Friday, February 7, 2014

Things to do in Dubai : Desert Safari

by Shawi Cortez

At 2:30pm, the driver picked us up promptly at Discovery Gardens, where I was staying with my cousins.

Our ride was a cruiser, specially built for sand dune bashing.

Desert safaris usually happen in different places. Our safari was in the deserts of Narwa.

The drive took around 45 minutes before our driver Raj, stopped for a pit stop. 5 minute break to the toilet for us, and enough time for them to deflate the tires. This was in preparation for the adrenaline-pumping ride in the sand dunes we signed up for. The tires have to be softer than usual so it doesn't burst in the heat and abrupt manoeuvring.

drivers deflating the tires

We haven't even reached our meet up point with the other cruisers, yet Raj was already giving us a foretaste of what's to come. It was a short roller coaster ride we enjoyed, which he didn't announce, and which we didn't prepare for by buckling our seats. As he heard giggles and chuckles from the back, I think he also enjoyed giving us a teaser.

The other riders were already in place when we arrived, and our fleet was composed of 5 vehicles, with a Hummer leading the pack.

I wish I could post photos or videos of our ride here, but I value my life more than these :)


sand dunes

fleet of dune bashers

Hummer leading the fleet

"Ira, halika pa-picture tayo dun sa may Hummer"

"ayan, kunyari ito yung ride natin"

with cousins, Makiboy, Ben (Dubai videographer) and Candy

The dune driving lasted for about 30 minutes until we parked our Land Cruiser in a camp where dinner is served and a show awaits the guests.

It was still early for dinner, so we whiled away the time riding a camel, taking pictures with a falcon, getting a henna painting on our hands, and lining up for free chai or coffee.

camel ride

with my cousin Ben (Dubai videographer)

cartwheels pag may time

hindi kaya ako tukain nito?

our safari camp

where we settled in 

dining tables with carpet and pillows
inside one of the Bedouin tents

i got a henna painting

By 7pm, the crowd gathered at the centre of the camp to watch the program. The opening act was a magic show, which was then followed by the main performance : Tanoura Dance.

Tanoura is a folkloric dance of Arabs. Tanoura means skirt in English and it is usually performed by Sufi men with Sufi music, who spin continuously like the dervish dancers in Turkey.

We were wowed by the fact that they didn't even get dizzy or showed signs of discomfort after spinning for almost half an hour.

Then the much awaited BBQ dinner. Two lines were made. One for males, and another for females. I'm amazed that it was done in an orderly fashion. And someone is actually manning the line. He'd also make sure that no one was blocking the line so that the flow would be continuous. The separate queue led to the salads, and the carbohydrates (arabic bread, pasta, rice). Then the line converges to just one for the barbecue. We were given a stick each of chicken, beef, and some fried indian food (samosa).

After dinner, the men in the crowd got excited. Belly dance was next.

Belly dance is the traditional dance of middle east, also known as raqs baladi. Raqs baladi is the traditional dance of Arabs and is the folkloric style, usually danced socially at festive occasions such as weddings.

Photo Credit : ©David Bowden, Source : National Features


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