Trip Ideas - 8 min read

Tips for Planning a Tour in Dubai Desert Safari

Nick Durante

Nick Durante, Updated August 1, 2023

Dubai is the biggest city in the United Arab Emirates, and it’s become a massive tourist attraction. The unique cuisine, hospitality, resorts, and unforgettable desert views make Dubai a mandatory tourist destination. Understandably, many prospective tourists look for tips for planning a Dubai desert safari tour.

When planning a Dubai desert safari tour, make sure to plan it for the late afternoon so you can watch the sunset over the desert. You will still experience sunlight for a while, so make sure to bring sunscreen and plenty of water. Wear sandals instead of tennis shoes for comfort and bring a camera to document the experience.  

Ask your tour guide plenty of questions about the wildlife and local landmarks to understand your surroundings and give them context. Add fun activities like camel rides and sandboarding to your safari tour to get the most bang for your buck. Follow along as we highlight 11 tips for planning a desert safari tour in Dubai.

How To Plan a Dubai Desert Safari Tour

1. Think About Timing

Timing is everything when it comes to a Dubai desert safari tour. While daytime tours offer plenty of fun, you will experience heat that may be uncomfortable for some people. Timing also affects the views you will get during your tour.

Ideally, you should plan your safari tour for the late afternoon. This will give you the chance to see the desert in all its glory under full sunlight, and you can also get the opportunity to watch the sunset. It’s typically less hot in the later afternoon which can make the experience more comfortable, and watching the sunset over the desert in Dubai is an unforgettable experience.

2. Pack Essentials

Desert safari tours in Dubai can sometimes take hours to complete, so it’s important to bring everything you need. This includes water, snacks (if they’re allowed), sunscreen, tissues, and sunglasses. Water is essential because it will be hot outside and the last you want is to become dehydrated during your adventure.

Ask your tour guide in advance about the duration of the tour, and if it’s long, check to see if it’s okay to bring snacks. Sunscreen is also essential even if you’re in a covered vehicle the whole time because sunlight will still touch you. Sunglasses come in handy as well but avoid wearing shades that obscure your vision so you can take in the natural beauty around you.

It also helps to bring facial tissues to wipe sweat or sunscreen away. Bring a fanny pack, satchel, or backpack to keep your belongings in for easy access.

3. Listen to Your Tour Guide

During your tour, you must follow the rules that your tour guide sets in place. This includes everything from rules about flash photography to safety measures. For example, they may have specific rules about keeping your arms and legs in the vehicle, and they will strictly enforce that you wear a seat belt.

Your tour guide will also provide insight into the region and its history which will enrich the experience and give you something to remember. The natural beauty around you is breathtaking, but the insights that a local tour guide has to offer add important context to the experience.

4. Choose Your Guide Wisely

There are many desert safari tour guides to choose from during your vacation. However, that doesn’t mean that all of them can offer the experience you are looking for. That’s why it’s important to do some research and choose a reputable tour that has a wealth of knowledge about the region.

Options like Desert Safari Dubai are impressive because of the duration of each tour and the variety of tours they offer. The last thing you want is to choose a tour from an unknown provider that winds up going by too quickly. Reputable safari tours also help ensure your safety and that you will get to experience as many landmarks and activities as possible.

5. Bring a Camera

It’s easy to forget to take pictures during your safari tour, but that’s a mistake. The desert in Dubai is gorgeous and while you won’t forget it, it’s worthwhile to bring a camera to document the experience. Your phone likely has a nice camera, but it’s worthwhile to bring a secondary camera as a backup.

Ask your tour guide if you’re allowed to record videos. If so, small cameras like Go Pros are perfect because they can typically maintain focus throughout the motion of the tour. Classic DSLR cameras from brands like Canon and Sony are also great for a desert safari tour, just make sure your camera has enough memory!

6. Don’t Forget a Jacket

Sure, the desert in Dubai gets quite hot during the day, but it quickly cools down at night. Temperatures can plummet as low as 5 °C (41 °F) in the desert in Dubai at night. It’s especially necessary to bring a jacket on your tour if visit Dubai between September and February.

While rainfall is uncommon in Dubai throughout most of the year, it’s still possible. February is the rainiest time of the year in Dubai, so you may get wet on your tour. A jacket can protect you from cool temperatures and rain during your tour, even if it’s rare.

7. Choose Fun Activities

Some desert safari tours in Dubai simply focus on riding through the desert. That is plenty of fun, but many tourists want to experience unique activities that they wouldn’t get to do anywhere else. This includes everything from riding a camel to riding an ATV throughout the desert.

Sandboarding is another fun, albeit messy activity that is worth adding to any desert safari tour package. Some safari tours even include meals in the desert, and that’s one of the most unique ways to experience Dubai. Each operator is different, so make sure to ask about additional activities before you book your safari tour so you can do everything you want.

8. Have the Necessary Documents

Most tourists plan their activities in Dubai before they leave for their trip. This is a great idea, but it’s only helpful if you have everything that you need to get into the United Arab Emirates. You will need a passport, and you may even need a visa depending on why you visit.

Visas are required for extended stays in Dubai, and they are also necessary for business purposes in many cases. Luckily, you can get your Dubai visa online as well as insurance to cover yourself during your trip. Make sure that your passport and driver’s license are up to date, or you won’t even be able to board a plane to Dubai to enjoy a desert safari tour.

9. Ask Questions

This may be the only time you take a tour of Dubai’s gorgeous desert, so try to make the most of the experience. Your tour guide is there to ensure your experience is unforgettable, and this includes answering your questions. Ask questions about the scenery and wildlife you encounter so you bring home some new knowledge.

Dubai and the United Arab Emirates are home to some incredible wildlife. Any reputable desert safari tour guide should have plenty of knowledge about the local wildlife to share with you. This includes everything from the beautiful flora and fauna to native animals like the sand gazelle.

10. Wear Sandals

The last thing you want to do is leave your Dubai safari desert tour with shoes full of sand. That won’t be a problem if you wear sandals, however. Avoid wearing socks if you wear sandals as your feet may chafe from the sand.

Remember to apply a layer of sunscreen to your feet if you wear sandals as your skin may burn quickly if you don’t. Tennis shoes and other types of closed-toe shoes may come in handy during the rest of your trip to Dubai, but they may become quite messy on a safari tour.

11. Prepare For Motion Sickness

Some tourists experience motion sickness while on a Dubai desert tour. Luckily, that is largely avoidable if you prepare accordingly and even bring motion sickness medication. The last thing you should do is eat a large, greasy meal before your safari tour.

You will rock back and forth as the car takes you over the humps in the desert, and this may rattle your stomach. That won’t be a problem if you stop eating a few hours before your tour. If that’s not an option, simply bring some motion sickness medicine, such as Dramamine.

Final Thoughts

You will have an unforgettable desert safari tour in Dubai if you bring essentials like water, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a camera. Plan your tour for the late afternoon so you can watch the sunset over the desert. Make sure to wear sandals to avoid chafing if you traverse the sand, and bring a jacket at night as the desert can get quite cold. Ask plenty of questions and take as many pictures as you can so you always remember your Dubai desert safari tour!

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