You can’t plan a holiday in Dubai and not experience a desert safari.
Next to visiting Burj Khalifa, going on a desert safari is the most popular tourist activity in Dubai.
There is so much to experience during a desert safari – the dunes, desert camps, Arabian food, camel rides, dune bashing, quad biking, sandboarding, etc.
Table of contents
- How to select a Desert Safari in Dubai
- Morning desert safari Dubai tours
- Evening desert safari Dubai tours
- Overnight desert safari Dubai tours
- Luxury Desert safari Dubai tours
- Private desert safari in Dubai
- Dubai falconry safari tours
- Desert safari Dubai without dune bashing
- Combo desert safari Dubai tickets
- Best desert safari operator in Dubai
- What to wear for a desert safari?
How to select a Desert Safari in Dubai
With so many desert safaris in Dubai, it is difficult to choose the right one for you and your family/friends.
Let’s first try and understand what you must consider before identifying a suitable desert safari.
1. Desert Safari timings
Tour companies take tourists into the desert for safaris all through the day.
Decide on your preferred time.
Morning safaris are customized for extreme adventure with lots of dune bashing, quad biking, and snowboarding.
Falconry safaris also happen in the morning.
These safaris happen before the sun gets too hot, and then everybody gets back to their hotels.
Afternoon desert safaris are not possible due to the extreme heat in the desert.
Families with elders or kids prefer evening desert safaris, which generally kick-off between 3 pm to 4.30 pm.
During evening safaris, along with the numerous adventure activities, one also gets to experience local culture through entertainment programs.
An open buffet dinner or BBQ follows these shows and cultural activities.
There are overnight safaris as well, where you spend around 18 to 20 hours out in the desert.
Price of desert safari
There are numerous tour operators in Dubai who offer endless variations of desert safaris.
Prices for desert safari tours vary from season to season.
A decent safari tour can start from AED 125 (approx. 35 USD) onwards, while a private desert safari can even go up to AED 2,000 (approx. 540 USD) per person.
As happens with other tourist activities, safaris also tend to be cheaper on weekdays and lean seasons.
Desert Safari adventure levels
Different desert safaris in Dubai offer different kinds of adrenalin-pumping activities.
You need to decide what you and your co-travelers want to experience.
For instance, if you will be traveling with an infant or an elder, dune-bashing isn’t for you.
In such a case, you may want to book a wildlife desert safari – a smooth drive through the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve looking at the desert animals.
And then indulge in cultural shows and activities such as dressing up as Arabs, trying henna tattoos, smoking sheesha, BBQ dinner, etc.
In combination with other attractions
If you are in Dubai for the first time, you will have a long list of other attractions you want to visit during your holiday.
And if you are a price-conscious traveler, we recommend you book combo tour tickets which also include Dubai desert safaris.
Combo tickets are a great way to save money – sometimes you can save as high as 20% of the ticket costs.
Best Desert safari tours in Dubai
We have compiled a list of the best desert safari tours available.
These tours include a pick up and drop from your hotel (or a central location in Dubai).
Morning desert safari Dubai tours
These morning desert safaris are best for visitors who
– Prefer to start their day early
– Want to be back in their hotel rooms before it gets too hot
– Have something else planned for the evening
1. Morning Desert Safari with Sandboarding, Camels & Brunch
This highly rated desert safari is 4 hours long.
Depending on your choice, your tour can start at 7 am, or 9 am.
A 4×4 Land Cruiser takes you to Lahbab Red Dunes desert, 45 minutes out of Dubai.
You will indulge in dune bashing and sandboarding before you head to Al Khayma camp.
You will be served a light brunch at the camp, after which you will head back home.
You can also upgrade and/or include ‘Quad bike riding’ or a ‘private car’ for your group on the ticket booking page.
Desert Safari price
Adult ticket (12+ years): 157 AED (42 USD)
Child ticket (3 to 11 years): 150 AED (40 USD)
2. Dubai desert safari on a camel with breakfast
If you are an early bird, this 4-hour tour is a great way to kick-start your day in Dubai.
You get picked up from your hotel around 4 am, and once you reach the desert, every couple receives its camel.
