Along with the beautiful cityscape, Abu Dhabi boasts a spectacular view of the desert right against the backdrop of Arabian nights. Lying in a tent next to a sand dune, eating barbecue, enjoying a hookah while looking up at the starry night sky? Is there any other way to experience Bedouin life?
Desert safaris have become a must-see attraction in Abu Dhabi, and with the help of various travel providers, you can enjoy it!
Abu Dhabi is surrounded by many beautiful sandy landscapes, making it ideal for a desert vacation. The Empty Quarter (known as Rub Al Khali) is an endless dune and is considered to be the largest continuous sand mass in the world.
It has a luxurious oasis called Mirage Palace (called Qasr Al Sarab) and a beautiful desert refuge called Tilal Al Liwa. At 300 meters, the highest sand dune in the world called Tel Moreb is also located in the Empty Quarter.
Another popular place is Al Ain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest settlements in the world. Visiting Al Ain, you will experience the traditional life of the Bedouin. Here you can wear the traditional attire of the Arab people and take pictures with the local shepherds.
The village in Al Khazna is another popular place. It captures traditional Emirati life in the middle of the Arabian desert with large watchtowers and various facilities such as tents, desert houses and palm trees. To reach this village, you have to walk through a giant valley of dunes.
Popular tour operators
There are dozens of tour operators who run desert safaris from Abu Dhabi, but you have to be careful when choosing. The desert terrain can be quite challenging and unpredictable, so it is important to choose a tour provider with experienced drivers and the right equipment for the trip.
There have been some unfortunate cases where children were not provided with proper safety equipment, such as seat belts. Make sure you check each company's websites and read their policies, prices, and all of the items in their package.
Some of the best safari companies in Abu Dhabi are Desert Dreams Abu Dhabi Desert Safaris, Rayna Tours and off-road adventure tours.
They provide a variety of packages to meet all requirements, and they also provide pickups and drops at hotels, refreshments, and meals according to delivery times. They have offices in Abu Dhabi. You can easily find all the information you need on their websites.
Types of desert safari packages available
There are 3 types of desert safari packages. The first is the morning package, which starts at 8 a.m. and ends at noon. It includes a transfer from the hotel to the desert where you can have breakfast, ride the dunes and camels before heading to the hotel.
The package also includes snacks. With this option, you can enjoy the deserts of Abu Dhabi and still return to spend the rest of the day in the city. On average, a morning desert safari will cost you between AED 100 and AED 250.
The second desert safari package is an evening package. It starts at 3 p.m., shortly after lunch you are picked up from your hotel and taken out into the desert for evening activities. You can ride camels, go snowboarding, frolic on the dunes or enjoy a quiet afternoon indoors with a traditional henna painting on your hands.
Then you can enjoy dinner at an establishment with live music and belly dancing as the sun sets over the desert horizon. This is incredibly romantic and highly recommended for couples. Most evening safaris cost 200 to 300 dirhams.
The third package is an overnight trip to the desert. It begins at 1:30 p.m. in the afternoon, when you are taken from your hotel for the day. Dune rides and camel rides are provided.
When the sun goes down, you go to your traditional Bedouin-style camp. For a barbecue or dinner of continental or oriental cuisine. While you taste the delicious food, you can enjoy live music, hookah and belly dancing.
In true Middle Eastern fashion, a delicious kahwa coffee and a plate of dates are served at dinner. Since most tour operators don't plan much after dinner, some of you may find a night in the desert without internet or other entertainment boring.
Best for families or a group of friends. It will cost you 300-400 dirhams.
Abu Dhabi Desert Safari Tips
Although these tour packages run throughout the year, the best time to do a desert safari in Abu Dhabi is from October to April. During this time, summer comes to an end and the hot desert winds have stopped. The days become quite pleasant and the nights a little cooler.
We recommend wearing thin wool clothes at night and wearing light, comfortable clothing during the day. Since many of these packages include outdoor activities, we recommend wearing loose-fitting pants and shorts instead of skirts, dresses, or any clothing that might restrict movement.
And although companies provide refreshments, the desert can easily dehydrate you, so it is advisable to always carry water bottles with you during your desert adventures.
No trip to the United Arab Emirates would be complete without the experience of living in the desert. Whether you take a day trip or stay overnight, you are sure to have an unforgettable experience hiking under the stars and enjoying the sand dunes.
Arabs are known to be gracious hosts who want you to feel comfortable in their country, so you should not miss out on a safari.