If there’s one activity that you have to do on a trip to the Middle East it’s dune bashing. Whatever you do, make sure you join a tour for an evening of crazy high-speed driving across the dunes.
Sunset In The Desert
A driver from Desert Safari picked us up mid-afternoon from home which was super convenient. (There are plenty of tour operators to choose from, and they will all pick you up from your hotel. We hopped in the chunky 4×4, picked up a few more people and then headed out to the desert. We drove in a little way onto the top of a dune and all hopped out to watch the sun set which was magical. The desert always looks best at sunrise or sunset.
Then we all piled back in and headed over to join a convoy of other 4x4s that had now congregated in the dunes. I was actually really surprised to see how many other vehicles were out there, but I guess business is good.
The vehicles all gather in one main area and after everyone is strapped into their seats, the drivers then follow each other at high speed across the top of sand dunes, like a really long trail of crazed desert ants. And when I say high speed I mean it.
High Speed Thrills
I have to admit, it scared the hell out of me at times, but I was strapped in really tight and I trusted (and kinda prayed) the drivers knew what they were doing. One minute you were racing down a dune and the next you’d look out the window and there would be a sheer drop off. We did see one or two cars that had slid off a dune and got stuck or had a puncture. Our driver stopped to help out and then we were off again.
I don’t recommend dune bashing for squeamish people or those with weak hearts, but the rest of you will love it. Honestly, even with the scary bits, I really wished it had lasted much longer.
When it all ended were driven to a purpose built kitsch Bedouin style village. With adrenaline still pumping, they seat you at low tables and fed dinner, while you watch a belly dancing show, and you can buy alcohol if you feel like you really need a drink.
In the camp there are all sorts of touristy things to do. You can try smoking shisha, which I did without much luck, and a few fits of coughing, because I don’t normally smoke. You can get henna painting, pose with a falcon and ride a camel. It’s typical tourist fare and I could’ve skipped it to be honest. I think the dune bashing is the highlight and the reason to go.
Some people did seem to love it and the kids were having a great time. So if you don’t mind a kitsch, touristy evening, go for it, but I would get the deal that excludes it and head back to the city before it gets too late. Either way, it’s a great afternoon out. I loved it and it’s the kind of thing I offer to do again whenever friends come to visit.