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Dubai Desert Safari – tour tickets, prices, timings, activities

A desert safari is an essential part of a Dubai holiday.

Next to visiting Burj Khalifa, Dubai’s most popular tourist activity is going on a desert safari.

Depending on which safari you opt for, there is so much to experience – Dune Bashing, Camel Riding, Quad Biking, Sand Boarding, Falconry, Henna Painting, Shisha Smoking, Belly Dancing, Tanoura Dance, Arabic Costume, BBQ dinner, etc. 

To identify the best desert safari in Dubai, which suits your needs, you must consider its start time, duration, included activities, and cost.

With so many desert safaris starting from Dubai, choosing the right one for you and your family or friends gets challenging. 

Since a desert safari is one of the best ways to experience Emirati culture, it does not make sense to cut corners. 

When it comes to a desert safari, you get what you pay for. 

This article explains everything you need to know about desert safaris in Dubai.

How to select a Desert Safari in Dubai

While selecting a desert safari in Dubai, there are five significant parameters to keep in mind – start time, duration of the tour, cost of the tour, adventure levels, cultural activities included, and food and drinks.

Desert Safari timings

Sunrise desert safaris start at 5.30 am with a pickup from your hotel in Dubai.

Morning desert safaris in Dubai, which are customized for extreme adventure with lots of dune bashing, quad biking, and snowboarding, usually start at 8 am, 9 am, or 10 am. 

Evening and overnight safaris with an equal measure of adventure, cultural activities, and a barbeque dinner start at 2 pm, 2.30 pm, or 3 pm. 

While the guests on an evening safari get back to their hotels after seven to eight hours, those on an overnight safari get back the next day. 

Duration of the tour

Morning desert safaris in Dubai last around four hours, and the tourists get back to their hotels before the sun gets too hot.

Evening safaris last for around seven hours, and the guests are usually back by 9 pm or 10 pm.

If you book an overnight safari in Dubai, you will be in the desert for around 18 hours or so. 

After spending the night in the desert and seeing the next day’s sunrise, guests get dropped back at their hotels by 8.30 am.

Cost of desert safari

There are numerous tour operators in Dubai who offer endless variations of desert safaris.

The cheapest way to explore the Dubai desert is a morning safari that costs between AED 150 ($40) to AED 180 ($50) per person.

A shared evening safari, including a barbecue dinner, costs around AED 475 ($130) per person. 

The overnight safaris, which involves sleeping in a Bedouin tent followed by a sunrise camel trek & breakfast, are priced at AED 600 ($165) for adults.

As with other tourist activities, the cost of desert safaris in Dubai tends to be cheaper on weekdays and lean seasons.

When it comes to desert safaris, you get what you pay for, which is why it is not advisable to cut corners.

Safari’s adventure levels

Different desert safaris in Dubai offer different kinds of adrenalin-pumping activities.

For an extreme adrenalin rush, it is better to book a morning safari with dune bashing, quad biking, dune buggy ride, sandboarding, camel riding, etc. 

Dune-bashing isn’t for you if you travel with an infant (three years or younger) or an elder.

In such a case, you may want to book a desert safari in Dubai without dune bashing.

Evening safaris also have adventure activities such as dune bashing, but their intensity tends to be lower. 

Cultural activities included

If you also want to experience the Emirati culture and understand the desert life better, opt for the evening safaris in Dubai.

Depending on the desert safari you book, you will experience some or all of the below activities – 

  • Watching the sunset from a dune
  • Camel Riding
  • Falconry show
  • Henna Painting
  • Shisha Smoking
  • Photos wearing Arabic costume
  • Photos with Falcon
  • Belly Dance
  • Tanoura Dance
  • BBQ Dinner with local food

Food and drinks

Morning desert safaris are available with and without breakfast.

Almost every evening safari includes a fantastic barbecue buffet dinner, including local, continental, and Indian menus. 

Overnight safaris include dinner and breakfast the next day before you are dropped at your hotel.

All desert camps have a well-stocked bar, and guests must pay extra for the drinks. 

The bar remains closed in the month of Ramadan.

Tip: Most tour operators provide water. However, it is better to bring along a bottle of water. 

Are you on a budget holiday? Save up to 20% on ticket costs by opting for combo tours. Two of the most popular combo tours are desert safari with Burj Khalifa and desert safari with Dubai city tour.


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Morning desert safaris

All morning desert safaris in Dubai start at 8 am, 9 am, or 10 am.

If you love the adrenalin rush and adventure and are an early bird, opt for the morning desert safari because you can leave at 8 am, indulge in extreme dune bashing, quad biking, snowboarding, etc., and get back by noon.

Morning safaris are perfect for those who prefer high levels of adrenalin rush or have something else planned for the evening. 

These safaris last four hours, and Dune bashing is followed by sandboarding, camel rides, and stops for photos.

Morning safarisCost
Red Dune Safari, Camel Riding, SandboardingAED 162 ($44)
Dune Bashing, Sandboarding in Lahbab desertAED 155 ($42)
Desert Safari, Quad Bike, & Al Khayma CampAED 160 ($44)
Safari, Quad Bike, Camel Ride and SandboardingAED 152 ($40)
Half-day desert safari with BrunchAED 168 ($45)

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VIP Dubai Desert Safaris

Since a desert safari is one of the best ways to experience Emirati culture, it does not make sense to cut corners. 

When it comes to a desert safari, you get what you pay for. 

If you can afford it, it is better to book a VIP desert safari in Dubai – something that costs more than the average but offers a memorable experience. 

Platinum Heritage’s luxury desert safari in a Range Rover is the most premium experience possible. 

It happens in a royal family retreat and costs AED 1780 ($484) per person.

