One of the top tourist attractions in Dubai is to do a desert safari. I’d always thought a safari was to do with animals, but this has pretty much nothing to do with animals (unless you count a 1 minute ride on a camel!). I’ve actually done this twice now, once before I moved to Dubai, and once when my sister visited us. The first time I was extremely hungover after drinking numerous Tiki Puka Pukas at Trader Vic’s in Madinat Jumeirah so it wasn’t very enjoyable, but the second time I was able to appreciate it a bit more.
The driver picks you up in the afternoon in a 4 x 4, usually a Toyota Land Cruiser, then they drive you out to the desert about an hour outside of Dubai. Once there, the drivers stop to let some of the air pressure out of the tyres before the safari, and in this time you can ride on a quadbike over the sand dunes for an additional fee. There’s also numerous merchants trying to sell and no doubt rip off tourists with “100% pashmina” scarves.
Now for the fun part; the desert safari. After stretching our legs for around half an hour, we got back into the car for some dune bashing. We were in convoy of 4 cars, all following each other through the desert over the dunes. If you’re into fairground rides, then you’ll likely enjoy this, as the car swings around up and over the dunes. Sometimes it feels like the car is going to tip over, and I swear it was close a couple of times! The dune bashing lasts for around half an hour and is a lot of fun. If you ask the driver to give it some, then he will do it a bit faster for a more fun ride also. It’s a bumpy ride, and the seatbelt often stops you from flying around the car when the car goes over the dunes. The driver stopped halfway so that we could take some photos, and then following this, hundreds of cars from various tours drive to a campsite.
From here there are various activities, which include watching the sunset, camel riding, henna tattoos, dressing up in local dress while a falcon sits on your arm, and also smoking shisha. At first thought it might be quite cool to ride a camel, but here it’s not so exciting. There are 3 camels, which take passengers up and down around 20-30 metres, and all in all you’re on the camel for less than 2 minutes. Maybe if I have a proper camel ride I would appreciate it a bit more, but they are also very uncomfortable!
Throughout the evening at the campsite, there is also entertainment which includes belly dancers and Tanoura dancers. I love the Tanoura dancers; they basically spin on the spot for a good 10 minutes at really high speeds while twirling their clothes around and balancing these circular things which look a bit like plates. Once the entertainment is over, then it’s time to go home. I’d definitely recommend doing this one time. Also, remember to bring a jumper as it does get quite cold in the desert!