A visit to Dubai won’t be complete without trying out any of the fun and exciting activities taking place in the emirate’s vast, fascinating desert. With a variety of must-try experiences that range from thrilling to relaxing, you won’t have a hard time finding an activity that you will love doing in Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert, and the surrounding wildlands.
Here are six of the best desert activities you have to try in Dubai:
1. Dune bashing
Explore the Arabian Desert aboard a 4×4 SUV. An experienced driver will take you on an exciting ride around the sand dunes. On this seemingly natural rollercoaster ride, you’ll experience hovering on the edge of seemingly sheer drops before dipping down sandy slopes and getting on a straight path again.
During and after the tour, you’ll be able to take photos of the beautiful surroundings and of course, have the mandatory selfies. You can then enjoy a barbecue or Arabic buffet at the end of the safari in a traditional-style Bedouin camp.
2. Camel safari or riding
If you’re looking for something slower you can ride on to explore the Arabian desert, book a spot on a camel safari tour. Most camel safari tours happen in the morning and usually take 45 minutes. Nearly all tours will also take you through the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve and enable you to explore the desert wildlife.
In case you don’t want to go on a long ride, you can try camel riding in Ras Al Khaimah. It’s a great way to get up close and personal with a camel. The photos you’ll have of riding a camel out in the desert will also be superb mementos of your visit to Dubai.
For a more thrilling activity, try sandboarding or sand skiing. Rent a snowboard from a tour company, strap it on and get ready to glide down the dunes just like you would at the slopes of a snowy hill.
You don’t have to worry about trying sandboarding for the first time; an expert will teach you the ins and outs of this sport. You’ll get a lot of great tips for riding down the sand dunes smoothly. Your tutor will also be present the whole time you’re trying out this activity.
4. Quad biking
Another thrilling desert activity you have to experience (at least once) is quad biking. You can hire a quad bike at Dubai’s most famous sand dune, Big Red. Once you’ve donned your helmet, be prepared to navigate the sandy landscape the fast way. Follow the natural trail of the dunes in Dubai’s most popular desert area.
Quad biking is quite a popular desert sport today. You will encounter a lot of other bikers so even if you’re allowed to go as fast as you can on the sand dunes, you need to be mindful of the others in the area.
5. Hot air balloon safari
If you want see the Arabian Desert from the skies, go on a hot air balloon safari. From above, you’ll get a perfect 360-degree view of the majestic sandy landscape.
One hot air balloon can hold up to 24 persons at once. You’ll get an adrenaline rush as the balloon ascends but you’ll begin to feel calmer and more relaxed once it slowly drifts over the desert and you get to see the beautiful views. Aside from the rolling sands, you’ll also be able to see some interesting desert creatures such as gazelles, oryxes, and camels in their natural habitat.
6. Stay at a desert safari camp or resort
Although you’re out in the desert, it doesn’t mean you can’t experience comfort and luxury in the sandy outdoors. Dubai has several desert safari camps and resorts you can choose from. You can stay in a villa or tent. Whichever accommodation you pick, you won’t lack for anything since these resorts and camps have the basic facilities and other amenities including pools, saunas and spas.
You won’t get bored by staying at a camp or resort, either. At night, you can join the bonfire and watch talented belly dancers, fire eaters, and dancers on stilts entertain the guests. You can also eat to your heart’s content since you’ll have access to barbecue, dinner, and dessert buffet tables.
Whether you want to visit Dubai’s desert during daytime or at night, you will find something fun to do. And you don’t always have to take a fast route to explore the Arabian Desert; you can also take it nice and slow. You can even just relax at a resort or camp and still have a magnificent desert experience.
With over 12 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, Lebanese national Ghada Sfeir currently heads Ras Al Khaimah’s premier excursion transport and destination management company, Safarak. She loves to travel to exotic places and enjoys doing watersports in her spare time.