The Best Desert Safari Locations in the UAE

This is a guest post by Kashish Jethani, an ardent travel writer. Her insatiable interest to discover new destinations and sample varied cuisines propels her wanderlust. She documents her experience with vivid tales which transports readers to the world over.

A globalized country, the United Arab Emirates has the image of an ultra-modern country with contemporary architecture, world-class infrastructure, and every comfort and luxury of the modern world. But before the seven emirates of the UAE came together to form a nation and become the country it is today, it was a desert land. The Emirati tribes lived in the desert and followed a Bedouin lifestyle. While the desert-dwellers in the UAE have dwindled in numbers, the desert still holds a lot of importance in the life of the Emiratis. This is why desert safaris are also quite popular in the country. You will find different desert safari in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and other emirates. While the activities at each desert safari are similar, what varies is the desert locations themselves. Although all deserts may look the same to you, each has its own topography, giving you a different experience. On this note we present to you some of the best desert safari locations in UAE.

Al Qudra Desert

Al Qudra Desert is a part of Dubai’s Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve. The thing that makes this desert safari area popular is the intertwined lakes. These artificial lakes are designed in the form of two interconnected hearts. Moreover, the surrounding areas are filled with desert foliage, including trees that are placed in such a way that they read LOVE when viewed from above. Al Qudra is not a place to visit if you are interested in desert adventure activities in Dubai. Rather, it is a place where you can relax and enjoy a picnic or even a camping experience with family and friends. It is the perfect place to sight some desert animals like gazelles, oryx, desert foxes, and more than 130 bird species, especially during the winter months.

Al Badayer

If your idea of a desert safari involves unlimited adventure and fun, Al Badayer is where you should head to. Al Badayer is a desert in Sharjah and is most popular for its mighty sand dunes, including the “Big Red,” thanks to its terracotta-colored sand. As this desert is known for its sand dunes, it is also a great place to enjoy some dune adventures and activities. The best thing to do here is indulge in dune bashing. This authentic, desert rollercoaster is a favorite of anyone who loves desert adventures. Dune driving, dune biking, and sandboarding are also some other activities to try here. Al Badayer desert is also popular for a beautiful desert resort known as Al Badayer Oasis where you can enjoy camping in the desert in style.

Liwa Oasis

Liwa Oasis is in Abu Dhabi and is part of the Ruba’ Al Khali Desert, which is also known as the Empty Quarter. This desert is vast and stretches into Saudi Arabia too. The reason the place is called the Empty Quarters is because the environmental conditions here are one of the harshest on earth. But still, the Liwa Oasis has an important part in the history of the country, as the birthplace of both Dubai and Abu Dhabi royal families can be traced back to this place. Around 50 villages still exist in this desert, and hence it is the perfect place to learn about the history of the Emiratis and know about their Bedouin culture and lifestyle. You will get to know about camel raising, date farming, the unique drip irrigation system, etc., here. Desert safaris complete with dune bashing, quad biking, sandboarding, and camel racing also happen here.

Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve covers 5% of the total land area in Dubai. The area is under the Dubai Government, which has put in lot of effort to preserve the natural flora and fauna of the place. The desert safari in this area is eco-friendly. No activities that can harm the natural environment of the desert are included here. Rather, you will get to enjoy the variety of plant and animal species here, including 43 mammals and reptiles, 120 birds, and over 50 plant species. Camel treks, horse riding, dune driving, and sandboarding are a few of the things you can enjoy here. Dinner in the desert is also something that this desert area is known for. The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve is also popular for hot air balloon in Dubai rides.

Al Faya Desert

Al Faya Desert is in Sharjah and is mostly known for offering some of the best desert adventure sports and activities. The place is called the “Big Fall” and is known for its ruby sand desert. While several desert safari companies have desert camps here, Al Faya also has luxury resorts where you can enjoy a comfortable stay while indulging in desert activities. Among all the activities available here, dirt biking is the most popular, where you can ride an off-roading bike. Dune bashing, sandboarding, camel riding, and quad biking are a few other activities available here. As this desert is popular for adventurous activities, Al Faya can get crowded, especially during winter.

Al Mleiha Desert

Sharjah’s Al Mleiha Desert promises a desert safari experience like no other. It does not offer the typical desert safari activities that include adventure and entertainment. Rather, you can peek into the ancient Bedouin culture here. Al Mleiha desert is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it is one of the biggest archeological excavation sites in the UAE. If you are interested to know about the history and culture of the region, you must visit the Mleiha Archeological Centre, where all the artifacts excavated from the area have been displayed. Additionally, this place is also known for its adventurous activities. You can enjoy self-driven buggy adventure, sand surfing, and dune buggy rides on Camel Rock and Fossil Rock. You can also go on archeological tours that will give you the chance to explore caves, tombs, and other structures built during the Stone Age and the Bronze Age.

Lahbab Desert

Lahbab desert in Dubai is one of the most popular desert safari sites in Dubai. The place will give you a full-fledged desert safari experience, comprising desert adventures and entertainment programs like belly dancing and Tanoura dancing. It is also great to go for an overnight desert safari in Dubai and spend your night in Bedouin-style camps. But what makes Lahbab really special it is home to wealthy Bedouins, who are close friends of the royal family of Dubai. A desert safari in Lahbab desert can give you the chance to see the traditional life and culture of the Bedouins first-hand. The main occupation of the Bedouins here is camel raising and breeding. The place also has a camel racetrack, where camel racing happens quite regularly.

FAQs About Desert Safari Locations in UAE

What is the perfect time to visit desert safari locations?

The best time for desert safari in UAE is in the winter months, i.e., between November and March. The temperature during this time is lower than in the summer months. Still, avoid visiting the desert area during the daytime, i.e., between mid-morning and afternoon. Desert safaris usually happen early in the morning or in the evening.

How can I reach a desert safari location in UAE?

Almost all desert safaris in UAE offer transportation services that take you from your hotel to the desert camp. Even if you are staying in Dubai and your desert safari is in Sharjah or Abu Dhabi, an SUV will pick you up and drop you back. You can also go to the desert safari on your own if you have a vehicle. In fact, Al Qudra is a desert where you must visit on your own. No desert safari companies offer desert safari camps and activities here.

Can I go on a desert safari on my own?

It is best not to go on a desert safari on your own, i.e., if you want to try adventurous activities. Picking a reliable desert safari company for your desert safari activities will ensure you a safe and memorable experience. Trying activities like dune bashing without any experience can be dangerous.

There is no dearth of desert safari locations in UAE. With so many options, you can choose the desert location as per the activities you are interested in. Whichever desert you choose, you will get to enjoy the raw beauty of the vast deserts of this region.