While the sights and sounds of Dubai could keep you entertained for hours, it would be criminal not to venture out into the desert and experience the “countryside”. Growing up surrounded by lush green hills (and my fair share of rain), the peaks and troughs of the desert sands are somewhat otherworldly and temptingly exotic for me.
On my first trip to visit Leandi, we booked ourselves onto a dune safari with Arabian Adventures. We were picked up in a bright red and white off-road 4×4 by our friendly guide. The journey out to the desert takes about 50 minutes but as you work your way on the long straight road out of the city, you see the changes to the landscape. With each kilometre, the glistening super-structures fade and are replaced by mirage-inducing sand.
On arrival, we are taken to a small site to learn about the ancient art of falconry and watch these intimidating but incredibly skilled birds take flight as they soar across the desert hunting prey. After a refreshing soft drink we were back in the car and off over the dunes.
Leandi had kindly allowed me the front seat and I was in my element.
Rising up over the top of these sand giants was like being in an Indiana Jones film (minus the hat and whip and impending doom). Our reliable 4×4 scaling the dunes easily and then, like a rollercoaster, carried us gliding down what seem like near vertical drops. It was so exhilarating that I was loath to stop but as I was about to find out, it was with good reason that this was the moment to pause.
We climbed out of the luxuriously air-conditioned vehicle and stepped into the comforting warmth of the arid desert air. Perfectly timed, it was time for the sun to set and we were witnessing with nothing but beautiful sand dunes in sight. It’s amazing how dark it gets when there are no city lights and you really appreciate both the stars in the night sky.
After such a peaceful and heart-warming moment, it was time to hop back aboard and head to our final stop in the sands, a bedouin-style camp. Here we would be treated to traditional cuisine ( plus a few tourist favourites, such as belly dancing, camel riding, henna hand painting and the compulsory photo opportunity before it was time to head back to the bright lights of the city and modern day.
Trips to the desert like our cost around AED 375.00 per person all inclusive including hotel transfers and a percentage of the price goes towards local desert conservation. Find out more here.
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All the images in this article are ours.