Another one of our memorable trips was to Dubai in UAE. We visited one of Shirl’s best friends, Ling, who lives in Abu Dhabi for our July 4th vacation in 2009. It was about a 1.5 hour ride by cab from Abu Dhabi to Dubai. We had a tight schedule so all we did in Dubai that was a desert safari trip.[bq_left]Hold on tight as the driver of the SUV you’re in drives around the desert like a mad man![/bq_left]
It was our first time riding on a camel, dune bashing, sandboarding in the desert and dining under the stars in the middle of the desert while being entertained by a belly dancer! All this was made possible by a desert safari adventure hosted by the Oasis Palm Company. Another tour company to consider is One World. Oasis Palm & One World are the two companies recommended by our friends who lives in UAE.
The tour starts off at about 3:00pm in the afternoon and returns around 9:00pm – 10:00pm at night. You will be picked up at a hotel/local destination within the city in Dubai. They’ll then drive you to the desert. On the way there, they’ll stop by some souvenir stores for you to pick up souvenirs as well as supplies (e.g. water, hats, ice cream, sunscreen, drinks) and from then on… that’s when the adventure starts! Hold on tight as the driver of the SUV you’re in drives around the desert like a mad man! I’m not kidding when I say he drives like a man man – it’s what dune bashing is all about!
After a heart-stopping ride across the desert, the group of SUVs (there were about 10 SUVs at the time when we were there) would stop for tourists to take pictures, enjoy the desert, look at camels (free-roaming) and try out sand-boarding..
We also got to ride a camel (for about $20) for a few minutes during one of the stops. If you go on this tour, do know that there will also be a chance to ride camels when you get to the ‘camp’ where you will have your all-you-can-eat dinner. You will see stations (notice the huts) surrounding the center stage where you can get souvenirs, drinks, henna etc… at the ‘camp’.
Here are pictures of our desert safari adventure…
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WHAT WAS IT LIKE?
[two]WEATHER Turn up your oven to about 350 F, then stand in front of it and open the oven door. The rush of hot air that you feel… that’s how hot it was in Dubai. We were lucky however because on the day we were at the desert, it got a little cloudy, so the sun was not shining straight down at us![/two] [two_last]CAMELS You feel a sense of calm when photographing these animals. They move so calmly across the desert, minding their own business. Riding the camel was another interesting experience. They are TALL animals! Hold on tight if you’re on one![/two_last]
[two]SANDBOARDING Must try! It’s a lot like snow boarding except that the dunes are rather small, so you go straight down… no fancy turns like you can do in the snow. Keep your head up, look forward and let the board take you down the dune. [/two] [two_last]ALL YOU CAN EAT DINNER Don’t expect fine dining. Food was reasonable (macaroni & cheese, bbq, rice, roti, etc…). It was also a fun experience dining in the middle of the desert while being entertained by a talented belly dancer.[/two_last]
- Wear sandals! No closed toe shoes – you’ll regret it. Sand WILL get into your shoes and if you’re wearing closed toe shoes, it’ll be rather annoying!
- Bring a hat, shades/sunglasses, sunscreen and a bottle of water. TIP: Fill it up with water and freeze it in the freezer the day before. It’ll melt as you go through the day but you start out with ice cold water at the very least!
- Desert Safari is a MUST DO if you’re in Abu Dhabi, Dubai or it’s viccinity.
- Give sandboarding a try.
- Bring a napkin/towel/handkerchielf – you WILL sweat.
- Make a reservation ahead of time to ensure a spot and to arrange a meeting place for the pickup. [/notification]