Dubai Desert Safari: A Thrilling Adventure Beyond the Glittering Skyscrapers

4 min read
Dubai Desert Safari

Dubai Desert Safari

Dubai, known for its opulent skyscrapers, luxurious lifestyle, and vibrant cityscape, is also where adventure-seekers find a different kind of thrill amidst the sprawling deserts surrounding the city. The Dubai Desert Safari is a captivating experience that offers a unique perspective on this modern metropolis. In this article, we will explore Dubai Desert Safaris’s history, the various types of safari experiences available, and why they have become a must-do activity for UAE tourists.

The History of Dubai Desert Safaris

Before Dubai became the global hub today, it was primarily a desert region inhabited by Bedouin tribes who were expert desert dwellers. These indigenous people relied on camel caravans for transportation and were well-versed in navigating the harsh desert terrain. The idea of Desert Safaris as a tourism activity took root in the 1950s and 1960s when Dubai began to develop as a trading and tourism destination.

The oil boom of the 1960s brought unprecedented wealth and development to Dubai. With this prosperity came a keen interest in showcasing the traditional Emirati way of life to the world. Dubai’s rulers saw the potential of promoting desert adventures to preserve their heritage while boosting tourism.

The 1990s witnessed a significant transformation in the tourism landscape of Dubai with the establishment of numerous tour operators specialising in Desert Safaris. These companies offered various packages that catered to the diverse preferences of tourists, ranging from adrenaline junkies seeking dune bashing to those looking for a more serene desert experience.

Types of Dubai Desert Safaris

Dune Bashing:

Dune bashing is Dubai Desert Safaris most popular and thrilling activity. Tourists board 4×4 vehicles, typically Land Cruisers, driven by skilled off-road drivers across the desert dunes. The experience resembles a roller-coaster ride on the sand as vehicles manoeuvre steep inclines and descents.

Camel Trekking:

For those seeking a more leisurely and traditional desert experience, camel trekking is ideal. Riding on the “ship of the desert,” as camels are often referred to, allows visitors to connect with the ancient Bedouin way of life and offers a slower, contemplative exploration of the desert.


If you’re a fan of adventure sports, sandboarding should be on your list. It’s similar to snowboarding, but instead of snow-covered slopes, you glide down dunes. It’s an exhilarating experience that combines the thrills of snowboarding and dune bashing.

Desert Camps:

Most Dubai Desert Safaris include visiting a desert camp, a fantastic way to experience Emirati culture and hospitality. Here, tourists can savour traditional Arabian cuisine, enjoy shisha (hookah) smoking, get henna tattoos, and watch mesmerising belly dance performances under the starry desert sky.

Sunset and Sunrise Safaris:

Witnessing the desert’s transformation during sunrise and sunset is a mesmerising experience. The hues of the sky change dramatically, creating a stunning backdrop for photography enthusiasts.

Hot Air Balloon Tours:

Several safari companies offer hot air balloon tours for a distinctive viewpoint of the desert terrain. Floating silently over the dunes as the sun rises is an unforgettable experience.

Why Dubai Desert Safaris Are a Must-Do Activity

Spectacular Scenery:

The Dubai desert offers a stark and captivating beauty. The vast expanse of golden dunes, undulating landscapes, and the play of light and shadow as the sun sets or rises make it a photographer’s paradise.

Cultural Immersion:

Desert safaris offer tourists a rare opportunity to immerse themselves in Emirati culture. From the traditional welcome with Arabic coffee and dates to the chance to wear formal attire, visitors gain insights into the customs and traditions of the region.

Adrenaline Rush:

Dune bashing is a heart-pounding experience that attracts adventure enthusiasts worldwide. The thrill of speeding over dunes, often at sharp angles, is unlike any other.

Starry Nights:

Dubai’s desert is known for its clear, pollution-free skies, making it an ideal spot for stargazing. Desert camps often have telescopes, allowing visitors to explore the constellations and celestial bodies that adorn the night sky.

Delicious Cuisine:

The food served at desert camps highlights the safari experience. Tourists can savour traditional Emirati dishes, from succulent kebabs and biryani to sweet treats like baklava.

Escape from the City:

Amidst Dubai’s glitzy malls and towering skyscrapers, a desert safari offers a refreshing escape into nature. It’s a chance to disconnect from the fast-paced city life and reconnect with the serenity of the desert.

Tips for a Memorable Dubai Desert Safari

Select a Reputable Tour Operator: Conduct thorough research and pick a trustworthy tour operator with seasoned drivers and a dedication to safety.

Dress Appropriately:

Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and closed-toe shoes suitable for desert terrain. Remember sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat to protect against the sun.

Because the desert can get scorching, bring lots of water to stay hydrated throughout the safari.

Respect Local Customs:

Consider regional traditions and customs, particularly when visiting a desert camp. Respect traditions, dress modestly, and take your shoes off before entering a tent.

Book in Advance:

Desert safaris are popular, so booking your tour in advance is advisable, especially during peak tourist seasons.

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A Dubai Desert Safari is more than just an adventure; it’s a journey into the heart of Emirati culture and a chance to witness the breathtaking beauty of the desert. From heart-pounding dune bashing to serene camel treks and starlit desert camps, there’s something for everyone in this iconic Dubai experience. As the city continues to evolve, the Dubai Desert Safari remains a timeless and essential activity, offering a glimpse into the soul of this modern metropolis while celebrating its rich heritage amidst the sands of time.

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