We have a layover in Dubai and plan to spend an extra night there, just to break up a long journey and catch up to time zone changes. We'd love to get out into the desert and the idea of a "desert safari" sounds amazing. Any recommendations for something like this? Has anyone on this forum done it or heard about it? There are a lot of options offered online ... so many, in fact, it's hard to figure out which ones would be the best (most likely to get a Rick Steves thumbs up). Thanks for any wisdom you can share!
I lived in Saudi Arabia for five years and did some "desert exploring." Most of the so called desert is not with flowing sands, it is hard packed earth. There is a large area of SE Saudi Arabia and a part of western Oman and the UAE that is the type of desert that most people think about, with the flowing sands.
Frankly, our trips to the desert were a bit underwhelming. Still, find out what the safari includes and make sure you drink plenty of water. Have clothing that covers your body, with long pants and boots as well as long sleeve shirts and a good hat with sun block.
Be careful if offered the chance to ride a camel, just getting on and off the beast is a big deal, since it has to get on its knees and then rise, which will throw you forward. HOLD ON to the saddle horn.
I've not done the desert in Dubai. I have done it in Iraq, Saudi, Kuwait, and Qutar. I grew up in the Mojave. They are totally different. The Arab desert makes Death Valley look like a garden. It sucks. If it wasn't for oil they could nuke it and nobody would notice.
I will recommend you go to the Gold Souk. There's nothing like it in the USA. Just hold on to your pocketbook.
Thank you for the responses - I really appreciate your insights. Based on your comments and the additional research I've done, I'm inclined to pass on the desert safari. It does sound as if the time would be better spent exploring the Bur Dubai area around the cultural center and maybe a quick day trip down to Abu Dhabi to see the big mosque there. Thanks, again!