Dubai is a city that caters for all, including the adrenaline junkies. From sky-diving to zip-lining, there are many extreme sports options for you to choose from. However, one that is always popular among thrill-seekers is Dune Buggy, riding in the magic of the Dubai desert!
In this Dubai Dune Buggy guide, we’ll take you through
What is Dune Buggy Riding?
The natural desert landscape of Dubai is breathtaking, and if exploring it over a fast-paced ride excites you, Dune Buggy riding is perfect for you.
Unlike Dubai dune bashing, which takes place in 4×4 cars with certified drivers holding special driving permits, the buggies used for dune buggy riding are small, lightweight automotive vehicles with oversized, low-pressure tyres for riding on the sands and are completely safe for beginner drivers.
With no prior experience needed, it is entirely up to you how fast and thrilling you would like to make it for yourself. You can even choose from single buggies or tag along with a buddy on the double-seated buggies. It is the challenging terrain and the stunning views of the landscape that make this adventurous activity so thrilling.
Newcomers should note that quad biking is very similar to dune buggy riding. Both have four large air-filled wheels capable of tackling tricky terrain. The key difference is that quad bikes are single-rider ATVs and don’t have the distinctive roll bars; they also tend to be a little heavier and more difficult for newbies to sand sport to maneuver.
Many camps and desert safari tour operators in Dubai will offer the choice of quad bike or dune buggy ride. Both should be used with safety gear and strictly following instructions from expert guides.
What Makes Dune Buggy Riding in Dubai So Great?
Still wondering whether to add a dune buggy ride to your Dubai trip? Here’s why we think you should do it!
- The spectacular views of the desert: This unique adventure activity is the perfect way to explore the desert terrain at your own pace. Follow your group of buggy riders and your expert guide, and they’ll demonstrate how to navigate the desert and where to go.
- Make it your first time: You don’t need to be an expert at dune buggy riding. As long as you are following your instructor’s safety rules, you are fit for an unforgettable experience.
- It’s safe: Dune buggy riding in Dubai is done with your comfort and safety in mind. Before you begin, you will be trained on how to operate the dune buggy safely and briefed on the path. Your guide will also provide you with protective gear like helmets and eye goggles. Your buggy comes fitted with seat belts and roll cages.
Top Dubai Desert Locations For Dune Riding
Although your pick-up location with a safari guide will likely be in Dubai, you may actually cross into other emirates in the United Arab Emirates for desert adventures. These are popular locations for desert buggies to operate:
- Al Badayer/ The Big Red: The deep red colour of this large sand dune is where it gets its name from. Located 45 minutes from Dubai on the Hatta/Oman (E44) highway, this spot is popular for all desert-related activities and some spectacular activities.
- Al Faya Desert: If you’re looking for even bigger sand dunes, Al Faya Desert is perfect for desert adventure seekers. It is located along the Sharjah- Kalba (E55) road, a 50-minute drive from Dubai, and secluded away from the city noise.
- Fossil and Camel Rock: A spot that’s not only a favourite amongst the dune riders but also the photographers, thanks to the rugged rock formations. These formations include marine fossils from millions of years ago and a famous rock formation resembling a camel resting in the sand. This location is a 50-minute drive from Dubai towards Sharjah/Kalba road.
Booking a Dune Buggy Experience in Dubai
Dune Buggy riding is a safe and thrilling way to follow the natural trails of the desert landscape and a unique opportunity to explore more of Dubai. Once you are ready to embark on this fun-filled journey, all you need to do is find the right dune buggy tour provider to book with – and there are quite a few!
Choose a provider that suits your area of interest and preferential timing. While most Dubai desert safari tours operate during the daytime, riding at sunset is also available with some tours (often combined with dune bashing and other extreme desert sports).
Another thing you will want to consider when booking is the duration of the tours. The longer the hours, the more opportunity to explore the desert and experience more of this natural landscape; many combined camps/tours advertise dune buggy rides, but you might be lucky to get a 15-20 minute experience.
General tour vs Private Tour
Are you happy to be one of many in a group to keep the cost down and make some new friends, or would you rather have your guide’s undivided attention and a vehicle to yourselves? Private tours undoubtedly cost more but could work out quite economically if there are 4-5 of you all riding.
Most buggy rental services include a pickup and drop-off service from your hotel or place of residence in Dubai, and some even offer a complete package with BBQ dinner, soft drinks and live entertainment. Just check the fine print under the headline price to see what’s included and if you really need everything offered.
