you.
11. Take some water with you- that will usually be provided too but just in case!
12. This one is the most important- make sure you enjoy yourself! Have a go at everything, enjoy the thrills and take loads of pics!
Check out our latest, great priced Desert Safari deals
Labels:abu dhabi desert safari dubai dune bashing outdoor activities quad biking UAE United Arab Emirates