Dubai - travelling with kids

Desert Safari — one of the biggest highlights of our trip to Dubai!

Desert Safari is definitely a novelty treat. Make sure you wear comfortable clothing. Depending on the time of your visit, long sleeve for the cooler climate and shorter ones for the warmer days or nights. Try not to carry too many things with you – a sling bag is handy. And make sure that any expensive equipment is stored carefully, especially during the dune bashing and camel rides.

Book any tours for the Desert Safari and you’ll most likely be given the following list for the price of 150 AED (~SGD$50) per person!

  1. Dune Bashing
  2. Sunset Photography
  3. Camel Riding
  4. Sand Boarding
  5. Arabic Tea
  6. Shisha (smoking pipe)
  7. Henna Painting
  8. Tanura Show
  9. BBQ Buffet Dinner
  10. Belly Dancing

We did all of the above and LOVED every minute of it.

Most hotels offer brochures to these agencies who will take you on a Desert Safari. All you have to do is pick the agency that meets your needs, call and make a booking for your tour. The driver agreed to pick us up from our hotel. You can pick a morning tour (to see the sun rise) or a late afternoon tour (to see the sun set).

The Drive To The Desert

We picked the afternoon tour and began our journey at about 4pm. The driver picked us up from our hotel and we drove an hour to the desert. Make sure you take a toilet pitstop before you begin your journey, especially if you are travelling with kids below 10 years old. Also, pack some snacks in case they get hungry along the way.

This was our first desert safari so we were all very excited. Make sure you put on your seat belt in the car because the motion of the vehicle can cause serious whiplash. Sun shades are useful especially for the kids. Not just to protect their eyes from the sun but the sand as well— sometimes the breeze can blow sand into their eyes and it can be quite painful. If it does, do what you normally do at the beach and rinse it out with water. Our driver had a whole carton of bottled water for us to use.

Dubai Desert travelling with kids

At the edge of the Desert, our driver was nice enough to offer to make a pitstop so we could see the camels before we head out to the desert. There were merchants with owls perched on their arms. We paid SGD$20 to take a photo up close with the Owl.

Dubai Desert travelling with kids

Dubai - travelling with kids
Hanging out with Owl at Sunset before heading out to the desert.

The Desert Safari

Once on the desert, our driver had to stop the car to put some tracks on his car tyres so that the car will have more traction. While he did that, we took the opportunity to admire the beautiful sunset over the endless desert.

Dubai Desert travelling with kids

It was surreal to see yourself surrounded by miles and miles of sand as far as your eyes could see. The evening air cooled down from the scorching heat of the afternoon sun, but you could still feel the warmth of the waning sun.

Dubai Desert travelling with kids

Dune Bashing 

We do not have any photos as the driver advised us to keep our cameras in store as the ride could get bumpy. And he was right.

It was like riding a roller coaster. The kids LOVE it!

At some points, we were concerned that the car might tip over, but it didn’t. Our experienced driver made sure we were safe, taking into account the kids’ age and how far he could go.

Dune bashing is a lot of fun, but it is not suitable for everyone. There are some safety concerns:

  • Make sure your child is old enough to be properly strap in to avoid shoulder injuries or whiplash.
  • Even adults can get seriously injured — according to our driver, some adults had had their heads bumped against the roof of the car or knocked against the windows of the car.
  • The elderly, pregnant women and those with health conditions are typically advised to steer clear of such activity.

After 15 minutes, we’ve had our fill of dune bashing. It was time to head to the camp for the camel ride and entertainment before it gets too dark.

Camel Ride, Desert Camp and Safari Dinner

This is an overview of the Desert camp where dinner and entertainment for the evening will take place.

Dubai - travelling with kids

The camel ride was interesting. We were one of the first families to get there, so we climbed on the waiting camels and were the first to be led off on them. The kids wanted to ride by themselves and the camels were friendly so we let them.  The ride was disappointingly short — about 5 minutes.

Dubai - travelling with kids

Off to our next activity — Sand Surfing. Now this has to be a highlight for my son. Sand Surfing is essentially the same as snowboarding, except that you are on sand instead of snow.  My kids really enjoyed it. They had to wait their turns, but most of them went at least twice.

Dubai - travelling with kids

Then suddenly, nightfall was upon us and the Desert became pitch dark. Despite the lights from the camp, it was too dark to sand surf / board. Time to head to camp for dinner and entertainment.

Surrounding the camp fire were activities to do while dinner was in session. They visited the Henna lady who painted lovely designs on their arms and hands.

The air had cooled considerably (15 – 20 degree celsius). It was fun watching the kids chatting away and playing with one hand while waiting for their henna to dry up (last pic on the right).

Dubai - travelling with kids

Dinner and Entertainment

Dinner was surprising good!! My concerns that the kids may not eat Arabic food were completely unwarranted. After the dune bashing and sand surfing/boarding, they were famished. They lapped up their dinner and moved on to explore the sandy terrain (within sight of course).

Dubai - travelling with kids

Dinner was served in a buffet style. The menu was quite extensive. It was a mixture of Indian and international with rice, chapati, Indian curry (chicken, lamb, beef), fish fillets, chicken nuggets, and various vegetarian dishes and salads. They also served an assortment of bread. And for drinks, you have a selection of soft drinks and bottled water. No alcohol or pork were served at this meal.

After dinner, we gathered around the camp area for the entertainment.

Dubai - travelling with kids

While the performer before the belly dancer was good, she was definitely THE STAR of the show. According to my husband who grew up in Dubai and had seen more belly dancers than I have, she was very good and entertaining!!

Dubai - travelling with kids

If you ever have a chance to visit Dubai, Desert Safari is a MUST-Do on your list. What an amazingly wonderful experience!

For more things to do in Dubai with your kids, click on the link below.

Planning A Trip To Dubai?

10 Fun Family Friendly Things To Do In Dubai

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Till our next post, love yourself, love one another.

 

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16 Comments

  1. Looks real fun! Will check it out when Bubba is older and Dubai will be a good stop-over before we head to Europe! Hehe

  2. We’ve only transited in Dubai airport, never toured there. Looks like a fun destination for families with the desert safari and camel rides!

  3. This is a really interesting tour at the Dessert. Looks adventurous too! Is the heat bearable??

  4. Thanks for the write-up! At least I know what to expect should I ever have the chance to visit Dubai with the family! You really did everything and they are not exactly cheap ya? Oh and that’s a hawk / falcon / peregrine and not owl. Hee hee…

  5. how I missed Dubai! It’s been so long since we last returned but we did all that you did too! Sand dunes, belly dancing, etc. The drive was pretty rough as we drifted. I wouldn’t recommend it for kids though. Those fragile necks might get hurt! You just made me look through my Dubai pics! =D

  6. SGD50 for all the above?? That’s crazy value for money if you ask me! I never thought of Dubai as a place to bring kids to, but I think you have proven me wrong. Think my boy would love sand surfing, considering how much he loves skiing. But hmm… I don’t think my 2 and 4 year olds are old enough for the dune bashing yet?

  7. We had transited in Dubai airport, but it had never been in my to-go list. Seem to be quite interesting!

  8. The sand surfing is definitely fun for both adults and kids!!

    Why so cheap Sgd50 per pax can do so many activities?!!?!! I thought Dubai is expensive place.

    Shirley @ SAys! Happy Mums

  9. What a lot of cool experiences in the desert! I bet my hubby would love to try sand surfing too.

  10. Having read this I thought it was really informative. I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this short article together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

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