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UNFORGETTABLE SAFARIS THROUGH THE ARABIAN DESERT | Published February 22nd, 2021 | Last Updated March 9th, 2021

Man leading a camel through the Arabian desert sand dunes

All Images © 2021 - Kelly Girouard - Please Contact for Permission to Use

It's 9am. I leave the city to begin the drive from Dubai to the windswept dunes of the Empty Quarter. The Anantara Resort, which can be best described as a sandcastle rising up from the floor of the Arabian desert will be my home for the next three days.

While there were many exciting and memorable moments during this trip to the Middle East, the experiences at the top of the list were the desert treks. The first excursion by camel ended with the sun setting over the unforgettable landscape of the desert. The second in a 1950’s vintage Land Rover complete with dinner under the stars in a traditional Bedouin camp. Read on to find out more about these incredible experiences and follow the links to plan your own Arabian Desert Safari.

Anantara Camel Trek

THE DETAILS - The Anantara Qasr al Sarab is a luxury resort located in the world's largest desert, the Empty Quarter. The hotel resembles a sandcastle that blends seamlessly into the sandy dunes that surround it. While the luxury accommodations and cuisine were impressive, the trek through the desert left the biggest impression.

Anantara Resort entrance that looks like a sand castle in the middle of the desert

A Sandcastle Rising up Out of the Desert

Anantara resort with sand dunes and a road in the distance

View of the Arabian Desert from a terrace at the Anantara Qasr al Sarab

After a brief explanation of how to mount and dismount from the camel saddle, the trek departed from the hotel. We started the walk on the desert floor then began to climb a mountain of sand, quite possibly the largest dune I saw during three weeks in the Middle East. The experience felt like an incredible adventure, but at the same time, it was so remote, peaceful and quiet.

View from atop a camel with the camel looking into the distance at the setting sun

Even the Camel Seemed to be Enjoying the View of the Setting Sun

As we rounded the top of the dune, we were greeted with the sight of red overstuffed pillows on wooden stools resting in the sand with the sun setting in the background. It was perfection!

Stools and cushions sitting in the sand with the sun setting in the distance

A Most Incredible Sunset!

Stools with red plush cushions in the sand and sun setting in the background

Our Perch on the Sand Dunes

After watching the sunset, the camels we arrived on were being lead away. Our guide informed us we would be taking the fun way down the dune back to the jeep and that meant running down the side of an incredibly steep slope. He assured us our feet would sink into the sand holding us upright, and not to worry about falling over. We took the plunge, and it was a thrilling experience! Who knew grown ups could have so much fun playing in the sand?

This camel trek offered by Anantara is one of the most memorable experiences I've had to date. It was beautiful, peaceful, serene, and fun all at the same time. I highly recommend it!

Platinum Heritage Jeep Safari

THE DETAILS - This trek departed from Dubai with pick-up from the hotel, followed by a 45-minute drive to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.

Upon arriving at the reserve, our Safari tour made a pit stop at the front gates where we were shown how to don traditional headscarves, and have a bit of up-close and personal time with the somewhat temperamental camels; next we were off in a 1950's Vintage Land Rover to begin our safari.

Two men standing in front of six camels with red blankets on them

A Little Quality Time with the 'Ships of the Desert' - (This is a Term to Describe Camels)

We followed a sandy road carved through the dunes observing flora and fauna native to the Arabian desert. We stopped partway through the drive to climb to the top of a dune and get a bird’s eye view of the landscape, then continued on to a live falcon show. We were greeted with a champagne glass of sparkling juice along with a red blanket and pillows lying in the sand to get an up-close and personal view of the falconry display.

By the time we reached the location where our dinner would be served, it was dusk, and flame torches lit the way to the Bedouin tents and camp. There were a few different stations where locals demonstrated traditional methods of making bread and coffee. The centre of the camp was lined with plush red sofas, carpets and individual hookah pipes. The perimeter was a closed circle of tents where we sat to eat an incredible multi-course dinner.

Red plush seats on carpets in the sand at a traditional Bedouin camp

Platinum Heritage Bedouin Camp with Hookah Pipes and Plush Seating

The entire day was capped off with traditional song and dance performed by locals, who invited us to join in. It was a perfect Bedouin dinner experience!

If you're in the UAE and have the opportunity to take a desert trek, you will not be disappointed if you choose either of these adventures. For me, I know it will be hard to find excursions in the future that will live up to the experiences I had here, but I'll definitely have fun trying!

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