Excursions and Adventure Sports in Dubai
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Excursions and Adventure Sports
For many visitors, getting out of Dubai city is the highlight of their trip. Much of the emirate is made of miles and miles of sand where the latest sports of dune-bashing (driving up and down dunes in powerful 4WD vehicles), wadi-bashing (driving along dry river valleys and watercourses in even more powerful 4WD vehicles), and sand-boarding (like snowboarding or boogie-boarding) make a great break from the culture and the shopping.
The traditional Bedouin lifestyle can also be celebrated, though the experiences are pure tourist excursion rather than a genuine living community. Still it's fun to see how the majority of Emiratis lived just a couple of generations ago. Most Bedouin "experiences" involve a camel trek, falcon show, and an alfresco meal in a tented camp. These can be combined with the adventure sports mentioned earlier.
The companies included below operate throughout the city. Book them direct or through your hotel concierge.
Bur Dubai & the South Bank
Sunflower Tours organizes group desert safaris, camel safaris, dune surfing, overnight safaris, and adventure sports. The company also acts as a booking agent for deep-sea fishing and evening creek cruises. Umm Hurair Rd., Karama, Dubai. 4/334-5554. www.sunflowerdubai.com.
World Trade Centre & Burj Dubai
Arabian Adventures operates across the UAE. In Dubai it's possible to take a desert safari, sundowner safari, or go wadi- or canyon-bashing. Arrangements can be made to Jumana show (Wild Wadi Water Park (and evening cruises on Dubai Creek. Sheikh Zayed Rd., Interchange 2, Dubai. 4/303-4888. www.arabian-adventures.com.
Voyagers Xtreme offers golf lessons, self-driving tours, and camel safaris. You can take to the air in a tandem skydive or more sedately by balloon. Desert safaris and overnight camping trips are the gold-medal desert adventure. The ultimate extreme is "One Wild Week in the Emirates," a package filled with land, sea, and air excursions. Dune Centre, Al Diyafah Rd., Satwa, Dubai. 4/345-4504. www.turnertraveldubai.com.
Desert Rangers, a well-established adventure company with a good reputation amongst Fodor's forum members, has a varied portfolio to get you out and about in the emirate, including safaris by dune buggy and camel or overland in 4WD vehicles. Try sand-boarding or hit the dunes in a desert-driving course. Box 37975, Dubai. 4/340-2408. www.desertrangers.com.
Gulf Ventures caters to incentive groups and covers the entire UAE, but offers a good range of desert activities for individuals, including dune-bashing and dune buggy rides. Less active choices include dune drives and drinks at sunset or dinner in the desert. Box 1515, Dubai. 4/209-5568. www.gulfventures.ae.
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