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The length of the safari can be varied, allowing you to stay overnight in the desert if you wish!

The sand dunes that begin outside the city of Dubai continue into Abu Dhabi Emirate and merge into the fabled Rub Al Khali, or Empty quarter, the largest sand desert in the world that covers most of southern Saudi Arabia and parts of adjoining Yemen and Oman, further south and east.

However, visitors do not need to travel far from Dubai to experience towering dunes.

Less than an hour's drive, along the highway to Hatta, 31 miles from the city, there is a cluster of small activity centres that offer quad biking and camel rides. To venture further off-road, though, is the best option.

Several companies offer morning or late-afternoon excursions into the desert or along dry river beds, known as wadis, in rugged 4x4 vehicles.

Popular destinations include :-
[a] The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, where the Al Maha eco resort is located and in which herds of rare Arabian oryx roam free.
[b] "Big Red", a mammoth dune that gets its name from red iron oxide in the sand;
[c] Fossil Rock, where the fossils of marine creatures can be found on a rocky outcrop, confirming that this area was once the ocean floor.
[d] Hatta Pools, cool mountain springs in the foothills of the Hajar Range of mountains, near the UAE border with Oman.

The Dubai enclave of Hatta, on the highway, 71 miles from Dubai city, can be reached by hire car in about an hour.

Hatta's appeal lies in the contrast between its oasis greenery and rugged mountain back-drop, but its main attraction is undoubtedly Hatta Heritage Village, which traces the history of the settlement from its formation about 3000 years ago to the 19th century.

It has examples of 30 traditional structures.

It was opened to the public in 2001 and has been restored in the style of an ancient mountain village, so it has narrow alleyways, and mud and barasti houses.

Very tranquil and atmospheric, especially after the bustle of Dubai!!!

The defensive watchtowers on either side of the heritage village offer superb views of the museum and the modern town.

No day trip to Hatta is complete without a refreshing drink, or maybe a meal, beside the pool at the Hatta Fort Hotel, a popular week-end retreat among Dubai's expatriate community.

In the desert closer to Dubai , and south east of Jebel Ali, is the desert resort and spa of Bab Al Shams.

The palm-shaded gardens and trickling ponds make this desert resort wonderfully enchanting. A lovely infinity pool overlooks the desert. Falconry can be enjoyed here.

Another popular desert resort is Al Maha Resort, where you can book a private and romantic tent-like luxury suite and get your own personal plunge pool.

Further afield, Liwa Oasis, a few hours drive from Abu Dhabi has spectacular desert scenery, where the sand dunes are the prettiest coloured. They are in various shades of peach and apricot. They are also the largest in the UAE, best appreciated shortly after sunrise or sunset.

The UAE, outside the Arabian Gulf cities, is nearly all desert, apart from the lush date-palm oases of Al Ain, the Hajar mountains and the rocky east coast.

The best times to visit the desert are in Spring, Autumn or Winter is far too hot ....absolutely scorching...... in the Summer!!

We think a desert trip is a "must" on a visit to Dubai.