Amazing Adventures On The Sand
By Srinidhi Lakhanigam
It looked, for a minute, like a mirage freaked. There on the rolling sand dunes were ratings of misshapen four-wheelers racing backwards and forwards, kicking up clouds of sand as they went. The initial thought that jumped to my mind was that a pack of risk-taker circus stuntmen had been unleashed in the desert. Nope. This wasn’t a mirage. There I was 30 minutes from Dubai and there, with their throttles accelerated, were the dune-bashers assailing across the desert in their dune buggies.
Dune bashing is usually called the ‘wild water rafting of the desert’ and it’s a popular sport in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Don’t obtain worried by the name. Dune slamming isn’t some bizarre violent task, yet a major experience sport, which entails driving showy autos/ bikes/ buggies right into the open desert and having some significant fun going up and down the mountain- sized dune. Naturally getting stuck and separating on your own is also a journey.
Considering that I was brand-new to the activity, I made a decision to take the soft choice: dune bashing with a powerful 250cc buggy and afterwards opting for a full-fledged desert drive in a chauffeured Toyota Land Cruiser. Visitors are owned into the desert and tackled an exhilarating ride backwards and forwards sand dunes in 4×4 vehicles? mainly powerful Toyotas or Pajeros.
Our dune-bashing exploration started when we were picked up by our Lebanese desert guide-cum-driver in a ultra-luxury, powerful Toyota Landcruiser from the centre of Dubai city. It had to do with a half hr drive from the glittering high-rise building city of Dubai to the sandy areas of Hatta.
As we exited Dubai, we might see a towering range of rocky and sandy hills of Hajar far with their matched and ravaged sides. The Hatta sand dunes, believed to be remnants of an old sea, which had once washed over the Emirates, are located simply outside Dubai and most dune-bashing excursions take off from right here.
We stopped at the entrance of sand dunes. You have two hrs. You enter into the sand and appreciate yourselves, claimed our Lebanese chauffeur pointing to the buggies which were available for hire. A dune buggy is a 4X4 vehicle which has a bike saddle and handlebar. Driving a buggy on soft sands can be very tricky and just sheer power isn’t sufficient to ensure an amazing and fun dune bashing getaway.
There’s no avoiding that a dune buggy is a weird looking vehicle. It’s developed like a scooter but it has 4 wheels with fat tyres. And it roars via the desert sending up clouds of sand as it goes. Caravans of buggies ridden by dune-bashing lovers adhered to by a jeep are a typical sight on the dunes around Hatta. From where we were standing in Hatta, we could see scores of buggies and cars and trucks tearing around the dune in exactly what felt like self-destructive experiences.
After a few mins of enjoying, I was itching to attempt my hand at it. I got on a 250 cc buggy and removed moving towards the nearby dune. I attempted to race backwards and forwards over the dunes like the professionals around, however took a tumble atop the very first triangular shaped dune. After a couple of more debacles, I got the hang of slamming the dunes without getting slammed right into the sand. Going up and down the dunes, elevating columns and clouds of sand was an exciting experience.
Quickly it was time to get back into the Land Cruiser and experience an actual desert drive. Our Lebanese driver-cum-guide bundled us in the vehicle and removed into the undulating stretches of dune. Quickly the wavinesses boosted as we went over exactly what looked like big sand mountains. The flight came to be extra choppy and really felt almost as if we were sailing in a rainy sea and not driving. As our Land Cruiser heaved and dove backwards and forwards the crests and troughs of the dunes, our driver happily cautioned us that it would certainly worsen. Were we all right and were we ready even more? Of course.
When he had actually been comforted, he smiled and turned the wheel right into the dune almost flying across the countryside. After fluctuating a couple of more dunes, he brought up ahead at a place that looked a bit like a farm. This, stated our motorist, was among the few ranches, which made use of indigenous Arab practices to reproduce camels.
The few camels visible, took a peek at us down their long noses and went back to munching away on the turf! Quickly, some even more Land Cruisers appeared and aligned together with our vehicle. Out tumbled visitors of all sizes, forms and races? Caucasians, Asians consisting of Indians, and some Africans also. They all headed right for the camels, ambitiously attempting to family pet them and take pictures.
Meanwhile our driver began to let a few of the air out of the tyres, checking the stress with a gauge making sure it was ideal. Somewhat flat tyres offer even more surface call with the ground and make for better trail-grip, he explained adding that we would require all the grip we can round up to discuss the high dunes.
After a time-out and when all the Land Cruisers had blurted air from their tires, we began on our actual experience with the dunes. The dune climb for as high as 30m-40m, and some were also greater. The powerful vehicle climbed up the sand dune slowly, sliding here and there on the side of the sand pyramid. The windscreen framed an increasing slope of sand; we were pressed back right into our seats as if we were in an aircraft rising into the sky.
That very first climb was not a simple flight, yet it was certainly thrilling and had our adrenaline pumping. And as we reached the knife-edge crest of the dune, we started to dive down the opposite side. Heading directly down at breakneck speed, skidding on the sand we had that sinking feeling in the pits of our bellies. In places where the sand was also soft, the vehicle went laterally, tilting at a slight angle, often to the left, often to the right. Sometimes, it looked like if the vehicle would simply fall over on its side … however our chauffeur was an expert with over 10 years of experience and he skilfully guided the Land Cruiser via the dunes.
After a two-hour agitated trip, we reached a rugged spot of rock in the middle of the desert. Our fleet of 5 Land Cruisers picked up a sight of the crimson desert sundown. The view was simply amazing and as the sun turned from gold to crimson red to soothing orange, it was a soul-soothing experience.
The caravan of lorries was ready once again to continue slamming the dunes till nightfall. We continued to slam in the sunset and ultimately reached the well-lit up desert camp, outfitted with puncturing lights, shrieking Arabian songs and delays where we could photograph ourselves in standard outfits (kandura for males and burkha for women).
Likewise, there were lots of desert delicacies made from days, completely dry fruits and honey in addition to a heady mix of alcoholic mixed drinks and fruit mocktails. Later as the night passed, we extended on rugs and pillows on a rounded wooden floor resting and delighting in the cool desert breeze. Soon a stubborn belly professional dancer came on stage and entertained us while a hookah also known as shisha with fragrant tobacco was circulated, making us seem like royals taking pleasure in the naach-gana by the dancing girls.
o Where: Throughout Arabian deserts, Liwa Desert, Abu Dhabi, Hatta dunes, Dubai, or anywhere with acres of sand.
o Agencies using desert drives: Arabian Adventures (www.arabian-adventures.com), Alpha Tours (www.alphatoursdubai.com), Royal Sands Tourist http://www.royalsands.com).
o Costs: Dh160 onwards for desert ride including dinner.