The Dubai Desert is an ancient landscape, full of incredible dunes, wadis, valleys, hard plateaus, distant hills and oases. It's a beautiful landscape which was once ruled by the tribes of the UAE who now form the leaders of the Emirates. The desert, though no longer ruled by the Bedouins, is still their home. You'll still find the occasional nomad with their tents and camels on the desert. A trip to Dubai, without experiencing the amazing desert safari, is no trip at all. Read on to know why!
Amazing Flora and Fauna The Dubai desert is home to some fantastic flora and fauna. Most of the fauna is nocturnal, so be sure to sign up for a Nocturnal Desert Safari. You'll be accompanied by an experienced guide, with night-vision binoculars. If you're lucky, you'll see desert foxes, Arabian oryx, desert reptiles, Arabian tahr, sand gazelles, mountain gazelles, cape hares, Brandt's hedgehogs, desert hedgehogs and long-eared hedgehogs.
At oases, you'll get to see date, banana and coconut palms, and papaya and citrus trees as well. You'll bump into the occasional Gafas bush which sprouts yellow spring flowers. You'll also see desert hyacinths and acacia trees growing in the desert. If you believed that only cactuses flourish in desert environments, the Dubai desert will prove you completely wrong.
Incredible Cultural Programs The evening and overnight desert safaris include some scintillating cultural programs that are a special feature of desert safaris in Dubai. Enjoy some hip-shaking belly dancing performed by Russian and Arabian belly dancers, accompanied by exotic Arabian music. You'll feel like jumping into the centre of the Welcome Tent, and gyrate to the music along with them.
Tanura dancers are usually male. The dance involves twirling like dervishes, wearing multiple sequinned skirts stitched with many tiny colourful light bulbs. As the dancer twirls, he uses muscle control to make the colourful skirts go up and down, creating different patterns. It's an engaging and beautiful dance.
Henna tattoo artists engage themselves in tattooing the hands and feet of desert safari guests with henna tattoos. These beautiful temporary tattoos made by the fragrant herb leave behind a reddish design on the skin. The henna artists create beautiful patterns with apparent ease – it's a treat just to watch them. What's even better is that each guest grouping will be provided with a shisha pipe and hookah; you can lean back on silk cushions, smoking the fragrant smoke as you stretch your hands and feet towards the artists.
Adrenalin-jerking Desert Sports
A desert safari is great fun, especially if you love fun sports that are unique to the desert environment.
• Dune Bashing: Have you ever been on a dune bashing adventure? In this sport, you'll be safely belted into a luxurious 4WD, which will be driven at great speeds up and down the undulating dunes of the Dubai desert. You'll watch in awe as your SUV ploughs into the soft sands, raising waves of golden, glittering sands on both sides. The fun begins when you swoop down a dune, pick up speed, rush up the next dune and then swoop down that one. The desert dunes are like nature's own rollercoaster. You'll scream each time the vehicle plummets down a dune, spraying sand all over, giving you unbelievable thrills.
• Sand Boarding: Sand Boarding is rather like snowboarding. You balance yourself, tummy down, on a board, and push yourself down a steep dune. You'll scream in ecstasy as you pick up speed, and rush down the slope. You'll come to a stop either at the bottom of the dune, or halfway up the next dune – it depends on your speed.
• Quad Biking: If you love challenging yourself on rugged landscapes on a quad bike, you'll love quad biking in the desert. The desert is comprised of different terrains – there are sand dunes, hard valleys and old river beds called wadis. You can quad bike with an instructor, with a partner or opt to go solo.
• Camel Riding: Riding a camel in its natural habitat, the desert, is great fun. The awkward-looking, cantankerous creature is in its true element at the desert. The camel is much taller than a horse, and it can feel a bit intimidating to sit at that height. However, you'll love to canter on the hard desert floor and enjoy the way the camel's hooves sink into the soft sands of the dunes. Plus, you can enjoy a wider view of the desert from up there!
Nowhere but in the desert can you experience the true beauty of sunrises and sunsets in the Middle East. With no tall buildings to obstruct your view, the heavens are laid bare to your gaze during a desert safari Dubai.
• Desert Sunrise: Get your fill of the blissful sunrise either from a hot air balloon or from the top of a tall dune. Be sure to train your telephoto lens at the skies to capture the iridescent colours as the dark of the night gives way to the purples, lavenders, oranges, reds, pinks and golds of a desert sunrise.
• Desert Sunset: If you sign up for the evening or the overnight desert safari, you can enjoy the amazing desert sunset. Watch the brilliant incandescent orb as it makes its slow descent into the west, burning the skies as it goes. The colours are unbelievable. The skies are a beautiful cloudless blue when the sun begins to set. As it sets, the skies turn a bright reddish orange, which gives way to pinks and golds. Then as the sun sets further, the skins slowly turn lavender, then purple, and finally black.
Conclusion Make it a point to enjoy a desert safari each time you visit Dubai. Each type of desert safari offers a different experience and a different viewpoint. The early morning desert safari lets you catch a fantastic sunrise and feel the morning dew. The afternoon desert safari is mainly about desert sports. The evening safari offers a chance to enjoy desert sports, plus a full Emirati barbeque dinner. The overnight safari lets you spend a night under the stars. Choose your desert safari type depending on what you want.