After 25 minutes of camel trek, you will spot the sunrise. You will continue riding towards a Bedouin community for 20-25 minutes after sunrise.
After a traditional welcome of Arabic coffee (Kahwa), you will get onto a 4WD vehicle to go to the Bedouin camp.
You enjoy a light breakfast at the camp and then hit the sands again for your trip back to your hotel in Dubai.
Be aware that there is no snowboarding, quad biking, or dune bashing in this tour.
On the ticket booking page, you can also upgrade to a private camel trek, in which case the desert safari guide focuses only on your group.
Desert Safari price
Adult ticket (11+ years): 270 AED (72 USD)
Child ticket (5 to 10 years): 284 AED (76 USD)
Evening desert safari Dubai tours
These evening desert safaris are best for visitors, who –
– Love to start their day late
– Want to get closer to the locals – cultural activities and entertainment shows are always planned for evenings
– Have kids and elders – safaris without dune bashing etc are scheduled for evenings
1. Dune bashing, Sandboarding, Camel ride with BBQ upgrade
This tour is a 4-hour Dubai desert safari, which you can upgrade to a 7-hours safari with a BBQ dinner.
Generally, this tour starts at 2.30 pm. However, there is a 10 am option as well.
You drive to the unforgiving Lahbab desert for some dune bashing. If you are lucky, you witness the splendid Dubai sunset from the highest dune around.
Dune bashing is followed by sandboarding before you head back to your hotel.
If you opt for the 7-hour tour, a visit to a Bedouin-style camp gets added.
You get closer to the locals by riding a camel, smoking a Shisha pipe, trying the Henna tattoo, dressing up in Arabic costumes, etc., followed by belly dance, Tanoura show, and a barbecue dinner.
Desert Safari price: 187 AED (50 USD) per head
2. Safari at Fossil and Camel rocks with buffet dinner
In this safari, you visit the famous Fossil and Camel rocks.
The licensed desert safari driver then takes you on a 45-minute roller coaster on the famed dunes.
With your adrenaline racing, you indulge in some sandboarding before you visit the Al Khayma Camp.
As the sun sets, you get onto your camel and set out on a sunset ride.
After the open buffet dinner, you reach your hotel in Dubai – seven hours after you started.
Desert Safari price
Adult ticket (12+ years): 310 AED (83 USD)
Child ticket (4 to 11 years): 290 AED (77 USD)
3. Sunset Camel trek with BBQ, Belly Dancer & Tanoura
If you are a family or a group that doesn’t want to do dune bashing, this is a perfect desert safari for you.
This five-hour desert safari starts with a 45-minute camel ride to see the sunset.
Two tourists are seated on one camel – that’s why this safari is popular with couples.
After you have had your fill of the Arabian desert, you make your way to the Bedouin-style camp.
After traditional entertainment activities and mingling with the locals, you enjoy your BBQ dinner and head back to your hotel.
Desert Safari price
Adult ticket (10+ years): 310 AED (83 USD)
Child ticket (5 to 9 years): 290 AED (77 USD)
4. Quad bike ride, sandboarding, Camel trek and BBQ
This 6-hour desert safari starts with a drive to the Quad Bike center in Lehbab desert.
Once a quad bike has been assigned and instructions are given, you are free to roam around the red dunes.
If you aren’t tired after the quad biking, you can always try your hand at snowboarding.
You then head to a typical desert camp where you have your BBQ dinner even as you enjoy entertainment shows.
On the tour booking page, you can choose how many will be sitting on one quad bike.
Desert Safari price (for 1 quad bike per two people)
Adult ticket (14+ years): 366 AED (100 USD)
Child ticket (up to 13 years): 357 AED (97 USD)
Overnight desert safari Dubai tours
If you can afford it, we highly recommend overnight desert safaris.
Spending a night out under the stars in the desert ends up being the highlight of the Dubai holiday for many families.
Stay over Dubai desert safari
This 17-hour desert safari Dubai is a poor man’s version of the luxury overnight safari mentioned above.
However, it is the best bang for buck overnight desert safari in Dubai.
