Dubai, a city known for its skyscrapers, luxury shopping, and modern architecture, has another face that attracts adventure enthusiasts from around the world – its deserts.

The vast, golden sand dunes surrounding the city offer the perfect playground for a thrilling desert safari experience. But with several deserts to choose from, it’s essential to know which one is the best for a memorable adventure.

In this article, we will discuss the top deserts for a desert safari in Dubai, comparing their unique features, activities, and accessibility.

Desert Checklist

  1. Al Maha Desert
  2. Al Awir Desert
  3. Lahbab Desert (Red Dunes)
  4. Al Qudra Desert
  5. Hatta Desert

1. Al Maha Desert

Rich Biodiversity and Luxury Resorts

The Al Maha Desert, situated within the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, is a top choice for travelers who wish to combine adventure and luxury.

The reserve covers 225 square kilometers and is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including the Arabian Oryx and gazelles.

The Al Maha Desert offers a unique experience, with options for desert dune bashing, camel trekking, and sandboarding, all while surrounded by pristine sand dunes and unspoiled natural beauty.

Luxury desert resorts in the area provide an exclusive and comfortable stay, allowing you to unwind after an action-packed day.

2. Al Awir Desert

Convenient Location and Traditional Activities

Located a short drive from downtown Dubai, the Al Awir Desert is an easily accessible option for those who want to experience a desert safari without traveling too far.

This desert is famous for its traditional activities, such as camel riding, henna painting, and falconry displays.

The Al Awir Desert safari usually includes thrilling activities like dune bashing, quad biking, and sandboarding. After the adrenaline rush, you can relax at a Bedouin-style camp and enjoy a delicious Arabian BBQ dinner, accompanied by live entertainment like belly dancing and Tanoura dance performances.

3. Lahbab Desert (Red Dunes)

Striking Landscape and Adventure-packed Safaris

The Lahbab Desert, also known as the Red Dunes, is renowned for its stunning red sand and towering dunes, some reaching up to 300 meters.

Located approximately 50 kilometers from Dubai, the Lahbab Desert is an ideal destination for thrill-seekers, offering an intense dune bashing experience and opportunities for high-speed sandboarding.

Sunrise and sunset safaris in the Lahbab Desert are popular choices, as the changing light creates an unforgettable atmosphere, accentuating the dunes’ colors and shadows. This desert is perfect for those who crave a more extreme adventure and seek a unique, picturesque landscape.

4. Al Qudra Desert

Accessible Adventure and Man-made Oasis

For those short on time or looking for a more laid-back desert safari, the Al Qudra Desert is a great option. Located just 30 minutes from the city center, this desert offers a mix of adventure and relaxation. The Al Qudra Oasis, a man-made lake system, is a popular spot for picnics, birdwatching, and photography.

While Al Qudra may not have the highest dunes, it still provides a fun and exciting desert safari experience, with activities like 4×4 dune bashing, camel riding, and sandboarding. The close proximity to Dubai makes it a convenient choice for those who want to explore the desert without venturing too far.

5. Hatta Desert

Mountainous Terrain and Outdoor Activities

The Hatta Desert, nestled in the Hajar Mountains, offers a distinct landscape and a diverse range of outdoor activities. The rugged terrain and rocky mountainous backdrop make the Hatta Desert an ideal choice for adventure enthusiasts looking to combine their desert safari with hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking in the nearby Hatta Dam.

The Hatta Desert safari experience is unique, focusing more on the mountainous surroundings and cultural heritage than high-speed dune bashing. Here, you can explore ancient villages, learn about local traditions, and discover archaeological sites.

For a complete experience, you can spend the night in a traditional mountain lodge or a luxury glamping site under the stars.

What We’ve Learnt

Each desert surrounding Dubai offers a unique desert safari experience, catering to different preferences and expectations.

The Al Maha Desert is perfect for luxury-seekers and nature enthusiasts, while the Al Awir Desert provides a convenient and traditional experience.

The Lahbab Desert is the top choice for adrenaline junkies, and the Al Qudra Desert offers a mix of adventure and relaxation.

Finally, the Hatta Desert is ideal for those who want to explore the cultural heritage and diverse outdoor activities in a mountainous setting.

Ultimately, the best desert for a safari in Dubai depends on your interests, time constraints, and desired level of adventure.

No matter which desert you choose, you are sure to have a memorable experience that showcases the beauty and excitement of Dubai’s natural landscapes.


  1. Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve:
  2. Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa:
  3. Visit Dubai:
  4. Hatta Wadi Hub:
  5. Al Qudra Lakes: