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How Long is the Desert Tour in Dubai?

Dubai, a city known for its luxurious lifestyle and modern architecture, also offers a unique opportunity to explore the vast and captivating Arabian Desert. One of the most popular activities for tourists and locals alike is embarking on a desert tour. But how long is the desert tour in Dubai? In this article, we’ll delve into the various options available and help you plan your perfect desert adventure.

How Long is the Desert Tour in Dubai?

The duration of a desert tour in Dubai can vary depending on the type of experience you choose. Tours range from short, half-day excursions to extended overnight camping adventures. Here’s a breakdown of the most common desert tour durations:

1. Half-Day Desert Tours (4-6 hours)

Half-day desert tours are perfect for those with limited time or who want a taste of the desert experience. These tours typically last between 4 to 6 hours and include:

  • Dune bashing (off-road driving on sand dunes)
  • Camel riding
  • Sandboarding
  • Henna painting
  • Sunset photography
  • Traditional Arabic refreshments

Most half-day tours depart in the afternoon, allowing you to witness the stunning desert sunset and return to your hotel in the evening.

2. Full-Day Desert Tours (8-10 hours)

For a more immersive experience, opt for a full-day desert tour. These tours usually span 8 to 10 hours and include all the activities mentioned in the half-day tour, plus:

  • Longer dune bashing sessions
  • Extended camel rides
  • Visits to camel farms or desert oases
  • Lunch or dinner at a Bedouin-style camp
  • Live entertainment, such as belly dancing and Tanura shows

Full-day tours offer a more comprehensive desert experience and are ideal for those who want to escape the city for an entire day.

3. Overnight Desert Camping (12-24 hours)

For the ultimate desert adventure, consider an overnight camping experience. These tours typically last between 12 to 24 hours and include:

  • All activities from the half-day and full-day tours
  • Overnight accommodation in a traditional Bedouin camp or luxury desert resort
  • Bonfire and stargazing opportunities
  • Sunrise photography
  • Breakfast in the desert

Overnight camping allows you to fully immerse yourself in the serene beauty of the Arabian Desert and create unforgettable memories.

Factors Affecting Desert Tour Duration

Several factors can influence the length of your desert tour, including:

  1. Distance from the city: The farther your desert destination is from the city center, the longer your tour will likely be.
  2. Group size: Larger groups may require more time for organization and transportation, extending the overall tour duration.
  3. Customization: Some tour operators offer customizable itineraries, allowing you to tailor the length and activities of your desert experience.
  4. Weather conditions: Extreme heat or unexpected weather changes may impact the duration of your tour, as safety is always the top priority.

Choosing the Right Desert Tour Duration for You

When deciding on the perfect desert tour duration, consider the following:

  • Your available time and schedule
  • The activities you’re most interested in
  • Your budget
  • Your physical fitness and comfort level

If you’re short on time or simply want a glimpse of the desert, a half-day tour may be the best option. For a more comprehensive experience, opt for a full-day tour. And if you’re seeking a truly immersive and unique adventure, an overnight camping experience is the way to go.

Desert Tour Operators and Pricing

Dubai offers a wide range of desert tour operators, each with their own unique itineraries and pricing. To help you make an informed decision, here’s a comparison table of some popular tour operators and their offerings:

Tour Operator Half-Day Tour Full-Day Tour Overnight Camping
Arabian Adventures AED 315 AED 565 AED 1,050
Desert Safari Dubai AED 280 AED 500 AED 900
Platinum Heritage AED 595 AED 995 AED 1,895
OceanAir Travels AED 250 AED 450 AED 850

Prices are approximate and subject to change. Always check with the tour operator for the most up-to-date pricing and inclusions.

When choosing a desert tour operator, consider factors such as:

  • Reputation and customer reviews
  • Safety record and equipment quality
  • Inclusivity of activities and refreshments
  • Pickup and drop-off locations
  • Group size and language options

Tips for a Memorable Desert Tour Experience

To make the most of your Dubai desert tour, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Dress appropriately: Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and closed-toe shoes. Bring a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings.
  2. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout your tour to prevent dehydration in the desert heat.
  3. Protect your skin: Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and bring sunglasses to shield yourself from the sun’s intense rays.
  4. Follow safety instructions: Listen carefully to your tour guide’s safety briefing and follow their instructions during activities like dune bashing and camel riding.
  5. Respect the environment: Avoid littering and disturbing the natural desert habitat. Take only pictures, leave only footprints.

