I’ve always thought of the desert as an arid and uninhabitable place that, to be frank, seemed not particularly pleasant to visit. However my perceptions of it were blown away when I encountered the most incredible desert experience with Arabian Adventures. I was surprised with how breathtakingly beautiful and peaceful the desert was, the numerous colours and patterns it offered, and the incredible serenity. And whilst I seemed to get sand in EVERYTHING (camera included) I only have fond memories from my Arabian Adventure.
We drove into the heart of the desert and were first treated to a Falconry show. The falcon is the national bird of UAE, and we learned about the important role of falconry in Arab tradition and culture. Then we watched the Falcon trainer demonstrate the surprisingly scientific hunting procedure of the falcon. It blew my mind how this supposedly wild animal could become so obedient and useful to the local Bedouin tribes.
Next on the agenda? Dune bashing. Our driver let some of the air out of the tyres of our 4WD and soon we were skidding, jumping and twisting off dunes in our car. Our driver was extremely experienced in this mode of driving but I still honestly don’t know how we managed to stay upright! Despite the mild nausea, this was SO much fun. After deafening my passengers with my screams and hysterical laughs, we arrived in the middle of the Arabian desert to watch the sun go down.
We had some spare time in the desert to take photos and it was gorgeous watching the blue sky turn slowly to pink, then orange, the complete darkness.
We soon arrived at a Bedouin style camp and were greeted by camels! I love their colourful hand stitched nose covers. I wish it was purely for fashion, but I think they can get a bit snappy.
Just as the last of the sun was about to dip over the horizon, I got to ride on a camel with Cintia, Catherine and Kate. Please excuse my slightly manic grin! I was equal parts excited and terrified of the camel.
We entered the Bedoin camp and were each offered a cup of Arabian coffee flavoured with cardamom and saffron, served with a date. The date added the perfect amount of sweetness to the bitter, aromatic coffee.
The site for our dinner was a series of huts around the camp decorated with gorgeous drapes and cushions.
Dinner was a delicious feast of Middle Eastern pastries, grilled meats, fresh salads and delectable sweets.
After dinner I had my hand adorned with a gorgeous Henna tattoo. The ladies were so fast and accurate with the intricate patterns they drew on our skin – all freehand.
Afterwards they turned out all the lights at the camp for a bit of star gazing. You’ve never truly experienced darkness until you’ve been plunged into the blackest of blacks out in the middle of the desert. And as would luck have it, I saw my first shooting star!
Sunset Desert Safari including an Arabian Dinner
Pricing: Adults from AED 360 and Children AED 300
Make your booking at www.arabian-adventures.com
Have you ever been to the desert?