On a fairly pleasant winter morning (living in the tropics all my life, winters for me are blissful!), what began as a laid-back start in a cozy hotel room, turned out to be one of the most thrilling evenings of my holidays in Dubai.
Accompanied by two of my friends for an exciting winter vacation in Dubai, our holiday package included numerous world-famous attractions such as the Burj Khalifa, the Miracle Garden, and Dubai Dolphinarium, however, what stayed with me was an adventure in a sandy terrain making it one of the most outlandish outings for the numerous adventures it encompassed backed with excellent planning and inexhaustible entertainment in one single day! No wonder, Desert Safari in Dubai is one of the most sought-after adventures and people do come back for it time and again as it never ceases to excite visitors as well as the locals alike. Be it a fun family outing or an exciting trip with your adventurous and crazy bunch of friends, the desert quest is one-size-fits for people of all ages and inclinations. There is something in store for everyone, be it adventure lovers or the ones who find peace among natural landscapes.
We opted for an evening safari ? all pepped up and looking forward to it when we were picked up at 3:00 pm by our tourist planner. Stepping into the spacious SUV 4X4, we were joined by another trio in the vehicle which certainly added more fun to the excursion. If you are a big group of 6-7 it is all the merrier. The driver was kind, and knowledgeable and laid off the entire plan for the day with the proposed three different stops on the way. The mood was peppy with some good numbers playing on the vehicle playlist and I felt it was a great start for an outing in the unknown!
Dubai Desert Conservation Area
After an hour’s drive we reached the conservation area of the desert for a small refreshment. It is also a place where all the other vehicles come together to begin an incredible journey in the desert in unison. The conservation area also houses small shops, eateries, and some thrilling adventure sports to indulge in. These include quad biking, sand-boarding, and the like. Quad biking here does not include in the package and thus one has to pay extra for the escapade. Nevertheless, I was happily observing the sport and the enthusiasm and exhilaration surrounding it, while clicking some amazing pictures. We indulged in a small snack and tea before sitting down in a refreshing environment among a shady canopy. Our driver in the meanwhile deflated the vehicle tires to get set for the dune bashing session, which was about to begin shortly. With a deflated tire the vehicle floats in the air rather than cutting the sand or getting stuck; deflation of the tire also prevents the tire from bursting thus ensuring a smooth ride. On a lighter note, it wasn’t meant to be a smooth ride!
There was excitement in the air as we hit the desert and witnessed one of the most stimulating events of the day, to begin with. The vehicle was in skillful hands, and the driver maneuvered the vehicle like a pro in the desert sand. Showing us all his expertise, the vehicle got tipsy at every curve as the man on the wheels bashed the dunes effortlessly. The exhilarating joy and adventure cannot be fathomed in words as there were cries from every inmate on the vehicle… cries of joy, fun cheer, shrieks, and excitement. The amazing session lasted for a good 30-40 minutes and I was on a roller coaster of a different scale having a ball of my time. Clicking pictures of other vehicles, more so videos of the sand dust and the vehicle beating the sand is nothing short of a movie scene. A must-do adventure that is worth every penny. We halted in the middle of the desert in time to catch fine glimpses of the setting sun. One of the best times to indulge in picture-perfect photography and witness one of the finest aura of a completely different landscape. Walking barefoot in the cool sand is an experience of a lifetime. We climbed a few sandy hillocks and came down jumping in joy. The mesmerizing pictures of the desert and the dune bashing session are something that will stay with me and will be part of an unforgettable time spent in Dubai.
Desert Safari Camp
The excitement does not end here, although it’s a complete value for money at this juncture. There was yet so much more to the evening, as an electrifying evening awaited us. Before we could enter the camp, there were provisions for camel riding as well which I happily indulged in although it was a very short ride. One can personalize your desert camp experience based on your liking as well to incorporate, quad biking, sand-boarding, camel rides for longer hours, or even a hot air balloon for that matter. These come at a higher price, but they would make one’s day on special occasions and celebrations.
The campsite welcomed me with some refreshing tea with dates. There is a stage set at the center with low tables and chairs surrounding the stage, decked with cushions that are covered with traditional rich embroidery work, giving true Arabic cultural vibes. Several interesting booths encircle this setup offering tea, coffee, cool drinks, and corn. There are also booths offering henna tattoo designs by professional artists for females and children, shisha smoking, and there is a provision to embrace the Arabic culture by adorning traditional Arabic clothing and clicking adorable pictures. Not bad to inform your social circle where are you up to. I, however, opted to take pictures with a falcon seated in my hand. One of the timeless memories that will go with me for ages. The dining area was a fine spread of delectable dishes, comprising both vegetarian and meat-based starters, grilled Barbeque dishes along with sumptuous desserts. Before we could get ourselves seated with our platter, the stage lit up with excitement. To begin with, Tanura dance was all set in full galore by an esthetically perfect artist who kept us wowed all the time. Next came belly dancing, and then finally a highly anticipated and incredible fire show to wind up the evening. Accompanied by one of the best Arabic platters, there is nothing more one could ask for with the excitement and energy reaching their peak. The dance moves, the music beats, and the atmosphere created by these professional artists will make you clap at many wow moments throughout the show. It was out and out a fun endeavor before the evening wound up to start our journey back home.
Desert Safari in Dubai had been an unsurpassed outing on my Dubai tour, and if at all I wish to come back to this winning destination, I would very much relive this endearing experience. I have also heard of night safari and wonder how the impression would be to spend the night in a desert with minimum technology and resources in true Bedouin style. Gazing at the stars in a topography very alien to ours sounds exciting yet daunting. Perhaps a night safari is for another trip to one of my fun-filled holidays in the United Arab Emirates.
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Written by: Savita Pillay
Savita Pillay is an educationist turned writer from Pune, India. She has composed and edited numerous articles in her writing career and had traveled to UAE, where she pursued her love for teaching. With a Bachelor’s degree in English, she is an avid reader, who loves to travel and gorge on sumptuous food.