One of the highlights of our trip to Dubai for me has to be the Sunset Desert Safari that we went on with Arabian Adventures. As cheesy as it sounds it was one of those evenings that I will remember for a very long time. In fact I had actually been on a Desert Safari on my first trip to Dubai eleven years ago and it was one of the most memorable parts of my holiday, so I knew that hopefully this time around the experience would be similar. We certainly weren’t disappointed.
Arabian Adventures is actually part of The Emirates Group and we were on this trip with Emirates Holidays, so the whole process was smooth and easy to sort out. Our tour guide picked us up (who called himself Captain!) about 3pm on a ridiculously hot sticky day from our hotel the Anantara on The Palm. He helped us sort out the baby and kids seats (which I was so pleasantly surprised about as I had been nervous that we might not have got seats for them) before whacking on the air conditioning and giving us some bottles of ice cold water. I thought this was a great touch as we had presumed that we wouldn’t get any water in the car as it was Ramadan, but in actual fact Arabian Adventures was completely set up for tourists.
The car journey took us just over an hour as we headed out of Dubai and into a more remote area. Captain chatted to us non stop about all sorts of different things and listening to him bizarrely was one of the most interesting parts of the trip. He talked about Ramadan and faith, living in Dubai and how much it had changed over the years, his children and what school was like for them in Dubai and all sorts of other things. I was almost disappointed to get to the desert and stop listening to him. It was also really interesting seeing him point out the sights, we passed a camel racing place and we saw lots of camels being taken for their afternoon walk. The girls were so excited to see them all plodding along the sand. However we soon arrived in the reserve and we pulled over to let the air out of the tyres. Then we were off, over the dunes, spotting camels and onyx along the way.
The first stop was to a remote little area set up in the desert where we were treated to a falcon display. It was interesting hearing the presenter talk about how Bedouin traditionally captured and trained wild birds to hunt with. Then it was time to head off to one of the most fun parts of the evening- the dune bashing. I genuinely haven’t heard the girls laugh as much as they did as we headed across the dunes. I had been a bit nervous as to whether they might get a little car sick, but they absolutely loved sliding along the dunes, giggling at the cars that got stuck behind us. It was soon time for sunset so we stopped in the middle of the desert to take some photos. I had already said to Captain that I really was into photography so he gave us the option of stopping for the first photo opportunity with the rest of the group or heading on to the second one. I said the second and I was so glad I did, he pulled over on a dune away from the rest of the group. That’s an important thing to remember, it is a group tour. Although we were in a car on our own as our family is big, there were about 50 cars in the convey. And apparently that was a quiet tour!
I was so grateful to be on our own, with the rest of the group about 100 metres away, as it meant that we got some beautiful photos where it looks like it is just us in the desert entirely on our own. It was stunning and we sat and watched the sun go down, snapping photos as we went. I am not ashamed to say that I had tears in my eyes, the sunset was incredibly beautiful. Soon some of the other members of our group came over as they realised we were in rather good spot! There were photographers on hand to take photos, but I didn’t feel they pressured us into buying any at all, and they also took them with our camera too.
You can see the rest of the convey coming in the distance in this photo after our tour guide went ahead to let us take some photos. This photo makes me smile because look at Lottie’s face. She was in a right grump as she didn’t want him to take our photo! 😉
We also witnessed a special moment where a lot of the tour guides broke their fast as the sun set. They sat together and prayed and ate dates and the atmosphere was happy. After the sun went down we headed to the camp where we would spend the rest of the evening.
The camp was absolutely amazing, a little cosy spot in the middle of the desert. There was a variety of different things on including camel rides (which we didn’t get a chance to do and the girls were so disappointed), henna tattoos, little stalls, shisha pipes and a delicious buffet. At the end of the night we were treated to a special show by a whirling dervish dancer, who span and span around and his skirt lit up with 100’s of different lights. Normally they have belly dancers but because it was Ramadan we were treated to him, and I must admit I was secretly pleased as he was fantastic and very entertaining. You sit at low tables on cushions, with lanterns offering subtle lighting, and the girls thought this was the greatest thing ever, while our baby boy just wanted to eat the sand. All the Arabian Adventures staff were incredibly friendly, plus as seems to be the way in Dubai, utterly amazing with the children. Even though this is a big commercial tour, it made it all feel rather authentic and fun.
At around 9.30pm the lights went out for the last time and we sat and watched the stars, before it was time to find our tour guide and head back to our vehicle. Gone was the chatter of the way there, we were all exhausted and had a sneaky snooze as we headed back to The Palm.
Would I recommend our Sunset Desert Safari with Arabian Adventures? 100 percent yes, it truly was one of the highlights of our trip. I will never forget watching the sun go down over the dunes with my little family. If you are going to Dubai on holiday, to me it is an absolute must do.
NB: Thanks to Emirates Holidays for working with us on this amazing trip to Dubai, we had the best time. All words, photos, videos and opinions are entirely my own. Emirates Holidays is the tour operator of the internationally renowned Emirates airline. Specialising in Dubai, Indian Ocean, South East Asia and South Africa, they provide premium, tailor-made holidays to a wide range of amazing long haul destinations all wrapped up with flights on award-winning Emirates. Stay tuned for lots more Dubai posts coming up.