- Overnight desert experience with dinner and transport by vintage Land Rover from Dubai
- Look out for wildlife while traveling through Dubai Desert Conservation Range
- Eat and sleep at a Bedouin-inspired camp in the grounds of a royal residence in the desert
- See a bread-making demonstration, falconry display, traditional dancing and more
- Feast on four courses of traditional Emirati cuisine while sitting under the stars
- Sleep overnight in a comfortable Arabic tent and enjoy a traditional breakfast the next morning
- Upgrade your experience to include a hot air balloon ride over the desert!
What You Can Expect
Start your overnight experience with a pickup from your Dubai hotel, and then travel into the desert aboard your open-roof vintage Land Rover, a mode of transport used extensively in 1950’s desert expeditions. As you travel, listen to your guide’s stories about Dubai’s past and present as well as the many customs and traditions that you’ll experience throughout the evening.
Head through Dubai Desert Conservation Range, looking out for wildlife such as Arabian gazelles and oryx, and then stop in a Bedouin-inspired camp in the grounds of a private royal residence. Make your way past the gently flickering flames from the lights that mark the entranceway, and then hop out of your Land Rover to take a seat at your shared table.
Before your meal starts, a range of cultural activities are demonstrated around the tables. Enjoy an Arabic coffee and sit back to watch flamboyant dancers performing to traditional Emirati music, or perhaps take a wander around the camp. Pose in the sand dunes for a photo as the sun goes down, watch a bread-making demonstration or gaze at UAE’s national bird – the falcon – during a falconry display. If you want to immerse yourself in the culture even more, why not get a henna tattoo, smoke a shisha (Arabic water pipe) or even try riding a camel?
Take a seat back at your table in time for a cookery demonstration, where you’ll learn how to make local bread. Then, all that’s left to do is to feast on your 4-course dinner under the stars. Like the activities at the camp, the dishes are mostly traditional Emirati specialties, combining flavors from the Middle East and Asia. See sample menu in the Itinerary below.
After your meal, sit around the bonfire and gaze up at the stars, and then make your way to your Arabic tent—complete with comfortable mattress, pillows and blanket— nestled inside the camp. Settle in and enjoy sleeping overnight in the heart of the desert!
Overnight: Arabic camp in the desert
Day 2: Dubai Desert Conservation Range – Dubai (B)
Wake up early to be driven to your hot air balloon, soar over the desert to absorb the beautiful sun rise and the desert animals (if option selected) then return to your camp to the scent of strong Arabic coffee brewing and to see your breakfast being cooked, and then feast on traditional breakfast bread with balaleet (sweet noodles) and chbaab (pancakes), washed down with Arabic coffee, of course. You will also hear fascinating tales first-hand from a local Bedouin who will be joining you for breakfast.
After relaxing over your breakfast, meet your driver and bid your friends in the desert camp a fond farewell as you hop back inside your Land Rover. Travel back to Dubai, and then finish your experience with a drop-off at your hotel mid morning.
I had the experience to go to the desert with two different tour operators. What made the Platinum Heritage tour better for me was the authentic manner in which the meal was prepared and served, the opportunity to smoke sheesha comfortably, and the guide Hamdy going out of his way to meet the unique interests of each tour participant without neglecting the others.
On the tour we watched our food being prepared as it might have been by a Bedouin, we had a variety of mezza served to us at the table as if we were royalty, and our lamb was prepared as it was in the past. After dinner we had the opportunity to sit and smoke sheesha for as long as we liked sitting or resting on cushions in the center of the camp. There were two honeymooning couples so the guide Hamdy arranged for a special toast for the honeymooners, in addition to other activities to suit the needs and interests of the guests. It felt like a personal private tour with so much attentiveness.
The sleeping arrangements were comfortable and the desert at night delightful. In the morning we once again watched our food authentically prepared and had the opportunity to ask questions of a local Bedouin. The overnight camping safari could not have been better….had a great time.
Great experience - Loved the vintage land rovers. Ask for sleeping under the stars: even if they advise you to sleep in the tent, being outside is an incredible experience (and not very cold).