The Bedouin people are a desert-dwelling ethnic group found throughout the Arabian peninsula. Located in the dunes of the Dubai Desert far from any signs of permanent human habitation, Bedouin camps offer visitors a glimpse into what it might have been like for a Bedouin family trying to survive in the harsh desert landscape up until about 40 years ago.
While rapid modernization throughout the region has led a majority of the former Bedouin herders and nomadic traders to seek new livelihoods in the cities, these camps make it possible for visitors to continue to learn about Bedouin heritage. A typical family-friendly evening will include a barbecue dinner, shared while seated on Arabian rugs, Bedouin tea, a belly dancing performance, and a group conversation while smoking a hookah (a water pipe used to smoke shisha, a molasses-based tobacco). Those who want to extend the experience can spent the night sleeping under the stars in a Bedouin tent. To make the most of your desert experience, combine your camp visit with a camel ride or sand-boarding excursion.
Things to Know Before You Go
- A visit to a Bedouin camp is a must for adventure travelers, families, and first-time visitors to Dubai.
- Bedouin camp tours from Dubai can last anywhere from five hours to overnight, depending on which option you choose.
- Be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat, especially for daytime activities in the desert.
- Don’t forget a light jacket; the desert often cools significantly once the sun goes down.
How to Get There
The easiest way to get to a traditional Bedouin camp is by booking a guided tour that includes roundtrip transportation from Dubai.
When to Get There
With high temperatures around 80°F (26°C), winter is the ideal time for a desert safari. In summer (April to October), expect high humidity and daytime temperatures upwards of 100°F (38°C).
The Bedouin People of the UAE
The Bedouin, a group that adapted to the harsh conditions while herding camels, goats, and sheep, are the earliest known inhabitants of the UAE’s vast desert regions. They often used camels both for transportation and for milk. To learn more about Bedouin history before your camp experience, visit the Dubai Museum.