I wasn’t going to miss out on the most touristy thing in Dubai, so this weekend I persuaded a few friends to come on a desert safari with me.

We were picked up outside a supermarket and crammed into a van that took us to the side of a main road where there was literally a stretch of vans and cars filled with tourists.


Unceremoniously, we were piled into one of these beauties and off we went dune bashing–driving way too fast across the sand dunes. Now, people tell me that my driving is scary (or rather, the idea of me driving as no one will actually let me drive) but those people need to drive with these people to know what scary is. I loved it. One of my friends screamed more than he probably had in his life. Rollercoasters will never be the same.



The biggest issue I had with this entire safari was the lack of direction. Whereas most tours of any kind in the US almost baby you in that they tell you where to go and what to do with every second of your time, there was absolutely no guidance here, and I didn’t like not knowing what was happening when.

The vehicle left us next to a big arena-ish place in the middle of the desert–one of several, we saw, when we climbed the hills.


Outside were several camels giving rides that took about 2-3 minutes. I took the ride, but I honestly felt terrible for the poor camels. They didn’t seem to be getting any breaks, they had no water available, flies surrounded their heads, and watching them having to bend over and stand back up repeatedly made me feel very sad for them. They probably have to repeat this performance every day, and I doubt they get any love. Poor camels.


This is what the area looked like from above–there was a small stage set up with Arabic-style seating around it, and various tents selling touristy stuff. To my amusement, there was a bar set up with a bigger variety of bottles than one would find at a frat party.




My favourite part of the trip was watching the sunset–I can’t emphasise enough how sad it makes me that I can’t watch the sunset or sunrise every day when I want to!




Photo courtesy of David Okoh

My next favourite part was HOW COOL THE MOON WAS! It was probably about two days into the cycle, and the sky was such that we could see the entire shape of the moon in addition to the crescent. There were also stars, though not as many as I expected.

Photo courtesy of David Okoh

We got the free henna, which honestly wasn’t very impressive, but again, what would a semester in Dubai be without the touristy stuff?! During dinner, there were three live performances. The coolest one by far was a fire dancer.

Riding back, they took us through the direct route, so it wasn’t half as terrifying as getting there.

I had a similar sentiment to this safari as to most of Dubai–I’m glad I did it, but I wouldn’t do it again. The lack of direction was frustrating, the treatment of the camels was frustrating, and the dune bashing and the sunset were probably the only parts I’d want to do again.