D – Desert Safari #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about the Gulf region? Many would say skyscrapers, some would say Islamic traditional dresses, few would think about dates. Well for me it is the Desert.
Tourism is the backbone of Dubai’s economy. Dubai got ranked as the world’s 7th most visited city by international tourists, according to the recently released list and survey of Euromonitor in 2018. It keeps on adding attraction on a yearly basis but one experience, which is a must when traveling to Dubai is the ‘Desert Safari’.
No trip to Dubai is complete without going for a desert safari. Away from all the hustle and bustle of the city, from the maddening noise, the flashing lights, the never-ending traffic. If you are working or staying in Dubai then it is the perfect thing to indulge in your weekend.
Desert Safari comes in multiple options suiting your timing and needs.
Morning safari: When you don’t have the entire day and still want to be in the desert. It is a two-hour trip to the desert and includes pick and drop from your location and 20 min desert sand dune bashing usually in an SUV. You can also go for a camel ride, quad bike ride and sand boarding for additional charges.
Timing: 8:30 am to 11:30 am
Prices: Starts from 80 AED per person – do checkout coupon websites for some awesome deals.
Evening safari: This is a more complete alternative as it includes more things apart from 20-30 min dune bashing, one can also enjoy sunset photography, camel ride, belly dancing, fire, and Tanura show, followed by an unlimited BBQ buffet dinner.
Timing: 2 pm to 9:30 pm
Prices: Starts from 80 AED per person
We went for an overnight option at a camp, where we could spend the whole night right in the middle of the desert and experience the nomadic way of life.
For this, we chose the Bedouin Oasis Camp in Ras Al Khaimah and booked online for an overnight stay. This cost us around AED 1000 for four people for a large tent. It is about an hour’s drive from Dubai depending upon where you stay. One cool thing about Ras Al Khaimah is you can carry your own booze if you want to enjoy that.
We started around 1 pm and reached around 2:30 pm after taking a small coffee break. Subcontinent guys mostly manage it and one of them greeted us at the gate and we checked in to our so-called ‘tents’.
Well, the tent doesn’t sound like a tent. I was impressed as it has all the luxurious facilities that you can associate with a high-end hotel with proper air-conditioning. Soon after the check-in, we headed straight for our SUV for dune bashing. It is an exhilarating ride – your heart will skip a beat when the SUV comes down from a steep sand dune. It was getting dark when we returned. It was time for some sunset photography and sand boarding.
The camp is designed to give an authentic immersive experience – it is surrounded by high dunes followed by tents (rooms) on all side with a central place for performances and dinner.
Around 6:30 pm the announcement was made regarding the commencement of the show. People from the evening safari also joined us. The whole place was packed and was buzzing with excitement. There was unlimited coffee, tea, and water for all the guests.
The show began with the fire show. It was immediately followed by the Tanoura show or Tanoura dance – it is a folkloric dance of Egypt but is a highlight of Dubai Desert Safari. The performer kept it interactive asking the visitors to volunteer in the fun. The entire show ended with a scintillating belly dance performed by a very agile Russian. (I think 😉 )
It was followed by a lavish BBQ buffet. The hummus was lip smacking. I was overwhelmed by the fact that they prepared veg Indian curries just to cater us. The day visitors left around 9 pm leaving the staying ones to enjoy the activities.
There is something for everyone in a desert safari camp. There was a campfire placed in front of all the tents, which were set up for seating only. Each of these was facilitated with an unlimited supply of ‘Sheeshas or Hookas’. There was another stall where one could try out traditional dresses and take snaps.
We wanted to make the most of this opportunity and hence we decided to carry our telescope. The atmosphere was free of any pollution and with city lights miles away it was perfect for stargazing. It was a surreal captivating experience. My sister and I woke up around 5am to see the morning star and then witness the breathtaking sunrise.
“They say all sunsets are different, I say all sunrises motivate too in their own way.”
After enjoying a sumptuous international buffet breakfast, we headed to try out some more activities that were left last night. There was a camel ride on offer but I wanted some more of the desert dune bashing and hence decided to go for the quad bike option. The guide was kind enough to take me around for about an hour instead of the 45 min he charged me for and took a video of me too. It was one of the most adventurous memories of the camp.
Note: Cover your eyes and head during the dune bashing as it can cause irritation and sunburn. Please book well in advance because these places are mostly sold out during winters especially over weekends.
It was time to leave and we headed back to Dubai around 11 am.
People take back souvenirs when they visit a place in the form of magnets and key chains, I say why not take home a souvenir in the form of an amazing memory.
For all those who love sand,
For all those who the Bedouin camps,
For all those who like dune bashing,
For all those who love the Desert Safari…
It’s not a goodbye,
But it’s a GOOD BYE.
Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul
See you tomorrow.
This is the 4th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Travel Category is ‘Dubai – the City of Gold’, where I would be covering everything about the city in the course of 26 posts.
D – Desert Safari
Read the Previous post here:
Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘E’
I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’. If you are keen on following key issues pertaining to the upcoming General Elections head over to the Politics Theme and share your feedback.