Traditional Emirati Adventures
Dubai's Heritage and Culture
When visiting this thoroughly modern metropolis, wouldn’t it be exciting to experience life like an Emirati? Traditional sports such as falconry, camel racing, and dhow racing are still popular in Dubai, all of which celebrate the region’s Bedouin and pearl-diving past.
Falconry, camel polo, dhow racing — traditional sports, only in Dubai.
Join in the fun with these heritage gems
When visiting this thoroughly modern metropolis, wouldn’t it be exciting to experience life like an Emirati? Traditional sports celebrating the region’s past such as falconry, camel racing and dhow racing are still popular in Dubai. Here's how you can get involved.
Marvel at skilled birds of prey
Falconry originated in the Arabian Peninsula as a means of obtaining food. Falconers would capture migrating birds passing towards the south at the start of winter and use their skills to tame them and turn them into trained, highly skilled predators. An integral part of desert life since the 13th century BC, falconry may be a local pastime, but you don't need to be one to experience it. To see the best birds in action, time your trip for January to catch the Fazza Championships in the Ruwyya region of Dubai, when the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre hosts a series of contests trumpeting Emirati sports, including hunting, shooting, undersea diving, and ayala (a traditional Arab dance). Alternatively, book a falconry experience with tour experts, Platinum Heritage.
Watch ‘ships of the desert’ in action
Al Marmoom Camel Racetrack is the place to watch camel racing, the soul of Emirati sports. From October to early April, the cream of the camel crop speeds through the track at up to 55km/h. On the sidelines, enthusiastic trainers ride along in their 4x4s, directing their voice controlled, light-as-a-feather, robot jockeys. Looking to get in on the action? Enjoy a day of camel polo with the experts at Gulf Ventures. Head to the ground where you’ll be greeted by professional staff to teach you the basics of the sport. Once the lesson ends, hop up and get the game going.
Catch some equestrian excitement
Time your trip for March and watch another Emirati must-see race. The Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup attracts the créme de la créme of the sport – you may even rub elbows with the royal family. This must-see event, which takes place at Dubai International Endurance City, showcases more than 100 of the best riders racing through the rugged 160km course. For more equestrian action, don't miss the Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse. The world's richest day of horse racing will take place on 28 March 2020.
Hit the high seas with the pros
Dubai traders sailed the wooden-hulled dhow with traditional triangular sails for hundreds of years. Today, you can join the fun at Dubai Offshore Sailing Club and explore all the activities the Arabian Gulf has to offer, including the opportunity to see some of the biggest racing competitions. If you’re an aspiring skipper, you can take courses or raise your performance to its peak. The club opened its doors in 1974 with no more than a barasti shade on the beach and a few small sailing boats, but has subsequently grown to host some of the best sailing opportunities.
For more cultural insights, visit Dubai's incredible museums, learn more about the city's history or go on a walking tour of Old Dubai.
Dubai Corporation of Tourism & Commerce Marketing