Desert safaris are one of the most popular attractions in Abu Dhabi, offering visitors a chance to experience the immense natural beauty and cultural heritage of the desert landscapes surrounding the city. With numerous tour operators and packages on offer, desert safari prices can vary significantly. This definitive guide breaks down the average costs of Abu Dhabi desert safaris to help you budget and plan your trip.
Types of Desert Safari Experiences
There are several types of desert safaris available from Abu Dhabi, ranging from budget to premium options:
Evening Desert Safaris
- Duration: 4-6 hours
- Key activities: Dune bashing, camel riding, sandboarding, henna, buffet dinner with entertainment
- Average price range: AED 150-300 per person
Overnight Desert Safaris
- Duration: 1 day/night
- Key activities: Camel trekking, wildlife spotting, stargazing, campsite dinner and breakfast
- Average price range: AED 300-800 per person
Luxury Desert Safaris
- Duration: 5-6 hours
- Key activities: Dune bashing in luxury 4x4s, falconry displays, fine dining, photo ops
- Average price range: AED 800+ per person
Desert & Wildlife Safaris
- Duration: 4-6 hours
- Key activities: Interactions with camels, falcons and salukis, nature walks
- Average price range: AED 350+ per person
As you can see, there is a desert experience in Abu Dhabi to suit all budgets and interests. Keep reading for more details on factors impacting desert safari prices.
Key Factors Affecting Desert Safari Costs
Desert safari rates in Abu Dhabi can vary substantially depending on:
Type of Package
Overnight, luxury and specialty desert safaris that include extra amenities and activities come at a higher premium than standard evening safaris.
Desert safaris offer better value for larger groups since fixed costs like transportation and guides can be split over more people. Solo travelers will pay more.
Time of Year
Peak tourism seasons like holidays and summers typically see elevated desert safari prices due to higher demand.
Inclusions & Exclusions
Pay attention to what’s included (e.g. food, hotel transfers, alcohol) and excluded to accurately compare package rates.
Reputable operators with modern vehicles, quality guides and better safety standards also command higher desert safari prices.
By keeping the above factors in mind, you can better understand variances in Abu Dhabi desert safari rates offered by different companies.
Cost Saving Tips
Follow these tips to save money on desert safaris in Abu Dhabi:
- Travel in larger groups to split costs
- Book during off-peak months like Ramadan
- Choose basic evening safaris instead of premium packages
- Look for deals including hotel transfers, food, etc
- Avoid add-ons like alcohol, quad biking or separate falcon encounters
- Compare rates thoroughly and read the fine print
Reputable operators like Arabian Nights Desert Safari offer reasonable prices year-round. Overall, plan for an expenditure of approximately AED 250-500 per person for an evening desert safari experience.
Booking Your Desert Safari
Here are some tips for booking your perfect Abu Dhabi desert safari trip:
Reserve your safari at least 2-4 weeks in advance to lock in dates and get the best deals. Last minute tours are more expensive.
Check desert safari reviews on TripAdvisor, Google and social channels to identify top operators known for service, safety and value.
Verify pick up/drop off details, itinerary timings, amenities provided (meals, water, towels etc.) and any extra costs. Reconfirm a day before.
Enquire About Cancellations
Understand cancellation and no-show policies in case plans change – some operators charge up to 100%.
Look For Deals
Join mailing lists and follow social media pages of the top companies for access to exclusive desert safari promotions and discounts.
Booking with a reputable desert safari operator with clear trip details and terms & conditions is key to success. Avoid vague offers that seem too good to be true.
Top 7 Desert Safari Operators in Abu Dhabi
The desert safari operator you choose greatly impacts overall trip quality and value. Here are top-rated Abu Dhabi companies noted for service, reliability and pricing across 50,000+ reviews:
- Arabian Nights Desert Safari
- Desert Safari Abu Dhabi
- Golden Sands Desert Safari
- Arabia Horizons Tours & Safari
- Rayna Desert Safari
- Hot Air Balloon Dubai – Abu Dhabi
- City Sightseeing Abu Dhabi
Carefully vet each company’s inclusions, guest reviews and operator credentials when comparing desert safari package rates.
What To Wear On Desert Safaris
Dressing appropriately for desert conditions is vital for comfort and safety:
Light, Loose Clothing
Cover up from the intense sun during the days with breathable fabrics like cottons and linens.
Protect your skin from harsh winds when dune bashing in open jeeps. Bring a scarf or bandana.
Closed Walking Shoes
Avoid flip flops – opt for sneakers or sport sandals with ankle support for unstable sandy terrain.
Evenings and nights can dip below 50°F, so bring layers and avoid bare shoulders or knees.
Hat & Sunglasses
Shield your eyes from glaring sunlight reflecting off pale desert sands. Baseball caps offer face protection.
Lots of broad spectrum, sweatproof SPF50 is a must. Reapply often.
Dress in lightweight, breathable layers you can add or remove according to shifting desert temperatures during your Abu Dhabi safari.
- Evening desert safaris offer 4-6 hours of adventure for AED 150-300 per person – presenting the best value tours in Abu Dhabi.
