Desert Safari - You NEED to Go On One to Complete Your Dubai Trip

This guest post on Dubai is by Neha Singh from Dubai Wikia. Neha is a postgraduate in Mass Communications, an avid trekker and explorer, and lover of all things travel. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Are you planning on a trip to Dubai? You must be planning to take in the majestic Burj Khalifa, the Burj Al Arab, and the Dubai Mall, the Dubai Fountain and the Palm Islands and other marvellous attractions. While you’d be right in prioritizing the glamourous side of Dubai, your trip won’t be complete until you experience a face-to-face introduction with the real Dubai – the mystical, majestic Dubai of the never-ending red sand dunes. The Dubai of the nomads, the serene desert. Come, let us take you to the Arabian Desert and introduce you to her magnificence.

Types of Desert Safaris in Dubai

Photo by Jakub David

Depending on your schedule, you can sign up for morning, evening or overnight desert safaris. Then again, you can choose a desert safari depending on your personality. If you’re the sporty kind, you might want to go in for the morning safari, which focusses more on desert adventures like dune bashing. If you’re the romantic, soulful type, you’d want to enjoy the evening sunset, waiting for the perfect opportunity to take the perfect photograph. If you’re a student of culture, you’ll want the overnight safari where you can experience Arabian entertainment, hospitality and stay in a real Bedouin tent.

1. Morning Safari – Adventure Central

Your morning safari begins early; you’ll be picked up from your hotel and driven to the desert in a luxury SUV along with your group or other sign-ups. Be sure to stop at picturesque places for selfies – the desert route has many selfie points along the way!

Camel Farm: Once at the desert, you’ll visit the camel farm and get to ride a camel. This is easier said than done because a camel is a cantankerous creature, and you’ll need the camel trainer’s help to board him or her. It is great fun once you’re on board the camel though! The sand dunes undulate at a dreamy pace underneath you as you sway and dip up and down along the dunes just as the ancient nomads did.

Dune Bashing: The most energetic of desert sports – dune bashing, awaits you at the camp. Speed over the high dunes in a 4X4 vehicle bashing into them at each downturn. It’s like being on a giant roller coaster in the desert.

Quad Biking: Ride quad bikes alone or with companion on the soft sands on the dunes, throwing up a stream of sand behind you as you speed up and down the dunes. Jump the smaller dunes and roar down the larger ones. It’s a sport you’ll never tire of.

Sand Boarding: If you’ve gone water-boarding, then sand boarding will be no different, except that you’ll be sliding on sand instead of water. Feel the fine sands slide under your board as you slide speedily down the tall dunes.

2. Evening Safari – Sunset Photography

Opt for the evening safari through a reliable operator such as Rayna Tours if you are looking for a more soothing, romantic connection with the desert. All the desert sports are included in the evening package, including sunset photography, and a wonderful Emirati barbeque dinner.

Sunset Photography: Get your telephoto lens and tripod ready for the sunset photography session just before sunset. Place your tripod at a good vantage point, and be ready to watch the sun dip down over and between the tallest dunes, becoming a fuzzy orange ball as it disappears over the horizon. Capture the slowly changing colours of the skies as the sun sets – the blues, the oranges, the purples, reds and deep gold to pitch black. Take a few pics against the dunes and a few from in-between the dunes to get different perspectives.

Cultural Entertainment: After you’ve had your fill of sunset photography, don traditional Arabian robes and sit back against silk cushions with a hookah pipe and hot Arabian coffee for company. Watch male dancers put on an amazing traditional Tanura show, where they go whirling around the tent like dervishes. Enjoy the belly dancers’ performance as they gyrate to Arabian and global tunes. Lay out your hands and feet for the henna artists to tattoo with soothing henna paste in lovely designs.

photo by Rishab Lamichhane

Wonderful Emirati BBQ Dinner: As the entertainment comes to an end, gather with the others of your team for a full, multi-course Emirati and international BBQ dinner outside the tent. Dip your spoon into tender rice topped with exquisite Emirati curries. Dip roast meats into fantastic relishes and sauces. Coffee, tea and cool drinks will be served along with dinner but alcohol is forbidden. There’ll be milkshakes and fruit juices for the kids though.

Overnight Safari – A Night under the Stars: There’s something to be said for camping overnight in the majestic, serene desert. The nocturnal wildlife is quiet, and the moon and stars shine on a landscape that becomes dearer as the night passes. You can choose to sleep within the tent or outside in a sleeping bag. Watch the stars break out one by one on a sky that’s blacker than anything you’ve seen. Watch as the moon bathes the dunes with a serene light, and enjoy the creepy shadows that seem to move as the moon shifts.

Nocturnal Desert Safari Dubai: If you like, you can go on a nocturnal safari with a guide, to check out the wildlife in the desert. This is usually not on the program but you can ask for it. It’s a fantastic opportunity to check out the desert flora and fauna, such as the shy cacti that open slowly to catch the early morning dew. Watch the reptiles that sneak about here and there, not wanting to be spotted. You might even spot the rare desert red fox if you keep your eyes peeled.

Sunrise Photography: If you can be up before dawn, take the opportunity to set up your tripod and telephoto lens to catch the first rays of the dawn. The desert sunrise is as magnificent as the desert sunset. Catch that moment just as the orange ball makes its appearance between the tallest dunes. The dunes will still be black with an orange ball suspended in the middle. As it gets lighter, you can capture myriad perspectives of the marvellous desert sunrise.


The desert’s magic has called out to many people for millennia and will keep calling till the deserts last. Give in to the magic of the desert’s majestic appeal and pay homage to it while in Dubai. You will want to return to it time and time again. Your trip to Dubai is simply not complete without a serene visit to the desert, so make your plans for a desert safari today!

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Hey, I'm Emma

Fuelled by wanderlust, curiosity and a little restlessness, a natural at budget travel, so naturally, a travel blogger. An experienced chef, a proud kiwi, and a burgeoning photographer. And my old friends reading and writing? We go way back.

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