Desert Safari Dubai Review

I find when I travel it’s hard sometimes to decide what super touristy attraction I want to do, if any. Sometimes the attractions are super cheesy and overpriced, not worth it. But sometimes I feel that there are experiences that– even though I know will be super touristy– would be a fun experience. Going on a desert safari seemed worth while and we went into it knowing that it would be full of other tourists. If you Google desert safari in Duabi you will find a million (okay, probably 20) options. I went by Trip Advisor and picked one that popped up and had good reviews, but honestly I bet they are all very similar. We went with Desert Safari Dubai, which charged us about $50/person.

The driver picked us up at our hotel at 4:15pm with an older couple already in tow, and after picking up a couple of guys, we headed out of the city.  It was interesting to see how far out into the dessert the city actually stretched. The first stop was a pit stop, maybe 30 minutes away from the city center. There were three bathroom stalls and 100 people…but the line went quickly and it was amusing watching the shop workers try to sell head turbins to tourists.

 pit stop


Aurelien: It was crazy to see just how many SUVs full of people were stopping at this store.  Safaris are massive business in Dubai, and for good reason.  Its an easy way for tourists to go experience the desert quickly and without getting too much sand in their shoes.  We had a very concerned older lady in our vehicle who kept asking the driver how crazy the dune bashing would be.  She was very quick to faint, she warned him repeatedly.  Her husband sat in the front seat and tried to ignore his wife as much as possible.  Our two other car-mates were young men from the Philippines that had moved to Dubai to work; they both worked at the Burj Khalifa complex and told us a bit about their work there.

Back to Anna-Lisa: After the pit stop we kept on driving a few more miles, pulled over to deflate the tires and started our 20 minutes or so of dune bashing. Dune bashing is when the vehicles cruise through the desert sands, going up and down quickly. The SUVS in the picture below are just a few from our company, the other companies go at the same time, but at different areas of the desert. The picture might look tame, but wow, it was really exhilarating and a little scary! Our driver cruised up dunes and pummeled down them, sometimes almost flipping the vehicle over (that was my perception of course). I believe that if I tried what he did, I would of rolled the SUV, and they did have re-enforcements in place if that were to happen. It felt like a roller coaster ride and probably five minutes into the 20 minutes I started to get car sick. Really car sick. I didn’t throw up, but felt very nauseous and wanted it to be over. Somehow I endured 15 more minutes and then all of the SUVS stopped to let people take pictures in the desert.

cool desert suvs


Aurelien: Anna-Lisa and I sat in the very back, which I think makes the experience more intense in terms of getting nauseous.  I didn’t get it as bad as her and the ride was really fun! I do wish I had sat in the front though, it would have had the best view!  The funniest part of the trip was that while the old lady had made a huge deal about the driver being all careful and not going too hard, once we got going our Indian driver didn’t seem to care one bit and pushed it to the limit.  One of the young Philippinos ended up being just as scared as her, so they were happy holding onto each other’s hands.  The lady thanked him afterward for helping her make it through the experience.


Dune Bashing in Dubai Desert

Dune Bashing in Dubai Desert

Just to show how skilled the drivers have to be to do the dune bashing, one of the SUVs actually got stuck on the top of a ridge and had to be pulled out!

Dune Basher SUV stuck on a ridge in the Dubai desset.

Dune Basher SUV stuck on a ridge in the Dubai desset.


Picture time!
desert suvs

After getting back to the road to head to the camp we stopped to take some sunset photos, I was still in the back of the SUV trying to get over the car sickness.

desert sunset

At the camp they had some activities. We got to ride a camel for probably two minutes, we went around in a circle. Honestly the two minutes was enough, they aren’t the most comfortable animals to ride! Getting up and down was an experience; coming down hurt slightly! I hope the camels are treated well.

camel rides

There was also free henna, a chance to try on the traditional sheikhs outfits (I opted out because I was able to wear a burka at a mosque). Aurelien jumped on the chance, I’m not sure it suits him as well as the Emiratis. 😉

Aureo dressed up

Once the sun went down they had everyone get appetizers and then there was a buffet dinner. I would say that most everyone could enjoy the dinner; children, meat eaters and even us vegetarians. They had a lot of variety, most of the dishes were vegetarian, so that was nice for us. They then had an Egyptian male dancer and a belly dancer. After that we jumped back into the SUV and headed back to the hotel getting home around 9pm.

desert dining


Aurelien: Overall the experience was quite fun and I would recommend it to anyone who doesn’t get motion sickness easily.  Considering the fact that the old lady managed to get through it after being overly concerned about it, I would say most people will handle it just fine.  Anna-Lisa and I do recommend trying not to sit in the way back though, as it is bumpier and jerkier back there!


We hope you enjoyed our post on Desert Safari Dubai.  In case you missed it, we also have another post full of photos from Dubai!

7 Responses to Desert Safari Dubai Review

  1. Gary Fredrickson December 1, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

    A & A,
    Fantastic site. Your mom send me the link to your blog, Anna-Lisa,, and I’ve really enjoyed reading about your adventures. Dubai warmer than Seattle in Oct …. who would have thought. Margie and I look forward to following your tour. Remember, just stay away from Syria.

  2. Aurelien December 2, 2013 at 2:51 am #

    Thanks Gary! Its too bad we just missed you when we came to Seattle. We will make sure not to fly into Syria accidentally.

  3. Erick June 17, 2014 at 2:53 am #

    Amazing and Lovely Dubai. Very Nice sharing of photos and Desert Safari Tour Information. Keep it Up. Thanks
    Erick Mark

  4. Desert safari dubai April 2, 2015 at 12:38 am #

    Wow! They are very much nice pics and amazing contnet! Thanks for the post.

  5. Desert Safari Dubai April 21, 2017 at 3:31 am #

    Tips for Desert Safari Dubai
    In Dubai Dune bashing and Desert Safari is the best adventure. Some precautionary measures are compulsory to enjoy Desert Safari.
    1. People of weak stomachs can’t bear Dune bashing because it can be bit bumpy, if you want to enjoy take light food and avoid over eating and drinking.
    2. People with heart problem should avoid dune bashing high and low steeps and fast turns of 4 X4 vehicle may cause your heart to race
    3. During Morning Safari temperature remains low after that temperature rises take clothes according to weather.
    4. Wear sunglasses, hat and sun screen to protect yourself from desert harsh rays
    5. Take some light jackets and warm clothes for evening safari or Night Desert Safari
    6. Take comfortable shoes with you because during trekking through fine sand you need shoes which are comfortable to take on and off not like tennis shoes.
    7. Bring your camera to capture your memories.
    8. Visit Al Maha that is the place of more than 33 mammal and reptile species. It is an important scene of Dubai Safari.
    9. Listen to your guide carefully before riding on camel it is not like horse riding take precautionary measures before start.
    10. If you have any health problem like pain in knee, joint or hip take some medicine before camel riding to relieve your pain.
    11. There is no need to take water with you during dune bashing because there are comfortable stop to get water.
    12. Take some money or credit card in case of emergency
    13. Refresh your basic astronomy skills before your night in the desert. It’s always fun to look for the constellations.

  6. Flounder June 8, 2017 at 4:15 am #

    Come back to visit and we’ll go desert camping! Also, our little Honda CRV can do some dune bashing!

    • Aurelien June 11, 2017 at 6:33 pm #

      That sounds awesome! But Niko needs to get slightly older first I think.

I would love to hear from you!

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