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Desert Safari from Dubai

We are going to tell you what it is like to do a safari excursion in the desert of Dubai, what are the other options available and tips

If you are going to visit Dubai, one of the experiences not to be missed is visiting the desert. In that place, it seems that space takes on another dimension and we can connect with nature in a different way. In this article we are going to tell you about the type of excursion we did, what the safari was, and what are the other options available for an excursion in the desert from Dubai.

extendiendo los brazos en el desierto de dubai

What does a desert safari from Dubai tour consist of?

The excursion consists of visiting the portion of the Arabian desert that is located in Dubai. Keep in mind that the emirate of Dubai does not stop when the city ends, so it also covers this part without skyscrapers.

The Arabian desert is a huge region of 2,330,000 square kilometers located on the Arabian Peninsula. Most of this desert area is in Saudi Arabia; in addition to Jordan, Iraq, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen and, of course, the United Arab Emirates.

desierto de dubai y sus árboles

Options to consider

When we see the word “safari” on excursions, it may happen that the first thing that comes to mind is the sight of wildlife. But you have to know that this is not necessarily the case. For this reason, it is better to be clear about the types of excursions that can be taken:

Coming and going the same day from Dubai:

  • In the morning: in this type of excursion, they pick you up very early and the idea is to spend the morning in the desert to finish having breakfast (or not, depending on whether it is included). Some of the activities that are done in these excursions are: animal watching, sandboarding and there are even excursions to get on a hot air balloon. You are usually back in the early afternoon or midday in Dubai.
  • In the afternoon: in this case, you will be picked up after lunch (once the travelers from the morning tours have been dropped off), each tour offers something different but usually includes: watching the sunset, dune bashing (i.e. jumping in a 4×4 in the dunes), sand boarding, camel riding (although if you don’t want to do it, you have to say so), falcon skills demonstration (after seeing the falcon hospital in Doha, we know how important they are in this region), barcaboa-type dinner, coffee and tea breakout, dances.

Staying overnight in the desert: this is another type of experience in which the idea is to enjoy a night in the desert and be able to see the sunrise.

paisaje del desierto de Dubai

Tips for the visit

Better to go prepared to enjoy even more of this desert safari from Dubai:

  • Ask if the excursion includes water bottles, if not, bring at least one.
  • Do not forget your sunglasses, the hat is not so necessary in case the package you reserve includes the kerchiefs that will be put on your head at the beginning of the visit and will protect you from the sun (in addition to giving you an excellent look).
  • Put on sunscreen, it’s not too much.
  • In terms of clothing, if you are going on an excursion that includes the night, keep in mind that temperatures can drop abruptly in the desert. And for the day wear clothes that “breathe”.

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How can you book?

To carry out these excursions you have to book with an agency and there are several options, wether you can do it in some hotels but without being sure of finding a place or you can book the tour in advance.

The type of excursion that we did was closer to what a safari is, that is, making wildlife sightings. For this we needed to get close to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. The entire activity lasted about 5 hours and you can book it here in advance, we will give you the details of how our visit was right in the next point.

But as I already mentioned above, there are different types of excursions (or safaris) in the desert of Dubai, here are some options, now as always, we have to compare, see what they include and choose what we like the most:

Our Dubai desert safari tour

They picked us on time at the hotel. Our guide Hajaj gave us a super good vibe since he arrived, that’s something that helps a lot to make the visit even better 🙂

The journey from the city to the desert lasts about 45 minutes and along the way, I began to see how the landscape was so familiar to me.

Protecting us from the sun

Before starting the safari, properly speaking, it was time to protect ourselves from the sun. For this, he put scarves on our heads, ghutra for Vicente and a sheila scarf for me. Since we were unable to put it on correctly, it was Hajaj who very delicately placed them. In addition to sun protection, we loved the look 😀

And thus we are ready to beat the sun:

The desert

During the excursion, there were times when the vehicle stopped to take photos and admire the landscape. The truth is that everything was very beautiful and invited to try everything, I even decided to take an (attempted) photo jumping XD

The Oryx and other animals

But the truth is that this was the main reason for choosing this excursion and not the others. After seeing wild animals in their habitat with our own eyes, as happened during our safaris in Kenya, the truth is that it is an experience that we seek to repeat whenever possible.

Orix visto durante el safari en el desierto de Dubai

In this reserve you can see oryx and Arabian gazelles, species native to the region. Take into account that this place was previously inhabited by camels, but in 1997 Sheikh Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Emir of Dubai) acquired this territory of about 225 square kilometers, today the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.

Gacelas vistas durante el safari en el desierto de Dubai

This means that the animals cannot leave this area and their population is controlled, something that we would see during our visit when we observed that, for example, the females are separated from the males and that food is made available to them. Although they are also seen eating what is in the desert, and fertilizing it along the way.


It was very exciting to meet the oryx and the gazelles, we could see them both up close and far away, looking for food, taking shelter from the sun and completely ignoring us, since something the oryx that we saw Kenya do have in common with their cousins is that safari car visitors have become part of the decor.


Oasis in the desert

Another stage of the excursion consists of making a stop at an artificial lake in which an ecosystem has been created with fish, birds and of course it is a water reserve for mammals. In addition to being a nice place to take photos 😀

land rover en desierto de dubai

To finish everything in a excellent way

To end the trip joyfully, we finished the visit at the Al-Maha hotel, which is located within the reserve, where we would arrive for our last activity of the visit, which would be: a delicious buffet breakfast.

But before entering to fill the belly, a cute gazelle sheltering from the heat did not get rid of my photographic harassment 😀 but it was cute, it did not move or anything 😀

gacela arábiga
Hello gazelle!

The hotel was very nice, of course here the tranquility is more than assured since it is far from everything! anyway, we just came for breakfast and we liked it a lot. There were some options that we could ask to be cooked for us. After choosing them from a menu, and others that we had to take from the buffet (a type of buffet adapted to the current situation). We left fulfilled, soul and belly.

Do we recommend going on a desert safari from Dubai or tour?

I suppose that if you have come this far you must imagine that our answer is a resounding YES. Despite the fact that the city itself is on a desert. Coming to this more lonely, quiet and natural part makes us connect in a different way with an environment that at first glance may seem hostile and not worth it. By making this visit we managed to appreciate it, even more 🙂

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Olga Grijalva

Olga is a traveler and travel content creator with 17 years of experience. Her goal is to share useful information to help you plan your adventures. She has visited more than 40 countries and is excited to share her experience with you.