If you are budget-conscious and yet want to experience an overnight stay in a desert, this is a highly recommended tour.
After being picked up from your hotel, you will kick start your safari with some quad bike riding or dune bashing in the Lahbab desert. If you still have energy left, you can try your hand at snowboarding.
After the adventure activities, you will head to Al Khayma, a Bedouin-type campsite.
You can take a camel trek to see the sunset from a high dune.
Once back to the camp area, you will be entertained with many cultural activities. A bonfire and a BBQ dinner will follow before you head back to your well-appointed tent for rest.
The next day, you can opt to go on a 20-minute camel trek to see the sunrise. When you get back, a freshly cooked Arabian breakfast awaits you.
Once your 17 hours in the desert are over, you are driven back to your hotel.
Desert Safari price
Adult ticket (12+ years): 421 AED (115 USD)
Child ticket (5 to 11 years): 412 AED (112 USD)
Luxury Desert safari Dubai tours
Nobody does luxury better than the Arabs.
If you want a desert safari experience customized for the rich, look no further than the two listed below.
1. Heritage desert safari in private retreat of local Royal family
This tour is the perfect desert safari for you if you have elders in the group because this doesn’t include over-the-top adventure activities.
This 7-hour desert safari Dubai includes a wildlife drive through the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve in legendary 1950’s Land Rovers.
After the drive, you reach a Bedouin camp nestled inside the private Royal desert retreat.
You then start mingling and learning from the locals – Arabic recipes, falconry, henna, bread making, etc.
After a delicious dinner under the stars, you head back home.
Desert Safari price
Adult ticket (12+ years): 612 AED (166 USD)
Child ticket (5 to 11 years): 560 AED (154 USD)
2. Desert safari with private tent & waiter service
This extravagant safari happens amidst the red dunes of Al Hibab desert.
Your desert safari starts with 20-30 minutes of dune bashing, after which you head to the camp.
You get a private, VIP tent, which is why this safari is popular with couples. The full waiter service ensures you can stay in your tent and relax for as long as you want.
As the sun sets, you can indulge in local cultural activities such as smoking the hookah, applying henna, belly dancing, etc.
After a nice BBQ dinner, you are transported back to Dubai in a 4×4 Land Cruiser.
*At least two people are needed for this grand desert safari.
Per head price for all visitors: 450 AED (122 USD)
Private desert safari in Dubai
When it comes to having private time in the desert, you have two options – an intimate private night safari or a private day safari.
Private night desert safari in Dubai
If you prefer to explore the desert after the sun has set and the temperatures have cooled down, this is the best private desert safari in Dubai.
You get treated as a royal as you make your way to the desert by a vintage 1950s Land Rover.
You will then use high-tech night-vision binoculars to explore the desert animals as they get out of their hideouts to drink, forage, and frolic.
After the night safari, you get back to the camp for a nice dinner under the stars.
Safari cost for a group of two: 2236 AED (610 USD)
Private desert safari during daytime
If you are into extreme dune bashing, we recommend this tour.
You can book either a 4-hour or a 7-hour private daytime desert safari.
In the 4-hour version, you reach the Dubai desert, indulge in adventure activities such as dune bashing, sandboarding, camel ride, etc., and then get back to your hotel.
In the 7-hour version, after the adventure activities, you also visit a VIP safari camp, where you enjoy an open buffet dinner.
Safari cost for a group of two: 1150 AED (315 USD)
Dubai falconry safari tours
Definition: Falconry is the art of using a trained bird of prey (usually a Falcon) to hunt small wild animals.
Falconry is quite popular in the Arab lands, and that’s why this art form gets exhibited in most of the desert safaris in Dubai.
However, if you have a keen interest in the art, there are specific falconry safari tours, which you can book.
We detail below the best falconry tour out there –
Dubai Falconry Safari
This tour is a six-hour Dubai Falconry safari which starts with a pick up from your hotel at 5 am (you get dropped back too).
The safari starts with a gentle drive through Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve in search of desert wildlife.
Once your wildlife safari is over, you arrive at the Emirati Falcon Hunting Camp for falconry.
