BOOK THE TOP DESERT SAFARIS IN DUBAI
Desert safaris are one of the best ways to experience Dubai – they are must-do activities for your Dubai itinerary if you ask me. Whether you’re interested in dune bashing, falcon watching, or snapping some other-worldly photographs, a visit to the Arabian Desert should be high on your bucket list.
Travelers tend to spend their time in Dubai mall-hopping and marveling at the gleaming skyscrapers. This might be why so many people assume there are only a few things to do in Dubai, which is far from the truth. With a little bit of guidance, you can tap into the country’s less-explored gems.
FAQ: DUBAI DESERT SAFARI TOURS
Before talking about the actual best Dubai desert safari tours, here are some FAQs.
What is a Dubai Desert Safari?
A Dubai desert safari is a popular tourist activity that involves a trip to the desert outside of Dubai. It typically includes an exciting ride in a 4×4 vehicle over sand dunes, followed by activities such as camel riding, sandboarding, and quad biking.
The safari often includes a visit to a traditional Bedouin-style camp where visitors can experience various aspects of desert life, including cultural activities such as henna painting, Arabic dress photography, and Shisha smoking.
During the evening desert safari, you can also enjoy a traditional Arabic BBQ dinner and watch live entertainment, such as belly dancing, tanoura dancing, and fire shows, under the stars.
Some tour operators also offer overnight desert safaris, which allow visitors to spend the night in the desert, sleep in traditional Bedouin-style tents, and wake up to a beautiful sunrise over the dunes.
Is a Desert Safari in Dubai Worth it?
The Dubai desert safari is an exhilarating and unique experience with a taste of traditional Emirati culture and an opportunity to explore the stunning natural beauty of the desert. It is a must-do activity for anyone visiting Dubai. Since there are different activities offered during a desert safari, it is important to find the right one for you.
Can I Do a Desert Safari in Dubai on My Own?
Theoretically yes, but it is not recommended to do a Dubai desert safari on your own as it can be dangerous, especially if you are not familiar with the area and the conditions of the desert.
The desert can be unpredictable and navigating it without proper equipment and experience can be challenging and risky. Therefore, it is advisable to book a desert safari tour with a reputable tour operator that provides professional drivers and guides who know the area well and can ensure your safety.
Moreover, the tour operators offer various packages for desert safaris with different activities and experiences, including transportation, food, and entertainment. These packages are designed to provide you with a comfortable and enjoyable experience in the desert, and they are usually reasonably priced.
So, while it is not recommended to do a Dubai desert safari on your own, booking a tour with a reputable tour operator is a safe and convenient way to experience this popular tourist activity.
FIND THE BEST DUBAI DESERT SAFARI TOUR
I have done 4-5 desert safaris in Dubai and enjoyed every single one. There are a few differences between the desert safari tours in Dubai, which I want to point out though – so let’s dive into some of the best safari tours.
This ultimate desert safari tour is the best way to make the most of your time in the Arabian Desert. You can choose from a four or seven-hour desert experience, which includes a variety of activities.
On this tour, your guide will pick you up from your Dubai hotel, and you’ll drive in an air-conditioned vehicle to the Lahbab Desert. Here, you’ll pose for photos and participate in sandboarding and dune bashing. After a small break, when you can enjoy unlimited water and soft drinks, you’ll set off to the Al Khayma Desert Camp on quad bikes.
At the Al Khayma Desert Camp, you’ll soak in the magnificent sunset while enjoying a couple of refreshments. If you opt for the seven-hour tour package, you’ll also experience live shows at the desert camp and more.
All tour packages include drop-off at your hotel or at the Dubai harbor. As the sun disappears behind the dunes, the tour operators will transport you back to your accommodation in the city.
Discover desert wildlife in Dubai on this five-hour animal-spotting desert safari. You’ll tackle the dunes with ease in a classic, open-top vintage G-Class Mercedes Benz driven by an experienced and knowledgeable guide.
Although traversing the mammoth sand dunes is a thrilling experience, don’t forget to keep an eye out for the desert’s magnificent wildlife. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a herd of Arabian oryx. These white antelope with long horns are the first species to be successfully reintroduced after the IUCN declared them extinct.
