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    24 hours in Dubai: Desert safari

    I’d always wanted to go to Dubai... When I saw Dubai on my calendar, I immediately called a couple of my friends who live or have been there and asked “What is there to do in Dubai in 24 hours?” They all agreed on the same thing: I had to go on a safari trip in the desert.

    I landed in Dubai and settled in the hotel. The first thing I did was to make a quick search on safari tours. Most safari tours start either early in the morning or in the afternoon. Some tour itineraries also offer overnight camping too. We decided to take an afternoon tour. They pick you up around 3:00pm Dubai local time with 4×4 jeeps to take you directly to a special conservation spot in Al Awir for desert safari trips. Depending on the location of your hotel, the whole journey may take 40-50 minutes.

    All tour vehicles meet at a predetermined point upon entering the desert area. While the tires are prepared for the rest of the journey – the air pressure in the tires is dropped to 15 PSI from 35 PSI for the desert – the tourists for the most part walk around in the desert sand and take photos or take in their surroundings. When all vehicles are ready to go on the safari, people get on board and the safari begins! I’ve got to warn you: Don’t you ever do what I did and take this trip after a full lunch, or else you may end up seriously carsick as I did. The most uncomfortable seat in the vehicle is the very back seat, by the way.

    Also, the drivers on the safari drive both fast and furious! They test the limits of their vehicles driving in and out and on and off every single sand dune and hole in the desert. All you can do is to sit back and enjoy the ride. They let you take a breath once in a while giving a break here and there to let other vehicles catch up with you. You’re not allowed to roll down your window during safari. So these short breaks really allow you to take a fresh intake of air. If you get sick on the trip, let the driver know and they’ll stop and let you roll down the window too.

    For those who’d enjoy it, you can join a 3-5 minute long mini tour on your hired ATV or motorcycles in the desert during these breaks. Personally, I chose to lie down on the sand and enjoy the fresh air. 

    Your safari adventure ends when you arrive at the camp site. The camping site is a pretty spot offering a chance to enjoy old Arabian life. You can even take a 100-200 meter camel ride. There are small souvenir shops on one side, and on the other side there is a hookah corner. In the center there is a stage surrounded by tables … Indulge yourself in the delicious food served buffet-style while watching belly dancers and zenne (men dressed as belly dancers) on stage. The show ends around 9:00 – 9:30pm and then you head back to your vehicle. After you hit the main road at the first gas station, they all stop to put the tires back to their normal levels before taking you back at your hotel.

    If you want to take this tour, I think the best way to get dressed would be to wear some shorts with flip-flops because otherwise your shoes would be full of sand by end of the day. Don’t forget to get a fleece or a long-sleeved shirt since it gets cooler at night. If you’re not careful, the heat of the day might make you forget how cold it gets at night in the desert and you’ll freeze.. Also make sure to carry some cash. Although you can use your credit cards, these camp sites are so far out away from civilization, you may have to go on top of the hills behind the camping site with your vehicle to get reception. Reception around the site is not that good and there may be no reception at all.

    Make sure to try the desert safari in Dubai for adventure at least once. For now, I’ll say that I hope you have a great time!

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