During my unintentional, extended break from blogging, Hababti and I had more time to trek around the Emirates to engage in some much needed stress relievers.
As most expats new to the United Arab Emirates, finding the most adrenaline charged desert safari is top priority. It’s hard to believe that I’ve lived here two years and didn’t experience a high energy, sand filled, desert safari. Many new expats try desert safaris within weeks of arrival. Because I arrived during the torturous heat of summer, August, trekking out into the desert sun was not on my radar. However, the cool, crisp temperatures of February made the time in the desert optimal.
Hababti and I decided we wanted to do something different for Valentine’s Weekend and a desert safari certainly fit the bill of different.
Desert safaris in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are always located outside of the cities of Abu Dhabi or Dubai where the sand dunes are pristine and sky high.
As thrifty as Hababti and I are, we found a desert safari deal on Groupon.ae with Phoenix Tours. Desert Safaris with most companies are typically about 290AED per person but we received a 51% discount with our Groupon voucher. There’s something so romantic about saving money right? Of course it is.
Our desert safari started at the meet up point of Khalidiya Mall. Phoenix Tours arranged three 33 seater buses to transport the participants to the desert location in Al Khatim. Al Khatim is off of the Abu Dhabi – Al Ain road about 45 minutes away from the Khalidiya Mall meeting point. Once we arrived, all of the tourists were amazed by the beauty of the sand dunes. Many of the dunes were upspoiled and carried the beauty of 1000 brushes.
After we exited the transport buses, we were whisked deeper into the desert by fancy, high-end SUV’s. The experience was surreal. It seemed like a scene out of a Hollywood film.
The transport of all of the participants took about 30 minutes. During this time, Hababti and I walked around the camp site, freshened up, rode camels, and prepared for the time of our lives.
Once all of the SUVs were prepared for take off, our anticipation grew. I had only seen videos online of everyone’s experiences but nothing could prepare me for what was in store.
Each SUV was filled with a maximum of six tourist plus the trained driver. Before we took off, the driver cranked up the Arabic Tunes and sped into the sun.
We were drove high and slid low, the screams of fear and exhilaration were in abundance. Climbing to the peak of a sand dune is an SUV is a dare devil’s dream and only something I need to experience once! After sand duning, we were free to move about the camp site. Hababti and I climbed to the top of a dune to capture some great moments. The trek to the top was quite a work out, so I sat in peace for a few to catch my breath and take in the beauty
Shortly thereafter, it was time for dinner. Each desert safari provides a generous buffet with all of the local trimmings; chicken, mutton, hummus, tabouleh, salad, fruit, biryani, and sweets. Though the food didn’t photograph well, we can attest to it’s rich, delicious flavors.
The evening came to a close with a belly dancing performance, a cultural performance by the Emirati men, and some enjoying the sensuality of shisha.
If you’re heading to the UAE for vacation and a new expat, definitely try a desert safari.
Desert safaris are best enjoyed during the cooler months and Phoenix Tours is recommended by Habibti and me.