In April, my best friend and I took the plunge for another exciting round of sand dune roller coaster rides over the dunes just outside of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
My friend had never taken this tour before, but since this would be my second time, I was excited to watch his expressions as we rolled along the very cusp of the thousands of dunes in this area, and took the plunging dives over the edge; all while enjoying the jamming tunes in the luxurious Toyota Land Cruisers that are used for these tours. Just before taking off into the world of sand, our driver stopped at a small store to pick up water and snacks, and got out and lowered the pressure in the tires so we could gain traction out in the deep sand. I would not personally recommend anyone have a BIG meal just before the trip, as like any roller coaster ride, those with a tender stomach may be reaching for the “barf” bag like on the airlines when you hit a pocket of air. These are WILD rides to say the least, but you will have a ball.
But before we headed out, next to the store was a 4 wheeler’s paradise; acres of sand and small dunes with several sizes/styles of 4 wheelers for your riding pleasure. We had to try these out first, so armed with our gloves, goggles, and helmets, we powered up for some exciting wild rides of our own. These are powerful units and not for the faint of heart, nor un-experienced riders. The units weigh in at several hundred pounds and upwards of 50hp, so care is required when riding. If you are inexperienced, I would highly suggest the quick safety course, as is it easy for these units to get away from you or worse fall over on you and break a leg. If you are not familiar with riding a 4 wheeler, take the quick course! My friend and I were fairly experienced riders from previous travel in different parts of the world, so we hit the gas and took off, leaving rooster tails in the sand. What a blast these are! We hit the dunes with a passion, jumping hills and powering through turns, all for a reasonable charge of 50 AED ($14/-) for the 15 minutes of absolute crazed excitement.
(enjoying the 4 wheelers)(a photo ops with a falcon)
(one of the tourists with the Falcon)(sorry, no idea what is this animal)
But i digress, back to the actual dunes tour. These drivers are exceptional and know how to really provide you excitement and a true adventure. After the very first charge up a huge dune, and then the quick cutting edge turns that plunge you off the dunes peak ridge in an almost “FREE FALL” over the edge, you are trying to catch not only your breath, but stomach as well! We asked our driver how do you apply for one of these jobs, is it like you take off in one of these and don’t crash or roll the Land Cruiser and; you got the job! He said that “oh sir, if you roll one, you get fired”, so needless to say, they have a vested interest in keeping all 4 wheels on the ground, but still providing you the ride of your life to get the best tips. Trust me; our driver must make a huge amount in tips! He provided the wildest ride I have ever had, that is for sure! The great thumping music only adds to the excitement, and the tunes are jamming while you attack each hill with raging gusto! It was absolutely amazing to me that these vehicles are up to the task and never misses a beat, yet cradle you in total luxury and safety. Kudos to Toyota, I drive them at home as well and their engineering only proves why they are the world’s number one auto maker. After an exciting 30 minutes, you head to the top of the very highest peak. Trust me, that trek is an experience in itself!! By the time you finally stop on the highest ridge, and peel your white knuckles from the hand holds, I know i was not the only one that got out and then looked back at the seat to make sure there were no yellow puddles on the leather!(Me and “My Bestfriend”)
(Lew with the sisters from the U.S. of A.)(took this picture while driving to the peak) (One of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen)
At this point, you are surveying a sea of sand for as far as the eye can see. And then MORE fun begins!