Other desert animals include foxes, migratory birds, snakes, lizards, goats, and more. Along the way to the Al Marmoom desert oasis, there’ll be many opportunities to stop and take pictures, so don’t forget your camera. Once you arrive, the desert locals will treat you to an immersive experience of Bedouin culture.
You’ll enjoy an authentic cup of Arabic coffee while watching a live demonstration of how it’s made before adorning traditional Bedouin attire for photographs. The tour includes a traditional Bedouin breakfast and unlimited water and soft drinks.
At the end of the tour, your guide will transport you back to your accommodation in Dubai.
On this luxury Dubai desert tour, you can experience the best of the desert and its wildlife from the best seat in the house. Perhaps the most grueling features of the desert are the heat and the wind, which can make even the most exciting desert adventures a little bit uncomfortable.
This tour, in an airconditioned Range Rover, driven by a professional guide, is the best (and most comfortable) way to enjoy a relaxed experience in the desert. The luxury conservation tour may not appeal to avid adventurers in Dubai, but it is certainly an event of its own.
During the drive to Al Maha Desert Resort, you’ll see some of the desert wildlife and incredible sand formations.
You can choose from a shared or private tour, which both last five hours. Your skilled guide will navigate the dunes in search of the Arabian oryx, desert monitors, and a variety of bird species. If you keep your eyes peeled, you might even spot a rare Gordon’s wildcat.
Al Maha Desert Resort gleams like a mirage in its sandy surroundings. This luxury resort is the perfect place to relax before you head back.
A desert safari as dazzling as the night sky. This private Dubai night safari with a stargazing experience is a wonderful and romantic way to discover the best of the Arabian Desert. The five-hour-long adventure begins with pick-up from your hotel before a drive through Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve in a 1950s vintage Land Rover.
Along the way, you’ll use torches and night vision binoculars to spot creatures of the desert that emerge as the sun sets. This tour includes a guided walk through the sand dunes for a better chance to catch a glimpse of the desert’s nocturnal residents.
After the safari, you’ll make your way to an open-air camp owned by a local royal family. As you sit beneath the star-filled sky, you can chat with your guide – an experienced conservation, history, and culture expert, and get to know your tour mates.
Before you head back to your hotel, you can make use of the professional telescope at the camp, manned by your skilled and knowledgeable guide. For this tour, you should wear warm, layerable clothing as temperatures in the desert drop considerably at night.
If a couple of hours beneath the desert’s night sky just isn’t enough, this Dubai overnight desert safari is the perfect tour for you. Seventeen hours in the Arabian Desert is more than enough time to experience the region’s highlights without rushing back to the city.
The overnight tour includes complimentary pick-up from hotels in Dubai, Ajman, and Sharjah city, so you don’t have to worry about finding your way to the desert. The guides will transport you to the Lahbab Desert for an afternoon or adventure, including quad biking, sand boarding, and dune bashing.
After fun-filled activities, you’ll head to Al Khayma Desert Camp for an evening journey across the magnificent sand dunes. Here, you can enjoy some Arabic coffee called “Gahwa”, sweets, and dates. You will have some free time to wander around the camp, soaking in the sunset, getting traditional henna, or smoking shisha.
After a lavish dinner, a belly dancing show, and photographs in traditional Arabian clothing, the camp lights turn off for an unforgettable night of stargazing beside a bonfire. The camp has a professional telescope so you can see the stars up close. In the morning, you’ll have some refreshments and get ready for your trip back to the city.
The desert is even more spectacular from the sky. For a truly unique perspective of the arid landscape, book a sunrise hot air balloon tour of the desert. You’ll soar 4,000 feet in the air, above camels and other desert animals, villages, and sand dunes as the sunrises.
This tour includes pick-up from your hotel in Dubai. From the city, a 4×4 will take you to the base camp for a hot cup of tea or coffee before climbing into a hot air balloon. The flight lasts around 40 to 70 minutes, depending on the weather conditions.
Once the tour is over, the guides will transport you back to your hotel. A video of your hot air balloon experience is available for purchase. But a hot air balloon offers one of the best photo opportunities in Dubai, so snap a few pics of your own.
