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What’s Included in a Desert Safari?

Embark on an exhilarating journey through the golden sands of the desert with a desert safari adventure. This unique experience offers a fascinating glimpse into the traditional Bedouin lifestyle while immersing you in the breathtaking beauty of the desert landscape. From heart-pumping activities to cultural encounters, a desert safari is packed with unforgettable moments. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what’s included in a typical desert safari, ensuring you’re well-prepared for an adventure of a lifetime.

What's Included in a Desert Safari?

What’s Included in Desert Safari?

When you book a desert safari, you can expect a wide range of thrilling activities and experiences. While the specific inclusions may vary depending on the tour operator and package you choose, here are some common elements you can look forward to:

1. Dune Bashing

One of the most exciting and adrenaline-pumping activities included in a desert safari is dune bashing. Buckle up in a 4×4 vehicle as a skilled driver navigates the towering sand dunes, sliding and gliding across the sandy terrain. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you ascend and descend the dunes, enjoying the rollercoaster-like experience. Dune bashing is a thrilling way to explore the desert landscape and get your heart racing.

2. Camel Rides

No desert safari is complete without a traditional camel ride. Climb aboard these gentle giants and embark on a leisurely trek through the sandy dunes. As you sway to the rhythm of the camel’s steps, take in the serene beauty of the desert surroundings. Camel rides offer a unique perspective of the desert and allow you to experience the traditional mode of transportation used by the Bedouins for centuries.

3. Sandboarding

For adventure enthusiasts, sandboarding is another exciting activity often included in desert safaris. Similar to snowboarding, sandboarding involves gliding down the sandy slopes on a specially designed board. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced boarder, the soft sand dunes provide a forgiving surface to practice your skills. Feel the rush of the wind as you slide down the dunes, leaving a trail of sand in your wake.

4. Henna Painting

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the desert with henna painting. Many desert safaris include the opportunity to have intricate henna designs applied to your hands or feet by skilled artists. Henna is a natural dye that has been used for centuries in the Middle East and North Africa for its cosmetic and medicinal properties. Choose from a variety of traditional or modern designs and enjoy the temporary body art that will last for several days.

5. Falconry Demonstration

Witness the ancient art of falconry, a significant part of the Bedouin culture, during your desert safari. Skilled falconers will showcase the incredible speed, agility, and hunting prowess of these majestic birds of prey. Learn about the rich history and tradition of falconry in the desert, and if you’re lucky, you may even have the chance to hold a falcon on your gloved hand for a truly unforgettable experience.

6. Traditional Dinner and Entertainment

As the sun sets over the desert, indulge in a delicious traditional dinner under the stars. Most desert safaris include a barbecue or buffet-style dinner featuring a variety of local dishes, such as grilled meats, fresh salads, and aromatic rice. Sit on comfortable cushions around low tables and savor the flavors of authentic Arabian cuisine.

During dinner, enjoy an array of traditional entertainment, such as belly dancing performances, Tanura dancing (a form of Sufi whirling), and fire shows. The mesmerizing movements of the dancers and the hypnotic rhythm of the music create a captivating atmosphere that transports you to the heart of Arabian culture.

7. Stargazing

As the night falls and the sky turns into a canvas of stars, take a moment to marvel at the celestial wonders above. The remote location of the desert, far from the city lights, offers an unparalleled opportunity for stargazing. Lay back on the soft sand and gaze up at the twinkling stars, identifying constellations and making wishes upon shooting stars. The tranquility and vastness of the desert create a magical setting for a stargazing experience you’ll never forget.

Preparing for Your Desert Safari

To ensure a comfortable and enjoyable desert safari experience, it’s essential to come prepared. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Dress Appropriately

The desert can experience extreme temperatures, with scorching heat during the day and cooler temperatures at night. Dress in light, breathable clothing that covers your arms and legs to protect your skin from the sun and sand. Opt for loose-fitting, comfortable garments made from natural fabrics like cotton or linen. Don’t forget to pack a light jacket or shawl for the evening when temperatures drop.

Wear Comfortable Footwear

When exploring the desert, comfortable and sturdy footwear is a must. Opt for closed-toe shoes or sandals with a good grip to navigate the sandy terrain. Avoid wearing flip-flops or high heels, as they can be uncomfortable and impractical in the desert environment.

Stay Hydrated

The desert climate can be dehydrating, so it’s crucial to stay hydrated throughout your safari. Bring a refillable water bottle and take regular sips to maintain your fluid levels. Most desert safari operators provide complimentary water, but it’s always a good idea to have extra on hand.

Apply Sun Protection

The desert sun can be intense, so protect your skin by applying a high-SPF sunscreen before and during your safari. Don’t forget to reapply every few hours, especially if you’re engaging in activities that make you sweat. Wear a wide-brimmed hat or cap to shield your face from direct sunlight, and consider bringing sunglasses to protect your eyes from the glare of the sand.

Bring a Camera

A desert safari offers countless opportunities for stunning photography. From the golden sand dunes to the vibrant sunset colors, you’ll want to capture these moments to cherish forever. Bring a camera or ensure your smartphone has sufficient storage space and battery life to take plenty of photos and videos throughout your adventure.

Be Respectful of Local Customs

When visiting the desert and interacting with Bedouin culture, it’s essential to be respectful of local customs and traditions. Dress modestly, covering your shoulders and knees, especially when visiting traditional camps or settlements. Be mindful of your behavior and avoid any actions that may be considered offensive or disrespectful to the local culture.

Key Takeaways

  • A desert safari offers a thrilling and immersive experience in the heart of the desert.
  • Common activities included in a desert safari are dune bashing, camel rides, sandboarding, henna painting, falconry demonstrations, traditional dinner and entertainment, and stargazing.
  • To prepare for your desert safari, dress appropriately in light, breathable clothing, wear comfortable footwear, stay hydrated, apply sun protection, bring a camera, and be respectful of local customs.
  • A desert safari is an unforgettable adventure that combines excitement, cultural immersion, and the beauty of the desert landscape.


A desert safari is an extraordinary adventure that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. From the heart-pumping thrill of dune bashing to the serene beauty of a camel ride at sunset, a desert safari offers a wide range of experiences that cater to every type of adventurer. By knowing what’s included in a typical desert safari and coming prepared with the right gear and mindset, you’re sure to have an unforgettable time in the desert.

Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline rush, a cultural immersion, or simply a chance to disconnect from the world and embrace the tranquility of the desert, a safari has something for everyone. So, pack your bags, charge your camera, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime in the golden sands of the desert.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the best time of year to go on a desert safari?
    The best time to go on a desert safari is during the winter months, from November to March, when the weather is cooler and more pleasant.

  2. How long does a typical desert safari last?
    A typical desert safari lasts between 5 to 7 hours, depending on the package and activities included.

  3. Is a desert safari suitable for children?
    Yes, desert safaris are generally suitable for children, but it’s important to check with the tour operator for any age restrictions on specific activities.

  4. What should I wear on a desert safari?
    Wear loose, comfortable clothing made from breathable fabrics. Cover your arms and legs to protect from the sun and sand, and wear sturdy shoes or sandals.

  5. Can I bring my own food and drinks on a desert safari?
    Most desert safari packages include meals and beverages, so bringing your own is usually not necessary. However, it’s best to check with your tour operator for their specific policy.

  6. Are desert safaris safe?
    Yes, reputable desert safari operators prioritize safety and have experienced guides and drivers. However, it’s important to follow instructions and take necessary precautions.

  7. Do I need to have prior experience for activities like dune bashing or sandboarding?
    No prior experience is required for activities like dune bashing or sandboarding. Skilled drivers and instructors will guide you through the experience.

  8. Can I ride a camel if I have never done it before?
    Yes, camel rides are suitable for beginners. The camels are well-trained, and guides will assist you in mounting and dismounting safely.

  9. What kind of vehicles are used for dune bashing?
    Dune bashing is typically done in 4×4 vehicles like Toyota Land Cruisers or Jeeps that are specially equipped for navigating the desert terrain.

  10. Is there a weight or age limit for camel rides?
    Most tour operators don’t have a strict weight or age limit for camel rides. However, it’s best to check with your specific operator for any restrictions.

  11. Can I participate in a desert safari if I have mobility issues?
    It’s possible to participate in some aspects of a desert safari if you have mobility issues. Discuss your specific needs with the tour operator to see what accommodations can be made.

  12. Are vegetarian or vegan options available for the traditional dinner?
    Yes, most desert safari operators offer vegetarian and vegan options for the traditional dinner. Inform your tour operator about your dietary requirements in advance.

  13. Can I fly my drone during a desert safari?
    Regulations regarding drone usage vary by location. Check with your tour operator and local authorities about the specific rules and permits required for flying drones.

  14. Is it possible to book a private desert safari?
    Yes, many tour operators offer private desert safari packages for individuals or small groups who prefer a more personalized experience.

  15. What is the cancellation policy for desert safaris?
    Cancellation policies vary among tour operators. Be sure to review the specific cancellation terms and conditions of your chosen operator before booking.

  16. Are there any additional costs not included in the desert safari package?
    Most desert safari packages are all-inclusive, but there may be additional costs for optional activities, souvenirs, or gratuities. Check with your tour operator for details.

  17. Can I wear shorts or sleeveless shirts during the safari?
    It’s best to dress modestly and respectfully, especially when interacting with local culture. Opt for clothing that covers your shoulders and knees.

  18. What is the average group size for a desert safari?
    Group sizes vary depending on the tour operator and package. Shared safaris typically accommodate larger groups, while private safaris have smaller, more intimate groups.

  19. Are there restroom facilities available during the safari?
    Most desert safari camps have designated restroom facilities. However, during activities like dune bashing, facilities may be limited. It’s best to check with your tour operator for specific details.

  20. Can I charge my electronic devices during the safari?
    Some desert safari camps may have electricity or generators available for charging electronic devices. However, it’s recommended to bring a portable power bank as a backup.

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