Sand in the city: how to spend your weekend in the desert

Ditch the urban life for a day or two at the desert, as temperatures hit cool lows of 21 degrees Celsius
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Ditch the urban life for a day or two at the desert, as temperatures hit cool lows of 21 degrees Celsius
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Horseback your way through 3.5 million square metres of desert dunes with Al Sahra Desert Resort Equestrian Centre, part of the Dubai hotel group JA Resorts & Hotels. The centre provides visitors with riding sessions and lessons with both horses and camels. But the animals are not the only ones guests see, as desert foxes and gazelles often roam the dunes. While you are there, get a taste of camel milk being offered, as you watch the sun rise or set with a loved one. Prices per request.
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Experience desert views from heights of up to 3000 feet as you enjoy a hot air balloon ride over the Hajar Mountains. Share the journey with free-flying Peregrine falcons guided by professional trainers from Balloon Adventures Dubai. The activity is followed by a desert ride in a 1950’s vintage Land Rover, which takes guests to a private Bedouin camp where gourmet breakfast is served. Prices for adults start at AED1,195.
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Visit an authentic desert camp between Dubai and Al Ain, where guests can enjoy unique experiences such as fire dances, falcon shows, henna painting and more. The package provided by Dream Journey Tourism includes food catered by Jebel Ali Golf Resorts & Hotels, as well as shisha pipes. Discounted prices of AED300 are available at online market place
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The Big Red desert, or Al Hamar, is famous for its quad biking activities, where visitors can rent bikes from the nearby Golden Desert Motorcycles Rental shop. The bikes are offered for half an hour and come with safety helmets which drivers are required to wear. The desert itself is situated along the Dubai Hatta E44 highway. While easy to find, guests can hire a taxi to avoid getting lost.
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Opt for a weekend desert stay in Al Ain where hotels such as Telal Resort offer traditionally decorated villas, classic Emirati cuisine and a variety of outdoor activities including camel riding and falconry. Drive 35 minutes by car to visit the Green Mubazzarah hot springs for a change in scenery or head to the UAE’s second highest mountain Jebel Hafeet (55 km away) for breath-taking views. One bedroom villa at the resort starts at around AED1,000 a night, including breakfast.
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Pedal through the desert on 80km of paved paths at Al Qudra cycling track while enjoying unspoiled desert landscapes. An onsite rental shop offers bikes and equipment for hire. Try to get a glimpse of wild horses or onyxes often spotted in the area, or stop by the man-made Al Qudra Lakes where ducks, swans and flamingos rest. Make a staycation out of your visit by camping in the surrounding desert for the night.
Tue 21 Nov 2017 04:27 PM GST
By Lubna Hamdan