You can’t go to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower, New York without seeing The Empire State, London without seeing Buckingham Palace or Dubai without going on a desert safari, as I was lucky enough to this week. A luxury desert safari, no less. Without a doubt, this was one special experience and the highlight of our trip so far.
I must admit I was a little anxious, understandably, at the idea of dune bashing while pregnant, but the lovely people at Platinum Heritage agreed to take me in a slow car which would take it very easy over any bumpy bits, and they did. I was so grateful for this as I would have hated to have missed out on such a great afternoon and evening. It started with donning headscarves, then into our vintage Land Rovers (they really look the part!) for a drive around the dunes. It truly was spectacular to be out in the middle of nowhere and what seemed like nothing but sand, sky and setting sun as far as the eye could see. It was so surreal and peaceful. We even saw a gazelle! I had to keep pinching myself.
We stopped for a falconry display where we sat on floor cushions, drank sparking apple juice and watched the sun go down and the moon rise. Again, you have to keep asking yourself is this for real?!
But it wasn’t over there. We continued, after dark, to a traditional Bedouin style camp lit with torches, for dinner and camel rides. We were welcomed with a sprinkling of rose water on our hands to wash them, and aromatic Arabic coffee. I avoided the camels. They have always freaked me out. Shudder. But the others sure had fun and the photo opportunities were great!
We dined on all kinds of traditional food on cushions inside tents, starting with lentil soup and bread, which we had watched being made, followed by an array of entrees which would have been sufficient on their own, then all sorts of meat, curries, rice and vegetables, including a traditional camel meat dish (no, I don’t want to eat camels either, so declined!). Later, I managed to squeeze in one deep fried doughnut dipped in date syrup. Delicious!
There was plenty of entertainment too: henna tattoos, shisha pipes to smoke (off limits for pregnant ladies too!) and traditional dancing. It was just lovely and all we could keep saying was “how amazing is this?” And then it was back in our Land Rovers in the pitch black, then onto our coach. It’s only about 45 minutes drive from Dubai city to the desert.
This was definitely a very Dubai experience and one I will remember for many years to come. Feeling very grateful indeed!
–Being pregnant overseas makes me more aware than ever of the need to take out proper travel insurance. I also brought with me a letter from my obstetrician saying I was safe to fly as this can often be an issue with airlines. Thanks to Bupa for providing my travel insurance for this trip (make sure you are covered for obstetrics care if you’re pregnant and traveling and ask as many questions as you feel you need to) and check your airline’s rules on how many weeks pregnant you can be to fly. It is usually different if you are carrying more than one baby. Get a free worldwide adaptor kit when you get your travel insurance through Bupa before December 31 2014 using this link or by calling 1300 555 240. Conditions apply.