A Desert Safari in Dubai – Fun For the Whole Family!

July 3, 2018 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ United Arab Emirates

When planning for a trip, the one thing that can be super popular with families is riding camels through the desert. And what better place to do that than in the sand dunes that surround the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Today we look at a budget-friendly way to enjoy a night out in Dubai – perfect for families, even if you’re only staying in Dubai for 1 night!


Should You Do a Desert Safari in Dubai?

Dubai is a popular destination – if for nothing else than as a layover to break up long-haul flights. Whether you are staying for just a day or planning to slow travel through the UAE, it is an incredible city to visit. Known for extravagance, Dubai has a huge array of activities on offer and of course a super popular choice is a desert safari.


Camel Riding on our Desert Safari Adventure



There is a myriad of companies online that take bookings for Desert Safaris, with prices ranging quite dramatically. For those looking for a bargain though, there are a range of companies that advertise on sites like Groupon – specials that can save you 50-90% off regular ticket prices! No matter who you choose, most of these companies are selling packages for the same experience, and end up taking you to the same stretch of sand on the outskirts of Dubai!


Meeting Our Tour Group

Our adventure into the dunes of Dubai, started by meeting our tour group at Lu Lu Hypermarket in Dubai. For those that haven’t been to Dubai, the traffic is pretty full on – picture peak hour traffic, most of the time! To make things worse, we misread the GPS and ended up in a lane that sent us in the opposite direction of where we wanted to go. With only 20 minutes until we had to meet our guide, what one might think would be a quick U-turn, turned into a 15-minute nightmare of side streets, back alleys and crazy drivers – nothing in Dubai seems easy!

With minutes to spare, we saw the Lu Lu Hypermarket… BUT seeing and arriving are two entirely different things. Navigating the next block and a half was infuriating! But, with no time to lose, we decided on a short cut… a little 4WDing in downtown Dubai! (I should point out we weren’t alone!)


Always allow plenty of time to navigate driving when in Dubai!


With numerous phone calls from the Tour Operator, in broken English at best, we finally parked and raced to meet our driver before being whisked off into the Dubai desert sands.

After a hair-raising drive along the Dubai freeways (I tell you these drivers are NUTS!) our driver began to slow along a stretch of road teaming with 4WD’s. While only 8 of us had joined our tour, we were to meet up with hundreds more, all awaiting the beginning of the adventure!


The Dubai Skyline with the Burj Khalifa towering over other normal sized, big city buildings!


A big city needs a lot of power – the outskirts of Dubai city!


There’s no shortage of spending on building in Dubai, yet another building is almost complete!


4WDing in the Dubai Sand Dunes

The first component of our adventure was 4WDing through the sand dunes. I’m not one to shy away from adventure, but this put me way outside of my comfort zone! The kids had an absolute ball, and years on, still refer to this experience as one of their favorites!





To be fair, I laughed my head off the whole way, I just couldn’t do it with my eyes open! We sped along the tops of soft sand dunes, slid precariously down the sides (deliberately) and then flew towards the top of another dune only to quickly drop to the sand below. While the kids squealed in delight in the seats behind me, I clung on for dear life, with images of a rolling 4WD flashing before my eyes. Again, I did love it – a bit like I love a really exciting roller coaster – I couldn’t keep my eyes open but had tears from laughing rolling down my face as I giggled like a school girl at every turn.


Arriving at Our Desert Camp

With a massive sigh of relief (from me!) we arrived at our destination, a beautiful site of Arabic tents in the middle of the desert. Upon arrival we each had the opportunity to hold a Falcon – some enjoyed it significantly more than others!


Brody and his new friend!


What an experience!


Sienna wasn’t so sure!


Riding Camels in the Desert

Finally, our dream came true – riding camels in the desert. Unfortunately, the experience included in our package was extremely short, and involved a long time waiting in line. However, you are offered the opportunity to upgrade to a private ride (around 20min), that is well worth the price.

We thoroughly enjoyed our ride, however, camel riding wasn’t all Sienna thought it would be! Holding on for dear life as the camel stood up, and later sat down, was pretty scary for a 5 year-old! And having a third camel on the back of our camel train, who took an instant dislike to both Sienna and I made for an interesting ride. Smiling and laughing whilst keeping an eye on number 3 who kept trying to nip us (despite his mouth being covered) was not the dream I had in mind, but overall it was as much fun as I’d hoped it would be.

Our guide was absolutely lovely, stopping at numerous spots to take more photos than we could ever possibly hope to need!


Smile for the camera!


Sienna was very unsure!



Dressing in traditional clothing

As the old saying goes… when in Rome, do as the Romans do… so when you’re in the middle of an Arabic Desert, the kids thoroughly enjoyed dressing in customary clothing. They had a ball trying on various things, and Sienna was thrilled to jingle like a set of bells as she shook her head and hips in a new little ensemble. And of course what’s a new outfit without a photoshoot in the sand dunes!


Brody didn’t like this outfit at all, but loved the headpiece!


What’s a new outfit without a photoshoot?


A beautiful setting for dinner

Dinner in the desert

Our gorgeous dinner setting began as the sun set on the horizon and continued under a sky of stars (and a few planes getting ready to land in Dubai!) With much excitement, an Arabic dinner was served and a wonderful performance of belly dancing and fire-breathing began.

The meal included unlimited water and soft drinks, with a full bar available for an extra cost!


And Just Like That it’s Over!

As the evening drew to a close, we wandered back to the collection of 4WD’s, with no idea how to find our driver. But as luck may have it we found the family we’d traveled in with who were able to track down our driver in no time.


A Desert Safari in Dubai is a must do while visiting the UAE – a great adventure for the family and something the kids will likely remember for many years to come!


Looking for more activities in the UAE? Checkout this AWESOME post by Our Globe Trotters



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