Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dubai desert dune buggy & sand boarding adventure

Dubai may be filling up with malls and high rises over the last 10 years, however, if you venture just a few minutes beyond the city center you will be surrounded by sand dunes. 

There are two main ways to see the desert:

Desert Safari - this consists of being driven by a bus, or for the slightly more adventurous, in a 4x4 vehicle over the dunes themselves,called dune bashing, to a desert camp. The camp is complete with restroom facilities as well as a full service restaurant that will feed you a traditional meal while watching the sunset. While there, you can also take part in a variety of activities ranging from a camel ride, holding a falcon, henna painting, sand boarding (depending on tour operator) and even taking your pictures in traditional garb. 

While we were in Dubai, we had decided to take a hop on hop off bus tour which came with a free sunset desert safari, but were driven there in the big red bus itself.

Desert Safari Arabic tea and date
Desert safari welcome - Arabic tea and dates

desert safari falcon
Falconry is big in the desert

desert safari sunset
Desert Safari Sunset

Of course, this alone wasn't nearly adventurous enough for us, so on a different morning we also partook in the other main choice:

Dune Buggy Adventure -this option is more than just seeing the desert, it is experiencing it in adrenaline pumping fashion. We signed up with Delta Adventures, and the experience couldn't have been more fun. We were picked up in a 4x4 vehicle right from our hotel, and taken to smooth, tall, reddish color sand dunes, unlike the white weed covered one's at the beginning of the desert where the safaris take place. 

desert dune buggy adventure dubai
the Dune Buggy Adventure ventures further into the dessert for these tall dunes

The guide then told us to walk around and take pictures for a few minutes while he let the air out of the tires to 15psi in preparation for him showing us his dune bashing skills. It was kinda crazy to see how the car made it up even the steepest of dunes without flipping over (though the SUV is equipped with a roll bar just in case.)

desert dune buggy adventure dubai
Our Dune Bashing Vehicle

We then met up with the rest of our group, for 8 total people, and got to pick our dune buggy's. Since all were manual transmission, I let Brian take the wheel for the entire hour. You do have the option to switch drivers midway if you can drive stick. 

desert dune buggy adventure dubai
Our dune buggy

Driving over dunes wasn't the easiest thing. We had to get towed after getting stuck on the dunes twice, while Brian got the hang of it.This happens regularly and isn't a big deal since there are always 2 4x4 vehicle following the dune buggy's.

Dune Buggy selfie!
At one point we came to one of the highest dunes we had seen, and our guides pulled out a snowboard and told us it was time to try out sand boarding! Basically, you sit in the middle of the snowboard and use the front foothold as handlebars. 

Since i'm such a lightweight, I flew down at a really high speed, surprising even the guide! Yes, I did have to walk back up the dune after boarding down. We got some great pictures from it all and it was totally worth it!

desert dune buggy adventure dubai sand boarding
the sand board
desert dune buggy adventure dubai
Obligatory sand dune jumping picture

After the hour, we were driven back, and to my surprise we were not full of sand, except for maybe our sneakers!

Have you ever done a dune buggy adventure? Leave a comment and tell me where.


  1. We enjoyed the Desert Safari Tour very much. It was amazing and so much fun! We also did the Dubai city tour and had lunch at the Burj Al Arab Hotel. Unforgettable stay and great memories that we won’t forget a life-time.


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