My first desert safari was in December 2000, years before the runaway development in Dubai. I landed on the night that Ramadan started.
The next afternoon, a local Emirati gentleman picked me up in a 4 x 4 jeep. At the rendez-vous point at the edge of the desert, we joined our party of visitors from all over Europe and the UK.
Over the years, I have been on many desert safaris in Dubai. Here is what happens in a typical desert safari for leisure tourists.
Tire pressure is adjusted and it's off on a thrilling adventure of a lifetime.
Everyone screams as we race up and down sand dunes in a wild "roller-coaster" ride. This is followed by:
- a sunset dune picnic and photo opportunity with a spectacular view.
- camel rides and sliding on sandboards.
- Arabian coffee and treats while relaxing on carpets at a Bedouin camp.
- changing into Arabian dress for dinner.
- a visit from a falcon
- delicious local cuisine served under the stars.
- belly dancing (During Ramadan, belly dancing is not permitted.)
Before heading back to the hotel during my first desert safari, all lights were turned off. The sight of all those stars was absolutely breathtaking. That is when it hit me. This bucket list adventure would be perfect for team building and corporate events. To create corporate events and team building for corporate groups, over the years, I added:
- facilitated business exercises
- a desert survival case
- a scavenger hunt enroute to the desert
- team challenges (e.g. tent pitching, soccer, GPS challenge, sandboard relay)
- facilitated debriefing to uncover business applications (e.g. dealing with economic turbulence and uncertainty, searching for new business opportunities)
Some clients have fun with dune buggies.
Others travel to the Bedouin camp in a camel caravan and compete in a camel watering relay. Groups that camp out have fire starter and breakfast cooking challenges before the final debriefing. Some clients opt for luxury. Others prefer a rugged adventure.
Almost a dozen years have flown by since my first safari. Who could have foreseen the dramatic transformation of Dubai? One thing remains constant. The desert is still an incredible place for corporate adventures.
Photo Credits: Dubai Desert Team Building, Executive Oasis International