Heading To The Desert
On the top things on my list of things to do in Dubai was to see the desert and ride a camel. We really wanted to head off and stay in the desert overnight to get the full experience of a sunset and sunrise. But we ran out of time on our visit to Dubai for New Years. So we were left only with a few options to book a desert adventure from Dubai.
The reviews for the evening tours that left from Dubai were generally positive. Pictures posted seemed to show an idyllic adventure in the wild. What we found was nothing like a trip to a deserted oasis!
We were the first group picked up from our hotel. There were two other stops along the way in typical Dubai stalled traffic. We had long waits for people to show up. At our final stop, the family changed their mind after 20 minutes of debate.
It was a long drive out of Dubai to the desert camps. We crossed the border and actually entered Fujairah! By the time we finally arrived at the camp, it was almost sunset. Sorta defeated the purpose of quietly watching the sun set. It was a race to fit in our desert adventure from Dubai before it was pitch black.
As soon as we arrived, we were immediately hustled into a 4×4 jeep. Everyone was strapped into the vehicle and off we went. I soon was very glad the jeep had a padded roll bar.
The jeep raced for the sand hills. We saw the paths of other jeeps that had gone before us. Because we were so late, we saw only a few other jeeps while we drove over the dunes.
We climbed up the hills, often at an impossible angle. I was sure many times that we were going to tip over. But we never did. As we headed back to the main camp, we saw the sun just start to set.
It was a very bumpy ride. If you have any neck or back problems you do not want to do dune bashing. But dune bashing was a ball and a great part of our desert adventure from Dubai. I really wish that I could have driven. But then maybe I would have been too cautious and not got the same daredevil ride.
Our Desert Sunset
The jeep took us back to the main camp area. As we drove, we watched the sun sink lower into the horizon. Before we stopped, our cameras were out to catch the last dying rays of the sunset.
We were happy we managed to catch some of the great show as the sun sank. It would have been nicer to escape the crowd and really enjoy the sunset on our desert adventure from Dubai. But there was still more entertainment lined up.
Camel Rides Nose To Tail
Our first experience with camels was when we visited Petra in Jordon. There were camel tours available in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. We saw camels on this trip on the beach in Dubai. The camels on the beach were guided between the blankets on the beach. I really hoped to ride off into the sand dunes on our desert adventure from Dubai. But that was not our camel experience.
We waited in a long line for our turn to ride the camel. The camels bent down in a multi-stop motion until they were sitting on the sand. Then you climbed on. Depending on your weight and whether you had a child, you either rode as a double or single. David and I were definitely not getting on the same camel! I went first so David could take pictures and then he went.
Once the camels were all back up and loaded, the camels moved nose to tail in one small circle. It was over in less than a few minutes. The line up and wait time was longer than the ride duration.
There was a little time while slower people unloaded to catch a few pictures. Fun shots with the camel after a much less fun experience. This was not our favourite part of the desert adventure from Dubai!
In the area by the camels, there was also an opportunity to get your picture taken with a falcon. We were not interested but many people went home with another souvenir.
An Authentic Bedouin Night
The next part of our desert adventure from Dubai was billed as an authentic Bedouin feast with entertainment. When we entered the camp, we were amazed to find it filled with hundreds of people. The tables were packed in. Seating was on pillows on the ground. Shisha pipes were found on several of the tables. Food was served buffet style from tables around the edge of the camp.
After dinner was finished, a series of entertainers performed. It started with belly dancers. Several different fire dancers then lit up the night as the crowd cheered on.
A man got on the stage with an interesting costume. When he spun the costume furled out and became a swirl of colour. When the lights were dimmed, the costume was lit-up in the dark and created mesmerizing patterns.
The food was ok. Parts of the entertainment were very good. Sitting on cushions on the floor soon sent me looking for a place to stand. I was envious of the people who had paid for VIP seating in tents along the outside. They had real seating and a little space to breath. If you book a desert adventure from Dubai, consider paying for VIP service.
After the show, bedlam reigned. Hundreds of people all tried to connect with their drivers outside of the camp. It was very late by the time we finally got our ride back to Dubai.
Think Twice About A Desert Adventure From Dubai
If you are looking for an action-packed thing to do in Dubai, consider booking a desert adventure from Dubai. There are many to choose from. But they all seem to end up in one of many camps that look very much like we visited. Maybe consider a VIP experience. And book your transportation so that you do not end up rushed to experience sunset in the desert.
