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Fun in the Arabian Desert

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Dubai and experience some of the tours we are offering in conjunction with our EXPO 2020 packages. One of these is our popular Dune Bashing Tour, which takes place in the afternoon and evening.

Our driver, Abdul, picked me up at my hotel in the 4X4 we would be using to explore the dunes. He then picked up four other passengers from their respective hotels; two from Portugal and two from Brazil. Since I was alone, he had me sit up front with him. Introductions were made, and then we headed off to begin our adventure.  

Abdul deflating the tires of our 4X4

As we drove out of the city, the landscape gradually reverted back to its natural desert state. We continued on until we came across an outpost; a convenience store/souvenir shop.  Abdul strongly suggested we all use the bathroom before continuing on, which we did while he let some air out of our tires to make traction on the dunes easier.  He spoke to each of us about our tolerance for motion sickness and asked what kind of an experience we wanted to have. I appreciated that he was able and willing to customize our ride based on our preferences. After telling us to let him know at any point in the ride if we felt dizzy or otherwise uncomfortable, we were on our way again.  

Taking a break after the dune ride

Abdul was a very competent and entertaining driver, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. Just when it was starting to feel a bit much, he stopped the vehicle to re-inflate the tires.  He told us to take our time resting or walking around on the sand.  We drank the water that had been provided, took photos of ourselves and each other, and generally got our bearings back. After that it was time to head to the Bedouin camp for camel rides, dinner, and entertainment.

Approaching the camp

The camels were lined up and waiting for us when we arrived.  Riding was completely optional; two in my group declined. Although I had a bit of difficulty swinging my leg up and around the camel’s back to get on, I’m glad I took advantage of the opportunity. We were led in a small circle and back, while the leader took photos of us using our phones. A professional photographer was also on hand, taking photos that would be available for purchase later on.

Before entering the walled Bedouin encampment, we wandered over to a large enclosure where there were mother and baby camels. They ran the gamut from curious and affectionate to calm indifference at our presence.  We visited for a bit, then headed back to the gates of the camp, where we were greeted with Arabian coffee and sweets.

Entrance to the Bedouin camp

At the center of the square space was a large platform; the stage for the entertainment to come. Tables were set up on all sides with cushions for seating.  We were led to our designated table for the evening.

Prior to dinner being served, we were offered beverages and snacks.  Roasted corn on the cob and alcoholic drinks were available for purchase.  Souvenir shops were open, and people lined up for henna tattoos and photo opportunities with falcons. Shisha smoking was allowed, with hookahs available for at-table rental.

Henna tattoo

One dancer performed as the meal was being prepared. The other took to the stage as we were eating. The food, served buffet style, was plentiful, varied, and delicious. The magical evening under the stars, combined with the dunes adventure earlier in the day, made for a truly memorable outing!  

Joan Thompson, Expo Sales Executive
Ya’lla Tours USA

Posted on January 9, 2020

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