Ultimate Desert Safari Guide for First-Time Dubai Visitors 2024

Dubai is famous for its modern skyline and luxurious lifestyle, but the desert offers a different kind of magic. Imagine vast stretches of golden sand, thrilling rides over dunes, and traditional Bedouin experiences under the stars. A desert safari is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in Dubai’s unique landscape and culture. If you’re planning your first trip to Dubai and are curious about experiencing the vast, beautiful desert, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re an adventure enthusiast or just looking to enjoy the serene beauty of the desert, this desert safari guide something for everyone.

A panoramic view of Dubai skyline with a caravan of camels walking through the desert sand dunes, perfect for a desert safari guide.

What Types of Dubai Desert Safari Are Available?

When planning your Dubai desert safari, you’ll find several options tailored to different preferences and schedules. Understanding the various types will help you choose the best experience for your adventure. Here’s an in-depth look at the main types of desert safaris available:

Morning Desert Safari Options

The morning desert safari is perfect for those who prefer to start their day with an adventure. It usually begins early in the morning, with a pickup from your hotel. This option is great if you have a busy schedule but still want to experience the desert.

Activities Included:

  • Dune Bashing: This thrilling activity involves driving over sand dunes in a 4×4 vehicle. Expert drivers take you on a roller-coaster ride across the desert, providing an adrenaline rush.
  • Camel Riding: Experience the traditional mode of desert transport. Camel rides give you a unique perspective of the desert landscape.
  • Sandboarding: Similar to snowboarding but on sand dunes. It’s a fun activity that tests your balance and provides an exhilarating ride down the dunes.


  • Cooler temperatures in the morning.
  • Short duration (usually 2-3 hours).
  • Less crowded compared to evening safaris.


  • Limited time for activities.
  • No traditional entertainment or dinner.

Evening Desert Safari Adventures

Best for Witnessing Sunset
The evening desert safari is the most popular option, offering a complete desert experience. It typically starts in the afternoon and lasts until evening, allowing you to witness the stunning desert sunset.

Activities Included:

  • Dune Bashing: Similar to the morning safari, but the evening light adds a magical touch to the experience.
  • Quad Biking: Ride a quad bike across the dunes for an added thrill.
  • Traditional Entertainment: After the activities, you are taken to a Bedouin-style campsite. Here, you can enjoy live performances such as belly dancing, Tanoura shows, and fire dancing.
  • BBQ Dinner: A sumptuous BBQ dinner is served at the campsite, including both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. It’s a perfect way to end the day, enjoying delicious food under the stars.


  • Longer duration (about 6-7 hours).
  • Includes dinner and traditional entertainment.
  • Beautiful sunset views.


  • Can be crowded, especially during peak tourist season.
  • Higher temperatures in the late afternoon.

Overnight Desert Safari Experience

For those looking for an immersive experience, the overnight desert safari offers a blend of adventure and tranquility. This safari includes all the activities of the evening safari, plus the unique experience of spending a night in the desert.

Activities Included:

  • All Evening Safari Activities: Dune bashing, quad biking, camel riding, traditional entertainment, and BBQ dinner.
  • Overnight Stay: Sleep in a Bedouin-style tent under the stars. This offers a peaceful and serene experience, far from the city lights.
  • Bonfire: Enjoy a bonfire session with fellow travelers, sharing stories and relaxing in the cool desert night.
  • Sunrise View: Wake up early to catch the breathtaking desert sunrise, followed by a light breakfast.


  • Full desert experience, including camping.
  • Quiet and peaceful night under the stars.
  • Opportunity to see both sunset and sunrise.


  • Requires more time (from afternoon to the next morning).
  • Might be challenging for those not used to camping.

Premium and Custom Desert Safari Tours

If you prefer a more personalized experience, consider a private or custom desert safari. These safaris can be tailored to your preferences, allowing you to choose specific activities and timings.

Activities Included:

  • Custom Activities: Choose from dune bashing, camel riding, quad biking, sandboarding, and more.
  • Personalized Itinerary: Customize your schedule to include only the activities you want.
  • Private Guide and Vehicle: Enjoy a more intimate experience with a private guide and vehicle.


