Incorporated into our INSEAD study trip to Abu Dhabi was a desert safari with Sunshine Tours intended to provide an insight into the local area. The trip provided a great opportunity for me to see the desert for the first time.
We departed from Abu Dhabi late afternoon in four wheel drives and headed about 85km out of town. The countryside became increasingly sparse as we left the sprawl of Abu Dhabi’s centre – although I am still scratching my head at why even a long way from the city, median strips seem to be maintained with kept green grass and plants.
After a stop at a local camel farm we turned off the main road and out into the dunes. And before you ask, no this was not a camel-back safari, but a high speed four wheel drive tour complete with complimentary plastic bags for those prone to motion sickness.
On top of that we had 17 cars all driving up and down hills in very close proximity – no Sunday drive. Fortunately our driver Abdul – a safari stalwart of some 17 years experience – proved to be more than up to the task and took pleasure bringing up the rear of the car train with sprays of sand.
You can see a little clip of our ride here:
The desert vistas were really something else. A real sense of calmness from being surrounded by such open expanses.
After an hour or so traversing the dunes we stopped for the evening at a desert camp where there was camel riding, quad bike riding, dune surfing and a fantastic banquet under the stars.
All in all a great first time desert experience that I would highly recommend to anyone visiting this area.