For a moment it looked as if a mirage had gone mad. There were countless four-wheeled vehicles racing up and down the sand dunes, kicking up clouds of sand as they went. The first thought that came to my mind was that a pack of daredevil circus stuntmen had been abandoned in the desert. Nope what. It was not a mirage. There I was, 30 minutes from Dubai, and there, with their snarls, the dunemen in their Dune Buggy Dubai trudging across the desert.
Dune rafting is often referred to as ‘desert white water rafting’ and is a very popular sport in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Don’t be confused by the name. Dune bashing is not some freakishly violent activity, but a serious adventure sport, driving flashy cars/bikes/buggies across the open desert and having some serious fun climbing up and down mountain-sized sand dunes. included. Of course getting stuck and extricating yourself is also an adventure.
Since I was new to this activity, I decided to take the softer option: hitting the dunes with a powerful 250cc buggy and then going for a full desert drive in a Toyota Land Cruiser. Passengers are taken into the desert and taken on an exhilarating ride up and down the sand dunes in 4×4 vehicles? Most powerful Toyotas or Pajeros.
Our dune bashing expedition began when we were picked up from downtown Dubai by our Lebanese desert guide-cum-driver in an ultra-luxurious, powerful Toyota Land Cruiser. It was about half an hour’s drive from the glittering skyscrapers of Dubai to the sandy expanses of Hatta.
As we drove out of Dubai we could see a towering range of rocky and sandy Hajar mountains with craters and craggy sides. The Hatta Sand Dunes, believed to be the remains of an ancient sea that once washed over the emirate, are located just outside Dubai and most dune bashing tours start here.
We stopped at the entrance to the sand dunes.
You have two hours. You go and have fun in the sand.
Our Lebanese driver pointed to the buggies that were available for hire. A dune buggy is a 4×4 vehicle with a motorcycle saddle and handlebars. Driving a buggy on soft sand can be very difficult and power alone is not enough to ensure an exciting and fun dune exit.
There’s no getting away from the fact that a bumpy Buggy Rental Dubai is an odd-looking vehicle. It is built like a scooter but has four wheels with fat tires. And it thunders across the desert, sending up clouds of sand. A convoy of dune bashers followed by a jeep is a common sight on the dunes around Hatta. From where we stood in Hatta, we could see many buggies and cars tearing around the sand dunes in what looked like a suicidal escape.
After watching for a few minutes, I was itching to try my hand at it. I jumped on the 250 cc buggy and headed for the nearest dune. I tried running up and down the dunes like the pros there, but fell over the first triangular shaped dune. After a few more defeats, I managed to hit the dunes without getting buried in the sand. Going up and down the dunes, picking up columns and clouds of sand was an exhilarating experience.
Soon it was time to get back into the Land Cruiser and experience a real desert drive. Our Lebanese driver and guide put us in the car and drove us into the darkness of the sand dunes. As we drove over what looked like huge sand dunes, it soon became more chaotic. The ride became more choppy and almost felt like we were sailing in a stormy sea and not driving. As our Land Cruiser bobbed up and down the crests and troughs of the dunes, our driver cheerfully warned us that it would only get worse. Were we right and were we playing for more? Of course.
Once he was reassured, he grinned and turned the wheel towards the sand dunes that almost flew across the countryside. After going up and down some more hills, he came to a stop in what looked like a field. It was one of the few farms, our driver said, that used local Arab methods to breed camels.
The few camels in sight gave us a quick glance under their long noses and went back to munching on the grass! Soon, a few more Land Cruisers appeared and lined up alongside our vehicle. Tired of tourists of all sizes, shapes and races? Caucasians, Asians including Indians, and some Africans. They all headed straight for the camels, trying to pet them and take pictures.
Meanwhile our driver began to let some air out of the tires, checking the pressure with the gauge to make sure it was just right. A slightly flatter tire provides more surface area contact with the ground and leads to more trail grip, he explained, adding that we’d need all the traction to negotiate the steep hills.
After a short break and when all the Land Cruisers let air out of their tires we started our real adventure through the dunes. The sand dunes are as high as 30m-40m, and some were even higher. The powerful vehicle slowly climbed the sand dune, sliding around the sides of the sand pyramid. Windscreen created a rising sand slope. We were pushed back into our seats as if we were in an airplane flying through the sky.
That first climb was not an easy ride, but it was definitely thrilling and had our adrenaline pumping. And as soon as we reached the knife-edge of the dune, we began to drop down the other side. Going straight down at breakneck speed, we felt our stomachs sink into the pits of our stomachs as we slid across the sand. In places where the sand was very soft, the car moved at a slight angle, sometimes to the left, sometimes to the right. At times, it looked as if the vehicle would tip over on its side… but our driver was an expert with over 10 years of experience and maneuvered the Land Cruiser through the dunes with great skill.
After two hours of rough and bumpy riding, we reached a rough patch of rock in the middle of the IMG Worlds of Adventure and Our fleet of five Land Cruisers stopped for a sunset view of the . The view was simply amazing and as the sun turned from golden to red to a brilliant orange, it was a soul-soothing experience.
The convoy of vehicles was once again ready to crush the dunes until nightfall. We hopped around at dusk and eventually arrived at a well-lit desert camp with piercing lights, Arabic music and stalls where we could have our picture taken in traditional dress (kanduras for men and burqas for women). were
In addition, there were desert dishes made with dates, dried fruits and honey, as well as alcoholic cocktails and fruit mocktails. Later as the night wore on, we rested on the round wooden floor with rugs and cushions and enjoyed the cool desert air. Soon a belly dancer came on stage and entertained us while a hookah aka sheesha swirled with aromatic tobacco, making us feel like royalty enjoying the dancing girls.