This was a trip I had done with my dad and stepmum, Amy, many years ago – but I really wanted to do it again at an older age so I could appreciate it fully. Plus it gave us a break from endless walking around the city!
We got picked up from our hotel at around 4pm and headed off into the Arabian Desert with two other couples and our driver. Once you’re out of the city, there’s really not a lot to see apart from the odd sand dune or pylon. It really allows you to see what Dubai was like before the city was built. On the way we stopped at a bizarrely located shop to use their toilets, and two seconds into the building I turned around to see Darryl with Arabian headwear on – and then before I knew it I had some sort of jingly skirt thing coming towards my waist. They’re seriously keen for you to buy stuff in there, but as long as you politely decline, you make it out without having spent unnecessary Dirhams.
After our stop we hopped back into the jeep, crossed the road and then went off-road until we got to the mega sand dunes. We had a quick five minute break to take photos, and then before we knew it we were being hurried back into the car before speeding off over each dune at god knows what speed. Despite the odd terrifying vertical drop, it was literally the most hilarious experience. Thankfully, all we suffered between us were sweaty palms and a broken flip flop! After about half an hour of racing around the desert, we stopped again to take sunset photos, and we also tried traditional Arabian coffee.
By this point it was almost 6pm, so we hopped back onto the jeep and whizzed across onto a dual carriage way (which involved driving on the wrong side of the road for a good minute or two *gulp*). We arrived to what can only be described as a “camp” lit with a few huge glaring lights, as by this point the sun had completely disappeared. Before dinner, we looked around the little stalls, I got a henna tattoo and then we both rode a camel (successfully this time, last time I fell off head first much to everyone’s amusement). For the final hour we enjoyed an Arabian two course meal whilst sat on cushions on the sand, whilst we were entertained by an Egyptian dance act (which involved him spinning on the spot for ten minutes as he created patterns with his outfit), a fire dancer and a belly dancer.
It was such an incredible experience which I’m so glad we had the opportunity to do! If you’re heading to Dubai, make sure you book a place on one of these tours – it gives you such a great insight into Arabic culture.
Our tour was booked through Dubai Desert Safari.
Next up, Dubai’s Gold and Spice Souks…