Anyone vacationing in Dubai can easily forget what the country looked like a few decades ago. Because between the skyscrapers and artificially created green landscapes, between the mall and glittering facades, surrounded by luxury hotels and other modern buildings, the desert is far away. The desert this city was built in. The desert where the Arab ancestors of the people of Dubai have always lived.
A barren landscape that offers a surprising amount of life and opportunities. In order not only to remember this, but also to experience it, you have to break out of the art world of Dubai and go on a safari into the desert. But not all desert safaris are the same, there are a variety of different desert safaris to suit your budget, interests and time frame.
Types of Dubai Desert Safaris
Here are a few of the different types of desert safaris in Dubai, although there are of course a few more:
Desert safaris with a history of the nomads
In a small group or with a private guide, the desert can be explored in a special way, because there are guides who focus on explaining life in the desert to you: how did the nomads live in this rather unfriendly area. How did you get food, how did you find water and how did you know where you could temporarily settle down before you moved on, following the nomadic lifestyle.
The guides will show you special plants and signs of nature, some old Bedouin sites, where they can show you the way of life at the tents and you can try out the typical clothes of the desert inhabitants. There are some special tours that lead to restricted areas with special permits, so that you will be the only tourists with your guide far and wide. On these safaris you will often experience the wildlife with gazelles and sometimes even desert monitors. If you want to learn more about falcon hunting and breeding, you can take part in a real falcon hunt.
Camel riding in the desert
When we talk about the old way of life of the Bedouins, one quickly has the picture of their way of moving back then high up on a camel. Often in long caravans who doesn’t know this image from childhood books or television. So it’s time for you to experience something like this yourself.
There are some desert safaris that roam the desert with you on camels. You will learn a lot about these animals, which are so important for the region, which played the role of a means of transport, but were also used by humans as work animals, luxury possessions for camel races and camel milkers, and some of them still are today.
Quad, buggy or jeep tours
But it is also much faster and more modern in the desert. You drive on quads or buggies or in jeeps or you will be driven through the wide sand. You will soon notice how important a good guide is, because with all the sand you can quickly lose your orientation and also the driving over a dune has to be practiced, because this must always be done with caution and caution.
If you want to be even more active, you should go sandboarding. While snowboarding is now well-known worldwide, sandboarding is something newer, although it differs from the variant in the ski areas only in the surface of the ground. Because here you go down a dune on yellow sand instead of white snow like snowboarding. The fun factor is guaranteed here!
Clothing for a desert safari
No matter which type of safari you choose, remember, it goes into the desert. That means that it usually gets very warm, or rather, very, very warm. However, if the tours start early it can be surprisingly fresh. Dress accordingly and take something long-sleeved with you for the early morning.
Very important: Take enough water (and that is more than you usually think at first) with you. Most tour providers already pay attention to this and point out the clothes accordingly.
Desert camps – for several days in the desert
If a day tour in the desert is not enough for you, we advise you to book a stay in one of the wonderful desert camps. There you feel like in a fairy tale from a thousand and one nights, because you live in a luxury tent under the open sky, surrounded by absolute tranquility. When there are no clouds, which is usually the case, an incredible starry sky awaits you there while you enjoy a typical tea in the desert.
For us, a desert safari is part of every stay in Dubai, because this is the only way to understand the history of this place, understand how the city and the philosophy of life of the people of Dubai were able to develop and what a masterpiece the city of Dubai is in the middle of the desert. You will see all the unique buildings and spectacles of the city with different eyes afterwards.
Andrea Parker is a reporter for Zobuz. She previously worked at Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. Andrea is based in NYC and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe coffee addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.