  • Highly customizable.
  • More privacy and personalized service.
  • Flexible timings.


  • Higher cost compared to shared safaris.
  • Requires advance booking and planning.

What to Expect on a Dubai Desert Safari?

Dubai’s desert safaris are packed with exciting activities that let you fully immerse yourself in the unique desert environment. Here’s an in-depth look at the key activities you can enjoy during your desert safari adventure:

Dune Bashing in the Arabian Desert

Dune bashing is one of the most thrilling activities you can experience on a desert safari. It involves riding in a 4×4 vehicle, usually a Land Cruiser or Hummer, driven by an experienced driver who navigates the steep and rolling sand dunes at high speeds. The ride feels like a roller coaster, with sudden drops and sharp turns, providing an adrenaline rush that’s hard to match.

For alternative safari experiences, see our Travel Tips for a Dubai Desert Safari Without Dune Bashing.

Safety Tips

  • Always wear your seatbelt.
  • Follow the driver’s instructions.
  • Avoid heavy meals before the ride to prevent motion sickness.


  • Exciting and adrenaline-pumping.
  • Offers fantastic views of the desert landscape.
  • Suitable for thrill-seekers.


  • Not recommended for pregnant women, young children, or those with back problems.

Camel Rides and Cultural Experiences

Camel riding offers a slower, more traditional way to explore the desert. Riding a camel allows you to take in the vastness of the desert at a leisurely pace, much like the Bedouins did centuries ago. It provides a unique vantage point from which to appreciate the serene beauty of the dunes.

What to Expect

  • Gentle swaying motion as the camel walks.
  • Great photo opportunities.
  • Interaction with the friendly guides and camels.


  • Peaceful and relaxing.
  • Provides a cultural experience.
  • Suitable for all ages.


  • The ride can be bumpy.
  • Might be uncomfortable for long periods.

Quad Biking and Other Adventure Sports

Quad biking lets you explore the desert at your own pace on a four-wheeled bike. This activity is great for adventure enthusiasts who want to feel the thrill of riding over the dunes independently. It’s an exciting way to cover more ground and see different parts of the desert.

Preparation Tips

  • Wear a helmet and protective gear.
  • Follow the guide’s safety instructions.
  • Start with slower speeds to get used to handling the bike.


  • Highly thrilling and adventurous.
  • Allows you to explore the desert independently.
  • Suitable for all experience levels.


  • Can be risky without proper precautions.
  • Not recommended for young children.

Surf the Dunes with Sandboarding

Sandboarding is similar to snowboarding but on sand. It involves riding a board down the slopes of sand dunes, offering an exciting and fun way to enjoy the desert. This activity is perfect for those who love adventure sports and want to try something new.

Tips for Beginners

  • Start on smaller dunes to get the hang of balancing.
  • Use the straps on the board for better control.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and sunscreen.


  • Fun and exhilarating.
  • Easy to learn, even for beginners.
  • Provides a great workout.


  • Can be tiring after a few runs.
  • Requires some physical fitness and balance.

Camping Under the Desert Night Sky

Camping under the desert night sky is a magical experience that allows you to fully embrace the peace and beauty of the desert. After an evening filled with activities and entertainment, spending the night in a traditional Bedouin-style tent offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

What to Expect

  • Star Gazing: The clear desert sky provides a perfect canvas for stargazing. Away from city lights, you can see countless stars and even spot constellations.
  • Bonfire: Enjoy sitting around a bonfire, sharing stories with fellow travelers, and soaking in the warmth of the fire in the cool desert night.
  • Comfortable Tents: Sleep in comfortable tents equipped with cozy bedding, providing a good night’s rest after an eventful day.


  • Unique and peaceful experience.
  • Opportunity to see the desert in a different light.
  • Great for bonding with fellow travelers.


  • Can be cold at night; bring warm clothing.
  • Requires an overnight commitment.

