Last Updated on August 8, 2023
Dubai, the world-famous “Desert City”, is a paradise for sandboarders and sandsports lovers in general, as is the rest of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The sand dunes near both Dubai and Abu Dhabi are some of the best places in the world where you can practice sandboarding and sledding, with sand soft as powder and breath-taking desert landscapes you simply won’t find anywhere else:
Welcome to the Arabian Desert, one of the largest deserts in the world, which offers some of the most suggestive landscapes for sand dune enthusiasts, attracting tourists and adrenaline seekers from all over the world.
For a quintessential Dubai experience, you must go on a desert safari with dune bashing, which involves driving at very fast speeds on very bumpy sand dunes, and of course, enjoy some incredible sandboarding on one of the countless sand red dunes in the area.
Sandboarding in the Dubai Desert
The Dubai desert provides numerous locations where sandboarding can be enjoyed near the cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
If you are a resident, you may consider buying your own board and driving to the desert in your car.
If you are a tourist or only visiting for a short time, your best option is to find an organized tour that takes care of everything for you is easy. Sandboarding is one of the most beloved sports activities in the UAE and is growing in popularity, so there are plenty of options to choose from.
Below, a list of locations where sandboarding can be practiced in the Dubai desert area:
Al Badayer oasis
Al Badayer oasis is a hidden gem located less than an hour away from both Dubai and Sharjah city by car.
Al Badayer is home to some of the most stunning dunes in the Arabian desert, including the famous “Big Red Dune.”
Whether you want to sled down the Big Red or one of the numerous smaller wave-like dunes, this place is a must-visit for sandboarding enthusiasts.
Al Faya desert
Another desert worth exploring is Al Faya, which features red sand and plenty of spots for sand surfing. It is situated not too far from Abu Dhabi and approximately an hour away from Dubai.
Make sure to stay in the Al Faya desert to witness the mesmerizing sunset at one of the many campsite-like pop-up spaces where you can enjoy food and coffee.
Lahbab desert, just a 40-minute drive away from Dubai city, offers mostly short but spectacular ridges of red sand, perfect for duning and sledding. Plenty of desert safari tours will take you from Dubai to Al Lahbab and include sandboarding.
Al Lahbab Tours
Liwa Oasis, located in the Abu Dhabi area, is home to one of the largest dunes in the world, the Moreeb dune.
This massive dune stretches over 1.6 km in length and stands 300 meters tall, making it an ideal location for sandboarding and witnessing breathtaking sunsets.
Liwa Oasis Desert Tours
Sweihan desert / Little Liwa
Sweihan desert, also known as Little Liwa, is another desert that features large red dunes and delicate sand.
It is situated between Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Al Ain, offering a perfect setting for a Bedouin-style adventure with activities like camel riding, dune bashing, and dune surfing.
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What to wear
Dubai and the UAE have a desert climate with very high temperature during the day which falls sharply at night. It’s best to wear layered clothing when hitting the dunes, covering your body from head to toe in order to protect yourself from the scorching hot sand and dust, try to wear the best sandboarding clothes for desert climates.
Head scarves, socks and goggles (or sun glasses) can help you have a more enjoyable experience and protect you from both sand and UV rays. Do not forget to grab the strongest sunscreen you can get to protect yourself from the desert heat.
Best time to go
For the ultimate sandboarding experience in Dubai, it’s best to time your adventure during the cooler months, spanning from October to April.
With milder temperatures during this period, you can comfortably embrace the exhilaration of sandboarding without the scorching heat hampering your enjoyment.
To make the most of your sandboarding excursion, consider planning your outing for the early morning or late afternoon. During these times, the desert climate offers more favorable conditions, with comfortable temperatures and sand that’s easier to glide on.
Be mindful of windy days, as they can impact your sandboarding experience. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and opt for calmer days to ensure optimal enjoyment.
Video: Sandboarding in Dubai
Dubai Desert Safaris
One of the best ways to experience sandboarding in Dubai is to enjoy this activity as part of a wider “desert safari” package. These tours are designed to provide a comprehensive and immersive experience of the Arabian Desert, combining the thrill of dune bashing, the tranquility of desert landscapes, and the exhilaration of sandboarding into one unforgettable adventure.
When you embark on a desert safari, you’ll be picked up from your accommodation in Dubai and transported to the mesmerizing desert landscape. As you venture deeper into the vast expanse of golden sands, you’ll witness the shifting hues of the desert as the sun sets, creating a breathtaking panorama that is nothing short of magical.
Once you reach the heart of the desert, you’ll have the chance to try your hand at sandboarding and immerse yourself in an array of other exhilarating activities.
One popular activity during a desert safari is dune bashing, a thrilling ride over the undulating sand dunes in a powerful 4×4 vehicle. Hold on tight as your skilled driver maneuvers through the sandy terrain, taking you on a rollercoaster-like journey that will leave your heart pounding with adrenaline.
For those seeking a more traditional experience, camel riding is a must-try activity. Climb atop the gentle hump of a camel and sway along the desert trails, just as the Bedouin nomads have done for centuries. Feel the rhythm of the camel’s footsteps and soak in the serenity of the vast desert landscape.
To enhance your cultural experience, desert safaris often include traditional Arabian entertainment. Delight in mesmerizing belly dance performances as skilled dancers twirl and sway to the enchanting rhythms of Middle Eastern music. Marvel at the skill of falconry displays, where trained falcons showcase their hunting prowess, a tradition deeply rooted in Emirati heritage.
No desert safari is complete without a sumptuous feast under the starry desert sky. Indulge in a delicious buffet of authentic Arabian cuisine, featuring tantalizing flavors and aromatic spices. Savor traditional dishes like grilled meats, fragrant rice, fresh salads, and delectable desserts, all prepared with the utmost care and served with warm hospitality.
As the night progresses, the desert comes alive with the ambiance of a traditional Bedouin camp. Sit back and relax in comfortable seating areas adorned with colorful carpets and cushions. Experience the art of henna painting, where skilled artists adorn your hands with intricate designs. Engage in lively conversations with fellow travelers, sharing stories and immersing yourself in the spirit of the desert.
Finally, as the evening draws to a close, gaze up at the star-studded sky, far away from the city lights. The serene desert atmosphere provides the perfect backdrop for stargazing, allowing you to marvel at the beauty and vastness of the universe above.
A desert safari in Dubai is an all-encompassing adventure that offers the perfect blend of excitement, natural beauty, cultural immersion, and culinary delights, making it an absolute must-do when visiting Dubai.
Sandboarding in the Middle East
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