When visiting Dubai, a desert safari is a must do. A trip to the desert reminds you that beyond the glittering skyline of Dubai lies the natural and untouched desert. Taking part in a desert safari allows you to experience the wild desert and have fun while doing so. The trips can last anywhere from two hours to an overnight camping trip. The tours also vary between more adventurous tours to relaxed wildlife drives.
One type of desert safari includes dune bashing. If you book this kind of safari, you will start your journey into the desert with 20 to 30 minutes of dune bashing. You will drive up and down the desert dunes in a 4×4 vehicle. Please be advised, if you suffer from motion sickness this type of desert safari may not be suitable for you.
From here, you will reach the camp where you can experience a camel ride, try out henna tattoos, and take photos with a falcon. As the sun starts to dip, you will be invited for a delicious traditional BBQ dinner with unlimited soft drinks. While eating, belly dancers will entertain you. Once the activities are finished you will then be driven back to your drop off point. These types of tours usually last between 5 to 6 hours.
These types of tours usually include:
• Dune bashing
• Camel rides
• BBQ dinner
• Entertainment like belly dancing
• Sand Skiing or quad riding can be done for an additional fee
Another type of desert safari is a wildlife safari. This type of safari takes you through the desert to observe the natural wonder. You will see a wide range of animals, plants and trees throughout your drive. A meal is also provided with these safaris.
• Comfortable clothing and sandals for feet
• In the cooler months (November to January) be sure to bring a jacket if you are doing an evening safari
• Water and snacks for the journey to the camp
1. Research the type of camp you will join before booking
Your safari experience will vary depending on what type of camp you visit. It is important to ask your tour operator what kind of camp is provided with their tour package.
Shared camp with other companies: These camps are typically shared with many different tour operators. These camps offer everything you could want in a desert safari tour at affordable prices.
Larger private camps: Some desert safari tour operators will have their own private camps. The number of people at these camps depends on how many people book a desert safari on that given day.
Small private camps: These small camps are usually for less than 100 people. These camps provide a smaller, intimate feel with a more customized experience.
2. Who will be running the safari?
A good safari tour guide is an essential element to any desert safari. Many tour operators will have one of their own employees guide you through your safari. However, some companies use freelance tour safari guides. If you book through a company that uses a freelance tour safari guide, you can’t be sure how knowledgeable the guide will be. Be sure to ask before you book who your tour guide will be.
3. Dune Bashing or Wildlife Safari?
Dune bashing is ideal for those who love adventure and thrill. The ride through the dunes can be very bumpy so it is not suitable for small children, pregnant women or those who suffer from motion sickness.
If you do not wish to take place in the dune bashing (which many desert safaris have included in their fee) then you can opt for a wildlife safari. These wildlife safaris take place in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.
4. Meal provided
Meals on safaris can vary so you should enquire about the food prior to booking. If you are a vegetarian or have special dietary needs, you must tell your tour operator in advance to be sure the proper food is provided.
5. Pricing and what is included
The price of your safari depends on what kind of safari you book. Also, if you are booking a group safari you can normally get a discount. Just ask your tour operator about this. Budget safaris are on the lower end of price range scale, however, they only provide basic amenities. Higher end luxury safaris come with a high price tag, but they offer a very intimate, private experience with high end amenities.
As mentioned above, desert safari prices can range depending on the type of tour you book. The price range starts at around Apx 1,500 AED/408 USD for exclusive, private camps.