If you are ever in Dubai in the UAE you must go dune bashing on a Desert Safari Dubai tour!
It includes dune bashing, camel rides, dinner in a Bedouin-style camp, henna hand painting and belly dancing. There are loads of different desert safari companies to go with, but we highly recommend this tour.
Dune bashing in Dubai
What is dune bashing?
Dune bashing in Dubai means driving at increasing and decreasing speeds over sand dunes. As the surface of the sand keeps shifting, it takes a special skill and a special type of car to navigate the terrain – usually a sports utility vehicle (SUV). Expect a stop to let the air out of your tyres as reducing the pressure gives the vehicle more traction against the moving sand.
What to expect when going dune bashing in Dubai
The experience starts with pick-up at your hotel or home stay, followed by a 45 minute to an hour-long drive out to sparse desert landscape where there are no city noises to obscure your hearing and no towering buildings to block your view.
The dune bashing part of the trip is a bumpy and thrilling ride that lasts about an hour. The vehicles travel in convoy and stick close together as they perform their stunts. If you’re like me, you will enjoy the slipping and the sliding, the skidding and the spinning – all punctuated by sporadic seat-gripping and different decibels of screaming and shouting. And sand, lots and lots of sand!
Tip: Try to secure the front passenger seat or a window for the best views!
What to wear for dune bashing in Dubai
Dress comfortably because inevitably the sand gets into everything. I recommend a hat or a scarf to cover your hair, and long pants and a light shirt or t-shirt. I wore sneakers and socks in an effort to cover my feet but the sand got into them anyway, so I could very well have worn sandals.
For persons who wear contact lenses, I suggest wearing shades as well because small grains of sand get into your eyes very easily when you are outside the vehicle. With no running water nearby, eye-drops alone won’t be enough to clear them.
After the drive, you are allowed to exit the vehicle, walk around and take pictures. The evening drives are timed to end just before sunset so be ready to capture some pretty cool shots then.
The tour ends with a trip to a Bedouin-style camp where the Middle Eastern-influenced dinner menu includes a variety of meats and salads with some desserts. Optional camel riding, henna painting, shisha smoking and belly dancing often complete the evening’s activities.
If you’re visiting in the winter months, then take a light jersey or scarf for the evening. Some evenings can get a bit chilly once the sun sets.
How much does dune bashing in Dubai cost?
Budget for the AED 360.00 price range but please check various tour sites for the most up-to-date information. I did my tour with Arabian Adventures and the adult rate is a little cheaper in the summer months, from June 1- August 31st. But bear in mind you will be in the desert and it is at its hottest temperatures at that time of year.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Below are a few more options of desert safari Dubai tours to choose from.
The most popular spots for dune bashing experience in Dubai
If you want to go dune bashing by yourself rather than with a tour, these are the best spots to go to.
- Bidayer: Known as ‘Big Red’ for its red sand, this is the most popular spot for Dubai dune bashing as the dunes are easy for beginners and less skillful drivers. It’s about 45 minutes from the centre of Dubai.
- Sweihan: This spot requires more technical experience with some big dunes. It’s not recommended if you don’t know what you are doing.
- Liwa Desert: The largest desert in Arabian Peninsula and the most tricky place for dune bashing. Most of the dune bashing stunt festivals happen here, and it’s where the professionals hang out.