Any country is well known for its traditional attractions and Dubai is no exception. Being a desert country what better way is it to enjoy Dubai than a visit to the desert. Authentic experiences of sand, sun, camels, dance and some fun! The desert safari camp is about 89km from Dubai international airport and can vary slightly based on where you start from on your itinerary.
This is a post noon desert tour experience so if you wish to allocate time, find a day when you can get up late, have a late lunch and be ready to leave for this trip. There are lots of travel agents who organize special vehicles for this trip for you, so it should not be difficult for you to find one by looking on the internet.
Since you will be dune bashing, this needs a sophisticated car/SUV to handle that kind of terrain. Typical tours are undertaken with Toyota land cruiser Prado 4×4 SUVs. I did see some Fortuners and was even fortunate to have got a Hummer myself
The Safari ride has two parts, first they take you to a quadricycle ride where you can experience driving quadricycle or quad bikes as they call them in sandy terrain. This gets the thrill started for you which culminates in the actual dune bashing across few kilometers of sand dunes. Typically if you leave reasonably early you will reach the quad biking point accordingly. The safari motor rides is itself a good one hour from DXB international airport and is located in Nazwa/Margham area (in sharjah)
There are two or three people who provide quad bikes including Al Badayer, Sahara Amusement and golden desert motorcycle rentals. We had been to Sahara. We reached there by about 3pm which was the right time. There were hardly anyone and the sun was slowly going down. The temperatures remained hot so its preferable to carry a hat, wear sunglasses and choose comfortable cotton clothing as needed. These are called buggy rides and there are lots of buggies to cater to everyone’s needs. The management understands pretty well that this is one of the major attractions so they have done everything possible to keep the supply stocked so no one is left high and dry.
Duration and Driving conditions
The ride itself is for about 30 minutes and the buggies use a lot of gas to ride on. No matter how much of driving you have done, do not assume that riding a buggy is easy. It presents its own challenges and kids MUST be accompanied by adults. When you are with kids drive safely. Its rare that a buggy would fall down completely since its on four wheels. But I did have a tricky situation where it got stuck in the mud and I had to wait for the helpful guys to arrive to remove me from that situation. The buggy also tends to veer slightly to one direction so its not that you point the handle straight and it may go stright indeed. Due to sand it can be tricky to ride this.
Cost of the rides & cautionary instructions
The buggy rides cost 250 AED for 30 mintues. And no you are in tough luck if you provide your credit card as everything is only on CASH basis. Luckily for us our driver had the cash so I loaned that amount from him. There are absolutely no ATMs or major shops there so its best you pack everything you need upfront including cash. Further the shops at the quad bike point are super expensive and even a tender coconut can cost 20 AED which is ridiculous – its nearly 400 bucks which is 4x costlier than the costliest coconut in India possible 🙂
Instructions for buggy use
Some general terms of the buggy use
- 30 minutes of ride
- people only for the ride
- Adults can take kids behind them
- Changing people is not allowed so you need to choose the 2 people who will go on a buggy and do 30 minutes of that because depending on how many people you go with so many buggies are utilized which is a cash cow for the management
- You can take photos wherever you wish to just ensure that not many people are around riding their own buggies
TIPS and words of caution for better preparedness for the ride
- On some negotiation the management agrees you can swap people. So I drove with my wife for sometime, then swapped each of my two kids for the next ten minutes each. But by the time I was 25 minutes into the ride, I was actually fed up.
- The buggy moves forward when you press a lever like the horn you have on local two wheelers in india and this causes a lot of finger pain after 25 minutes of ride. You need thumbs of steel to use this stuff
- Post 4PM there are enormous number of buggies around you including various sized ones – 2 pax, 4 pax etc. These generate a lot of petrol fumes all around so you can feel nauseated pretty soon
- After your drive, go wash your face in that makeshift toilet, sit in the lawn and see other buggies ride around – that is the best thing to do
- If you get stuck in the mud, raise your hand and someone will come and help you, if you feel like the vehicle will topple, get down from the vehicle
- When you are stuck, dont raise the accelerator else there will be lots of mud that will thrown on your back and head sometimes into your eyes as well – please be careful about this part
- Carry plenty of juice or water for yourself and keep it in your car – it will come in handy after some bit of buggy riding, plus you can save yourself some cash even!
If you liked this post, I will bring to you in my next post the Sand Dune Bashing experience !
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