These days everyone is so connected to the grid; on some sort of electronic leash via smartphone or personal communication device. Well, in the desert, none of that works. It’s really just you and your thoughts. Oh, and the group of people that are on the Safari with you.

Now, I’m not sure how long you want to detach from the rest of the world, but, even one day makes a huge difference.

We booked our tour with Emirates Tours and Safari for approximately $120 a person… all via email. In the confirmation email they included a few helpful tips.

1. Wear comfortable clothing.

2. Wearing closed shoes (sneakers or rubber shoes) is recommended, as you will be walking in the desert and among camel feces.

3. Eat light during lunch to avoid feeling sick/dizzy during dune bashing.

4. Pack an overnight bag with items you would take on an outdoor camping trip. There are NO power outlets.

Being that our party was comprised of 8 people they sent 2 Land Cruisers to pick us up. They arrived promptly at 3:45 pm and out expedition began.

Our day went as follows;

After we were picked up at the hotel, we drove about an hour and a half to the Sweihan Desert. First stop;

 

Playing with Camels

Visit with the camels

Beware!!! There is camel feces EVERYWHERE. I know we are in the desert and it is a million degrees but, I really suggest you DON’T wear sandals; it’s just not a good idea.

 

Dune Bashing 2Dune Bashing

If you are a trill seeker, this is an awesome experience, but if you suffer from motion sickness like me, bring a plastic bag and some candied ginger…It helps. Gliding around on sand mountains will definitely have you feeling some kinda way.

Next, it was off to camp…

 

desert

The campsite was in the middle of NO WHERE. Nothing but sand for miles and miles and miles. However, the set up of the camp, while not elaborate in the least bit, was nice. It was basically a huge square shaped area that consisted of private sleeping quarters with a communal area in the middle that was a slightly elevated concrete platform. It housed the tables and pillow cushions that we dined on and that later became the performance stage.

 

camp

 

While dinner was being prepared, we had the option of participating in various activities such as;

 

sand boardingSand Boarding

 

HennaHenna Painting

 

Riding camelsCamel Riding

 

4 wheelingATV Riding

 

DressingTaking photos in traditional garb

 

Coffe and TeaOr an authentic Emirati coffee/tea service

 

Shortly thereafter we were served dinner. I have to honestly say, this wasn’t necessarily a highlight for me. The whole time we were in the UAE, I was looking to have an “authentic Emirati” experience and I can’t say that I really did. Because the country is a huge mash up of nationalities and the Emirati population is so small, almost everything we came across including food was from somewhere else.

We were served Mediterranean and Indian food. It was really good but nothing new.

After dinned the majority of the tables were cleared out and the festivities began.

 

Belly DancingBelly Dancing show

 

ShishaShisha Smoking

 

The night came to a close and with tons of laughs, music and dancing.

Then, I found out that instead of sleeping in the closed quarters “WE” decided we wanted to sleep under the stars. It was so dark and quiet, you could see EVERY star in the sky and hear your own heartbeat. If you were waiting for that “deep, soul-searching, one with the creator” moment, this was definitely it. Our beloved Shaki, was even able to catch the stars on cam.

Sleeping

Sleeping outside

Stars

s/n: Although we were in the middle of the desert, it did get a bit breezy at night.

The next morning, we were up around 4:45am, trekking up a ginormous sand mountain with intentions of sun gazing. While we were all winded and felt like we were on an episode of survivor, NOTHING could compare to the glimpse of the sunrise we caught. It was breathtaking!!!

 

Sun Rise

 

After watching the sunrise, we were served breakfast and then we had a mini photo shoot, a la reality show stars.

 

photoshoot

 

Lastly, we were carted back off to our luxury hotel.

With the exception, of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, this was my favorite experience in Abu Dhabi.

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