Monday, February 14, 2005

Desert Safari in Dubai

Last February 8, 2005, the day before Chinese New Year, Winston, Jay, Rhea and I booked for the popular Desert Safari Tour by African Adventures in Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel. We were picked up by our professional driver, Sajad in his spick- and- span Landcruiser towards the desert reserve which was about 40 minutes from the hotel. The fun started when we, and a dozen more Landcruisers finally reached the beautiful sandbanks in the desert and rode the sand dunes one by one. We were breathtakingly ecstatic going up and down the soft sandy ridges of the sandbanks, dune bashing. It's quite daunting and exhilarating at the same time with the thought that we can get stuck anytime from these steep hills of sand. Out of a dozen cars dune bashing, some get intentionally stuck, which gives us a chance to photograph a picture perfect scene.

At last, we finally reached the campsite at sunset. We were welcomed with a homey decorated campground, which gave us the local atmosphere of old Dubai. It was fascinating photographing the herds of camels with the native's homes nearby. We also had the chance to ride the domesticated camels in a small circle while listening to the soft Arabic music in the background. Henna painting, Arabic coffee tasting, "Shisa" or the traditional Arabic way of smoking and picture-taking with their trained native hawk were also part of the welcome treat.

The night continues on in a large Bedouin Tent with a buffet of a variety of Barbequed Arabian dishes on the side with unlimited drinks and an enchanting Belly Dancing performance for entertainment. It is a unique experience, one worth going to.

Rating ****

*Five stars means excellent
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