WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PLATINUM AND HERITAGE COLLECTIONS?
We have created two unique desert safari collections, with very different concepts.
Our Platinum Collection was designed for our discerning guests who are accustomed to the finer things in life. Luxurious Range Rovers, dining around an oasis inside a royal property, falconry and access to the Conservation Reserve. Away from all crowds, the Platinum Collection ensures privacy and exclusivity.
Our Heritage Collection focused on showcasing Dubai’s culture and heritage, authentic Arabic cuisine, entertainment and local traditions. The Heritage Collection has been designed to engage our guests in UAE history. Rather than read about it or sit and listen, our guests will have a chance to participate in a range of activities, bringing history to life.
WHEN SHOULD I BOOK MY DESERT SAFARI?
Platinum Heritage only operates with in-house vehicles and Conservation Guides. This means that we have very limited capacity and quite often sell out weeks in advance. Once you have confirmed your travel plans, it is strongly suggested that you book your desert safari before you arrive to avoid disappointment. Our online booking system contains live inventory so you can see if seats are still available.
MY HOTEL IS NOT LISTED. WHERE WILL YOU PICK ME UP FROM?
We list the most popular hotels (from a possible 650 hotels and apartments in Dubai). However, we will pick you up from any hotel in Dubai. Please phone 04 440 9827 for information about pick-ups from other Emirates as additional charges may apply.
DO I NEED TO TIP MY CONSERVATION GUIDE?
Many of our guests want to recognise the tremendous contribution our Conservation Guides make to their experience. However, there are no obligations to include a gratuity and if you do, the amount depends completely on your generosity.
WHY AM I BEING ASKED TO BOOK A PRIVATE SAFARI CAR FOR KIDS UNDER 5?
There are numerous reasons why a private vehicle is required for an under 5 including:
- The desert safari driving will be toned down to accommodate a younger child. If you are sharing a car with others, they may not appreciate this.
- It is mandatory by law that youngsters are placed in a car seat. This would remove the chance of seat rotation which makes it fair for everyone.
- Youngsters can get scared, cry, sick, etc. In this case, the safari would be cut short. If this was the case, the other people you are sharing with would be rightfully entitled to compensation.
If a private car is still not an option, we can arrange a separate transfer for one parent and the child, where you will be dropped directly at the falcon show without the wildlife drive. This rate is normally lower than the price of a private car where your family can enjoy the wildlife drive together.
HOW CAN WE DONATE PROCEEDS TOWARDS DESERT CONSERVATION?
You already do! A portion of your fee is donated towards Conservation of the UAE desert. We provide support for a protected area which ensures the future of the region’s desert habitats and bio-diversity. It is managed according to sound scientific ecological principles, aimed at protecting natural resources and maintaining original desert landscapes. Please let us know if you would like to make an additional contribution.
ARE THERE ANY DANGEROUS ANIMALS (SPIDERS, SNAKES, SCORPIONS) AT THE DESERT CAMP?
Bedouins would build their camps on the top of sand dunes for many reasons; to catch any cool winds, to avoid low areas susceptible to flash floods, to keep watch on approaching tribes, and to avoid snakes and scorpions which prefer low lying brush. Platinum Heritage has constructed the industry’s first camp sitting on top of a dune.
Other desert safari companies build in a “pocket” in order to protect against heavy winds. However, this comes with the disadvantage of being very hot in summer and very cold in winter. Not to mention that they become the unwilling home to lots of creepy crawlies like spiders, scorpions and snakes which prefer low lying areas. We can avoid this and take advantage of the cool Dubai afternoon breeze, using nature’s natural air-conditioning and pest control.
MY ENGLISH IS NOT TOO GOOD. CAN I PAY FOR A TRANSLATOR?
If you speak Arabic, Russian, German, Italian, French, Spanish or Portuguese, our talented team will be able to help you for no additional cost. Please just let us know at the time of booking so we can try to accommodate your request.
WILL OUR DESERT SAFARI BE CANCELLED IF THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE BOOKED?
Tours require a minimum number of guests to operate. Minimum guest numbers differ between tours and are subject to change at any time. If a tour is cancelled due to minimum guest numbers not being reached, guests will be offered an alternate tour option or be provided with a full refund.
DO YOU ACCOMMODATE VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN GUESTS OR THOSE WITH ALLERGIES?
We are happy to accommodate your food/dietary requirements. We have many dishes that are vegetarian so you will still have a variety to enjoy. Please inform us at the time of booking if you have any food allergies.
WILL I GO DUNE BASHING?
As an ecotourism company, we focus on sustainable practices and conduct gentle wildlife drives in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve that doesn’t include dune bashing. While dune bashing can be a fun experience, it has its downsides; it’s typically not family-friendly, can feel rushed, but most importantly the pristine Dubai desert has so much more to offer. With an expansive and rich culture, exotic wildlife, and some of the most breath-taking scenery in the world, the deserts of Dubai have so much to offer that will leave you with lasting memories.