I really wanted a more authentic desert experience. Next time we plan to visit Dubai, we will book a stay in the desert.
Have you done a desert adventure from Dubai? Did you have an experience like we did or did you have one much better?
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Me and hubby were talking Dubai this morning! We knew there’s so much to see and do but jumping into a 4×4 jeep to jump on the dune sands would be SO cool, he’s all excited and wants to try it! Thank you for your tips!
Danila, I am so glad that this post was timely. Watch over the next week for the rest of this series. There is so much to see and do. A little something for everyone! Linda
Looks like you had a really good time. Dubai is somewhere I NEED to go, I have fallen in love with sand dunes! <3
Sam, It was fun to head out into the desert. But next time we would like to stay in the desert and get a more authentic sand dune experience. Linda
It’s unfortunate that you don’t know it’s going to be one of those experiences where tourists are herded together until you go. I’m glad you made the most of it, the picture of the sunset with the dune buggy might’ve been worth the whole trip! It’s stunning!
Lynn, We really had wanted to stay in the desert and we just ran out of time. We should have read the reviews better. But at least we did get to see a bit of the desert at sunset. And the fire show was quite good. Linda
We have so many desert destinations but Dubai has its own charm. 🙂 Desert adventure as you rightly said, has many things. Love sand dunes & their souks very much. Also the music and that never ending spinning dances. 🙂
Nisha, The entertainment part of the night was very good. Loved the fire dancers. And the spinning dance was so mesmerizing. A good start for our desert adventures. Next time we visit we will stay out for a few days. Linda
This is one authentic Arabian experience that I always advise my friends visiting Dubai to opt for. The dune bashing, the Bedouin camp, the belly dancing, the food, everything about this experience is great. I love your pictures of the sunset over the sand dunes!
Medha, I am glad that you like our view of our Bedouin adventure. It was a lot of fun. And great to be there for a perfect desert sunset. Linda
I have heard so much about the desert safari in Dubai. That sunset is something so much worth seeing from a place like that. Deserts are so mesmerizing. I’m glad you had such a great time 🙂
Tanvi, A desert adventure was certainly high on our list of things to do. The broad expanse of desert sand was awesome to see. And then the sunset just made it glow. A great was to bring on the evening entertainment. Linda
This looks absolutely incredible from the dune bashing to the fire dancers! Just wow! And, I think the desert has redefined beautiful with those incredible sunsets.
Kate, The dune bashing was a blast. I wish we had been able to stay out longer but we were a bit later in arriving and we wanted to catch the sunset. The sunset was just so orange in the desert! Linda
The desert and riding a camel are the two things at the top of my list for Dubai too!! Great minds 😉 The dune bashing sounds so much fun, though a little scary. Not sure I like the idea of feeling like I am going to tip over. I would have white knuckles. But oh wow that amazing sunset!!
Sara, The dune bashing was a blast but it was a very wild ride. My head hit the top roll bar more than once. I tried to take a video but you can imagine that most of the video was so bumpy you saw nothing. I am sure the drivers know exactly how far to push. Probably why we were not allowed to drive ourselves. It was definitely worth waiting for the sunset. Linda
Wow! What an absolute adventure! I love the idea of the dune bashing, and the sunsets are stunning!
Alli, It was all so much fun. I would have liked to spend more time on dune bashing. But it was worth leaving the jeep to see the sunset! Linda
That opening picture looks like a scene from out of star wars. This would be so much fun I would go crazy!!! The sunsets look gorgeous and the camel tides look fun too but I think I would prefer the Dune buggy 😉 I know for sure I would enjoy that Bedouin feast and the entertainment. Can’t wait to get over there!!!
Christopher, It was certainly a great night in the desert. I wish the dune bashing had gone on longer. But it was great to catch the sunset with the riders. Great entertainment finished our evening. Definitely should try it if you visit. Linda
I have special affinity towards deserts as they offer vast vistas under Sun. Golden hour shots in deserts are must do for me and good to see your enthralling shots. I have done Indian thar Desert and now desert safari from Dubai is high on to do list. Dune Bashing would be my fav things. Can you confirm if we can hire self drive cars and do it ourselves?
Glad you enjoyed the post. On our desert excursion, we were not allowed to drive the cars ourselves. We had a driver and they put 4 people into each car. I was lucky to get the front seat. Well, maybe not so lucky as I bounced off the roll bar several times! You should check in advance before booking a tour to see if you can drive. Linda