Posted on September 16, 2016

More people prefer safe dune bashing during Eid holidays as the jump in demand for desert safari bookings with tour operators shows. Many families as well as group of friends have booked half-day or night tours in the desert ahead of the holidays, say tour operators.

Dune bashing in four-wheel-drive vehicles is a popular activity during holidays in Sealine and Khor Al Udeid. But driving in the desert can be hazardous, with numerous accidents reported each year, some of them fatal. Also, many desert visitors encounter difficulties when their vehicles get caught in rapidly-rising tides, or in soft sand on the dunes.

Many motorists land in tricky and dangerous situations as they are not fully aware of the nature of the desert areas as well as the capabilities of their vehicles. “Last Eid we went to the dunes in our vehicle and got stuck in the sand. We had to get help of someone who charged around QR1,500 to take the vehicle out. So, this time we didn’t want to take a risk and booked with a tour operator,” said Anusha Ravi, an Indian expatriate. Her family and friends booked two vehicles for a half-day tour in the desert. “Drivers were very professional, it was a safe ride with lots of excitement,” she added.

Although safety on dunes cannot be fully assured, tour operators assign adequately equipped four-wheel-drive vehicles with experienced drivers. “There had been an increase in bookings for safaris after the Eid holidays were announced. The number of calls we receive are higher than on previous occasions,” said an official at Arabian Adventure. “The holidays are quite long so a lot of people are choosing to spend half-day or a night in the desert. We are getting families as well as groups of friends choosing to spend at least part of their Eid holiday on a safari,” he added.

Answering a question about safety, he said that all drivers are very experienced and ensure the safety of passengers. A half-day safari would cover around four hours in the desert and cost at least QR700 for four people. It would cost QR330 per person for a overnight stay in the desert. In a half-day tour, passengers will be picked up at any agreed location in Doha and will be driven to Sealine. Following a brief stop there, professional drivers will first deflate the tyres. There are different paths through the dunes, from an extreme, fast and bumpy ride to a smooth and casual drive. The desert safari tour also takes passengers to the inland sea (Khor Al Udaid).

source: The Peninsula