- Overnight, luxury and specialty safaris are more expensive due to extensive inclusions and activities.
- Prices fluctuate based on seasons, group sizes, tour extras and the operator.
- Book 2-4 weeks early directly with well-reviewed companies for the best rates.
- Expect to pay AED 250-500 per head for an evening with a leading desert safari provider.
Desert safaris showcase the iconic sand dunes, heritage and hospitality of Arabian culture. Priced accessibly at around AED 300 per person, Abu Dhabi evening tours offer tremendous value. Yet costs can still vary quite a bit across the many safari providers and customizable packages available.
By better understanding the factors impacting desert safari rates, reviewing top operators and locking in your trip a few weeks early, you can secure an unforgettable Abu Dhabi desert experience at the best possible price.
So gather your friends, pick a top-rated operator like Arabian Night Desert Safari and prepare for an Arabian adventure across towering dunes and under endless stars. Priceless memories await!
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is usually included in Abu Dhabi desert safari packages?
Typical inclusions are 4×4 vehicle transportation, dune bashing, camel riding, sandboarding, quad biking, henna designs, buffet dinner with entertainment, water, soft drinks, towels, some photos/videos. Check exact details.
- Should I tip the desert safari staff?
Tipping drivers and helpers 10% of your package rate is customary in the UAE to reward good service. Many operators also run no obligation tip boxes.
- How can I get discounts on Abu Dhabi desert safaris?
Booking multi-day deals in advance, traveling in bigger groups, visiting in off-peak seasons, opting for basic packages, and checking tour operator specials can reduce rates.
- Is it safe to go on desert safaris while pregnant?
No. High speeds, bumpy rides and unstable sandy terrain make Abu Dhabi desert safaris unsuitable for expecting mothers beyond their first trimester.
- Can kids go on desert safaris in Abu Dhabi?
Yes! Many providers offer child discounts. Just ensure your chosen safari doesn’t feature high risk activities like dune bashing or quad biking that may exclude younger children.
- When is the best month for desert safaris in Abu Dhabi?
The cooler months from November-February see pleasant daytime temperatures under 80°F – ideal for desert sightseeing. Summer tours also have their own unique appeal.
- What should I wear for desert safari tours?
Lightweight, loose cottons & linens covered in sunscreen provide protection from sun and wind during the day. Bring layers, hats and closed shoes for shifting temperatures.
- Can I change my desert safari booking date or get a refund?
Policies vary. Reputable companies try to accommodate date changes depending on availability. Full refunds are usually only offered for serious incidents under their control. Read the fine print.
- Which desert safari company is the best?
Based on thousands of independent reviews, top Abu Dhabi operators are Arabian Nights Desert Safari, Golden Sands Tours, Desert Safari Abu Dhabi, Arabia Horizons, Rayna Tours and City Sightseeing for overall quality, value and safety across budget to premium tours.
- Are private desert safaris worth the extra cost?
Private safaris allow customization for solo travelers or groups that want a more personalized itinerary not tied to fixed schedules. If exclusivity is important, the splurge can be worthwhile.
- Can I do a desert safari if I have back problems?
Speak to your doctor. While providers make every effort to ensure a smooth ride, dune bashing may be too bumpy for people with chronic back injuries or reduced mobility that prevents wearing seat belts comfortably. Many alternatives like camel trekking are available. Discuss your medical history with tour operators to identify suitable activities.
- Is alcohol included on Abu Dhabi evening desert safaris?
No – soft drinks, water and sometimes mocktails or wine with dinner are typically included in basic packages. Many operators offer alcohol packages pre-order or for purchase separately on-site. As it is illegal to drink in public in Abu Dhabi beyond resorts, consumption usually occurs at dedicated sunset bar stops or private campsites. Always drink responsibly.
- Can I do a desert safari if I’m vegan/have food allergies?
Yes, disclose your dietary needs when booking. The best Abu Dhabi operators prepare customized vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free meals in advance for guests with medical restrictions if informed beforehand.
- Why are desert safari rates different between companies?
Variances arise based on vehicle quality, itinerary length, staffing, modernity of private campsites, entertainment, food choices and alcohol availability etc. More amenities mean higher pricing. Leading operators follow government price regulations.
- What is the best desert safari for families?
Look for evening safaris promising gentle dune bashing, kid-friendly buffets/entertainment, and activities like camel rides or sandboarding. Available add-ons like baby car seats, insurance and age-appropriate adventure sports are also ideal for families seeking customization.
- What should I do if I miss my desert safari pickup?
Call your safari provider immediately to attempt to make alternative arrangements – perhaps by direct taxi at your own cost. Policies for no-shows, delays, reimbursements etc. vary so discuss well in advance. Get your hotel concierge involved for language assistance too if needed.
- How do I choose between a Hummer or Landcruiser for dune bashing?
Both heavy vehicles deliver adrenaline-pumping rollercoaster rides over sand dunes. Hummers provide large elevated windows for better views and photo ops. Test drive both on shorter dune bashing trails first to determine your preference based on comfort and thrill factor.