As someone who has always lived in a tropical place, I was not keen on visiting the desert. Since my family was bent on exploring Dubai and spending some quality time in the ‘charming arid land’, as they call it, I tagged along. This was my first trip to the UAE and I should confess that I was too soon to judge a book by its cover. Dubai pleasantly surprised me and the city proffers such a diverse experience that I have added the city to my favorite travel destinations.
I went for the ‘Evening Red Dunes Desert Safari’ in April 2019 and the desert adventure experience was exactly like I expected. Although, the event that caught me by surprise and exceeded my expectation was the OceanAir Travels Desert Camp experience.
I went to the camp, thinking that it was just a place to eat and rest for the tourists after the adventure activities. It was much more than that. It was such a delightful experience in itself. Be with me, as I am about to reminiscence my wonderful experience at Al Khayma Desert Camp.
Highlights of Al Khayma Desert Camp
The Camel Safari
At the entrance of the camp, I was welcomed by the alluring sight of camels. They were eagerly waiting for me and my group, to show us around and give us a bumpy ride. I was so fascinated by the mighty creatures that I ran to them the moment I got down from the car and fondled their velvety skin. Then it was time for the camel riding in Dubai Desert. I hopped on the camel and grabbed him tightly. My camel, who looked a lot like Homer Simpson, was bubbling with energy and walked past all the camels. When I looked back, I could see all the camels walking in a line, being very disciplined than most of the human beings I know. I was bobbing my head along with the camel’s movement and I felt I was in sync with the song of the desert. While we were returning to the camp, we were lucky enough to catch a mesmerizing sunset. The departing sun painted the desert red and the moment felt dreamlike.
The Desert Camp
After the camel safari, I was so pumped up to check out the Al Khayma Desert Camp and relish the eventful night. Our group was given a warm welcome by the OceanAir Travels Desert Camp staff and they escorted us to our respective tents. When I got inside, I stood in the middle of the camp to glance around and enjoy its charm. I was always drawn to fairy tales and fables as a child and I could revisit my childhood days of devouring Arabian Nights by just standing there. I took my time to soak the beauty of the quaint tents, which did justice to my imagination. How often do you get the chance to realize your childhood dreams after all!
The Grand Welcome
After taking my sweet time to gawk at the surrounding scenery, I moved to my tent. Only when I sat down I realized how tired I was. That was when we were all served with hot Gahwa, Gaymat and dry dates; Invigorating and delicious I must say. Once the energy was pumped back into my system, I went on to explore various Dubai cultural activities that were happening inside the camp.
The Amazing Activities
The activity that I was keen to try on was the Arabian Makeover. Like I said before, I am an aficionado when it comes to Arabian traditions and it was also time to clog my Instagram page with lame pictures of myself. The Abaya was so beautiful that the pictures I took in them turned out to be very pretty. Ah! Think of the likes and comments I am going to receive when I upload these stunning images.
After that I went to pose with the Falcon, to give some more satisfaction to my narcissistic self. The falcon was so formidable that I forgot about clicking pictures and gave full attention to the bird.Then I moved to the henna painting area, where a dexterous artist was creating masterpieces on everyone’s hand. The artist drew a simple yet sophisticated design on my hand, just the way I asked. I requested my cousin to click some more pictures of my tattoo before moving over to the shisha smoking area. As the desert chill started enveloping the camp, I decided to imbibe some smoke and to heat my body.
When I was hopping from place to place, trying new things and acquainting with other travelers, an announcement was made, asking everyone to assemble around the podium in the middle of the Al Khayma Desert Camp. When the Tanoura dancer took the stage, the clamorous crowd fell silent and paid full attention to his moves and deftness. When he lifted the Tanoura skirt and started doing the Sufi swirls, the crowd cheered and clapped in unison.
After that, a graceful dancer took the stage and sent us all into a state of daze with her belly dance performance. When she slithered on the ground like a poised snake, everyone held their breath and viewed her performance without batting an eyelid. Then she stood up and did the shimmy moves, perfectly isolating her hip movements. The jingle of her hip chain was in tune with the soulful Arabic music and the heartbeat of every spectator.
We were served with dinner in between the performances. This was the first time I was trying authentic Emirati food and it was delectable, to say the least.
The Star Gaze
After all the entertainment activities were wrapped up, our Safari Captain informed us that we will get to spend some prodigious time in the camp, before we depart. Then all the lights were switched off and everyone fell silent. That is when I got to experience the real, unadulterated desert ambiance. The moon-lit sky, with million stars strewn about, depicted a magical scene in front of our eyes. Never realized how bright and gorgeous these things were, before. Maybe, the beauty of these ‘heavenly bodies’ is belittled amidst the extravagance of human advancement. We are so caught up in the materialistic pleasures that we miss such divine sights which are right in front of us.
I contemplated all these thoughts while I was gazing at the magnificent desert sky. The time had come for me to bid adieu to the desert and the marvelous Al Khayma Desert Camp. Before boarding the vehicle I stuck around to have that one last glance of the desert camp and took a long breath, hoping to take at least a smidgen of the desert with me.
This was such an unforgettable experience. More than a tourist activity it was also a life lesson; happiness can be found even in the middle of the desert. Kudos to OceanAir Travels for arranging such an incredible experience – The Best Desert Safari Operator in Dubai indeed. Ciao!