Dubai maybe an ultramodern city but it also has a very different story to tell its visitors. It is the story of its true dwellers, the Bedouins. Although with time, the developing city-life has encroached upon the lands of these nomads, a vast stretch of the Arabian Desert exists to remind all, of what Dubai is really made of. Dubai Desert Safari is offered to those who want to offers a glimpse of the lifestyle of these tribes, over exotic Arabic cuisine and enthralling performances of various entertainers.
There are number of tourism operators offering various packages, starting from 30 AED to suit the need of the tourists. My journey began with a ride from the main city to the safari site with Rayna Tours and Travel on one late afternoon. It took around 40 minutes to reach our location. Here beyond the city wall was an entirely different world, a world where the sun and sand meets.
Miles after miles of barren land stretched till the horizon. The sand glittered like gold particles in the last rays of the sun. Green thorny shrubs dotted here and there. From here our safari began. First we got to experience the famous dune-bashing. An adrenaline wrenching jeep ride, that tosses and turns everybody inside like rag dolls in a thrilling experience, across the undulating landscape.
The ride ends at a clearing where colorful makeshift tents are setup around a center stage, welcoming everyone to enjoy the evening. The place offers a wide variety of entertainment starting with a camel ride to getting pictured with a falcon on hand to shops loaded with local knick-knacks to purchase from.
As the evening advanced and the sun sets, fairy lights were lit up, immersing everything around in a dreamlike environment. Arabic music filled the air. Aromatic smell from the hookahs filled the air, adding to the mysticism. Cosy cushions were laid out around the center stage for sitting.
Guessing a grand night was to be followed we seated ourselves waiting for the show to begin. Snacks and tea was offered by eagerly waiting waiters. Suddenly the lights were dimmed and the show began. A single light focused on the stage welcoming, the solo male dancer who with a lulling Arabic song in the background, went into an enthralling twirling dance. Next was a performance by a belly dancer. It was enchanting to watch both.
We were all enjoying the evening when suddenly from nowhere wind started to howl. It grew stronger with every passing minute. Sand blew from every direction blurring our vision. The show stopped. We were experiencing a desert storm! Tourists were escorted into the tents to take cover. I was mesmerized by the rapid change in Mother Nature. One moment we were all outside enjoying food and music and the next moment were all taking shelters.
More than an hour passed before the wind gradually started to decrease. But it did not stop entirely. Dinner arrangements were made in a big tent. A wide range of platter was laid down for everyone.
Although a part of me regretted for having missed the show, I knew I will always remember the desert storm. But one thing I did not know then, was that the night had something more unique stored in for me. As we were finishing up with our dinner the first few drops of rain splattered. Food forgotten I stared out of the tent as the tiny droplets became bigger and bigger until there was a torrential rainfall. The sky opened up with flashes of lightening. A rare phenomenon indeed, it was raining in the Arabian Desert! I knew instantaneously, I have truly lived my entire Arabian Night in one evening.