I Found The Most Ethical, Luxurious & Best Desert Safari in Dubai
Platinum Heritage Dubai
As you may know, I’m extremely passionate about ethical travel, which is why I was so excited when I fount the most ethical, luxurious, AND best desert safari in Dubai, Platinum Heritage Dubai. I did a lot of research ahead of time to find a desert safari that treated the camels humanely and Platinum Heritage is the only one I found that really goes above and beyond. Below I share photos and a write up on why & how this desert safari really stood out to me.
Reasons To Choose Platinum Heritage Dubai – the best desert safari in Dubai
Ethical & Sustainable
- The camels only go for one walk each day at dusk so they aren’t overworked.
- Only one person sits on each camel, except for small children are accompanied by their parents.
- They only use male camels because they are stronger.
- Each tour has a falcon show where they teach you about the birds without having trained them. They keep the process as natural as possible.
- There’s no dune bashing here. Dune bashing is actually bad for the desert because it can kill wildlife.
- They pick you up from your hotel which was a nice & convenient touch.
- You can purchase photos and a video at the end of the experience. The video even has drone shots!
- Platinum Heritage Dubai has the largest collection of vintage, museum quality, Land Rovers from the 1950’s.
- The Bedouin camp you go to after your ride is tranquil yet vivacious, authentic yet modern. Sheesha, henna, Emirati Yola dancing and singing, and Emirati food are all available along with modern bathrooms. You can even stay the night in one of their rooms if you’d like.
- This experience focuses on educating and sustainability, but in a bougie & comfortable environment.
- Everyone who works there is enthusiastic about their job and love teaching you about Emirati culture. It’s the little things like this that make Platinum Heritage the best desert safari in Dubai.
- The whole experience is operated so smoothly and is perfectly timed. I was so impressed of how well they take care of everyone. Our guide Eddie was the best! He’s from Australia – super friendly, super smart, and very knowledgeable about Emirati culture. He also is the only one who does astronomy tours in Dubai – would love to do that next time:)
The Camel Desert Safari Itinerary
Once you are picked up from your hotel by your guide, you make your way out to the Arabian Desert. It took us about 45 minutes to get from the W Hotel Dubai, which is located on the Palm, to the conservation reserve. It went by super fast because our guide, Eddie, taught us about Emirati culture the whole drive there.
Once we arrived to the conservation, the camel-riders and Land Rover drivers separate. You can leave your belongings in the car you came which is nice.
The 45-minute camel ride starts with your guide tying your Sheila or Ghutra (headscarf) for you. Girls get to choose their color, and men wear the red & white design. The headscarf protects your hair from the sand and wind – it honestly really works! You can also grab some ice cold waters before you go. They give everyone their own bag and reusable water bottle which was a nice touch. I’ve been using mine:)
During the ride through the Arabian desert you have plenty of time to take in the vastness as the warm breeze sweeps over you. They time the ride so that you’re going through the desert during golden hour & sunset – and the sunsets here are surreal.
Following your 45 minute ride, you arrive at a professional falcon show in the desert dunes at an oasis full of vibrant cushions, rugs, vimto, and water. Once again, they time it so perfectly that you get to watch the sunset from this oasis.
Falcons are the most adored bird in the UAE which is where they have the largest falcon hospital. The birds are kept in air conditioning all day and come out just for this one show in the evening. The instructors teach the group about the birds, and then one gets to go fly and return at it’s own will. (It’s all super humane and natural). The instructor then circles a lure in the air and the falcon returns to catch it’s “prey”. Fun fact: falcons are the fastest birds in the world, flying up to 240 miles per hour!
Once the show is over you can take a photo with one of the falcons, ask questions, and then head over by car to the authentic gently-lit Bedouin camp inside a private Royal desert retreat.
The Bedouin Camp
You’re greeted with coffee, rose water to wash your hands, a tour of the grounds, and then it’s time to feast on a 4-course dinner of Arabic cuisine. For dinner you can enjoy fresh Arabic bread, hummus, vegetables, meats, dates, donuts, fresh fruits, juices, vimto, and delicious teas.
You can really get a feel for the Bedouin culture at the camp. At the Bedouin camp you can receive henna, smoke top quality shisha (double apple with mint flavor – it’s delicious), watch the Ayala drum performance & Yola dancing, and also can watch how Bedouins roast their coffee and make fresh Arabic bread. This part of the night was so relaxing as we were able to just sit back on the cozy cushions, revel in the magical atmosphere, and gaze up at the stars in the middle of the desert.
With the warm breeze on my skin, a sky full of stars to get lost in, and hypnotic music, I felt very at peace and present.
This was an authentic cultural experience that I would definitely do again and I highly recommend it to everyone. The level of service and attention to detail truly exceeded my expectations. The best part is that the organization is ethical, sustainable, and the most luxurious.
Here is the simplified itinerary from the Platinum Heritage website which you can see & book here.
- Pick-up from Dubai hotels between 2:30pm and 4:30pm.
- Arrive at the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve to receive your Adventure Pack and put on your Sheila/Ghutra (traditional headscarf).
- Ride through the desert dunes on a 45-minute Camel Desert Safari.
- Enjoy a sunset falcon show in the sand dunes.
- Arrive at an authentic torch-lit Bedouin camp.
- Be entertained by traditional Henna tattoos, live bread making, Arabic coffee making, camel rides and aromatic shisha pipes.
- Dinner includes soup, salad, appetizer, main course and dessert. View Menu
- Enjoy cultural Emirati entertainment performances such as drumming and Yola.
- Return to the Hotel between 9:30pm and 11:30pm depends on the season/sunset.
Interesting Facts I Learned About UAE
- There’s no guns allowed in UAE which is why for the Yola dancing performance they don’t use guns anymore like they used to.
- Hunting is not allowed in UAE.
- Camel racing is the national sport. Cricket is the second most popular.
- Children used to ride the camels for the races, but after many children were injured they stopped this in 2000. Then they switched to using little robots which they control as they drive around the track.
- They have the world’s largest camel hospital is in Dubai.
- Camels are bred in Dubai like race horses are in the US.
- They muzzle the camels not so that they don’t bite, but so that they don’t try to eat. They say that they have the brain of a 7 year old haha.
- If you want to earn a camel’s trust, feed them dates. They LOVE dates.
- Emirati people can have their wedding paid for by the government if they marry another Emirati, healthcare paid for, have their education paid for even if overseas, and retire at 42! CAN YOU IMAGINE?!
- The United Arab Emirates flag was made in 1971, making it only 48 years old. The colors represent red for blood, green for fertility, white for neutrality & peace, black for wealth & victory.
- The Empty Quarter is the size of France.
- They water clouds to make rainstorms out of what would have been nothing.
- There are underground rivers 70 meters below the surface ground. You can tell where there are underground rivers when you see ghaf trees which is the national tree of the UAE.
If you have any questions about the experience please leave a comment below. I’d love to share more recommendations and tips with you:)
Platinum Heritage – The Best Desert Safari in Dubai
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