After some thinking, I have finally decided to make a blog post about my Dubai desert safari experience. At first, I wanted to keep this private as this is one of those moments that both me and Wes treasures. We celebrated a milestone that day and it was intimate hence, the decision. So what changed? Well, the answer is really simple. I started this blog to let you guys see the world through my eyes. And I had difficulty in finding blogs that detail the actual experience so might as well write one to set your expectations. If you have been to one tour and want to relive the moment or looking to experience it in the future, read on.
The desert safari was entirely my idea. Wes had been to one tour before but he still agreed because it will be his first with me. I looked for cheap deals in Cobone, an e-Commerce website that sells discount vouchers. It is pretty much popular as Groupon. After looking through the offers and different tour operators, I have decided to book with Royal Desert Tours.
The voucher was worth 49 AED (around 700 PHP) per person that time. It was really cheap compared to the other deals coz we got it during a flash sale. It included a centralized transportation to and from the camp (we rode a mini bus with 10+ people and chose an area from their designated pickup points), dinner buffet with unlimited (but not really) drinks, dune bashing, camel ride, sand boarding (didn’t try this coz I was a scaredy cat), henna tattoo, photo op dressed in Arabic traditional costumes and live entertainment (Belly Dancing, Fire Show, & Tanoura Dance). There are options where you can have a private pickup and drop-off to & from your home but it will cost you a few extra bucks.
After purchasing the vouchers, I called the number written on it to book our slot. Note that you need to call them at least 24 hours before your chosen date to ensure that you will be accommodated. I was excited so I booked 4 days in advance. There’s no harm in planning ahead of time. The staff that I was able to talk to was very nice and her response was swift so everything was settled in just a day. After confirming the schedule, I immediately planned my outfit. This is necessary if you want decent photos. Kidding. But just an advice, if you want to go there during Dubai’s winter season (December-February), you might want to bring a jacket or sweater coz it gets chilly at night.
The day came and both of us were excited. Our pickup time was 3pm-3:30pm at Burjuman Spinneys. We arrived there 15 minutes before 3pm so we had time to relax and buy water before heading to the camp. We waited for other passengers and left the area around 3:10pm. The camp is a one-hour drive so we got there around 4:10pm. We were welcomed with a long line of tourists waiting for their turn to do the dune bashing going to the Bedouin campsite. It wasn’t a long wait as there were many 4×4 cars and each can accommodate 6 people. We stood there for about 15 minutes. It wasn’t that bad at all. We took photos while waiting for our turn.
Our 4×4 car arrived so we jumped on it together with 4 other people and started the dune bashing. It was fun and exhilarating. My friends warned me that some drivers can really make the ride very bumpy and dizzy. Luckily, ours was gentle. It was a little bumpy because of the dunes but I enjoyed it. We arrived at the campsite around 4:35pm. Again, we were welcomed with SUPER LONG LINES for the camel ride. We tried to wait but it was unbearable so we opted to take portrait shots first to take advantage of the sun and good lighting. Afterwards, we went inside the Bedouin camp to get good seats in front of the stage. We also took photos and I got a free Henna tattoo.
I really wanted to do the camel ride but we were afraid to lose our seats. Luckily, we met 3 Filipino ladies whom we shared the table with. They were kind enough to watch our space while we go back outside for the camel ride. It was already dark by the time we were out so I didn’t get decent photos but at least the line was short. Although the camel ride was only for a few seconds, it was still a unique experience. One you can only do in the Middle East.
After the camel ride, we went back to our table to wait for the food and entertainment. Around 6:15pm, they served one piece of Falafel and mini Shawarma as appetizer. Nothing special about it. To be honest, I kind of expected it given the price we paid. They also opened the bar so we got some soda and water. I ordered an additional Coconut Juice for 15 AED (around 210 PHP). After serving the appetizer, they started the live entertainment. The first show was Fire Dance. It was entertaining but not as good as the one I have watched in Subic Bay & Boracay, Philippines. Wes enjoyed it, though. After the fire show then came the belly dancer. It was my first time to watch one live so it was okay for me.
After watching the first set of entertainment, they opened the buffet at around 6:50pm. There were two separate buffet lines, one for the ladies and one for the gents. The food was a mixture of Indian and Arabic cuisine. Surprisingly, I liked the buffet especially the kebab. They had 3-4 choices of salad, 5-6 vegetarian and non-vegetarian main courses, 2 choices of grill (either chicken or beef) and dessert. For the price we paid, it exceeded my expectations. We were very hungry that time so we didn’t get the chance to take photos of the food.
After savoring our dinner, the 2nd set of entertainment started. Another belly dancing which was more entertaining than the previous. The last show was the Tanoura Dance. This was the most interesting entertainment they had because of the pretty costume with lights. I enjoyed it way better than the Belly & Fire Dancing.
After the 2nd set, it was time to go home and call it a night. We waited outside for the 4×4 car to drop us off to our mini bus that will take us back to the city. We got back to Dubai around 9:30pm. Overall, it was a great experience. One for the books. If you were to ask me if I’ll do it again, maybe just the dune bashing and camel ride. I’ll skip the food and entertainment. But for first timers, I highly recommend that you do EVERYTHING coz it’s really worth it.
So, that’s about everything. I think I got all details covered. But just in case you have questions, just comment down below or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Shukran!