In addition, the desert ecosystem is very sensitive and about 95% of the animals in the desert live under the desert. When you drive really fast across dunes you are damaging all the vegetation and wildlife. Dune bashing is not an innocent pastime, it’s an adventure sport and should be limited to certain areas because it does a lot of damage. For more details, please visit the sustainability section on our website.
WHAT TIME WILL I BE PICKED UP FOR MY DESERT SAFARI?
We never want our guests to be sitting for long periods in the lobby of their hotel. Instead we prefer to give a precise pick-up. However, there are numerous factors which make it impossible to provide a precise pick-up time at the time of booking. At the time of booking, you will have a 1 hour range to help you plan your day. We will then take the following steps on the day of your safari…
- Phone you at your Hotel room and advise you of the pick-up time. If you are not in the room…
We leave a message with the Concierge
- Send you a confirmation email.
- If you are not in the room and we were not provided with an email address, we will phone or leave a text message on the international number you provided.If you have not received a message by 1pm on the day of your tour, please phone 04 4409827.
WILL YOU PICK ME UP FOR THE DESERT SAFARI FROM A PRIVATE RESIDENCE?
We are happy to pick you up from a private residence if you book a private car. The reason for this is that the numbering system in many residential areas (Springs, Arabian Ranches, Meadows etc) can make it very time consuming for our Conservation Guides to find you.
If you have shared transport, this could translate in a delay of the experience for yourself and other guests. For the convenience of all guests we have a central pick-up in each location (i.e. Burger King in Arabian Ranches, Spinneys in Spring etc.)
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR IN THE DESERT?
The weather in the Dubai desert is very different to in the city. During the day, loose-fitting clothing and shoes that can be easily removed (flip flops/sandals/thongs) are best. However, at night, please use the following as a guide:
- May-October – Loose clothing, shorts, t-shirts, etc
- November – April – Dress in layers.
It can become quite cold in the desert as soon as the sun sets. Especially between December-February, the temperature can get down below 10 degrees Celsius. Jeans, closed shoes, shirts, cardigans or even a jacket is required on cooler nights in the desert.
WHY ARE THERE ALCOHOL RESTRICTIONS?
As the saying goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do! Alcohol is generally not permitted in the Arabic culture, and while the Rulers of the country have shown great flexibility in allowing service in hotels, we are committed to stay true to local traditions and showcase the authenticity, warmth and hospitality of this region. For these reasons we do not serve alcohol on our tours.
We hope that you agree and are happy to support us in our sustainability mission, which you can read more of here.
I AM PREGNANT. AM I ABLE TO GO?
The only concern for our pregnant guests would be during the wildlife safari in our Land Rovers as it can be a little bumpy. If you are experiencing a healthy pregnancy, it shouldn’t be an issue as it is only slightly bumpier than driving on a dirt road.
For their comfort and safety, we are happy to accommodate expectant mothers up until their last trimester. If you would still like to join the safari, you can skip the wildlife drive and we can arrange for you to be dropped directly at the sunset stop for the falcon show where you can wait for the other guests. This would be approximately a 1 hour wait and besides missing out on the wildlife drive, the full itinerary can be enjoyed.
THE LAND ROVERS ARE 60 YEARS OLD. ARE THEY RELIABLE?
Utilising the first 4WD ever introduced in the UAE, our 1950’s Land Rovers are collectors’ items and this is the only place in the world you can experience these vehicles driven in the desert. Most 4WD’s (modern included) take a lot of maintenance to drive over the dunes every morning and night. When a vehicle is 60 years old, it takes daily monitoring and maintenance which is why we have a full-time Mechanic on hand in order to take preventative maintenance.
However, things happen and vehicles do break down (even modern ones). We have spare vehicles traveling with the convoy just so a breakdown becomes part of the adventure and not something that would cause a delay or result in guests missing anything. If something does happen during the desert safari, enjoy the adventures as many generations before you have done (see the picture below taken in Al Ain in 1958).
WILL MY DESERT SAFARI BE CANCELLED IF THERE IS BAD WEATHER?
Our camp is located approximately halfway between the cities of Dubai and Al Ain. Dubai experiences a coastal weather system that is usually associated with high winds and rain around 5-7 days per year. Al-Ain is at the base of a mountain range and is subject to higher concentrations of rainfall.
Our camp is located between the two weather systems and does not usually enjoy rainfall as high as either centre. It is due to this lack of rain that there are fewer trees and plants in the desert than in either city. So, if you see a weather report for rain and storms in Dubai, quite often the sun is shining with vivid blue skies at our camp. Please check with us before changing your plans. If the tour is not able to operate due to inclement weather, compensation will be automatically offered.