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A Guide to Planning a Dubai Desert Excursion

Dubai Desert

No trip to Dubai is complete without a desert excursion, but with so many packages and activities to choose from, organising the ultimate desert safari can be quite the challenge. With this in mind, we’ve put together our top tips from when to go to what to wear, as well as what to do when you get there. Read on to create a desert safari itinerary that will be truly memorable.

Dusk in the Dubai desert - Image: Remie Lund

Dusk in the Dubai desert

Image: Remie Lund

When to Go

The absolute best time to experience a desert safari in Dubai is between the months of November and March. At this time, the temperature is less extreme and tends to hover around 25 degrees at the hottest point but with lows of 14 degrees, making it the perfect climate to head out to the desert. While you can visit the desert in the summer months, the temperatures soar to 40 degrees and with very little shade, it is not recommended. If you do venture to the desert between April and October, it is wise to visit very early in the morning or very late in the evening.

What to Wear

Unlike the malls, there are no restrictions when it comes to dress code, but there are a few tips you can follow to ensure maximum comfort. Loose fitting cotton garments are highly recommended as even in the cooler months, the desert can still be warm. Flat sandals are ideal as you will most likely end up with a lot of sand in your shoes if you wear trainers. A hat could come in handy to shield your head from the sun and a pashmina would be ideal should you visit in the evening. Lastly, even in the winter months, don’t forget to take your sun cream to protect you from the desert rays.

Couple in Dubai desert

Couple in Dubai desert

What to Do

A desert safari is the perfect opportunity to tick off some thrilling bucket list experiences. Choose from an extensive list of activities that are sure to get your pulse racing. From quad biking and sand boarding to camel riding and dune buggies, there is something for everyone. The beauty of a desert safari is that you can take the experience at your own pace. If the adrenaline inducing sports are a little too adventurous, you can choose a tour operator that offers serene evenings with Arabian dining experiences and shisha under the stars. Most safari tours include traditional cuisine (expect delicious Arabic dishes such as Falafel, chicken and vegetable wraps) and entertainment such as a beautiful belly dancing performances, a falcon show and henna painting.

Dubai dune buggying

Dubai dune buggying

How to Get There

The most accessible and affordable way to enjoy a desert safari is to join a group tour and there are multiple operators that offer this service. Most offer the option of a hotel transfer which means you’ll be picked up from your hotel door. This can offer peace of mind if you are travelling solo or it is your first time visiting Dubai and you aren’t sure of the lay of the land. Desert safaris are extremely popular so be prepared for a large crowd. Sunset and sunrise are among the most popular times to enjoy a desert tour but you are guaranteed some stunning shots so don’t forget your camera to capture the moment.

Camel ride Dubai desert

Camel ride Dubai desert

Sleep Under the Stars

If you want an extra special experience, many tour operators offer tourists the chance to experience the true nomad lifestyle with an overnight stay. You can experience the magic of the desert after dark and camp under the stars. The campsite is decorated so it has an authentic Arabian feel. Not only will you enjoy a range of local delights, you will also be offered tea and coffee and the chance to dress up in traditional Arabian dress. Why not try a hot air balloon ride and watch the sunrise over the sand dunes in style?

Camping in the Dubai desert

Camping in the Dubai desert

What to Spend

With so many tours available, prices may vary but the average price for a desert safari is around £30 and that price includes dinner too. Of course, if you choose a luxurious tour package with all of the frills, (think private transfers in vintage Range Rovers or a Mercedes G Wagon, champagne on arrival and learning how to make a traditional dish before you are served dinner) you can expect to pay around £400 per person. Whether you choose the VIP experience and opt for a more intimate dining experience, or you choose the budget desert safari, you are bound to leave with oodles of memories.

So, there you have it, a complete guide to booking a desert safari in Dubai. Follow our tips when planning the perfect time of year to visit and which activities to include in your own tour.

Written by Remie Lund

Remie Worrall is a freelance writer, luxury lifestyle blogger and Huffington Post contributor with a degree in English Literature from York St John University. Remie writes about beauty, lifestyle and travel. Follow me at @remsluxuryblog

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