Dubai never fails to astound visitors with its contrasting and marvelous sights. Most people visit here for its wealth of modern and cultural attractions. But Dubai is more than that; it is equally worth visiting for its natural splendors, especially its endless untouched desert. So if you wish to transport yourself to a different era, don’t miss taking a desert safari in Dubai. It takes you to an otherworldly landscape where you can live the enigmatic Arabian folklore and experience thrill like never before. Read on to know more about this off-the-beaten-track adventure in Dubai

What Really Is A Desert Safari? 

A desert safari is simply a drive out to Dubai’s desert landscape where you will find nothing but boundless seas of sands. This is an experience filled with sheer beauty, supreme tranquility, and heart-racing amusement. Dependent on your preference, you can choose to discover the region’s desert on your own with a self-drive or consider an all-inclusive guided desert safari tour. 

A self-drive may be the more affordable option, but go with this only if you have access to a well-maintained 4X4 vehicle. Moreover, you must be an experienced driver who can easily navigate through the fine desert sands. To drive in Dubai and of course its desert, it is also required to have an international driving license. But if you wish to know the desert culture and activities inside out, nothing can beat a fully guided desert safari. 


A desert safari organized through a reliable and experienced tour company takes all hassles out of planning an immaculate desert outing in Dubai. All that is left to do is to sit back and enjoy this experience to the fullest. From hotel transfers and desert activities to dining and camping (if chosen), you can rest assured that every minute aspect of your desert safari is taken care of by your provider. 

Where To Head On A Desert Safari? 

If it is a quick desert drive you are looking for during your Dubai trip, Al Avir is one of the closest locations for your desert safari. It is not more than a 30 to 40-minute drive from the city center and its mesmerizing dunes can be easily explored in a few hours. 

Al Lahbab is another beloved desert safari location, located about 40 to 50 minutes from Dubai. Located on the highway amidst Dubai and Sharjah border, it stands out from other desert settings for its mystic allure and bright orange-red sands. 

Dubai desert by camel

For a desert trip that introduces you to the region’s indigenous flora and fauna, it is recommended to make your way to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR.) Declared as a sheltered natural reserve, it spans over 225 square kilometers, harbouring over 100 bird species, 40 mammals, and about 50 unique species of plants. 

If you wish to see the majesty and serenity of the Arabian Desert on an epic scale, you should definitely go on a Liwa Safari. Situated in Abu Dhabi, it takes about four hours to arrive here, but it is sure to take your breath away with its lush allure and mostly, its location on the brink of the Empty Quarter or Rub’ al Khali, which is the world’s largest sand desert. 

Main Desert Safari Attractions And Experiences 

Dune Bash: This is one of the first things that you get to enjoy on a desert safari. This super exhilarating experience involves an adrenaline-pumping drive over the empty desert sands aboard a high-performance 4X4 vehicle. Skip this staple activity if you are pregnant, have any ailment, or have recently undergone surgery. 

Dune Bash
Photo: Neha Singh

Desert Sunrise and Sunset Views: Subject to your desert safari choice, you get to delight in the stunning views of the desert sunrise, sunset, or even both. Whether you are a photography enthusiast or not, be sure to capture the desert’s captivating beauty and change of colors against the rising or setting sun. 

Camel Ride: A wobbly ride on the back of a camel is your ticket to contemplate how the early Bedouins or Emiratis navigated the untamed desert terrain. After all, camels were the region’s one and only transport means in ancient times. 

Sand Boarding & Quad Biking: These desert exclusive activities can be enjoyed by all, no matter if you are young, old, beginner or pro.

Author Quad Biking
Author Quad Biking

Cultural Activities: A desert safari is just more than the above thrilling activities. You also get to be part of an array of cultural experiences that are intriguing and classic like Shisha smoking, henna tattooing, falconry, and getting souvenir pictures wearing traditional Emirati costumes. 

BBQ Dining: This is included in most evening and overnight desert safaris. Depending on your service provider, this culinary session is a lavish affair with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. 

Traditional Shows: From the daring fire shows and awe-inspiring Tanura performance to the ever-astonishing Belly Dance, these traditional entertainment options are sure to jazz up your evening in the desert. 

  • Belly Dancing photo by Neha Singh
  • Tanura performance. Photo: Neha Singh

Camping: There is likely no better way to absorb the raw beauty of the desert in its glory than with an overnight safari. This includes all essentials of a standard safari, along with camping under the stars and breakfast with aromatic Arabic coffee. 

How To Choose A Desert Safari Package? 

Choose a desert safari package mainly based on the amount of time you wish to spend in Dubai’s desert. For your whirlwind Dubai trip that lasts for not more than one or two days, it is recommended to take a morning desert safari. Its duration is less than two hours, meaning you can easily fit it into your brief Dubai program. It’s also a great choice to take in the desert when it is at its best by the first rays of the sun. 

If you want to delight in the enormity and exquisiteness of Dubai’s morning desert from a distinct perspective, simply set out on an exciting hot air balloon at Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. Now if you have ample time to set aside for your desert trip, don’t think further; sign up for an evening desert safari or a more elaborate overnight safari which is a sum up of all must-experiences in the desert. 


Top Tips For A Pleasant Desert Safari 

  • Whichever desert safari you choose, book it in advance to make this outing as smooth and stress-free as possible. 
  • Wear comfortable clothing for your desert safari; that said, opt for modest dress paired with a high quality and comfortable pair of sneakers.
  • The temperature in the desert usually dips in the early mornings and evenings, particularly in winter months. In this case, it is vital to carry a jacket or cardigan. 
  • As you will be exposed to sunlight throughout, don’t forget to apply sunscreen cream or lotion. Also, bring other essentials such as hats and sunglasses. 


Dubai’s desert may appear to be parched and uninhabited at first glance, but it is an absolute delight where you can experience the off-road adventure of a lifetime while admiring the region’s rich indigenous Bedouin culture. Whatever duration you plan to spend in Dubai, make sure that a desert safari is on your checklist. 


Where to Stay in Dubai?

Use the interactive map below to search, compare and book hotels & rentals at the best prices that are sourced from a variety of platforms including,, Expedia, Vrbo, and more.  You can move the map to search for accommodations in other areas and also use the filter to find restaurants, purchase tickets for tours and attractions, and locate interesting points of interest!