Traditional Entertainment and Cultural Activities

Evening and overnight desert safaris often include a range of traditional entertainment and cultural activities at a Bedouin-style campsite. These activities give you a taste of local heritage and make your desert experience even more memorable.

What to Expect

  • Belly Dancing: Enjoy performances by skilled dancers showcasing traditional Middle Eastern dance.
  • Tanoura Shows: Watch mesmerizing spinning dances performed by Sufi dancers in vibrant costumes.
  • Fire Shows: Experience thrilling fire performances that light up the desert night.
  • Henna Painting: Get intricate henna designs on your hands or feet as a temporary souvenir.
  • Shisha Smoking: Try flavored tobacco in a traditional water pipe, also known as hookah.


  • Rich cultural experience.
  • Interactive and engaging.
  • Suitable for all ages.


  • Performances might be too late for some visitors, especially families with young children.

What Are Some Tips for First-Time Desert Safari Visitors?

Going on a desert safari in Dubai can be an exciting and unforgettable experience, especially if it’s your first time. To make the most of your adventure, it’s important to be well-prepared. Here are some comprehensive tips covering temperature and climate considerations, planning your trip, and ensuring your safety and health during the safari.

Temperature and Climate Considerations

The climate in Dubai’s desert can be extreme. During the day, temperatures can soar, while at night, they can drop significantly. Knowing what to expect will help you plan better.

Daytime Temperature and Climate

  • How Hot is the Desert in Dubai?: In the summer months (June to September), daytime temperatures can exceed 40°C (104°F). It’s incredibly hot and can be challenging for those not used to such heat.
  • Winter Temperatures: From October to April, the temperatures are milder, ranging from 25°C to 35°C (77°F to 95°F), making it the best time for a safari.

Nighttime Temperatures

  • Does it Get Cold in Dubai Desert Safari?: Yes, especially during the winter months, nighttime temperatures can drop to around 15°C (59°F). It’s advisable to carry a light jacket or sweater.
  • What is the Temperature in Dubai Desert at Night in December?: Expect it to be cool, typically around 10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F).

Best Seasons for a Dubai Desert Safari Tour

A desert safari in Dubai is a thrilling adventure, but it requires some preparation to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience specially selecting appropriate time.

  • Optimal Months: The best time to visit is between October and April when the weather is cooler and more pleasant.
  • Avoid Summer Heat: If you can, avoid visiting during the peak summer months. The extreme heat can make the safari less enjoyable and potentially hazardous.

Planning Your Safari Trip

Planning a desert safari is an exciting part of the adventure. It’s all about making sure you have the right gear, choosing the best time to visit, and selecting the perfect safari package. From packing the essentials to picking a reputable tour operator, a little preparation goes a long way in ensuring a smooth and memorable experience.

Is Dubai Desert Cooler Than the City?

Generally, the desert can feel cooler than the city due to lower humidity levels. However, the lack of shade and the reflective nature of the sand can make the heat feel more intense during the day.

Best Time to Go for a Desert Safari in Dubai

  • Optimal Months: The best time to visit is between October and April when the weather is cooler and more pleasant.
  • Avoid Summer Heat: If you can, avoid visiting during the peak summer months. The extreme heat can make the safari less enjoyable and potentially hazardous.

What Should You Bring on a Desert Safari Adventure?

  • Clothing: Wear loose, breathable clothing that covers your skin to protect against the sun. Light-colored fabrics are best. Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses.
  • Footwear: Comfortable, closed-toe shoes are recommended. Sand can get very hot, and open-toe shoes may not offer adequate protection.
  • Sun Protection: Use a high SPF sunscreen and reapply it regularly. A lip balm with SPF is also useful.
  • Hydration: Carry a refillable water bottle and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Other Essentials: Bring a camera for photos, a small backpack for personal items, and a light jacket for the evening.

For advice on what to wear, check out our Ultimate Desert Safari Outfit Guide for Men and Women.

Choosing the Right Safari Package

  • Self-Packaged vs. Guided: If you’re unfamiliar with the desert, a guided safari is recommended. Guided tours provide transport, safety, and a structured itinerary.
  • Types of Safaris: Decide whether you prefer a morning, evening, or overnight safari based on your schedule and interests. Each offers different experiences and activities.

