Dubai is a city that caters for all, including the adrenaline junkies. From sky-diving to zip-lining, there are many extreme sports options for you to choose from. However, one that is always popular amongst the thrill-seekers has to be Dune Buggy riding in the desert.
What is Dune Buggy Riding?
The natural desert landscape of Dubai is breathtaking and if exploring it over a fast-paced ride excites you, Dune Buggy riding is perfect for you. Unlike dune bashing which takes place in 4×4 cars with certified drivers holding special driving permits, the buggies used for dune buggy riding are small, lightweight automotive vehicles with oversized, low-pressure tires for riding on the sands, and are completely safe for beginner drivers.
With no prior experience needed, it is entirely up to you how fast and thrilling you would like to make it for yourself. You can even choose from single buggies, or tag along with a buddy on the double-seated buggies. It is the challenging terrain and the stunning views of the landscape that make this adventurous activity so thrilling.
What makes Dune Buggy riding in Dubai so great?
- The spectacular views of the desert: This unique adventure activity gives you the freedom to explore the terrain at your own pace. Follow your group of buggy riders along with your instructor, as he guides you on how to navigate the desert and where to go.
- Make it your first time: You don’t need to be an expert at dune buggy riding. As long as you are following your instructor’s safety rules, you are fit to begin your adrenaline-pumping adventure.
- It’s safe: Dune buggy riding is done considering your comfort and safety. Before you begin, you will be trained for a few minutes on how to safely operate the dune buggy, and briefed on the path. Your guide will also provide you with a variety of safety gear like helmets and eye goggles.
What are the top Dubai desert locations for dune riding?
- Al Badayer/ The Big Red: The deep red colour of this large sand dune is where it gets its name from. Located 45 minutes from Dubai on the Hatta/Oman (E44) highway, this spot is popular for all desert related activities and some spectacular activities.
- Al Faya Desert: If looking for even bigger sanddune, Al Faya Desert is perfect for the desert adventure seekers. It is located along the Sharjah- Kalba (E55) road, and a 50 minute drive from Dubai, and secluded away from the city noise.
- Fossil and Camel Rock: A spot that’s not only a favourite amongst the dune riders but also the photographers, thanks to the rugged rock formations. These formations include marine fossils from millions of years ago and a famous rock formation that looks like a camel resting in the sand. This location is a 50-minute drive from Dubai towards Sharjah/Kalba road.
Booking a Dune Buggy experience in Dubai
Dune Buggy riding is a safe and thrilling way to follow the natural trails of the desert landscape and explore more of this city. Once you are ready to embark on this fun-filled journey, all you need to do is find the right dune buggy tour to book with.
Choose a provider that suits your area of interest and preferential timing. While most Dubai desert tours operate during the daytime, the option to ride at sunset is also available with some tours (often combined with Dune bashing and other desert sports).
Another thing you will want to consider when booking is the duration of the tours. The longer the hours, the more opportunity to go deeper into the desert and experience more of this natural landscape.
Most buggy rental services include a pickup and drop off service from your hotel or place of residence, and some even offer a complete package with BBQ dinner and live entertainment. Here are a few options for you to have a look at, which can be easily booked with Viator:
Recommended Viator Dune Buggy tours:
- A great introductory experience in small groups, learn to ride in this self-drive experience with pickups and drop-offs from Dubai – approx 3 hours with 1 hour of drive time – learn more here.
- If you want to enjoy your social distancing, a great option for couples to consider is a private desert experience with an experienced instructor for several hours during the day.
- Try a combined desert evening experience which includes a 1-hour dune buggy ride for 2 (or 30 minutes each), as well as dinner, a camel ride, Tanura dance and belly dancing shows – see more details here
- An ideal option for groups, flexibly choose between an early morning or later afternoon dune buggy experience for up to 5 participants, taking you deep into the desert – approximate 4 to 6 hours in total including pick up/drop off.
We also highly recommend you look at some of the options available through the trusted booking platform, Get Your Guide.
- Early risers who want to beat the heat should try this morning Dune Buggy adventure. Hotel pickups included and all the safety gear and equipment you need for an early adventure for 1 hour in the dunes outside of Dubai
- A good evening option that includes your dune buggy ride combined with a BBQ dinner, try this evening sunset experience which includes 1 hour of drive time.
- Combining sandboarding and even a visit to a camel farm, enjoy an extensive 4 hour morning or 6 hour evening tour out to the ever-popular Al Khayma Desert Camp with 50 minutes of dune buggy time scheduled, this is one of the most popular dune buggy tours in Dubai – see all the details and inclusions here.
What should you wear for a Dune Buggy ride?
In order to protect yourself from the sun and sand, it is advisable to wear long-sleeved t-shirts. You can choose to wear a jacket depending on the weather and if you are planning to stay late into the evening. Closed-toe shoes work best and will be most comfortable for riding the dune buggies. You can expect sand to get in your hair too, so wearing a scarf or hat is a good idea.
What is the best time of the year to go Dune Buggy riding?
This is one activity that can be experienced all year round, with the winter season being the busiest.
If you are visiting during the summer, you can make the most of fewer crowds, cheaper packages, and can still beat the high temperature by booking for the evening tours; be warned though it will still be a hot and sweaty experience!
More Frequently asked questions about Dune Buggy in Dubai
Most tour companies advise buggy riders should be aged 18 and above, preferably with some basic driving knowledge. You would need to check the terms with each individual provider, some may allow passengers down to 14 years old and supervised riders from 16 years and above.
Pregnant women, people with mobility impairments and children are not allowed to drive.
It is best to check the age restrictions before making a booking, however, most companies require the child to be 14 or older to be able to sit on the vehicle.
Charges for Dune buggy riding experiences can vary depending on the tour operator, time of the year and the type of buggy you are going for. A couple may be able to share a buggy for the allotted time period, but if there are pickups included, you will likely need to pay for each passenger, regardless of who’s driving.
Depending on add ons and inclusions, expect to pay in the vicinity of $100USD to $300 USD for a dune buggy ride experience in Dubai.
All buggy tours provide essential safety gear such as helmet and safety goggles. It is also recommended that you dress appropriately in the right closed-toe footwear. All buggies are fitted with seat belts, and it is a must to wear them while riding.
It can get very hot in the desert, even during winters, so carry a water bottle and stay hydrated. Also, feel free to carry sunscreen lotion and hat. A GoPro camera that you can attach to yourself is recommended over using your smartphone or selfie sticks.
Dune bashing involves an off-road experience, where a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) with reduced tire pressure is used to go up and down sand dunes of Dubai’s desert, at varying speeds. The experience usually lasts for a few minutes and is very bumpy and thrilling.
Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai
- Pop into our essential planning information page, it includes everything you need to know about getting around Dubai, a handy guide on what to pack, and top tips for first-timers on the do’s and don’ts, laws, and customs to be aware of.
- Check out this incredible list of 150+ places you should visit when you’re in Dubai.
- Pick up a Dubai Pass from iVenture or a Go City Dubai Pass to save up to 50% on top Dubai attractions.
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!!!
- Discover the best areas to stay in Dubai, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here:
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