Dubai is known for its desert landscapes, making a desert safari a popular activity for tourists. With several desert options to choose from, selecting the best one for your safari adventure can be difficult. This article will compare the top three deserts in Dubai for safari tours – the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, Al Marmoom Desert, and Margham Desert – helping you decide which desert is ideal for your interests and budget.
Expansive Landscapes and Wildlife at Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve
The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve spans 225 square kilometers, making it the largest piece of land managed by Dubai’s Municipality. Its vast desert landscape allows plenty of room to admire dunes and desert creatures.
Some key highlights of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve:
- Home to over 31 species of mammals and 137 species of birds. During your safari, you may spot Arabian oryx, gazelles, foxes, and falcons hunting smaller animals.
- Iconic red dunes that can reach up to 200 feet tall. Driving over these monumental dunes makes for dramatic scenery.
- Several camps and resorts along the reserve’s perimeter offer activities like dune bashing, camel riding, sandboarding, and quad biking.
With its size and biodiversity, the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve is ideal for desert landscape photography and wildlife sightings. The range of camps also provides adventure sports to complement the safari.
Budget-Friendly Tours Through Al Marmoom Desert
Located in eastern Dubai, the Al Marmoom Desert spans 10,000 hectares featuring mostly flat sands rather than tall dunes. Its proximity to the city center makes it one of the most affordable and easily accessible desert safari destinations.
What Al Marmoom Desert offers:
- Lower costs for desert camps, tours, and activities compared to other Dubai desert regions. Packages typically range from $25-$100 USD per person.
- Day tours allow you to experience desert wildlife and culture without staying overnight. These day trips generally last 6-8 hours.
- Activities like dune bashing, quad biking, archery experiences, falcon encounters with trained birds, camel rides, sandboarding, and henna designs.
- While wildlife sightings are less common than in the Conservation Reserve, some desert creatures inhabit the landscape. You may spot a desert fox or falcon.
With lower prices and easy access from Dubai, Al Marmoom Desert appeals to budget travelers seeking shorter desert safari trips. The variety of camps and activities make it fun for families too.
Private Safari Luxury at Margham Desert
For travelers wanting a more intimate, upscale desert experience, Margham Desert offers exclusive resorts and tailored safari tours away from crowded camps.
What makes Margham Desert so special:
- Five-star resorts like Al Maha provide lavish accommodations and dining amongst the scenic desert environment. Expect luxury hospitality and attentive service.
- Private safari tours allow you to customize activities matching your interests whether its dune bashing, camel rides, falconry, archery, or cooking classes. It’s also possible to arrange photography tours.
- High likelihood of seeing wildlife like Arabian oryx, gazelles and exotic bird species since resorts limit the human footprint in sensitive areas.
- Stargazing tours allow you to observe constellations and shooting stars thanks to low light pollution. Several resorts have astronomers on staff too.
- With fewer tourists than other Dubai deserts, you’ll feel immersed in the landscape and local culture.
While prices are higher, Margham Desert safaris offer an exclusive desert emirate experience away from the bustling city. Wildlife sightings are very likely in this conservation region as well.
Conclusion – Choose Your Dubai Desert Based on Interests
When deciding the best desert for your Dubai safari trip, first consider your budget and interests. Al Marmoom Desert appeals to cost-conscious travelers wanting convenient access to standard safari activities near Dubai. Families enjoy options here too. Meanwhile, Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve’s expansive landscape excels for desert scenery, dune bashing, photography, and serious wildlife sightings of exotic mammals and birds. Finally, Margham Desert attracts safari-goers wanting luxury accommodations and exclusive wildlife interactions through private, tailored tours. With various landscapes and tour styles, Dubai’s deserts offer safari adventures suiting all preferences.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the largest desert in Dubai?
The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve is the largest desert managed by Dubai’s Municipality, spanning over 225 square kilometers of dunes and conservation areas.
- What desert has the tallest dunes in Dubai?
The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve features monumental red dunes that reach heights over 200 feet tall – great for photography. Dunes in Al Marmoom Desert and Margham Desert are generally smaller.
- Which desert is cheapest for safari tours?
Al Marmoom Desert offers the most budget-friendly desert safari package prices, usually ranging $25-$100 USD per person for activities. Other Dubai desert regions have tours starting around $200 per person.
- What desert is best for family-friendly tours?
Many camps at Al Marmoom Desert cater towards families, offering kids activities. The accessibility and standard tour options here also appeal to families more than luxury exclusive tours in other regions.
- Which Dubai desert has the most wildlife?
The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve hosts over 31 mammal species and 137 bird species, protected within the desert landscape. Wildlife like Arabian oryx, foxes and falcons inhabit the remote habitat.
- Can I see camels in Dubai deserts?
Yes, camel riding and encounters are typical activities at most Dubai desert safari camps and resorts. Margham Desert offers the chance to see camels roaming in their natural state as well.
- Is it safe to go dune bashing?
Dune bashing adventures are very popular but you should select a tour provider carefully for safety. Look for companies utilizing seat belts, roll cages and experienced drivers. Avoid alcohol consumption before dune bashing too.
- Which desert is best for stargazing?
Margham Desert’s minimal light pollution and exclusive resorts make it the best Dubai desert for astronomy. Several five-star resorts even provide telescopes and astronomers on staff.
- What is the best time of day for a desert safari?
Early evening is ideal to avoid the hottest temperatures while still seeing sunset over the dunes. Overnight camping allows you to enjoy cooler temperatures and stargazing at night too.
- What should I wear in the desert?
Light, breathable clothing helps cope with Dubai’s heat, along with hats and sunglasses. Closed toe shoes are essential too for activities while long sleeves/pants protect against the sun.
- Which desert has sandboarding?
Sandboarding is popular at both Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve and Al Marmoom Desert camps. For safety, always choose a tour provider that includes proper gear and supervision.
- Can I book a private desert safari?
Yes, Margham Desert specializes in private, tailor-made safari experiences with exclusive camps and wildlife interactions away from mainstream tourism.
- What activities are best with kids?
Camel riding, quad biking, sandboarding and henna designs are fun desert activities suited for kids above 6-12 years old depending on camp regulations. Some camps also have pools.
- How do I choose the right safari tour company?
Select reputable safari tour operators licensed by Dubai Tourism Board with modern vehicles. Check online reviews, safety practices and inclusions too. Bigger tour groups often equal lower prices.
- Should I tip my safari guide?
Tipping 10-15% of your safari price is customary if you received good service, with extra tips given directly to activity attendants like camel owners. Consult your tour provider.
- Do I need vaccinations before visiting Dubai deserts?
No vaccinations are mandatory, but it’s smart to be up-to-date on routine vaccines like tetanus. Those staying at desert camps should consider vaccines for hepatitis A and typhoid fever too as a precaution.
- Is it better to drive my own vehicle into the desert?
No, you should always join a guided desert safari tour with experienced drivers and equipped vehicles. Self-driving risks getting stuck in soft sand or lost while harming fragile ecosystems.
- How are Dubai desert camps eco-friendly?
Reputable camps utilize solar power, limit waste and vehicle traffic off-road, contribute to conservation, and educate guests on protecting desert habitats and wildlife. Choose certified sustainable camps.
- What desert activities are wheelchair accessible?
Many camps offer accessible camel encounters, falconry displays, cooking classes and resort amenities. However dune bashing, quad biking and sandboarding require mobility. Inquire directly with camps on accessible options.
- Should I wear sunscreen in the desert?
Yes, always wear broad spectrum sunscreen SPF 30 or higher, even if it’s cloudy. The desert sun is very strong and can burn skin quickly while shade is limited during activities.