The desert is often regarded as a harsh landscape, but as I discovered on my recent trip to Dubai, it is also one of the most picturesque places in the world.
Sunrise and sunset are particularly beautiful, as are the millions of twinkly stars that can be seen on a clear night.
Arabian Adventures, a Dubai-based tour group, offer daily safaris into the desert – we chose the Land Cruiser Safari, and were treated to an unforgettable evening.
After picking us up at 3pm from our hotel, our driver took us off the beaten track and to a spot in the desert that is set up for a falconry display.
This was only a short demonstration, but it was fascinating to learn about the origins of falconry and to see a falcon bird in action.
Afterwards, we hopped back into the 4WDs and made our way further into the vast desert for some serious dune bashing. This is where the fun begins!
Although my stomach was churning, the ride was thrilling, and the driver had our car load of passengers alternating between gasping, laughing and shrieking with excitement.
Then it was time to stop, feel the sand between our toes and take in the glorious sunset. The golden sun setting over the undulating sand dunes is a sight I will never forget. After taking some photos, I sat down atop a sand dune to soak it all in. I could scarcely believe that I was privileged enough to be witnessing such a beautiful sight.
Next, our driver took us to a fully established desert camp. In what feels like the middle of nowhere, arises a beautiful oasis, lit by lanterns and flanked by tall camels, looking resplendent in their colourful coats.
Before we entered the camp, we had the opportunity to ride on a camel – another item ticked off my bucket list!
Next, we walked through the soft sand and into the camp, to be greeted with offers of coffee and dates, and the opportunity to hold a falcon or to dress up in Arabic costumes.
The highlight of the evening for me was the sumptuous dinner, eaten under the stars, seated on cushions around low tables. After dinner there was an impressive belly dancing performance, and the opportunity to have a temporary henna tattoo applied. Every tattoo is unique and intricate, and it’s a lot of fun to compare with friends or family afterwards.
Is the Arabian Adventures Desert Safari suitable for children?
Absolutely! So long as your children don’t suffer from car sickness, they will love every aspect of the tour. You can also request that the driver takes it easy on the sand dunes (or avoid them altogether) if your stomach is a little weak.
If you were only going to do one tour in Dubai with your family, this should be the one. Arabian Adventures have every little detail covered, and their staff are so friendly and helpful. Plus, what kid wouldn’t love a gigantic sand pit to play in?
For more information, or to book your tour, visit www.arabian-adventures.com.