Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

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Top 5 things to do in the Dubai Desert

Visit the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve to swap the hot bustle of the city for a scenic journey through the UAE's charming landscapes and traditional cultures. Here are a few fun ways to make the most of a unique day trip!

  • Discover incredible wildlife

    1. Discover incredible wildlife

    Desert safari tours will introduce you to a whole host of native flora and fauna, including foxes, wildcats, and the reserve's greatest conservation success, the Arabian Oryx!

  • Ride camels and horses

    2. Ride camels and horses

    If cruising the desert landscape in an off-road vehicle lacks romance, why not let an experienced guide lead you through the sites of interest by horse or camel?

  • Enjoy a traditional Bedouin meal

    3. Enjoy a traditional Bedouin meal

    The Bedouin's name means "desert dwellers" in Arabic and you're on their turf! Fortunately they provide great food and entertainment from the comfort of their homey tents.

  • Try sandboarding

    4. Try sandboarding

    Fancy a break from tradition? The sand dunes make an ideal setting for extreme sports like quad biking, sandboarding, and even sandskiing!

  • Watch the sun set over the dunes

    5. Watch the sun set over the dunes

    Whether you choose to see the sun set from the top of a dune or amidst the hospitality of a lamp-lit Bedouin village, don't miss this exquisite national park at its most stunning.

Planning Your Visit

  • How to get there?

    It isn't possible to visit the reserve without an approved tour group, so look out for tour operators that provide transfers from your hotel or the city center. Otherwise you can only reach the reserve by car via the E66, which starts out as the Dubai-Al Ain Road between Downtown Dubai and the Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary.

  • What to bring?

    The desert is, of course, very exposed to sunlight, so bring sunglasses, suitable headwear, and plenty of sunscreen! You'll need to use a lot of the latter so bring moisturizer to stop your skin drying out. If you're bringing an expensive camera then make sure it's protected against the sand (waterproofing also works!), and bring a water bottle even if your tour operator is providing it, just in case. Also, do NOT wear closed leather shoes!

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    The desert is there day and night, so it all depends on when you schedule your tour!
  • Is it expensive?
    Depends on the experience you are seeking, but prices usually start around $100 per person.
  • Will I need a guide?
    Definitely.
  • How to get there
    Your chosen tour guide will take you there in a private van from the city.
  • Additional information
    Eat lightly before your excursion. The bumpy ride across the dunes can make some people feel queasy!

What people are saying about Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 2,045 reviews

This was a wonderful experience - much better than I expected. The guys on site were fabulous - they worked really hard to ensure that everyone had a great experience. They were really friendly, inclusive and nothing was too much trouble for them. Their sole focus was to make sure everyone was enjoying the activity. All components of the activity were well thought out and constructed, with a few additional touches like the camel ride, the head scarf and water bottle gifts before entering the desert safari part of the experience. Would highly recommend this activity and well done to all staff on site - you made it the wonderful experience it was.

Absolutely fantastic experience!! I would recommend this activity to everyone. The whole morning was well organised and fun. The staff were knowledgeable and well drilled, and the balloon ride was a real highlight in Dubai, the most gorgeous sunrise followed by sightings of a falcon, camels and gazelles. This was follows by a lovely breakfast at a cool site in the desert with wifi and a modern twist. I really enjoyed the whole thing and will recommend it to friends and family wholeheartedly. Dr Bobby Ahmed

One of the highlights of our visit to Dubai, our driver and guide, Peter, was an accomplished naturalist. He quickly picked up on our interest in birds and wildlife and we had some great views of oryx, two species of gazelle, numerous LBJ’s and fine views of a Pallid Harrier, all from the comfort of a splendid silver Range Rover. The desert landscapes are spectacular and the stop for a relaxed breakfast was a welcome break at the unexpectedly luxurious Al Maha “desert resort”.

Fantastic from start to finish. The guides really cared about the experience they were delivering and all felt very authentic and premium. Particularly liked the awareness of sustainability of the experience by not offering dune bashing, sticking to the tracks and not using plastic bottles, rare to see in Dubai!

Lovely experience, breakfast was beautiful. Weather was hazy which took away from it a bit but you cant control the weather and it was very cold before getting into basket but still worth the trip. Would have been nice if the recording of the trip was included in the price.