What is the Best Dubai Desert Safari?

If you are reading this post, you are likely planning a leisure trip to Dubai and want to know the best desert safaris to select. Well, you are not alone. Indeed, Dubai is home to many one-of-a-kind attractions (tallest building in the world, largest indoor ski park in the world, a vibrant opera scene, etc.). However, desert safaris stand as one of the region’s most popular tourist activities, and rightly so. Nothing allows you to experience the full majesty of Dubai better than a desert safari.

So, what is the best Dubai desert safari? Truth is there is no simple answer to this question. There are literary hundreds of desert safari options, each journeying into various parts of the desert and covering a different sequence of activities. Because of this, the experience that will be pleasant for your could be very different from what the next person will enjoy.

Knowing a little more about what a desert safari is, what happens during the trip, and what options are available can help you settle on the best pick for you. Read on to find out everything there is to know about Dubai desert safaris.

What does a Desert Safari Entail? 

The beauty with desert safaris is that every trip is different. You can even go on multiple safaris and still get a unique experience from each. With that said, desert safaris feature more or less the same list of activities. You can expect your itinerary to include:

A Ride into the Desert

All desert safaris kick off with a thrilling ride into the expansive Arabian Desert. Your tour company will send over a taxi (usually a 4×4 vehicle) to pick you up from your hotel or place of stay. From there, your driver will take you through a fun and hair-raising dune-bashing ride.

Driving over dunes can be thrilling in a unique way. It involves powering over the dunes at increasing and decreasing speeds while performing sliding, skidding, and spinning stunts over the sand. Depending on your desert safari package, dune bashing can be a short 20-minute ride or a long 1-hour drive.

Scheduled Activities

Once you have recovered your nerves from the roller coaster dune bashing, the desert safari moves on to the next phase, which includes a range of activities in short periods. Now, this is the most fun part. Schedule activities may comprise of cool adventures like sand surfing/boarding, camel rides, and quad biking, where you get to do a little private dune bashing.

For those who prefer less adrenaline charging activities, there are plenty of slow-paced activities. Desert safaris also feature hot-air balloon rides, camping, and slow tours with stops to view local animals and learn Dubai’s history and traditions. Any given desert safari will feature all or only a few of the mentioned activities in its itinerary.

Food & Entertainment

After all scheduled activities complete the safari winds down with some Arabian style food or all you can eat buffets and barbeque. Guests are either ushered into tents or set up on carpets laid out in the open. The meals are accompanied by live entertainment in the form of the belly, tanoura, & fire dances, falcon shows, and horse dancing. You also get the option of getting henna tattoos and indulging in the practice of sheesha smoking.

What are the Best Destinations to Visit?

Since Dubai is blessed with an endless expanse of glorious desert lands, sand surfing or dune bashing will be just as fun in any sandy corner of the region. However, for that once in a lifetime experience, there are three must-visit desert safari locations.

1. Red Dunes

When looking for the best places to visit on your desert safari, locations do not get any better than the red dunes of Dubai. The views are breathtaking, and you can even stop to take photos at picture-perfect moments like sunrise and sunsets.

2. Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

Imagine an African-style safari but in the desert instead of open savannas. That is what the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve has to offer. Taking up 5% of Dubai’s total landmass, the reserve stretches over 225 km2. It is home to some unique wildlife. You can spot Oryxes (Arabian gazelles) and their cousins the San gazelle, hedgehogs, Rueppell’s fox, a few sand cats, the sidewinder, or horned rattlesnake species, and a vital flora ecosystem of shrubs and grasses.

What’s more, a desert safari will take you through the reserve’s entire expanse by car. So, you can just sit back and take in every last bit of the park’s marvels.

3. Bedouin Desert Camp

The Bedouin camp is a popular destination for many desert safaris. It highlights the traditional side of Dubai desert safaris with local cuisines, cultural practices, and camel riding. However, the biggest attraction of the camp is the chance for visitors to experience traditional Dubai at its finest. That involves living as the nomadic Bedouins tribe (the oldest inhabitants of Arabian deserts) did.

Choosing the Best Dubai Desert Safari for You 

Are you naturally a morning person? Do vacations spell a time to sleep in longer? Are you an adrenaline junky who would not think twice about jumping on the offer of spending a whole day in the desert? Well, whatever your preference, you can be sure of finding a Dubai desert safari that is perfect for you. These expeditions come in several categories to cater to everyone.

