Amazing Adventures On The Sand
By Srinidhi Lakhanigam
It looked, for a moment, like a mirage freaked. There on the rolling dune were scores of askew four-wheelers competing backwards and forwards, kicking up clouds of sand as they went. The very first idea that jumped to my mind was that a pack of daredevil circus stuntmen had actually been unleashed in the desert. Nope. This had not been a mirage. There I was Thirty Minutes out of Dubai and there, with their throttles accelerated, were the dune-bashers assailing across the desert in their dune buggies.
Dune slamming is often called the ‘white water rafting of the desert’ and it’s a preferred sport in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Don’t get worried by the name. Dune slamming isn’t some bizarre fierce task, yet a serious adventure sporting activity, which entails driving flashy cars and trucks/ bikes/ buggies right into the open desert and having some severe enjoyable going up and down the mountain- sized sand dunes. Of course obtaining stuck and liberating yourself is also an experience.
Because I was new to the task, I chose to take the soft option: dune bashing with a powerful 250cc buggy and afterwards going for a full-fledged desert drive in a chauffeured Toyota Land Cruiser. Tourists are owned into the desert and tackled an electrifying flight backwards and forwards dune in 4×4 vehicles? mainly effective Toyotas or Pajeros.
Our dune-bashing exploration began when we were gotten by our Lebanese desert guide-cum-driver in a ultra-luxury, effective Toyota Landcruiser from the centre of Dubai city. It was about a half hr drive from the glittering high-rise building city of Dubai to the sandy stretches of Hatta.
As we left Dubai, we could see an imposing variety of rocky and sandy mountains of Hajar away with their pitted and damaged sides. The Hatta dune, believed to be remnants of an ancient sea, which had once washed over the Emirates, are located simply outside Dubai and most dune-bashing tours take off from right here.
We quit at the access of dune. You have two hours. You enter into the sand and enjoy yourselves, claimed our Lebanese chauffeur indicating the buggies which were offered for hire. A dune buggy is a 4X4 vehicle which has a motorbike saddle and handlebar. Owning a buggy on soft sands could be extremely tricky and simply large power isn’t really sufficient to ensure an exciting and enjoyable dune bashing outing.
There’s no avoiding that a dune buggy is an odd looking vehicle. It’s built like a mobility scooter however it has 4 wheels with fat tires. And it roars with the desert sending up clouds of sand as it goes. Campers of buggies ridden by dune-bashing lovers followed by a jeep are a common sight on the dunes around Hatta. From where we were standing in Hatta, we might see ratings of buggies and automobiles tearing around the sand dunes in just what looked like self-destructive adventures.
After a couple of minutes of enjoying, I was itching to attempt my hand at it. I got on a 250 cc buggy and removed going to the nearest dune. I tried to race backwards and forwards over the dunes like the professionals out there, however took a tumble atop the initial triangular shaped dune. After a couple of more debacles, I mastered slamming the dunes without getting slammed right into the sand. Fluctuating the dunes, increasing columns and clouds of sand was an exciting experience.
Soon it was time to obtain back into the Land Cruiser and experience a genuine desert drive. Our Lebanese driver-cum-guide packed us in the vehicle and removed into the undulating stretches of dune. Soon the undulations increased as we looked at what appeared like huge sand hills. The trip ended up being a lot more uneven and felt nearly as if we were cruising in a stormy sea and not driving. As our Land Cruiser heaved and plunged backwards and forwards the crests and troughs of the dunes, our motorist cheerfully warned us that it ‘d get worse. Were we all right and were we game for even more? Obviously.
As soon as he had been reassured, he smiled and swung the wheel right into the sand dunes almost flying across the countryside. After fluctuating a few more dunes, he pulled up ahead at a place that looked a little bit like a ranch. This, said our chauffeur, was just one of the few farms, which used native Arab practices to breed camels.
The few camels in sight, took a glimpse at us down their long noses and went back to biting away on the turf! Soon, some more Land Cruisers appeared and lined up together with our vehicle. Out tumbled vacationers of all sizes, forms and races? Caucasians, Asians including Indians, and some Africans as well. They all goinged directly for the camels, ambitiously aiming to animal them and take photos.
Meanwhile our driver started to let some of the air out of the tyres, checking the pressure with a gauge to make sure it was perfect. Somewhat flat tires provide even more surface area call with the ground and make for higher trail-grip, he clarified including that we would certainly require all the traction we could muster up to discuss the high dunes.
After a short break and when all the Land Cruisers had let out air from their tires, we started off on our actual journey with the dunes. The dune rise for as high as 30m-40m, and some were also higher. The effective vehicle climbed up the dune gradually, sliding occasionally on the side of the sand pyramid. The windshield framed a climbing slope of sand; we were pushed back right into our seats as if we remained in an airplane soaring right into the skies.
That initial climb was not a very easy trip, yet it was certainly exhilarating and had our adrenaline pumping. And as we reached the knife-edge crest of the dune, we started to plunge down the opposite. Heading directly down at breakneck speed, skidding on the sand we had that sinking feeling in the pits of our stomachs. In places where the sand was too soft, the vehicle went sidewards, turning at a minor angle, in some cases to the left, in some cases to the right. Sometimes, it looked like if the vehicle would certainly just topple over on its side … however our chauffeur was an expert with over 10 years of experience and he skilfully guided the Land Cruiser through the dunes.
After a two-hour rough-and-tumble trip, we reached a craggy spot of rock in the middle of the desert. Our fleet of five Land Cruisers picked up a view of the crimson desert sunset. The view was merely remarkable and as the sunlight transformed from gold to crimson red to comforting orange, it was a soul-soothing experience.
The campers of automobiles prepared once again to proceed bashing the dunes till nightfall. We remained to bash in the sunset and ultimately got to the well-lit up desert camp, outfitted with piercing lights, shrieking Arabian music and stalls where we might photograph ourselves in typical costumes (kandura for men and burkha for females).
Likewise, there were a lot of desert delicacies made of dates, completely dry fruits and honey along with a stimulating mix of alcoholic mixed drinks and fruit mocktails. Later on as the evening passed, we stretched out on carpets and pillows on a round wood floor relaxing and taking pleasure in the cool desert wind. Quickly a belly professional dancer came on stage and amused us while a hookah aka shisha with perfumed cigarette was passed around, making us seem like royals delighting in the naach-gana by the dancing ladies.
o Where: Throughout Arabian deserts, Liwa Desert, Abu Dhabi, Hatta dunes, Dubai, or anywhere with acres of sand.
o Agencies using desert drives: Arabian Journeys (www.arabian-adventures.com), Alpha Tours (www.alphatoursdubai.com), Royal Sands Tourist http://www.royalsands.com).
o Prices: Dh160 onwards for desert flight including dinner.