Sunday, 31 October 2010

Desert Safari

An opportunity for a lot of fun in the Arabian desert.

I recently had a friend visit me in the UAE and we took the opportunity to go on a desert safari. We went on an evening tour of the desert in Al Ain. The tour operators we used were excellent and they provided a complete door to door service, so there was no hassle involved at all.

Once the transport arrived outside my apartment, we climbed into the 4x4 and met the other tourists we'd be sharing the car with. The journey from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain was fairly uneventful but the fun started once we turned off the main roads onto the surrounding desert and joined the convoy of other vehicles in the tour group.

First stop was to a camel farm. It was nice to see the camels in their natural environment after spending most of my time in a concrete city. There were loadsof camels and everyone had a picture with one. To say there isn't much food in the desert, these camels produced a huge amount bottom rubbish - avoiding stepping in it was pretty impossible!

The second activity we were involved in was Dune Bashing. Once we turned off the main roads our driver instructed us to fasten out seatbelts and hold on. I got the impression the tour guide really enjoyed his job because he loved accelerating and was very confident in his driving ability. The car travels along rough tracks until it reaches the barren desert.

Once we arrive at the sand dunes the fast pace is maintained as we drive over the crest of the sand dunes. It is really exhilarating because you cannot see what's on the other side of the dune and sometime there is a fairly steep fall. For other dunes, we'd attack from the side, reach the summit of the dune and then slide down sideways before accelerating off to the next dune. It's as close as I've been to rally driving and it was a lot of fun. The roll cage in the car suggests it may be slightly dangerous too!



There was the occasional pit stop and photo opportunity before it was back in to the cars to tear up some more sand. After half an hour or so of being thrown around the car like the inside of a washing machine, we reached the Bedouin camp.

There was an opportunity to ride a camel, but I skipped that. There were also quad bikes but we were informed there was no insurance, and I didn't really fancy trying to fix my own broken arm after rolling down a dune. However I did participate in the Dune Surfing. As the name suggests, you stand on a board and surf down the dune. It was very easy and you manage to pick up quite a bit of speed from the taller dunes.


After that it was time to relax and get a drink in the Bedouin camp. Soon after, the evening's entertainment started. There was a great barbecue, a henna tattooist, lots of shisha and a belly dancer. It was pretty funny watching the Dad's get up on stage and try to dance. They were caught between trying to dance sexily with the woman whilst not making a fool of themselves, despite having no rhythm at all.

Once everyone settled down after the fun, the lights were turned out so you could stare at the stars. I lay down on the sand and stares into the sky. It's been a lot time since I saw so many stars. I thought there was an electric light left on behind me until I stood up and saw a beautiful full moon just above the sand dune I'd been surfing down earlier.

Unfortunately we couldn't stay there all night and it was time to return home. My friend and I discussed which were our favourite parts of the safari during the journey back. I think we both agreed the Dune Bashing was the most fun, but it's safe to say I enjoyed every minute.

45 comments:

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    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
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living in the United Arab Emirates