Key Takeaway

Dubai desert tours offer a unique and exciting way to explore the Arabian Desert, with durations ranging from half-day excursions to overnight camping experiences. By considering your preferences, budget, and the factors mentioned in this article, you can choose the perfect desert tour length for an unforgettable adventure in Dubai.


The length of a desert tour in Dubai can vary greatly, offering options suitable for every traveler’s needs and desires. Whether you prefer a short half-day trip or an immersive overnight camping experience, Dubai’s desert tour operators have you covered. By understanding the different tour durations, activities, and factors involved, you can make an informed decision and create lasting memories in the enchanting Arabian Desert.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the best time of year to go on a desert tour in Dubai?
    The best time for a desert tour is between November and March when temperatures are milder. Summer months can be extremely hot, making outdoor activities less comfortable.

  2. Are desert tours suitable for children and families?
    Yes, many desert tours are family-friendly, offering activities suitable for all ages. However, it’s essential to check with the tour operator about age restrictions for specific activities like dune bashing.

  3. Do I need any special equipment or gear for a desert tour?
    Most tour operators provide all necessary equipment, such as sandboards and camel riding gear. However, it’s recommended to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing, closed-toe shoes, and sun protection.

  4. Can I customize my desert tour itinerary?
    Some tour operators offer customizable itineraries, allowing you to tailor your desert experience based on your preferences. Contact the operator directly to discuss your options.

  5. Are there any age or health restrictions for desert tours?
    Age and health restrictions may vary depending on the tour operator and specific activities. It’s crucial to disclose any health concerns or limitations to your tour operator in advance.

  6. What kind of vehicles are used for dune bashing?
    Dune bashing is typically conducted in 4×4 vehicles such as Toyota Land Cruisers or Nissan Patrols, specially equipped to handle desert conditions.

  7. Are desert tours safe?
    Reputable tour operators prioritize safety, using well-maintained vehicles and experienced guides. However, as with any adventure activity, there is always some inherent risk involved.

  8. Can I book a private desert tour?
    Yes, many tour operators offer private desert tours, allowing you to enjoy a more intimate and personalized experience with your friends or family.

  9. What is the maximum group size for desert tours?
    Group sizes vary between tour operators, with some accommodating up to 50 people or more. However, many operators limit group sizes to ensure a more enjoyable and intimate experience.

  10. Are vegetarian or special dietary options available during desert tours?
    Most tour operators cater to various dietary requirements, including vegetarian, vegan, and halal options. Inform your tour operator about any dietary restrictions in advance.

  11. Can I combine a desert tour with other Dubai attractions?
    Some tour operators offer combination packages that include desert tours and visits to other Dubai attractions like the Burj Khalifa or Dubai Mall.

  12. Are there any photography restrictions during desert tours?
    Generally, there are no photography restrictions during desert tours. However, it’s always polite to ask permission before taking photos of people, particularly locals.

  13. What wildlife can I expect to see during a desert tour?
    While wildlife sightings are not guaranteed, you may spot Arabian oryx, gazelles, foxes, or various bird species during your desert tour.

  14. Are desert tours accessible for people with disabilities?
    Accessibility may vary between tour operators. It’s best to contact the operator directly to discuss your specific needs and any accommodations they can provide.

  15. Can I cancel or reschedule my desert tour booking?
    Cancellation and rescheduling policies differ among tour operators. Be sure to review the operator’s terms and conditions before booking.

  16. What languages are desert tours conducted in?
    Most desert tours are conducted in English, but some operators may offer tours in other languages like Arabic, French, or German.

  17. Are there any additional costs or fees not included in the tour price?
    Some tours may not include additional activities, souvenirs, or gratuities. Always check with the operator about what is included in the tour price and any extra costs you should expect.

  18. Can I bring my own snacks and beverages on a desert tour?
    While most tours provide refreshments, you can usually bring your own snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. However, check with the operator about their specific policies.

  19. What is the tipping etiquette for desert tour guides?
    Tipping is appreciated but not mandatory. If you enjoyed your experience, a tip of around 10-15% of the tour cost is a good guideline.

  20. Are there any cultural or behavioral guidelines I should be aware of during a desert tour?
    Respect local customs and dress modestly, especially when interacting with locals. Follow your guide’s instructions and be mindful of the environment by not littering or disturbing wildlife.

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