Home TravelMiddle East & Africa A Magnificent Desert Safari with Orient Tours UAE

A Magnificent Desert Safari with Orient Tours UAE

by Christina Mitsi

The question ‘Which desert safari is best in Dubai’ has been searched for thousands of times because there are just so many to choose from. Some will take you to a few dunes and maybe you’ll see some wildlife, some put you on a camel and walk you in the blistering heat to a market town in the desert lit up like Las Vegas. However some of them offer a truly authentic experience, I went on one that was just that as well as luxurious and enjoyable from Orient Tours UAE and this is why it’s the best…

Orient Tours

Which Dubai desert tour is the best?

There are many options for tours of the vast Dubai desert on Orient Tours UAE’s website but my companion and I opted for the ‘Flying carpet safari with romantic dinner in the desert’ because of the sheer amount of things to do and see in the itinerary. This included camel rides, dune bashing, shisha, photo stops, a belly dance show and best of all a white-gloved waiter service and private seating arrangement for dinner in the desert.

How do you get there?

We were staying at The Waldorf Astoria all the way out on the Palm and were collected from our hotel by Orient Tours in a top-of-the-range Toyota Land Cruiser. This lovely vehicle was fully air-conditioned and adjustable for each passenger, sat high on the road for better views and was incredibly spacious for the back seat passenger. We felt very comfortable straight away as we made our way to the desert about an hour away. 

What to wear

After the long drive, we stop off at a rest stop to use the facilities and there is the option to purchase appropriate clothing if you are not equipped for the evening ahead. You should dress according to UAE customs ie cover shoulders and not wear revealing or disrespectful clothing and remember that the desert can get quite cold at night in winter so a jacket or pashmina would be ideal to take with you. However, also remember that there are many photo opportunities so an Instagrammable outfit is also a must.

Christina Mitsi on a camel

What is dune bashing?

The tour begins with what is essentially driving through the desert, that is up and down the huge dunes of sand that stretch for miles. The drivers from Orient Tours have as much as 20 years experience driving these dunes and make it as enjoyable as possible. In the interest of honest reviews I was terribly hungover this day and was absolutely dreading this part of the tour! But as it was so exhilarating and hilarious fun I forgot all about my churning stomach and was having a whale of a time cruising through the dunes.

We also stopped off at a safe point in order to take some photos of the landscape and take in the emptiness of the desert. It really was just beautiful and so different from the impossibly large cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi just a stone’s throw in either direction.

Camel farm

Back into the relief of our cold land cruiser, we headed to a camel farm. I don’t know what I expected but it wasn’t dozens of camels and their young all just roaming free and having a rest in the sun. It was lovely to see them all up close and without huge loads on their backs or chained together. They looked happy and relaxed and it was nice to get some close-up photos of them. 

Camel farm

Back in the 4X4 we made our way to the bedouin style camp, this is an area where the Bedouin tribes used to live but are now a collection of tourist attractions to demonstrate what was once a way of life for those who lived in the desert. It is only when leaving this area after nightfall do you see how many camps there are, some lit with bright circus style lights, others just simple campfires, dozens of them catering to the hundreds of tourists wanting a taste of desert life each day.

Thankfully the Orient Tours camp was in keeping with tradition, with wooden huts surrounding a central stage area and rugs laid out with low tables and cushions to sit and dine as the Bedouin people did. There are however lovely modern toilet facilities with soap and hot running water and areas where you could change into evening clothing if you so wished. 

Private seating area

The VIP treatment starts with our own private seating area and large table. Waiters brought us platters of barbecued meats, vegetables, dips, bread and sides (far too much for us to eat in one sitting!) We both remarked how delicious and fresh it all was and I particularly enjoyed the lamb chops, so much so I had 6! Do note there is no alcohol served on the tour but thankfully I had more than enough the night before so this was not a problem for me. Instead, we enjoyed sticky baklava and a lovely fruit plate to finish off a superb bedouin-style meal. 

Activities at the Orient Tours Bedouin Camp

There is plenty of free time at the Bedouin camp in order to explore all the activities on offer. You can get a traditional henna tattoo, observe a falcon show and hold one afterwards, try some shisha or for the more adventurous you can have a go at sandboarding. We found it much more enjoyable to observe others try and fail to get the hang of it.

Christina Mitsi holds a falcon


We were then treated to some truly sensational entertainment by the talented staff at Orient Tours. A daring fire dancer who twirled batons and lit up the camp with his tricks, a Tanoura dance show with an incredible LED light costume and a stunning belly dance show that had the entire audience captivated. We were so impressed with the show as you could tell so much effort had gone into it and the performers were so talented.

With full bellies and wonder in our eyes after what we had just seen we were then driven back to our hotel and it was so interesting to come out of the dark expanse of the desert and see the bright city of Dubai in the distance. 

Although Dubai has many incredible things to see and do within the city there is nothing quite like experiencing what life was once like for those living in such remote places of the world. The best way to see the desert, its wildlife and those who inhabit it is definitely with Orient Tours UAE and the incredible team who put together such a wonderful experience.

Book your tour at www.orient-tours-uae.com.

Related Posts