You’d be forgiven for thinking that the desert was desolate. With the glittering metropolis of Dubai nearby, filled with record-breaking skyscrapers, internationally-renowned restaurants and the most super of hypercars, surely the desert pales in comparison? Absolutely not – and the expert guides at Platinum Heritage are the finest amongst the dunes to show you just why.
After winning the prestigious honour of being named TripAdvisor’s leading Desert Safari company – for over five years running – Platinum Heritage have done anything but rested upon their laurels. Instead, rather than offering just one safari through to see the sights of the desert – which we’ll get to in a moment – they now offer multiple experiences and programs to ensure that your trip into the great big red is as memorable as it is fascinating.
From the Bedouin Life, Falconry and Wildlife drive, to the Overnight Desert Safari, the company offers experiences tailored to the individual – be you interested in conservation, vintage cars or are a proficient camel rider. With prices ranging from AED 495 to AED 3,500, you can hot air balloon or helicopter above the dunes, or even utilise your night in the desert with a Private Night Safari and Astronomy masterclass (there’s nothing like seeing stars from the desert).
"With the glittering metropolis of Dubai nearby, filled with record-breaking skyscrapers, internationally-renowned restaurants and the most super of hypercars, surely the desert pales in comparison? Absolutely not..."
When Gentleman’s Journal headed to Dubai last year, we saw Arabian Oryx, Sand Gazelles, Hares and Arabian foxes amidst the sand dunes, before sitting down in a cushioned camp to experience a private falconry show. The noble art of falconry is a practice long revered by the citizens of the UAE, and is treated with skill and deference by Platinum Heritage – who, as their names suggests, value traditional and their nation’s history over everything else.
History, too crops up in your transport. True, there are new Range Rovers on hand – or the aforementioned camels – but the real automotive stars of the safari show are a fleet of colourful, 60-year old Land Rover Defenders. Sourced from across the globe, and meticulously renovated to their original glory, these cars are serviced often, surprisingly comfortable and ready to give you an authentically retro drive across some of the most beautiful desert in the world.
For that is what Dubai’s sprawling desert of burnt orange is – beautiful. It may be bare, but groves of trees crop up sporadically, alongside shallow lakes and undulating shrubland. The Bedouin people, who have lived on these sands for centuries, have learned to use every sparse natural resource to better their lives – uses and facts your Platinum Heritage guide will share with you during your gripping tour.
And, if that didn’t show enough deference to tradition, the Platinum Desert Safari – a gentle journey through the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve in search of exotic native wildlife – ends with a classic, and delectable, dinner under the stars of traditional cuisine. With goat meat and aubergine on the menu, not to mention locally-sourced soups and breads, you eat in private Majlis – on tables crafted from antique Arabic wooden doors.
Dusk in the desert is something special – even more so when your after dinner entertainment includes traditional belly dancing, henna tattooing and Arabian music that winds its way across the distant dunes.
There is simply no other way to experience the wonders of Dubai’s desert, and learn about all that is being done – from ecological conservation work to striving to keep traditions alive – than by embarking on an adventure with Platinum Heritage. The clue to quality is in their name, but it takes an actual trip to experience just how good these safaris are.
Platinum Heritage Desert Safari