Here are a few options for you to have a look at, which can be easily booked with Viator:
Recommended Tours on Viator that include Dune Buggy Tours:
- This is a great introductory-level tour, including buggy rides. Learn to ride at Fossil Rock, and then you have the option to add a BBQ Dinner, camel rides and door-to-door transfers – learn more here.
- Try a combined desert evening experience, including a 1-hour dune buggy ride for 2 (or 30 minutes each), dinner, camel riding, Tanura dance, and belly dancing shows (total evening experience is about 6 hours) – see more details here.
When you want to focus just on the dune buggy riding:
- A great option for couples and small groups of up to 4 to consider is a private buggy experience with an experienced instructor for several hours during the day – guaranteed at least an hour to actual Dune Buggy time.
- This premium tour is also an ideal option for groups, flexibly choose between an early morning desert safari or a later afternoon dune buggy driving experience for up to 5 participants. Your tour guide will take you deep into the desert – allow approximately 4 to 6 hours in total, including pick up/drop off.
We also highly recommend you look at some of the options available through the trusted booking platform, Get Your Guide.
- Early risers who want to beat the heat should try this morning Dune Buggy adventure. Hotel pickups included and all the safety gear and equipment you need for an early adventure for 1 hour in the dunes outside of Dubai.
- A good evening option that includes your dune buggy ride combined with a BBQ dinner, try this evening sunset experience which includes 1 hour of drive time.
- Combining sandboarding and even a visit to a camel farm, enjoy an extensive 4-hour morning or 6-hour evening tour out to the ever-popular Al Khayma Desert Camp with 50 minutes of dune buggy time scheduled, this is one of the most popular dune buggy tours in Dubai – see all the details and inclusions here.
What Should You Wear For a Dune Buggy Ride?
In order to protect yourself from the sun and sand, it is advisable to wear comfortable clothing for sporting activities. We’d recommend that to protect against the elements, you wear long-sleeved T-shirts, even when it’s hot. Don’t forget your sunglasses and sun hat.
You can choose to wear a jacket depending on the weather, and if you plan to stay late into the evening – the desert evenings can get surprisingly chilly in winter.
Closed-toe shoes work best and will be most comfortable for riding the dune buggies. You can also expect sand to get in your hair, so wearing a scarf, hair tie, or hat is a good idea.
All your protective clothing and necessary safety equipment will be provided with your buggy tour package provider.
Best Time of the Year to Go Dune Buggy Riding in Dubai
This is one activity that theoretically can be experienced all year round, with the winter season in Dubai being the busiest and perfect time for an unforgettable adventure without the heat.
If you visit Dubai during the summer, you can make the most of fewer crowds and cheaper tour package prices, but be prepared for a hot and sweaty experience anywhere from May to October! You can try to beat the worst of the high temperatures by booking evening tours.
Undoubtedly, getting out on the desert dunes will be a memorable experience in Dubai and provide you with an adrenaline rush like no other.
More Frequently Asked Questions about Dune Buggy in Dubai
Most tour companies advise buggy riders to be aged 18 and above, preferably with some basic driving knowledge. You would need to check the terms with each individual provider; some may allow passengers down to 14 years old and supervise riders from 16 years and above.
Pregnant women, people with mobility impairments and children are not allowed to drive dune buggies.
It is best to check the age restrictions before making a booking. However, most companies require the child to be 14 or older to be able to sit on the vehicle.
Charges for Dune buggy riding experiences can vary greatly depending on the tour operator, time of the year and the type of buggy you are going for. A couple may be able to share a buggy for the allotted time period, but if there are pickups included, you will likely need to pay for each passenger, regardless of who’s driving.
Depending on add-ons and inclusions, expect to pay in the vicinity of $100 USD to $300 USD for a dune buggy ride experience in Dubai.
All buggy tours provide essential safety gear such as helmets and safety goggles. It is also recommended that you dress appropriately in the right closed-toe footwear. All buggies are fitted with seat belts, and it is a must to wear them while riding.
It can get very hot in the desert, even during winter, so carry a water bottle and stay hydrated. Also, feel free to carry sunscreen, lotion and a hat. A GoPro camera you can attach is recommended over using your smartphone or selfie stick.
Dune bashing involves an off-road experience, where a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) with reduced tyre pressure is used to go up and down sand dunes of Dubai’s desert at varying speeds. The experience usually lasts for a few minutes and is very bumpy and thrilling.
Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai
Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE and transit passengers self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our recommendation links.
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