It’s important to note that this tour is unsuitable for people with restricted mobility or health conditions. Children under five are also not permitted on this tour for safety reasons.
This safari combination deal is a great option for anyone who wants to experience the best of Dubai’s highlights. This six-hour tour includes an entrance ticket to the 124th floor of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.
From the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa, you’ll have a 360° view of the city below. The deck has impressive telescopes that not only give you a close-up of the world below but also take you through the history of the city of Dubai.
After visiting the Burj Khalifa, you’ll head back to your hotel and await pick-up for your desert safari. The desert safari includes a trip to a camel farm and a drive across the dunes in an airconditioned 4×4 before arriving at a desert camp.
Here, you’ll enjoy a traditional Tanoura folk dance, belly dancing, shisha, henna, and refreshments beneath the stars. At the end of the experience, you will head back to your hotel in the city.
The best way to learn about the UAE’s culture and history is by visiting the villages scattered around the Arabian Desert. As you approach the gleaming water of the Al Marmoom Oasis, the Bedouin community beside it comes to life.
The Al Marmoom Oasis is the country’s greatest unfenced desert reserve and makes for stunning pictures, especially at sunset. After taking selfies with the camels and capturing a few Instagram-worthy sunset shots, you’ll listen to Emirati songs and other ethnic music as you relax in a Bedouin tent.
While enjoying the authentic experience, you can chat with some of the locals at Al Marmoom Oasis and Bedouin Village. Once the sun sets, you can participate in some stargazing or simply enjoy the warmth of the bonfire before setting off to the city.
For a little more independence while exploring the desert’s dunes, opt for a desert self-drive adventure. Although this tour still comes with some guidance, for your own safety, you can commandeer your own dune buggy for 50 minutes and test your desert driving skills.
Of course, that’s not all. The tour also includes sandboarding, camel feeding, and a visit to Al Khayma Desert Camp. Throughout the six-hour tour, you’ll have an unlimited supply of water and soft drinks.
At the camp, you’ll indulge in Arabic coffee, shisha, henna tattoos, and live dance performances before the transportation takes you back to the city.
Experience the best of the Arabian Desert from all angles. This combination tour is a great way to make the most of your time in the desert. You’ll start your day off with an early morning hot air balloon ride where you can spot the local wildlife emerging from the shadows of the dunes below.
After your hot air balloon makes its 4000 feet descent, grab a couple of refreshments and get ready for the next leg of your tour. The ATV desert safari in a charming, vintage Land Cruiser. The 4×4 safari is another fantastic opportunity to spot some of the elusive desert creatures and critters.
Make sure to bring your camera along with you on this five-hour tour. You don’t want to miss out on any opportunities of photographing the Arabian oryx or caravans of wandering camels.
WHAT TO WEAR ON A DUBAI DESERT SAFARI?
When going on a Dubai desert safari, it is important to dress appropriately to ensure your comfort and safety in the desert environment. Here are some recommendations on what to wear on a Dubai desert safari:
➡️ Loose, lightweight clothing: As the weather in the desert can be hot and dry, it is recommended to wear loose and breathable clothing, such as cotton or linen, to keep you cool and comfortable.
➡️ Comfortable footwear: It is essential to wear comfortable shoes that can protect your feet (especially on hot days as the sand gets burning hot) and provide a good grip.
➡️ Sun protection: As the sun can be strong in the desert, it is important to wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes from harmful UV rays.
➡️ Scarf or shawl: A scarf or shawl can help protect your face and neck from the sun and sand. It can also come in handy during the evening as the temperature drops and the wind picks up.
➡️ Modest clothing: In respect of local culture and customs, it is recommended to wear modest clothing that covers your shoulders and knees.
Overall, it is essential to dress comfortably and practically for a Dubai desert safari to ensure an enjoyable and safe experience.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON DESERT TOURS IN DUBAI
One of the highlights of each Dubai trip is a tour to the desert. It has something magical – whether you want to enjoy the thrill and do a 4×4 wheel drive, do sand boarding, have a delicious BBQ under the stars, or just escape the hustle and bustle of Dubai city.