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You can now drive yourself on safari in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

Homegrown desert tour operator Sand Sherpa has launched self-drive safaris in the 225-square-kilometre protected area

Following the success of its inaugural camping season in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, Sand Sherpa has launched a new adventure. Starting from September 1, 2021, the homegrown company will offer self-drive safaris in the 225-square-kilometre protected area. 

Presenting a new and unique way to explore the desert, participants can enjoy a self-drive safari in specially prepared Toyota Hilux Adventure overlanding vehicles through the unique area under the guidance of 4×4 instructors and wildlife experts.

Aimed at those looking to connect with nature and explore Dubai’s natural wilderness, the experience begins with a briefing on reserve driving etiquette. Sand Sherpa’s expert guides will then instruct drivers over hand-held radios and enable them to safely manoeuvre their assigned 4X4 vehicles through the dunes, all with minimal impact on the natural environment. Participants who do not wish to drive in the reserve can enjoy a guided adventure with a Sand Sherpa guide behind the wheel.

During the 75-minute wildlife drive, adults and children alike will learn about the desert, its history and its inhabitants, while enjoying close encounters with indigenous flora and fauna. The lush vegetation in the reserve attracts birds and various desert animals, including gazelles, foxes, monitor lizards and the once-endangered Arabian oryx.

Following the scenic drive, participants are ushered to the campsite, where they will be able to enjoy the desert sunset. Snacks and refreshments will be provided. 

This self-drive safari is offered for the first time in the region and is available for bookings on weekdays. A valid international driving license is required for participants who wish to drive in the reserve. Bookings are limited to up to four people per vehicle.

The experience is ideal for families with children looking to explore the natural landscape and learn more about the fascinating life that inhabits the sands. With conservation at the heart of the team’s efforts, the experience shines a light on the delicate environmental balance and inspires the need to protect the desert landscape in the midst of rapid urban development.

The Sand Sherpa Sunset Self-Drive Safari begins at 4:30pm and ends at 7pm. A valid international driving license is required for participants who wish to drive in the reserve. Bookings are limited to up to four people per vehicle. 


15:00 – 16:00: Pick-up from hotel/residence (time will be confirmed directly with participants) 16:30: Arrival in DDCR 16:45 – 17:10: Briefing and instruction on reserve/off-road driving 17:10 – 18:00: Off-road drive to camp 18:00 – 19:00: Snacks and refreshments will be provided at the campsite 19:00: Departure from camp

Packages are available for AED2,250 for two people and AED250 per child.

For bookings, visit or click here


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