Things to do in
Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

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Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve: Our most recommended tours and activities

Dubai: Sunrise Balloon Flight with Breakfast & Falcon Photo

1. Dubai: Sunrise Balloon Flight with Breakfast & Falcon Photo

Your balloon adventure starts out with an early morning pick-up at your hotel. Then, head out before sunrise to the desert to begin a 4-hour adventure! You’ll float above the Arabian Desert for about an hour in the rising morning sun. In addition to seeing giant red sand dunes you’ll be on the lookout for camels, wild gazelles, vivid green oases, date farms, and the ever-changing shadows on the desert landscape. Keep an eye out for the mighty Arabian oryx in their natural habitat. Once you have landed, drive to a private desert conservation reserve and freshen up in the clean, private bathrooms. Get the opportunity to take a photo with a Peregrine falcon and enjoy a scrumptious breakfast of delicacies such as hand-cut smoked salmon, a fruit platter, and more.  After the end of this magical ride you’ll be transferred back to the city and dropped off at your hotel.

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Dubai: Hot Air Balloon Ride Over the Desert

2. Dubai: Hot Air Balloon Ride Over the Desert

Begin your hot-air balloon ride early in the morning, when you’ll be picked up from the comfort of your hotel. Relax and enjoy the scenic drive to the Margham desert. Stop and have a warm cup of coffee or tea once you arrive. Drive through the Dubai desert to your take-off location. Snap some pictures as the balloon inflates in the desert. Float above the Arabian desert and witness the sunrise from 4000 feet above the ground. Take in breathtaking views of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve and try to spot some native wildlife. Once you’ve landed, you'll be dropped off back at your hotel where your tour will end.

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Arabian Dune Safari

3. Arabian Dune Safari

Visit an oasis in the desert close to Dubai city and go driving over the dunes in an SUV. Experience Bedouin culture after with traditional coffee and more, then savor a BBQ buffet. After pickup in Dubai, head to the Masayaf Desert Camp. Once there, enjoy driving in 4-wheel SUVs through the desert for an exciting 20 minutes or so, going up and down the dunes, skidding, sliding, and bashing these majestic giants.  Next, visit the camp for a taste of a traditional experience of the Bedouin culture. The camp itself is a premium ethnic Bedouin camp with a rustic and original look and feel that endeavours to offer you tradition without compromising on quality and authenticity. Try a traditional Gahwa (traditional Arabic coffee on arrival) upon arrival, along with dates and refreshing wet towels. Tea is also available. Follow this with some native starters, which include shawarma and falafel. Stroll around the camp and find a variety of activities, including a souvenir display stall, a henna tattoo corner, and a photo studio area where you can adorn traditional local dishdashas and abayas and get your photographs snapped Have a camel ride and try your hand at falconry, or ride a quad bike for an additional charge. After you settle down, watch local entertainment, such as a mesmerizing tanoora dance, a daring fire show, and a spellbinding belly dancing show that promises alluring moves to enthralling music. While taking a stroll around the camp or during the ongoing entertainment, you have a choice of quenching your thirst with soft drinks and water. Alternatively, head to the live bar to buy some spirits or beer at a charge. Later, taste a sumptuous three-course menu with fresh grills, hot freshly baked breads, a hot buffet, and desserts from the local kitchen, followed by fresh fruits. As the tour hosts bid farewell, a vehicle will drive you back to your hotel or destination.

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Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve 5-Hour Tour with Breakfast

4. Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve 5-Hour Tour with Breakfast

Escape the heat of the city and discover the pristine desert eco-system inside the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. Your professional safari guide will skillfully pilot your Range Rover through the reserve in search of the Arabian Oryx, a true modern day conservation success story. Here you can see abundant birdlife, desert monitors, gazelles, and maybe even the rare Gordon’s wildcat. The reserve is the United Arab Emirate’s first national park, and is dedicated to preserving the unique and beautiful desert habitat and the hundreds of fascinating flora and fauna species it hosts. This is your opportunity to view the most carefully preserved wildlife area in the United Arab Emirates. Your day will conclude with a fresh juice, tea, or coffee and a delicious breakfast at the famous Al Maha Desert Resort.

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Dubai: Hot Air Balloon Ride with Camel Ride & Falcon Photo

5. Dubai: Hot Air Balloon Ride with Camel Ride & Falcon Photo

Your hot air balloon adventure begins early in the morning, when you’ll be picked up from your hotel and taken to the Margham Desert for a refreshment and a briefing from the pilot. Next, you’ll be driven over the red sand dunes of the Dubai desert to your take-off location, where you’ll witness the inflation of the hot air balloon on the ground. After takeoff, you’ll float above the Arabian desert and enjoy the sunrise from 4000 feet above the ground, taking in breathtaking views of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve and native wildlife. Once you’ve landed, you'll be driven back to the Margham desert to freshen up, take photos with a falcon, and enjoy an Arabic Style buffet breakfast. Finally, be dropped off back at your hotel where your tour will end.

