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Four family-friendly desert activities to try in Dubai

Mon, August 24, 2020

Gear up for adventure in Dubai's golden sands with these four top picks.

Gear up for adventure in Dubai's golden sands with these four top picks.


Conquer the dunes in a 4X4

Desert safari

Go on an exhilarating offroad adventure in the middle of the desert. Take a four-wheel drive, an experienced driver, add some gigantic sand dunes, and let the fun begin! It can be a little scary as the 4x4 skirts down the side of a dune, or you find yourself at 90 degrees as you go over a particularly high crest. But you’re in the hands of skilled drivers so sit back and enjoy the thrills. Sign up for the popular Dune Dinner Safari at Arabian Adventures, a convenient way to sample all the desert has to offer. Begin the tour with a fun drive through the sands at dusk before arriving at a Bedouin-style camp for a lavish Arabian buffet and live entertainment. Dress up in traditional clothes or try body art at the henna kiosk. Afterwards, when the camp lights are extinguished, everyone basks in the serene stillness of a star-lit desert sky. 


Meet the camels

Meet the camels

Delight the little ones with a camel encounter offered by many of Dubai’s best desert experiences. For a longer ride, ensure you book a special tour such as the Camel Desert Safari with Platinum Heritage. After a short drive to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, you'll climb aboard your dromedary (one hump) camel for a trail-style trek at sunset. You'll spot varieties of desert flora and fauna along the way, such as the Arabian gazelles and oryx, plentiful in the reserve.  For a more in-depth take on Bedouin life, head to Al Marmoom Bedouin Experience. Here, deep in the desert sands, you'll see first-hand how desert dwellers survived the sands. 


Try some action-packed adventure


If you thought all you could do in the desert is drive, think again. Try sandboarding, or dune-surfing for an exceptional thrill. If you are travelling with young kids, this is one of the safest experiences and sees the rider glide down soft, sandy slopes. Teens may prefer quad-biking where they can drive across dunes in their own roaring four-wheeled bike. For a once-in-a-lifetime treat, book a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the desert with Balloon Adventures. Be thrilled as you soar up 4,000ft as the sun rises over the dramatic Hajar mountains in the distance.


Set up camp

Platinum Heritage Dubai

For a real desert adventure, spend a night in the dunes with the whole family. Most overnight tours include a desert banquet and the opportunity to sleep at a luxe camp, surrounded by majestic dunes. The Overnight Desert Safari offered by Platinum Heritage allows visitors to camp inside a traditional Arabic stone dwelling, complete with a mattress, pillows and sleeping bags. The next day, watch the sunrise before tucking into a gourmet breakfast complete with freshly-brewed coffee, smoked salmon, caviar, fruit platters and more. 

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