Dubai is a popular tourist destination known for its extravagant experiences, iconic skyscrapers, and thrilling desert adventures. One of the top things to do in Dubai is to go on a desert safari tour. Desert safaris allow visitors to experience the vast sand dunes and raw natural beauty of the Arabian desert surrounding Dubai. Most desert safari tours include dune bashing in SUVs, camel rides, sandboarding, quad biking, and desert camping. When planning your Dubai itinerary, you’ll need to know the entry fees for these exciting desert safari experiences. This article provides a breakdown of the typical costs for desert safari tours and activities in Dubai.
Overview of Desert Safari Tours in Dubai
There are two main types of desert safari tours offered in Dubai:
Evening Desert Safaris
- Typically 4-6 hours long starting in the afternoon and going into the evening
- Include dune bashing, camel riding, sunset views, barbecue dinner, live entertainment, stargazing
- Range from AED 150-300 per person
Overnight Desert Safaris
- Last 24 hours including a full evening and morning in the desert
- Include everything in an evening safari plus campsite accommodations and breakfast
- Range from AED 350-500 per person
When choosing a desert safari tour, prices vary depending on:
- Duration of tour
- Inclusions (activities, meals, etc)
- Time of year
- Number of people in your group
- Luxury level of tour operator
Reputable tour operators like Arabian Adventures and Platinum Heritage offer competitive rates and reliable service.
Breakdown of Desert Safari Entry Fees
Here is a more detailed breakdown of typical per-person rates for major desert safari activities and experiences in Dubai:
- Driving up and down sand dunes in a 4×4 – AED 200-400 depending on tour package
- Short 20-30 min ride – AED 50-100
- Longer 60+ min trek – AED 150-300
- Hour-long session with instructor – AED 150-250
- Additional hours – AED 50-100 per hour
- Hour-long session – AED 200-400
- Extra hours – AED 100-200 per hour
- Often free with dune bashing tours
- For standalone sunset viewing trips – AED 50-150
- Bedouin-style tent – AED 150-300 per night
- Private tent with bathroom – AED 300-500 per night
- Luxury cabin with AC – AED 800-1500+ per night
Desert Camp Activities
- Camel riding, sandboarding, quad biking, henna – AED 50-200 per activity
- Falconry experiences – AED 200-400
- Horse riding – AED 150-300
- Archery – AED 100-200
- Dune buggy riding – AED 300-600
- BBQ dinner buffet – AED 150-300 per person
- Breakfast buffet – AED 100-200 per person
- Private dining experiences – AED 300-500 per person
- Tanoura/skirt dancing – Often free with dinner
- Fire shows – Free or AED 50-100
- Live music – Free or AED 50-100
Booking Desert Safari Tours on a Budget
Desert safaris offer an exciting way to experience Dubai’s magnificent desert regions. But the costs can add up, especially for large families or groups. Here are some tips for booking desert safari tours on a budget:
- Opt for an evening desert safari rather than overnight to save on accommodation fees
- Book during off-peak seasons like summer when prices are lower
- Browse Groupon or other discount sites for deals on popular tours
- Avoid add-ons like quad biking or private falconry shows to minimize costs
- See if you tour operator offers child discounts for big families
- Split costs by sharing desert experiences like dining and camping with other people in your group
- Book a short 4-hour safari rather than a whole day/night out in the desert
- Use public transportation to meet tour group instead of arranged luxury transfers
Key Things to Know About Desert Safari Entry Fees
- Prices vary widely based on tour operators and inclusions so shop around
- Expect to pay AED 150-300 per person for an evening desert safari experience
- Overnight desert safari tours with accommodation tend to run AED 350-500+ per person
- Additional activities like dune buggies, falconry, quad biking have separate fees ranging AED 50-600
- Book in advance online for lower rates compared to booking last minute onsite
- Desert safari costs increase in peak tourism season from October-April
- Private small group tours are more expensive than joining a large shared group
- Entry fees typically cover transportation, meals, camel riding, henna, and some entertainment
- Gratuities for guides and drivers are appreciated but not strictly required
FAQ About Desert Safari Entry Fees
- What is included in desert safari entry fees?
Most evening desert safari entry fees include dune bashing, camel riding, henna tattoos, barbecue dinner, some live entertainment, and roundtrip transfers. Overnight tours also include camping accommodations and breakfast. Activities like quad biking often cost extra.
- How much should you tip on a desert safari?
Tips are not mandatory but tour guides and drivers will appreciate 10-15% of your total safari cost if you received good service. Tip individuals who provided activities like camel handlers or henna artists AED 10-30.
- What is the best time of day for a desert safari?
The best time for a desert safari is the late afternoon around 4 or 5pm. This allows you to experience dune bashing during daylight as well as sunset views and nighttime entertainment. Avoid very early morning or midday desert tours when the heat is intense.
- Is it better to book a desert safari online or in person?
It’s usually better to book online in advance for lower rates. Booking onsite often involves inflated prices and lack of availability. Reputable tour operators like Rayna Desert Safari offer online booking with guaranteed pricing.
- How can you save money on desert safari entry fees?
opt for shorter 4-6 hour evening safaris, avoid overnight camping, share costs with larger groups, skip add-on activities, go off-peak, and book well in advance online for the lowest rates on your desert safari.
- Are desert safari fees negotiable?
Large tour operators typically have set non-negotiable rates. Smaller independent guides may be open to negotiating, especially if you book privately. Avoid negotiating out of respect for fair wages, but politely ask if any discounts apply to students, children, residents, etc.
- Can young children go on desert safaris?
Most tour operators allow children ages 5 and up on desert safaris. Junior rates around 50% off often apply to kids under 12. Parents are responsible for supervising children. Call ahead to check minimum ages and child safety policies.
- Is it safe to go dune bashing while pregnant?
Dune bashing involves bumpy rides that may be uncomfortable for pregnant women. Check with your doctor about any health or safety concerns. Most tour operators allow expectant mothers on safaris but advise them to skip dune bashing.
- How much is desert camel riding in Dubai?
Camel riding for 20-30 minutes typically costs AED 50-100 on desert safari tours. For longer 60+ minute treks, expect to pay AED 150-300. Multi-day camel trekking tours are also available in Dubai starting around AED 500+.
- Can I drink alcohol on a desert safari?
Most tours prohibit alcohol during dune bashing and activities for safety reasons. Alcohol may be served at campsites with dinner depending on the operator’s policies. Confirm ahead if you want to consume alcohol on your desert safari.
- Is there tax on top of desert safari entry fees?
Tours are subject to a 5% VAT tax on top of the listed rate. Most prices are quoted inclusive of VAT so what you see should be what you pay. Double check to avoid surprise charges. Tips for guides/drivers are optional.
A desert safari can be one of the most memorable and thrilling experiences during a trip to Dubai. Tour rates vary greatly based on duration, activities, group size, time of year, and operator. Expect to pay AED 150-500 per person for evening or overnight desert safari. Carefully review inclusions, read fine print, and book online in advance for the best rates. With thoughtful planning, desert safari entry fees can fit within most travel budgets. The magnificent sand dunes and Arabian culture of Dubai’s desert make this adventure well worth the cost.