At the hunting camp, you help train a Falcon, a Hawk, an Eagle, and an Owl. This training session lasts 90 minutes.
As part of this safari, you will also experience Dubai’s Falcon Museum and Souq.
This falconry safari in Dubai is available in two flavors – the shared tour and the private tour.
*Visitors 12 years plus are considered adults. Kids aged 10 and 11 qualify for the child ticket. Tourists 9 years and younger can join in for free.
Price of falconry safari (shared)
Adult ticket: 688 AED (187 USD)
Child ticket: 507 AED (138 USD)
Price of falconry safari (private)
Adult ticket: 1077 AED (293 USD)
Child ticket: 507 AED (138 USD)
Desert safari Dubai without dune bashing
Dune bashing is not for everyone. There are many circumstances under which tourists request desert safaris without dune bashing.
Dune bashing isn’t for you if you answer yes to any of the below –
1. You don’t love roller-coaster
2. You have back or neck problems
3. You get motion sickness
4. You are traveling with an infant (less than three years)
5. You are traveling with elders
If you answered yes to any of the above, dune bashing isn’t for you.
In such a case, you must book the appropriate tour, where dune bashing is replaced by wildlife safari through the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.
In some safaris, dune bashing gets replaced by a quad bike ride, which is much simpler because you ride the bike yourself.
We recommend two highly-rated safaris conducted in the Abu Dhabi deserts but don’t include dune bashing.
Combo desert safari Dubai tickets
If you are yet to see the other amazing attractions in Dubai, we recommend you book a combo tour.
These combination tour tickets are a great way to save money.
1. Dubai desert safari with Burj Khalifa
This is a highly popular combo ticket because it combines two of Dubai’s most popular tourist attractions.
You will get the entry ticket to the 124th-floor observation deck of Burj Khalifa.
Visitors to Burj Khalifa enjoy the 360-degree view of the city, desert, and ocean.
Later in the day, your travel guide will pick you up from your hotel for the desert safari.
The evening desert safari includes dune bashing, sandboarding, camel rides, entertainment programs, cultural activities, and finally, the full buffet dinner.
The duration of this tour is six hours.
Desert Safari price
Adult ticket (12+ years): 393 AED (107 USD)
Child ticket (up to 11 years): 280 AED (76 USD)
2. Dubai city tour and evening desert safari
If you only have two days in Dubai, this is a great package to buy.
This combo ticket is spread over two days – one day 1, you go around the city, and on day two, you head out of the city for a desert safari.
As part of the city tour, you will first climb aboard an Abra (water taxi) to experience Dubai Creek and get some shopping done at the nearby souks.
You will also visit Jumeirah Mosque, Burj Al Arab Hotel, Atlantis, Burj Khalifa, etc.
On the second day, you will head out for a six-hour desert safari.
Desert Safari price
Adult ticket (12+ years): 442 AED (120 USD)
Child ticket (3 to 11 years): 335 AED (92 USD)
Best desert safari operator in Dubai
According to Tripadvisor, OceanAir travel is the best Dubai desert safari tour company.
It is rated No 1 for outdoor activities in Dubai.
All their desert safaris end at Al Khayma camp. Here is a preview of the Camp –
Check out OceanAir travel’s best desert safaris in Dubai –
What to wear for a desert safari?
Many tourists end up going on a desert safari unprepared. The best way to maximize desert fun is by being prepared for extremes temperatures.
You must wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes.
In fact, after being picked up from your hotel, you will interact only with other safari-goers.
Since you will be interacting only with other tourists, you can dress up without any restrictions.
The Abu Dhabi deserts are famed for their temperature drops in the evening. Carry a light jacket or cardigan.
If you are traveling with kids, you may want to carry warm caps too.
Many tourists don’t know this, but the best footwear for the desert is the one that can take in and let out sand.
We recommend you wear open-toed shoes or flip-flops for your desert safari. When you wear a closed shoe such as a sneaker, the sand goes in and makes walking uncomfortable.
Unless, of course, you have ankle-high boots suitable for desert walking.
Don’t forget to bring along a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a scarf.
Whatever time your desert safari is scheduled, you will still need these four items to shield you from the harsh desert sun.