There was a discussion among my friends on desert safari today. I recollected my experience some 13 years ago when I visited my sister. They were then staying in Dubai. On one afternoon, I went for desert safari. My brother-in-law arranged a ticket for me. The driver picked me up from the petrol pump near their house. It was 4X4 Toyota Land Cruiser.
There were a 4 other travellers beside me. They were from Europe. I was the last to be picked up. We straightaway headed for the desert. Before entering the desert, the vehicle stopped at a small market. The driver-cum-guide asked to get some refreshment and also use toilet as we were to enter the desert soon. The driver also deflated the tyres a bit for more grip on the sand as well as to be ready for the sunburnt hot sands.
Once we got to the desert, there’s a swift safety briefing and then we’re off: dipping and diving over sunburnt sand dunes, some of which lie at a stomach-dropping 90 degree angle.
The Safari usually occurs with a convoy of vehicles that lead from the city to the desert. Sometimes as we climbed downhill from a sand dune, we could see a rare view of a convoy of highly powerful four-wheel drives pushing through the sand and getting tilted at impossible angles.
The dune-basing was a great experience and I must appreciate the skills of the drivers. He stopped the vehicle on a top of a sand dune for lovely view and photography.
As the car cruised through the sand dunes, I could see the endless, vast desert stretch to the horizon.
While we were returning, we found a vehicle stuck in the desert. The vehicle was not starting. Our driver and one more vehicle immediately rushed to its help. Our driver took out cables and used the battery to jump-start the vehicle. It helped and vehicle was started. We then went on our route. Trips happen in convoy, so there’s no need to worry about ending up lost in the middle of the desert.
Towards the end of the safari, we reached the desert bedouin camp. It was like a wild contrast to the journey as it was as exquisite as an oasis in the middle of the desert. With tents built huddled together and a large center carpeting that acts as a stage, the camp is tiny heaven in the middle of the desert.
Another major attraction of the safari was the live entertainment performed by experts. A performer presented a grand show of belly dancing to Arab music on stage. The buffet barbecue dinner was spread later. The dinner at a Bedouin camp offers an experience of a lifetime that it’s difficult to have anywhere else in the world. Combined with the music, the cold desert breeze, and ambiance, this is definitely a night not to miss!
After the dinner, the driver drove us back to Dubai and dropped me at the same petrol pump, the pickup point. The desert safari is one of the best ways to experience the Emirati culture.