On his recent visit to Dubai
, Dermott Brereton joined an Arabian Adventures trip with a difference: a Desert and Dune Dining Safari. Safaris come complete with GPS assistance, allowing them to follow a route that has the least impact on locals as you head 45 minutes out of Dubai
through the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.
There are actually four routes and more than 200 square kilometres of landscape, with camels, gazelles and oryx as well as camel spiders, snakes, wild cats, desert monitors and scorpions which can be spotted along the way.
Vehicles are meticulously maintained and air-conditioned. None are more than two years old. Before you head into the desert, tyres are dramatically deflated to allow good grip on the sandy tracts, and you just sit back and enjoy the ride. About 60 jeeps go out each day, but somehow it never feels crowded.
As the sun sets behind the dunes you really begin to get the feel of an Arabian adventure, particularly when you arrive at a traditional Bedouin camp and receive a truly warm welcome. Belly dancers provide entertainment, and skilled henna artists create semi-permanent and exotic designs on the hands of guests.
Dinner is a feast of grilled meat, fresh salads and Arabian sweets. You may want to work it off with a camel ride, or just sit back and experience your surroundings while puffing on an aromatic hookah or water pipe.
Hookah smoking is one of the Middle East's oldest traditions and has long inspired great discussions on politics, religion and daily events. They are preferred by many over cigarette smoking as they have none of the chemicals used in tobacco in them. Instead, a blend of cooling dark leaves, fruit pulp, honey or molasses and glycerine is used. There are many flavours, including apple, strawberry, melon, vanilla, rose and pistachio.
It's all rather romantic. You leave Dubai with the sun shining, see it set and then be amazed at the amount of stars in the clear, black desert sky. Like Dermott, you're sure to have an experience you will never forget.
, one of the United Arab Emirates.
Arabian Adventures four-hour Sundowner Dune Dinner Safaris are $103 for adults and $92 for children. They include barbecue dinner, entertainment, camel ride and transportation from Dubai
. The Emirates Group's Integrated Safety Management forms the core of Arabian Adventures' safety program. All drivers and safari guides receive rigorous training and maintain a clean safety record. Clients are briefed on safety procedures before each off-road safari.
Emirates has flights to Dubai. Deals are for a limited time only so for more details visit www.emirates.com/getaway or call 1300 303 777.
Prices correct at July 16, 2009.
For further information
Ph: 1300 303 777
Ph: +971 4 303 4888
Visas: Visas are not required for entry into Dubai but passports must be valid for at least six months.
Electricity: Plugs are European with two circular metal pins.
Time zone: GMT +4.
Currency: The UAE dirham.
International dialling code: + 971.