The deserted desert which covers much of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a great place for adventurous tourists to find affordable action-packed adventure sports quite unlike anywhere else in the world.
Sand Boarding and Sand Skiing in Dubai
Desert sand dunes are magnificent to see; huge hills of soft sand blown into extraordinary shapes by the wind. They offer an ever-changing landscape for some more unusual adventure sports such as sand boarding and sand skiing down the slippery sandhills.
Of course, if you prefer to ski down snow-covered slopes you can do that too, at Ski Dubai in the Mall of the Emirates.
Take a wild ride in a 4×4 air-conditioned vehicle into the sweeping desert landscape around Dubai and Abu Dhabi for a fabulous desert experience. Full day trips usually include driving through steep-sided dry wadis and up and down sand dunes – an amazing way to see the authentic desert.
Desert safaris usually include visiting an authentic camp and sampling a delicious Arabian barbecue. Guests are given a traditional welcome with a wet towel, dates and Arabian coffee or mint tea before dinner. Entertainment is courtesy of local musicians and belly dancers. Other activities include camel riding, falconry displays, smoking a sheesha (water pipe), having photographs taken in traditional Arabic costumes and henna body painting.
Darkness falls early in the desert and is usually marked by stunning red skies and beautiful sunsets. Some tours offer the chance to sleep beneath the stars in the desert. A mattress, sleeping bag, lantern and refreshments are provided. The star-gazing in the unpolluted atmosphere is amazing. Wake up to a beautiful desert sunrise with a full breakfast before returning to civilization.
Dune Buggy Rides
Self-drive dune buggies are the most fun way to drive in the desert. The 700cc open-sided buggies are provided with a roll cage, bucket seats and a full harness, so strap yourself in for the drive of your life! These light and nippy buggies are perfect for off-road driving following an instructor at your own pace through natural trails in the vast empty dunes.
Dune Bashing and Wadi bashing
Dune buggy racing and off-roading is commonly referred to as dune bashing. It’s basically a roller-coaster ride in the sand!
This adrenaline-pumping sport involves driving quad bikes, dune buggies or 4×4 vehicles such as Toyota Land Cruisers up and down the contours of steep-sided sand dunes without getting stuck. Semi-deflated tyres help provide some necessary traction in this fun activity. Organized tours may include racing several vehicles through the desert terrain in a particularly exciting drive.
Similar wadi bashing excursions in the desert offer similar driving experiences in dry, rocky riverbeds rather than sand dunes. One of the best places for wadi bashing is on a drive to Jebel Maleihah, also known as Fossil Rock, in Sharjah.
Camel racing is an exciting fast-paced spectator sport in Dubai and admission is generally free. It takes place at the Al Marmoum Camel Racetrack during the winter camel racing season. These exciting cultural events provide a great place to rub shoulders with UAE nationals and wealthy crown princes. Highly trained camels race for mega cash prizes in this traditional desert sport which is just one of the exciting desert experiences on offer in the UAE.