Hi my lovelies!
This a post cum review of our Sun Downer Dune Dinner experience with Arabian Adventures. To start off we booked the ‘exclusive vehicle’ package because of the children, therefore the company sent 2 four-wheel drive land cruisers specifically for our group – usually these drivers pick people up from various hotels/locations until the car is full.
“Pickup” – 3PM
The drivers/guides of both vehicles were at our reception by 3pm as agreed, and according to the rest of the group, were quite entertaining but I couldn’t hear anything as I sat at the very back of the car. I stayed in the car which had the children and the arrangement was to have one adult sit in front and one at the back and I opted for the back. Now I did not anticipate the length of the journey, it took us about 1.5hours to get to the desert!
“The Falcon Show”
Refreshments awaited us at this stop and a quick photo op with a camel before we sat down to watch the show. Quite informative and interesting, we learnt that the Falcon is the national bird of the UAE, a swift flyer with keen eyes for its prey.
After the show, it was time to ride through the sand dunes but first the car tyres had to deflated to enable a smooth ride over the sand dunes. “Dune bashing” was through the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve and I must say it was the highlight of the trip! The children especially loved it and talked about it for days! We made two stops in-between the dune, 1st – to enjoy the view and take pictures then to watch the sun set…
Dune bashing continued and stopped just a few mins before we entered the bedouin camp. As we had a table reserved for the group (courtesy of some strings pulled by hubby dearest), we were led to our table. Starters were served first – an array of food falafel, chicken sharwama, vegetable parcels, flat bread and with cheese. This was an all inclusive package – food, drinks (including alcohol) and entertainment. Our guides/drivers surprisingly swapped hats and became in charge of serving the food.
After starters, we went for the camel ride – the children particularly loved this part. Note that I almost chickened out at this point seeing how tall those animals were! Such a weird sensation as the camel stands up but you get used to it after a few secs (my glutes get a good workout from the ride haha) some of us even went twice.
Next event we went for was Sand Surfing, (which was an epic fail!) – firstly the queue was long and people were slow coming down the dune – I suspect this was cause the sand was a little moist as it was now nightfall. To make matters worse, it turned out he needed to wear shoes to surf. It would have helped to have a sign down below the steps to indicate the need for shoes.
By now, it was time for mains – salads, humus, flat bread, rice, sauce, lamb chops, chicken skewers and roasted potatoes which we happily wolfed down as we were starving!
While we ate, belly dancing started. Set up right in the middle of the camp and Our guides had mentioned that the best time to leave was from the end of the 5th song because of traffic and everyone trying to get out of the camp. Also we still had to inflate the tyres of the vehicles before we could drive them on the road again. So after eating, us girls went exploring – henna turned out beautifully, then one of the girls got a sand souvenir and we finished off with Arabian coffee and dates.
There was also a shisha area, a mini bonfire and a place to dress up like an Arabian (but we were not allowed to take our own pics) besides our henna was still wet so we couldn’t get dressed.
Soon the 6th song started to play which was our cue to start packing up to leave 😦 an announcement was made for Star-gazing where all the lights in the camp would be switched off (panic.com!) as the lights went pretty fast. We then lumped our tired bodies into our respective cars and back to the hotel – this was pretty uneventful.
*Best to go for an exclusive car package if travelling in a group, especially with young children, it was truly worth the money we paid for it. We had four children with us, (ages 4 to 7) and they all got car or booster seats and the seating arrangement was well thought out. If we didn’t have the exclusive option, we might have ended up not being able to go with our children because it’s about filling each spot in the vehicle. So if the car isn’t full, the driver would just go to the next pickup location before heading to camp, eating into the safari time.
*Bring an extra layer of clothing, a scarf or cardigan as it gets chilly at nightfall.
*Ensure your child is at least 4 years old to go on this trip because dune bashing was a rollercoaster ride. Even my thrill-seeking 4yr old was a little apprehensive at the start but soon settled after comforting her – it might not be the same for another child.
*Try to keep an empty stomach before heading to avoid being car-sick. I had read some horror online reviews about people getting sick in the car!
Apologies for the long epistle but I do hope this helps someone out there planning a trip to Dubai with the family and seeking a thrilling adventure!
More posts on our Dubai trip soon 😉