see + do
Desert adventures, Dubai
Concierge.com's insider take:
Desert safaris are cheesy and contrived but still great fun. Even the most jaded locals grudgingly admit that a dune-bashing safari is not to be missed. A 4WD vehicle picks you up from your hotel at around 3 pm and takes you in a convoy to the desert about an hour and a half away. The SUV then veers off the highway, the driver deflates the tires, and the vehicle climbs up then slides down the sand dunes (called dune, or wadi bashing). The experience is a bit like a roller-coaster ride, so we suggest you have some motion sickness medication on hand (or a paper bag). Afterward you'll be taken to a faux-Bedouin tented camp where you can eat, take camel rides, and indulge in a spot of shisha smoking.
The desert, fortunately, is more varied than a canned "Bedouin" experience. If you have a full day, book a four-by-four trip to Hatta, an oasis village at the foot of the Hajjar Mountains where a few date farms are watered by traditional communal channels called aflaj. Your car will have to crawl through wadis and between dramatic volcanic peaks to reach a series of clear-water pools where tiny fish will nibble your toes as you swim. Arabian Adventures can arrange day trips in SUVs to Hatta Oasis.
Just 90 minutes by car from Dubai, Oman's Musandam Peninsula, a rock finger overlooking the straight of Hormuz, is another world of seemingly remote fjords, small uninhabited islands, and wild beaches. Dubai operators drive you to the Omani town of Khasab, the center of dhow-based dolphin-watching and snorkeling expeditions. Khasab Tours can organize trips out of Dubai lasting one day as well as cruises of up to a week out of Khasab, with transfers from Dubai hotels.
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