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From Dubai: Heritage Dinner Desert Safari

6. From Dubai: Heritage Dinner Desert Safari

Take a step back in time and experience Dubai as it was 50 years ago. Your professional guide will escort you on a stunning journey in a museum quality 1950’s Land Rover. These vehicles were extensively used in the 1950’s and since then have become part of the UAE history. No other vehicle offers a more authentic desert experience to spot exotic local wildlife within the pristine Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. Your Bedouin camp, lit with the gentle flames of traditional lamps is nestled inside a private Royal desert retreat. As our guest, we will show you plenty of cultural activities such as henna, falconry, music, bread making and will provide the opportunity to learn how to prepare a local recipe handed down from generation to generation. Then, we'll enjoy a scrumptious dinner under the stars. History comes to life in this unique and fascinating heritage excursion. During the holy month of Ramadan, experience Ramadan in Dubai as it was 50 years ago. Break the fast and learn about the holy month in true Bedouin spirit. Learn about Ramadan, Iftar and let UAE history come to life in this once in a lifetime heritage event.

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7-Hour Platinum Desert Safari from Dubai

7. 7-Hour Platinum Desert Safari from Dubai

Experience an evening under the desert stars at a royal retreat. Travel from Dubai in a legendary Range Rover, the off-road vehicle of choice for royalty, the rich, and the famous. Your expert safari guide will take you on a fascinating journey through the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve in search of exotic native wildlife. See a falconry demonstration as you watch the sun drop under the horizon. A gentle camel ride will take you to your secluded private dinner venue, nestled in the dunes. Relax under the stars as you enjoy live entertainment, and a shisha. Private bathroom facilities are also provided at this exclusive venue.

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Overnight Dubai Desert Safari & Gourmet Breakfast

8. Overnight Dubai Desert Safari & Gourmet Breakfast

Extend your heritage experience in Dubai with an overnight stay at a unique desert camp. Take a step back in time and experience Dubai as it was 50 years ago. Your professional guide will escort you on a stunning journey in a museum quality 1950s Land Rover. No other vehicle offers a more authentic desert experience for spotting exotic wildlife within the pristine Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. Watch the sun drop under the horizon as a falcon soars above you. Your Bedouin camp, lit with the gentle flames of traditional lamps, is nestled inside a private royal desert retreat. You’ll see demonstrations of cultural activities such as henna painting, music, dance, making bread, and making Arabic coffee. Enjoy a sumptuous dinner under the stars. After dinner, you’ll relax beside a bonfire and marvel at the star-filled night sky. Your camp site is inside a traditional Arabic stone dwelling complete with bedding. In the morning, you’ll awake to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and a freshly cooked gourmet breakfast of hand cut smoked salmon, caviar, eggs Benedict, a fruit platter, and more. 

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Dubai: Desert Safari with Camel Ride

9. Dubai: Desert Safari with Camel Ride

Experience Dubai as it was a half century ago on a full-day safari of the desert dunes. Following a pick-up from your hotel, head out to the desert landscape and explore it from the back of a camel. Traveling like the ancient nomads, enjoy a stunning journey through the desert on a traditional camel convoy. This is the most authentic way to trace the footsteps of the Bedouin travellers. Upon arrival at a Bedouin camp, soak up the atmosphere of the gentle flames from traditional lamps nestled inside a private royal retreat. Demonstrations of traditional activities, such as henna painting, falconry displays, and authentic folk music and dance will keep you entertained (not available during the Holy month of Ramadan). Learn the traditional ways of making bread according to recipes handed down from generation to generation. End with a scrumptious dinner under the stars as history comes to life in an ageless landscape.

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Dubai: Private Falconry Safari

10. Dubai: Private Falconry Safari

On this private 5-hour program, head to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve in a 4WD vehicle. Enjoy a nature drive in search of the houbara bustard, Arabian oryx and sand gazelle. At the Emirati Falcon Hunting Camp you’ll be welcomed with Arabic coffee and dates. The falconry experience begins as you help to train a greater spotted eagle, desert eagle owl and Harris’s hawk. All of the birds will be flown to your gloved fist. Participate in a modern training technique: fly a peregrine falcon, the planet’s fastest animal, to a drone. As an optional add-on, you can enjoy breakfast at the luxurious Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa, or a picnic-style canapé breakfast at the falcon camp.

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Planning Your Visit

  • How to get there?

    It isn't possible to visit the reserve without an approved tour group, so look out for tour operators that provide transfers from your hotel or the city center. Otherwise you can only reach the reserve by car via the E66, which starts out as the Dubai-Al Ain Road between Downtown Dubai and the Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary.

  • What to bring?

    The desert is, of course, very exposed to sunlight, so bring sunglasses, suitable headwear, and plenty of sunscreen! You'll need to use a lot of the latter so bring moisturizer to stop your skin drying out. If you're bringing an expensive camera then make sure it's protected against the sand (waterproofing also works!), and bring a water bottle even if your tour operator is providing it, just in case. Also, do NOT wear closed leather shoes!

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    The desert is there day and night, so it all depends on when you schedule your tour!
  • Is it expensive?
    Depends on the experience you are seeking, but prices usually start around $100 per person.
  • Will I need a guide?
    Definitely.
  • How to get there
    Your chosen tour guide will take you there in a private van from the city.
  • Additional information
    Eat lightly before your excursion. The bumpy ride across the dunes can make some people feel queasy!

Other Sightseeing Options in Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

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What people are saying about Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 2,095 reviews

Amazing experience with tour guides and falconers Sarab and Raheem. Really knowledgeable about the birds and explained to us all our questions. Made it a really enjoyable experience and a once in a lifetime day out. You won’t regret it. We saw beautiful birds and also the gazelle and oryx in the nature reserve.

The collection went very well. The balloon ride was just great and the sunrise. The breakfast was good and there was something for everyone

Amazing Experience ! Loved it The team is so nice I recommend greatly

Very good experience! Our driver was very kind and funny.

You can't do better - top from start to finish!