Lined up against a warm sandy backdrop the real candy came in the form of the restored 1950s Land Rovers. The great British gladiators were lined up to carry families and travellers on an epic private desert safari.
While researching family things to do in Dubai one sensed the city is about shopping malls and theme parks. We wanted to discover something beyond a world of consumerism and instant gratification. We wanted to find the real Dubai of yesterday. So with some feedback from others, and readings on the inter-webby we researched what are the best desert safari tours in Dubai. We became drawn to booking a Land Rover Desert Safari tour which was operated by Platinum Heritage and set up by a fellow Aussie.
Our tour kicked off from our Dubai accommodation. We all clicked into our seat belts, Hamdi our designated tour guide introduced himself. Then proceeded his introduction with "you can ask me anything about Dubai and the United Emirates", and so we did. Without being shy we peppered him with so many questions. Which created an educational and robust conversation about all the things that make up the UAE from the city to the desert.
Driving out of the city into the desert region is an orgy for the senses. The sheer size of Dubai and how things get built so quickly provides achievement to what humans can accomplish in a short time. I bet there would be some educational scholars that could draw parallels between the Romans and the Emirate people. As we drove further away from the city. I did chuckle at the Trump Estate development on the outskirts of the city and wondered how sales were since he rolled into the top job with his negative opinions towards Muslim countries. Taking in the view from the front of the Land Rover.
Arriving at the gates of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve which are the grounds for the Royal families members private wilderness retreat. We began a transformation from tourists into adventure travellers. Kitted out with the red and white headscarf for the males and black headscarves for the females. We climbed into our 1950 Land Rover with a great sense of nostalgic. The great romance of exploring the desert in British style had begun. Enjoying the ride into the desert, was a highlight of the week in Dubai
The kids laughed, and the mums giggled as teenagers would, everyone was enjoying the pace as we rolled over and between the sandy dunes of the reserve. The timing of the tour coincides with Sunset which is the magic hour for taking photos. Riding in these restored Land Rovers is something very special
The tour in the desert goes beyond sand dunes. With our bottoms comforted by carpets and cushions. We quenched our thirst on sparkling apple and date juice and watching the sun sink between the dunes. While engaged in a falcon show, we discovered that some Emirate owners of Falcons have their birds of prey travel first class. One of the many startling facts we picked up while watching these magnificent birds perform for a small rodent meal on sunset. Maybe in my next life, I'll come back as a Falcon! Falcons are treated with great respect in the UAE.
So when considering which desert safari tours in Dubai could provide me with the best experience for trying different foods, this tour did not disappoint. On the platinum heritage dinner safari, you can taste a range of different foods which could be offered to you as a guest if you were visiting a traditional Bedouin in the desert. The kids even tried Camel meat and Camel milk, so proud of them. Evening meals on tour are enjoyed in tents, relaxing on cushions, partaking with a Sheesha (hubbly bubbly) and watching various traditional dances. The kids enjoyed their time riding camels, with some children getting henna tattoos. The majority of us were content sharing stories around the open fire watching the stars wash over the night sky. Relaxing in a Traditional Bedouins setting
If you have more than a one-night stopover in Dubai and are considering what are the best desert safari tours in Dubai. We can recommend booking the heritage desert safari with the Old Land Rover option, for a real authentic travel experience. You will pay a little more than a standard 4wd desert tour by other operators. However, the overall experience and value will provide some great family holiday memories.
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James is the founder of Little Nomads a family-focused travel site where he shares his experiences about travelling with kids. You can have a conversation with James on twitter @littlenomads or via his Facebook page.