Picture the scene! I’m screaming, laughing, clutching my stomach, hoping I don’t vomit, trying to take a video and snap photos and clinging on for dear life. And I’m loving it! Yes! you might have guessed, I was in the back of a 4 x 4 dune bashing across the red desert sand in Dubai.
It’s winter season in Dubai which can only mean one thing – visitors! Do read on for details of a fun activity to do with guests, and/or on your own. Not just for winter, you can do this activity all year round.
Dubai Winters always mean guests in town and this winter was no exception. My visitors wanted to go on a Desert safari and asked for my help to find a suitable tour company. I first went on a Desert Safari about fifteen years ago when I was visiting family here and my hosts at the time choose a company for me, something I was grateful for as there is a lot of choice in terms of companies to travel with. I started my research on the internet and quickly became overloaded with choice and frankly didn’t know which company to choose or recommend to them. Undeterred I did a second search, this time in a Facebook community group called Brits in Dubai an excellent community of people sharing a wealth of relevant and up to date information, as well as some banter too. My research whittled down the choice significantly and I finally honed in on a company called Destination Insight who we booked with. As a bonus they are in the Entertainer so we managed to benefit from Buy one Get on Free. Super!
The adventure begins
We were picked up early afternoon in a 4×4 by our cheerful driver, Hakeem and set off on our adventure. First and second stops were to pick up the rest of our group which gave us chance to bag some good seats. I’ve sat in the jump seats at the back before, and knew from experience they were not my favorite seats. A relatively short drive took us to the dunes. Hakeem was a perfect driver and host, telling us what to expect and sharing stories on the way. Before hitting the dunes, we stopped at an activity centre where you have the chance to do Dune Buggy driving (extra cost) or to partake in a coffee and snack stop which was our choice!
Desert Drive /Dune Bashing
We joined a group with two other cars before hitting the dunes for a short twenty minute or so drive. I would insert the video here, but seriously you don’t want to hear two adult ladies screaming and laughing (hysterically) at the same time do you? With the exception of the side slides which were stomach churning and exhilarating at the same time, I loved the dune bashing part of the trip and have to say I felt that we were in good safe hands with Hakeem’s expert driving.
First stop was at Camel Rock where we spent some time soaking in the magic of the dunes and taking the obligatory jump in the air above the dunes photo – harder than it looks but worth the effort for an Instaworth shot! My guests also tried out sand boarding – also not as easy as it looks – especially if you want to look glam haha!
Next stop was the bedouin campsite which was another stomach churning, scream/hysterical laugh, dune bash, side sliding ride away. This time we didn’t scream quite so much, but left our cameras in our bags to soak up and enjoy the experience.
We arrived at our campsite just before sunset which was a perfect arrival time. Before entering the camp there’s the opportunity to do a short camel ride circuit, perfect for photos. Entering the camp we bagged some great seats in front of the stage area and sat bedouin style on carpets with soft arabic seating. Dinner came in the form of arabic shawarma’s which were piping hot and hit the spot as we arrived. Later we enjoyed a selection of hot and cold arabic mezze followed by a sumptious BBQ of grilled meats all washed down with free flowing soft drinks. Take some cash or your plastic, as there’s the opportunity of buying adult drinks at the bar too.
Entertainment wise, we were entertained with some belly dancing, a Thanoura show and, my favorite of all, an energetic and thrilling fire dance show which was over far too quickly. Around the outside of the camp there’s plenty to do, get some henna, smoke Shisha (if that’s your thing) and take a photo with a falcon plus visit the gift stand for a few gifts. Dinner ended with a selection of arabic sweets, hot coffee and a brief photo opportunity to wave goodbye to the camels as they walked along the ridge of the sand dunes behind us.
Drop off was about 8.30pm after a fantastic afternoon and evening of rides, photo opps, dune bashing, entertainment and great food.
Overall ~ I’ve done a few different safari trips over my time in Dubai and this has to be one of the best Desert Safari in Dubai group tours that I’ve done.
We did our tour with Destination Insight who came highly recommended both in the Brits in Dubai Group and also online with a five star rating on TripAdvisor. We booked the sharing 4×4 transfer and Bedouin style desert camp tour which includes the Desert Safari with 45 minutes of dune bashing and a chance to do some sand boarding. Photo opportunities in the dunes. A BBQ Dinner with soft drinks, tea and coffee and dessert. Entertainment – Belly dance, Thanoura show & Fire Dance. Camp activities include a short camel ride, henna painting, Shisha, falcon display. There is a pay as you go licensed bar for adult drinks and an opportunity to do some dune buggy rides (extra payment) before your desert drive. Cost is 300/AED per person and as we used the Entertainer app this came out as 300/AED for 2 people.
Want something a little more exclusive? Destination Insight also run Just For You Private Experiences which I am going to try next time – essentially a private desert drive experience with dinner in your own camp. This is the trip I wanted to do, but our guests wanted to do the group tour.
Booking & Payment
We booked via WhatsApp after a quick call with the office to confirm details of the trip and paid at the end of the event at the desert campsite. Easy and efficient.
PickUp and Drop Off
Times are confirmed to you directly on the day by WhatsApp and allow for guest pickups along the way. Our pickup was earlier than we had anticipated but allowed for us to pick up our guests and one other set of guests on the way – the route is calculated so you don’t spend too long going out of your way.
Note : Pickup and drop off times vary slightly over the year to allow for sunset.