Those that visit Dubai as tourists might come to see this modernised city that has been built out of the desert. With all its modern tourist attractions you could be kept entertained reasonably well. However, if you did just that you would be missing out on the true nature of Dubai and its Saharan desert past.
You can enjoy the Saharan Desert past by going on a Desert Safari in Dubai. Not only is it an exciting experience but also you will enjoy the authentic Saharan desert experience. Jeep tours that leave the city behind and head off into the desert to visit the endless dunes and some pre-selected oasis for food and entertainment are the best experience you will have of Dubai.
The only snag to a jeep tour is if you suffer from motion sickness or tend to get queasy on fair ground rides. In that case you will have to choose carefully and seek out an operator that does the trip into the desert but without the dune bashing which is the part of the tour that people get sick on. Also do not do the safari during ramadan because during this time the entertainments such as the belly dancers is not available and alcohol is off during this time.
Most tours consist of being picked up from a hotel, being driven to the desert, some dune bashing which is comparable to being on a roller coaster, a visit to a tent where buffet food is eaten at floor level and a belly dancer struts her stuff is the typical tour.
There are two ways to book a tour. One is online through a local tour operator and the other way is via the hotel. Either way is okay, with a slight preference in using the hotel’s operator. But in both cases you should be cautious because all Desert Safaris in Dubai are not created equal. Also there is little correlation between price and quality of the tour. You seriously need to look at trying to get a few good referrals but avoid getting a recommendation from a local who will more than likely recommend his friend or cousin’s poor Jeep safari. And some may even be getting a commission for sending clients over.
Desert safari jeep tours may include extras such as camel rides, sand dune surf boarding, fire eating entertainment and other dancers besides the belly dancing, falconry, sand sculpting and souvenir buying. Be careful of what is and is not included as free in the tour package. These quality of the food is one of the features that distinguishes between a good desert safari in Dubai from a bad one. Some tours employ Indian chefs and you might find yourself eating Indian food rather than genuine Arabic food which is more like Mediterranean food.
With the camel ride which is just a looped walk in a small circle to take photos and not much of a ride. If you are keen on riding the camel then you must ask for it as early as possible or you will miss out. Be careful of giving your name to the sand sculptor as he will sculpt your name and demand payment from you.
Expect to pay double or triple price for souvenirs sold to you at the tour site compared to the local shops near your hotel and that is even after haggling.
The dune bashing and the belly dancers will be the best part of the tour. Don’t expect the belly dancers to be authentic Arabic princesses though, they are usually European. Nevertheless, the dancers are usually very talented and attractive and will entertain.
A good way to choose a good tour is by looking at reviews online and picking the safest operator. I will give some recommendations here, but please do your own research. To get the full experience do an evening until next day jeep safari. An overnight safari will allow you to see the sunset in the desert which is one of the most beautiful sights you will see. Remember to take a good camera with lots of free memory to take pictures and movies of your experience. Taking a movie while enjoying the dune bashing is a must. Taking pictures while you are getting bumped around is not possible, really.
This is a reasonably priced firm that provides a well organised jeep experience into the desert. There are various packages, including dune bashing, evening desert tours, morning desert tours, tours with BBQ and falconry.
This is a reasonably priced tour with packages that combine a desert safari and a cruise on a dhow, a kind of Arabian ship. Reasonably reliable service.
Another recommended company. Very good and knowledgeable guide and driver. The food is good quality. The tour is professional and well organised and most things are included in the price so good value overall.
This is another reasonably priced tour operator that does various packages. Morning desert tour, even desert tour, and overnight desert tour. Excellent and friendly driver for the tour. There is a quality and varied buffet provided.
This is quite an expensive tour and the tour might not be to all people’s taste. It is an upmarket and more tranquil tour. Value for money – probably not. There are two packages. One is a dinner package with superb meals and the other package has entertainment such as belly dancers. The tour is in a landrover.