This is our review of a Desert Safari Tour we did in Dubai while staying at LEGOLAND Dubai. This was the VIP tour done with Arabian Adventures. In this overview / review, we cover the dune bashing, sand boarding, drinks at sunset, camel riding, belling dancing, fire performer, spinning dancer and local food. A great way to spend an afternoon / evening.
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Transcript from the show:
G’day Everyone, Matt Elder of mattelder.com here and today we are going to talk about a desert tour we did while staying at LEGOLAND Dubai. It is independent of LEGOLAND. A desert tour was a great 6 hours or so which covers 4-wheel driving, sand boarding, drinks at sunset, camel ride, and a meal with some local entertainment. We did ours just outside Dubai with pickup and drop off from our hotel at LEGOLAND.
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Please feel free to comment on the videos and let me know any other topics you’d like to cover. I read through them all and try to answer every one of them. Back to the tour.
We did our tour with Arabian Adventures. There are 2 levels of the tour, one standard and 1 VIP. The VIP limits the group to 40 people while the standard takes almost as many people that book. We did the VIP tour so these shots are from that. It means we had a 4×4 to ourselves with a driver, which having little kids with us, didn’t put off anyone else who may have ended up with us.
First stop at the park was to let some air out of the tires to travel across the soft sand, as opposed to hard road. At this point, you start to realise how many other people do these tours when you see another 30 or so 4x4s all in the queue.
Off into the desert and you get to see different types of gazelles. On the VIP tour, the first stop was sandboarding, and the standard group would come after. It was good to have a relatively small group and able to go at a leisurely pace.
It is no coincidence that we sand boarded in the shadow, as it was still at balmy 33 degrees Celsius at this time in the afternoon. Good bit of exercise as the sand is really soft and you sink straight into it. Surprisingly, this sand hill didn’t have the hard, course, graininess of beach sand (guessing it doesn’t have fragments of marine life in it).
Sand boarding was really fun as if you aren’t confident to be able to stand up, you can still go down seated and enjoy it.
And now you take photo. <laughter>
Then we had 10 minutes of bouncing up and down in the sand dunes while the 4×4 was being thrown about. One of the kids loved it wanting to go higher, faster, longer, while the other, just wanted it to stop. Are you enjoying? Yeah!! One is, one isn’t.
While the red jeeps might look good, they don’t have the power of the Toyota Landcruiser’s (and are better suited for larger rockier formations with the higher ground clearance).
Next stop was some drinks at sunset. Great just to relax, watch the sun go down and get a few good happy snaps. As all kids will do, it was time to play in the sand on the sand dunes. Sometimes with little kids, you do wonder about travelling when the only priorities will be soft plays, playgrounds and sand pits.
It was a quick drive to our evening meal area. Out front where camel rides and weird to have to lean back while they angle up into the air. They are up higher than horses. With little kids, 2 people can ride the camel at once so the parent can be there to reassure any little ones that aren’t too sure.
Next into the seating area for an extensive 3 course meal – the food just keeps coming and coming, and was really tasty.
Throughout the evening entertainment is provided, starting with a belly dancer.
After this was a fire performer. He got really up close and personal with the guests, leaving a great many tales to be told later on.
This was followed by a spinning dancer. I’m always amazed how these guys go on for the better part of 10 minutes spinning around. I spin the kids around a couple of times and have to stop or risk getting too dizzy. Again, there was an interactive element whereby audience participation was encouraged. One of our little ones gave it a good shot too.
You can also sample arac (as I think it is called), and kick back with a smoke.
The guides will indicate the end of the evening, without prompting a hard time to leave. With little ones we were happy to be back in the 4×4 around 8:30pm for the 45-minute drive back to the hotel.
For next time, we may consider spending a night staying in the desert. We were fortunate that our guide had been with the company for 12 years and in the country for 23, so very experienced and knowledgeable.
One hint I would give is to make sure you have some local currency as tips are expected.
Overall a great experience and would definitely recommend it. Haven’t done the standard tour but happy to pay the extra for a more intimate group and just being able to go at our own pace.
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Until next time.