If you want the VIP treatment, you can also opt for the desert safari with a hot air balloon or one of the quad biking safari or dune buggy safaris


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Overnight desert safari in Dubai

Overnight desert safari in Dubai is for those who want to ‘live’ the real desert.

Besides the regular desert activities such as dune bashing, quad biking, sandboarding, camel riding, etc., guests also enjoy a barbecue dinner and stay overnight in a typical Bedouin tent.

The next day, they get up early to see the desert sunrise, have an Arabian breakfast, and then get dropped at their hotel.

OceanAir Tours offers a 17-hour long VIP overnight safari which costs AED 600 ($163) per person.

Platinum Heritage Luxury Tours has a 20-hour overnight safari followed by a gourmet breakfast. It costs AED 1000 ($270) per person.

Orient Tours offers a 17-hour overnight safari, which is best suitable for large groups. It costs AED 1750 ($475) for four guests.


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Desert Safari with BBQ dinner

Guests who want to try out the local cuisine or those willing to stretch their night out in the desert opt for Dubai desert safaris with barbecue dinner

Most evening desert safaris have the option of including BBQ dinner in your experience. 

The barbecue dinner is paired with live cultural entertainment such as belly dance, Tanura dance, and the Fire Show.

Everybody gets comfortable low-table sitting around the stage in the center of the Bedouin-style camp.

The dinner with BBQ has vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, and it is a buffet service.

If you have any specific needs, the chefs at the venue also cater to them.

Unlimited soft drinks, coffee, and tea are available throughout your stay at the campsite. 

Dinner safarisCost
Desert Safari with BBQ at Al Khayma CampAED 390 ($106)
Premium Dune Safari, Camel Riding, BBQAED 225 ($61)
Red Dune Safari, Camel Ride, Barbecue dinnerAED 187 ($50)
Overnight safari camp with dinnerAED 600 ($163)

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Desert safari with quad biking

Quad Bikes are motorcycles with four large tires, and it is ridden astride like a dirt bike.

Quad biking is a thrilling experience with a guaranteed adrenaline rush as you race through the dunes.

Besides desert biking, these quad biking safaris in Dubai also offer other activities such as dune bashing, sandboarding, camel riding, etc.

Quad Bike SafarisCost
Desert Quad Bike Safari, Sand Surf, & BBQAED 335 ($90)
Safari, Quad Bike, Camel Ride, and MoreAED 315 ($85)
Evening Desert Quad Bike Tour with BBQ DinnerAED 275 ($75)
Morning ATV Quad Biking Desert AdventureAED 275 ($75)

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Safari with dune buggy riding

Dune Buggy Safari in Dubai is a more premium experience than the Quad Bike safaris.

It offers a new dimension to off-road exploring because you ride a twin-seater dune buggy over the region’s majestic dunes.

Each dune buggy comes equipped with a full roll cage, bucket seats, and a full safety harness for your comfort and safety. 

This superior desert experience can be enjoyed as a solo passenger or a couple sharing the buggy for an hour. 

Dune Buggy SafariCost
Evening Dune Buggy and Desert AdventureAED 600 ($160)
Dune Buggy Safari with Pickup and DropAED 300 ($80)
Guided Desert Adventure by 4WD Dune BuggyAED 1000 ($270)
Morning adventure on Dune BuggyAED 600 ($160)
Self-drive 2000cc Ranger-Dune BuggyAED 900 ($245)

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Dubai safari with belly dancing

Belly dance is an integral part of the Emirati culture, which is why tourists want to see at least one belly dance performance during their Dubai holiday. 

One of the best ways to enjoy this Arabic dance is by booking a desert safari that includes belly dancing.

Morning desert safaris focus more on adventure activities such as Dune Bashing, Quad Biking, Sandboarding, etc. 

If you want to experience belly dancing, you must opt for an evening desert safari.

Find out more about desert safaris in Dubai with belly dancing.


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Desert safari without dune bashing

For most tourists, a significant part of a Dubai desert safari is dune bashing, where you get packed into a 4×4 car and get driven over and around the dunes almost recklessly. 

While dune bashing is a fun experience, it is not for everybody. 

For example, if you are traveling with an infant (less than three years) or with elders, it is better to book a Dubai desert safari without dune bashing.

Platinum Heritage offers two safaris that don’t include sand dune bashing – Land Rover desert safari and safari with cultural activities.

Or you can opt for a quad bike safari or a dune buggy safari, both of which also don’t include dune bashing.


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Falconry Safari in Dubai

The sport of Falconry, which has been part of desert life for hundreds of years, is an integral part of the UAE’s cultural heritage.

Falconry is the art of using a trained bird of prey (usually a Falcon) to hunt small wild animals. 

Dubai is a falconry hotspot and a fantastic site to see falconers and their trained birds in action. 

Some safaris have simple demonstrations of Falcons, Hawks, and Desert Owls, while Dubai’s best Falconry safaris are customized around the birds of prey.

Platinum Heritage offers desert safari with heritage activities and morning falconry safari.

Royal Shaheen Events is the only other premier tour operator to offer Falconry safaris. Their most popular offering is the Small-Group Falconry Safari, which starts at 5 am.

Recommended Reading

# Best Desert Safaris in Dubai
# Desert Safari from Sharjah
# Desert Safari in Abu Dhabi
# Desert Safari in Ras Al Khaimah
# Price of desert safari in Dubai
# VIP Desert Safaris in Dubai
# Morning desert safaris in Dubai
# Dubai Safari with BBQ dinner
# Dubai Safari with Quad Bike
# Dune Buggy Safari in Dubai
# Overnight desert safari in Dubai
# Safari in Dubai with belly dance
# Safari without dune bashing
# Falconry safari in Dubai

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