Morning and Evening Safaris

Dune bashing in the early hours of the day, culminating in a viewing of the sunrise, some light desert sports, and breakfast in a hot-air balloon or open land make up morning deserts safaris.

Evening safaris, in turn, constitute of entertainment shows, camping under the night sky, and delicious dinners. Some evening safaris also involve spending the night in the desert. And when dawn breaks, you wake up to an early breakfast treat under a beautiful sunrise.

Adventure Safari

With this desert safari option, the target is usually adventurous travelers. Featured are long stretches (sometimes as long as an hour) of nothing but highly physical activities like drifting through the dunes in all manner of rides (car, horseback, quad bike, and even the back of a camel), dune bashing, sand boarding, and desert bicycle riding, to name a few.

Luxury Safari

So, this type of expedition starts with you riding into the desert in style with a hummer, luxurious jeep, or open-top land rover. The entire safari offers a relaxing range of activities. For example, you can camp out in the desert, dine under the stars, or ride a hot air balloon. Some packages treat travelers to a host of traditional activities like henna painting, cultural dances, fire shows, local buffets, and barbecue feasts.

Group or Private Safari

One thing you should know about Dubai desert safaris is that there are both shared groups and private camp packages. Private safaris are offered to couples and families and tend to be quite expensive. Vacationers get what they pay for though with private safaris as they deliver the ultimate desert safari experience with luxury dining, a host of safari activities in uncrowned areas, and staff to cater to your every need.

Group safaris can feature anywhere from 50 to 600 guests with activities carried out in convoys. The more the number of people who sign up, the cheaper the safari will be.

Combo Packages

Well, this is another budget-friendly option and a good pick for those who want to experience all of Dubai. A combo deal can include all manner of activities ranging from visiting the Burj Khalifa and touring the city, to going on a desert safari and cruise trips, to dining in top-notch restaurants and heading to social hotspots. The activities usually spread out for two or more days.

Tips for getting the most out of your Dubai Desert Safari

Go with a Professional Safari Provider

Hiring a local tour guide has its charm when it comes to exploring a foreign country. However, in the case of a desert safari, it is better to go with a professional and reputable safari provider. Since they do this professionally, safari providers will have the best routes and a host of fun activities that will deliver a wholesome experience.

Do not go it Alone

Tempting as it may be to take off full speed on a quad bike or let loose while sand boarding, it is not a good idea to break away from the pack. The desert is vast, and one wrong turn can get you lost. Make sure that your tour guide or fellow travelers remain within your eye line at all times.

Dress Right

The great thing with safari deserts in Dubai is that there are no dress restrictions during such a setting. Having said that, keep in mind you cannot wear just anything. The desert is hot, windy, and sandy. Therefore, you will need clothing that is light, comfortable, and lose fitting – Capri or cotton pants, light long-sleeve shirts or t-shirts, hats, sunglasses, headscarves, and sandals. For evening safaris, wear a light jacket or sweater to keep warm, as desert temperatures drop low during the night.

Travel Light

Desert safari tours provide you with everything (food, water & other drinks, bathroom facilities, toiletries) you will need during the entire duration of the trip. So, you do not need to weigh down your experience with heavy or cumbersome baggage. Some cash, a phone, sunscreen, and camera will be all you need.

Eat Light

If you are going for the adventure aspect of safaris, then the last thing you want is to gorge up on food. Activities like camel riding and quad biking bashing can be very uncomfortable on a full stomach. Drink lots of water as well to avoid getting dehydrated.

Go on non-Ramadan Months

The worst time to book a desert safari is the period of Ramadan. Since it is a holy month, a ton of the entertainment activities (belly dancing & tanoura shows, alcohol drinking, sheesha smoking, etc.), which make a complete desert safari, will be excluded from the itinerary.

Final Word

From dune bashing to quad biking, to indulging in the rich Emirati culture, a Dubai desert safari offers a ton of fun activities. If you can, try every last one. If not, make sure to get your money’s worth, at the very least. Prices range from cheap AED 75-packages to AED 1000+ for the ultimate luxury. If you shop hard enough, you will find a budget-friendly package that delivers a packed itinerary.

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