10 Tips for The Dubai Desert Safari - What to Wear, What to Do


If you have one day to experience Dubai and you need to pick what to do, a Desert safari is definitely the thing I'd recommend. A definite must do when on a trip to Dubai, the desert safari takes you a short distance out of the madness of Dubai and into the heart of the desert for a Bedouin experience that is most certain to be the highlight of your experience. I've even made a quick checklist of  handy tips and things you need to know before you head to the Dubai Desert.

1. Choose an evening Dubai Desert safari

While there are options of safari tours through the day, I highly recommend choosing an afternoon safari that let's you enjoy the sunset. It starts at around 2-3 pm with convenient pickups across the city and its not even a debate when it comes to picking a safari timing. The morning safaris end with breakfast while the evening safaris let you enjoy a glorious sunset, followed by a dinner and a show. It's simply a more leisurely experience in the evening and the desert tends to feel like a friend.

2. Wear comfortable clothes

Yes  I know, you've heard it several times before, but comfortable clothing is a must! Things you should and shouldn't be wearing?
Do Wear:

Loose flowy peasant blouses with boyfriend jeans : The idea is to let your skin breathe while still staying warm.

A simple, straight cut maxi dress with a jacket: Okay, I know most 'What to wear to the Desert' guides say these are a no-no and my list doesn't but hear me out. In the entire trip, the only time you'll be slightly awkward in a maxi dress is when you're dune bashing or quad biking. If you plan to not do these things, then a simply cut dress or a long skirt is absolutely fine. Remember though, a maxi dress will make it that much easier for the sand to creep into your clothes so you may want to pay attention while to take those fancy desert shots.

Jumpsuits : Nope, not a playsuit (which is a shorter version of the jumpsuit) but a simple jumpsuit. This is exactly what I choose to wear to the desert and it's actually the most comfortable thing especially while you're dune bashing. Helps you avoid all those awkward panty flashes while your car jumps over the crazy sand dunes and still feels super comfortable. Make sure to choose one in a fabric that's not clingy or see through

Culottes and Palazzos with a sleeved top : Yet another fabulous choice is palazzo pants or their shorter cousins, the culottes. A sleeveless top isn't really recommended if you've got sensitive skin but even if you opt for it, I'd say wear one in a breathable fabric. Cotton blends work best.

Do not Wear:

Biker shorts and vests : believe me, the sun is harsh even around 4 pm which is the time you'll reach and this is just going to burn you.

Tight skinny jeans and boots: The Dubai desert is blessed (cursed?) with some of the finest sand there is and believe me, it'll find its way into every nook and cranny of your clothes. Think chafing and redness for the duration of the evening. Not a fun proposition

Lots of Jewellry : Okay, so while it's actually a lot of fun to stack on the crazy bangles and I absolutely love doing it, this is a place where you'd be happier with a minimal look. Intricate jewellry tends to get specks of sand stuck in it which then abrade your skin through the evening.

3. Take a backpack and stock it with wet tissues and water

While the desert safari will definitely have free-flowing water, I'd recommend taking a bottle of water for the journey. It takes around an hour to drive out to the desert and it's always better to have your own bottle of water atleast for the journey from and to the desert. Another thing, not a necessity but an easier choice, ditch your fancy purses for a sturdy backpack. It's going to be so much easier to enjoy yourself when you're not worried about minding your purse.

4. If you're prone to motion sickness, take some medicine along

So dune bashing is one of the highlights of any desert safari.However, if you are somebody who get motion sickness even on a straight road, then you must definitely come prepared. Don't hesitate to tell the safari service that you'd like to skip the dune bashing. If medicine helps, definitely take some or atleast pop in a sourpatch if you've got a queasy stomach. The dune bashing for all it's joy is no joke, it's definitely something you need to think about before you get to the desert safari.

5. Flats flats and more flats

I know this seems to be an obvious choice but it's still worth mentioning. A pair of comfortable flats is the best choice. I'd say give the sneakers a miss but if you're more comfortable in closed shoes then these are a decent choice. Although open shoes that have no heels are the way to go. Anything with heels is a huge no no. Remember the rule of the desert : flats, flats and more flats!

6. Watch the sunset

While it's something that goes without saying, I think there's a need to say this too. Do not forget to take out the time to watch a desert sunset. It is one of the most breathtaking sights you'll see and no, stop for a few minutes to spend time in the moment and not waste it taking pictures for your social media but really watch the sunset. The beautiful sunset is worth looking at, and the dubai desert gives it the most breathtaking shades!

7. Jackets and Sunglasses

The sunglasses might never leave you for the complete trip. The sun is almost too much if you reach a bit early, and sunglasses that are sturdy will come in handy in Dubai. A jacket is going to be your best friend after the sunset. The desert gets chilly rather quickly and by the time you've gotten through dinner and head back, you'll be happy to have something to protect you from the nip in the air.

8. Hydrate

In all likelihood your body will remind you but just in case, this is worth having a point to all on its own. Don't forget to sip on water while you're having fun jumping in the sand. The sun will dehydrate you rather quickly and it's important to replenish yourself.

9. Make new friends

And by this I mean both human, avian and feline and everything in between. I especially love birds so my choice of companion was obvious. Of course, you can even make friends with people who're with you on the safari. Everyone's got a story to tell, all you have to do is ask the right questions!

10. Come for the sand, stay for the show

Every desert safari ends with a show under the stars. While belly dancing is usually the highlight, I was a bit partial to the Egyptian dance mainly because the performer we had was having so much fun that he made you enjoy the performance. The show will be something you'll bring back and think about if it's a good one, and still ponder even if it isn't all that great.

Finally, do not forget to pay attention to the beauty of the desert. I spent a considerable amount of time reflecting on my seeming insignificance, the vastness and harshness of the desert and the joy of writing our names in the sand with my sister. This trip was definitely one of the highlights of my Dubai Travel Diary and I can't wait to share other such bits of my trip with you.

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