How to Choose the Right Desert Safari Tour Operator?

  • Reputation Matters: Choose reputable tour operators with positive reviews. Check if the package includes hotel transfers, meals, and activities.
  • Compare Prices and Inclusions: Ensure you understand what’s included in the price to avoid surprises.

Safety and Health Tips

Staying safe and healthy during your desert safari is important to fully enjoy the experience. This means staying hydrated, protecting yourself from the sun, and following safety instructions during activities. With a few simple precautions, you can ensure that your trip is not only fun but also safe and comfortable.

Protect Yourself from the Sun

  • Stay Hydrated: The desert climate can dehydrate you quickly. Drink water regularly, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Sunscreen: Apply and reapply high SPF sunscreen.
  • Shade: Seek shade whenever possible, especially during breaks.
  • Clothing: Wear a wide-brimmed hat and long sleeves to protect against sunburn.

First Aid and Medications

  • Carry Essentials: Bring a basic first aid kit including bandages, antiseptic cream, painkillers, and any personal medications.
  • Motion Sickness: If you’re prone to motion sickness, consider taking medication before dune bashing.

Follow Safety Instructions

  • Listen to Guides: Always follow the instructions provided by your tour guides, especially during activities like dune bashing and quad biking.
  • Safety Gear: Use seatbelts in vehicles and wear helmets for activities like quad biking.

Health Precautions

  • Avoid Heavy Meals: Before dune bashing, eat light to avoid nausea.
  • Rest and Shade: Take breaks and seek shade to prevent heat exhaustion.

FAQ about Desert Safari Guide for the 1st Time Dubai Visitor

Following are the frequently asked questions about Desert Safari Guide. If you have more queries on your 1st Time Dubai Visit, please feel free to ask in the comment section. Try not to repeat a query that has already been addressed.

What should I expect on the desert safari in Dubai?

On a desert safari in Dubai, you can expect a thrilling experience filled with activities like dune bashing, camel riding, and sandboarding. You will also enjoy a traditional Bedouin-style desert camp with cultural performances, a delicious BBQ dinner, and the mesmerizing desert sunset.

When is the best time to go for a desert safari in Dubai?

The best time to go for a desert safari in Dubai is during the cooler months, from November to March. During these months, the weather is pleasant, making the entire experience more enjoyable.

Are there any desert safari tips for first-time visitors?

Yes, as a first-time visitor, wear comfortable, light clothing and wear sunblock. Stay hydrated and follow the guide’s instructions carefully, especially during dune bashing and other desert sports. Also, don’t go on a safari if you’re pregnant or have serious health conditions.

What are the different types of desert safari packages available?

There are various Dubai desert safari packages including morning, evening, and overnight safaris. Each package offers different experiences such as adventure safaris, luxury safaris, and budget-friendly options. You can choose based on your interests and budget.

Can I enjoy a desert safari if I’m visiting with family?

Absolutely. Dubai is full of family-friendly desert safari options. Many packages cater specifically to families, offering children-safe activities and comfortable amenities. However, young children and pregnant women might need to avoid certain high-adrenaline actions like dune bashing for safety reasons.

Are there any eco-friendly desert safari options?

Yes, some tour operators offer eco-friendly safaris in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. These safaris focus on preserving the natural environment and educating visitors about the desert terrain and its wildlife.

What’s special about a desert sunrise safari?

A desert sunrise safari allows you to experience the serene beauty of the desert at dawn. You can enjoy a peaceful drive through the desert, witness a stunning sunrise, and participate in activities like hot air balloon rides. It’s a unique and breathtaking way to start your day in the desert.

How do I choose the best desert safari Dubai tour operator?

To choose the best desert safari Dubai tour operator, look for reviews and ratings from previous customers, compare the different safari packages they offer, check their safety standards, and ensure they provide comprehensive details about what to expect on the desert safari. Reputable operators often have proper licenses and experienced guides.

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