Destination Expert’s views are entirely his or her own and may not always 100 % true. He or she lived in Dubai for many years & visited Dubai Desert many time. Adventure Emirates trying to provide informative blog all about Dubai Desert for first time visitors
Dubai falls within the territory of the Arabian Desert. Unlike the gravely deserts in the South of UAE, Majority of Dubai’s desert landscape is dominated by sandy desert areas. The sand in Dubai desert constitutes of crushed coral and shells, is fine in texture, clean and white in color.
East of Dubai, sabkha landscapes (salt-crusted coastal areas) transform into a range of dunes towards the north and south of the city. Heading farther east, the dunes increase in size and take on a red hue brought about by Iron Oxide. Near Dubai’s border with Hatta at Oman, the Sandy flat desert gives rise to the western chain of Hajar mountains. Southern Dubai is full of sand dunes which eventually contribute to The Empty Quarter.
The plantations that the desert climate supports are date palms and wild grasses. In the sabkha region, desert hyacinths are seen whereas ghaf and Acacia trees are found in the flat regions of the deserts near the Hajar Mountain Region. Animals that can be seen in the desert are striped hyena, Houbara bustard, Caracal, Arabian Oryx, Falcon and Desert Foxes.
Names of desert locations
Being in close proximity to the desert, dubai is an excellent starting point for many desert activities. The varying desert landscapes can be used for different forms of entertainment that are experienced in desert safaris. Here are five different desert locations that are excellent places to visit.
Drive duration from Dubai city: 45 minutes
Located in the Hatta-Oman highway, this area is also known as ‘big red’ because of the red hue of the sand dunes. This area is one of the most famous areas for dune bashing with sand dunes that can be easily traversed by both novices and the well-experienced. During cooler times, it is also a perfect spot for a picnic.
2. Fossil rock
Drive duration from Dubai city: 50 minutes
Just out of Sharjah along the Sharjah-Kalba road is the locally known desert landscape of Jebel Maleihah (fossil rock). What makes this place exciting to visit is the possibility of coming across marine fossils, this the name. Many centuries ago, this part of the desert was submerged by the Tethys Ocean. You don’t have to be surprised by the chances of finding marine fossils as you will be able to see shells and fossils of tiny creatures who once inhabited these floors. In the vicinity of this is the camel rock which looks like a camel resting in the sand. The fossil rock is an ideal desert landscape for camping, hiking, fossil hunting and photography.
3. Al Faya Desert
Drive duration from Dubai city: 50 mins
As you go along the Sharjah-Malaiha road (E55) towards the exclaves of the East Coast, you will come across Ruby red sands of the Al Faya Desert. Having bigger dunes than the Al Bidayer desert makes it another famous spot for dune bashing. It is lovingly known as ‘big fall’ because of the massive dunes and is a famous tourist location for night time camping.
Drive duration from Dubai city: 1 hr 15 mins
Situated in the border of three UAE cities, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, this desert area is lovingly known as ‘little liwa’. This place has many massive dunes and soft sand which is suitable for professional and well-experienced drivers. However, with some right guidance from your GPS you will encounter herds of camels and Emiratis with their falcons. Dune bashing enthusiast should try the Naqrah sand dune in the middle of Sweihan desert.
Drive duration from Dubai city: 60 to 90 mins
Another famous spot for dune bashing and picturesque sceneries is the Lahbab desert. This is a famous location during sunset because of the tranquil environment.
The Dubai desert being a part of the Arabian Desert has a hot, subtropical desert climate similar to the Sahara desert. The dominant climate is mostly hot and dry with temperatures in summer starting from around 30 degrees Celsius and going up to 48 degrees celsius. Recorded rainfall is usually around 100 mm. Night temperatures tend to be cooler than those during the day.
What to wear during a Dubai desert visit?
If you are visiting the desert during day times its best to stick to the following items for a comfortable trip.
- Lightweight clothes made of cotton, linen and other natural fibers are ideal. Try to prevent layering of clothes as it can trap more heat and cause you to get dehydrated. Stay away from dark colors as they absorb more heat. Men can wear mid-length shorts to increase ventilation.
- Flip flops or open-toed footwear for easy removal of fine desert sand that can get stuck in your shoes. Don’t wear walking shoes or any type of closed shoe. The desert sand when stuck can be really annoying.
- Sun protection like sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats and sunscreen
If your trip is planned to extend into the starting hours of the evening then make sure to bring along a light jacket, cardigan or blanket as evenings tend to get colder.
Mobile network coverage in Dubai desert
Unlike in the liwa desert, the Dubai desert has good coverage of around 80 percent. UAE Network providers that have good coverage in the Dubai desert are Du and etisalat. So if you are worrying that you won’t be able to post that selfie you took during sunset on instagram, think again!
Safety in the Dubai desert
Is the Dubai desert safe?
Yes, the Dubai desert is safe and is regulated by desert police. However, it’s better for females to not travel alone. It’s always better to travel in groups when going to the desert.
Some safety measure that need to be taken when visiting the desert are:
- Check if your GPS is working.
- Always travel with someone who knows their way around if you plan to go deep in to the desert.
- Make sure to have emergency vehicle kits if you are not travelling with a tour operator.
- Do not go camping without an experienced individual
What is a desert safari?
Since the desert had a huge influence on Dubai’s culture and history this safari is conducted in the vast expanse of golden sands. You can enjoy every aspect of the desert in a single package. A bit if adrenaline, a serving of amazing scenes, a coating of Emirati hospitality and a garnish of Bedouin entertainment make a Dubai desert safari a mandatory activity. The choices out there are numerous and can suit even the most busiest of schedules.
What type of safaris happen in the dubai desert?
There are many type of desert safaris to enjoy the desert atmosphere and its native tribe’s (Bedouins) culture and traditions.
- Sunrise desert safari: This safari allows you to enjoy the desert during the first hours of morning before experiencing other desert activities.
- Morning desert safari: If you want to start your day with some adventure in the desert this tour is for you and is packed with thrilling desert activities like sand-boarding and dune bashing.
- Evening desert safari: This safari starts in the evening and allows you to watch a sunset over the dunes, try dune bashing, sand-boarding along with a host of activities and entertainment options that will be ended with a delicious BBQ dinner
- Quad biking safari: This safari gives you a chance to ride the quad bike on your own after receiving guidance and tips from a trained professional
- Private dune desert safari: ideal for those who want some luxury treatment or want to celebrate a special occasion. This safari includes a private dining setup over the dunes with delicious food and so many other desert activities.
- Camel trekking safari: although a brief camel ride is included in almost every safari, the camel trekking safari gives you the chance to enjoy this relaxing activity even more