Posted by: debrakolkka | February 6, 2011

Have you bashed a wadi lately?

I had a brief stop in Dubai on my way to Italy. I have been to the souks on a previous visit, so I tried something I haven’t done before – wadi bashing. Yes, I know it is for for tourists, but I am a tourist, so why not?

I was picked up from my hotel by a very nice young man from Pakistan, named Abdul, and along with a couple from Australia we headed into the desert in our Toyota Landcruiser. We were not to be alone in this venture. Every evening hundreds of vehicles of various types flock to the sand dunes to drive at speed across the sand for no particular reason.

our driver Abdul

gathering for a pitstop before heading into the desert

a man and his bird

Each company has its own group of sandhills to drive aross.  Our little convoy gathered at the edge of the desert and while people took endless photos of themselves standing on a windy dune, the drivers let the air out of the tyres for better traction on the sand.

it was windy out there

our bit of windy desert

car parts visible already

The leader took off and we were the next cab off the rank.  The cars go surprisingly fast through the sand, up and down the sandhills. There are occasional mishaps, we saw the evidence strewn along the way.  Bumperbars are scattered through the dunes. I wonder why nobody thinks to pick them up on their way out.

the leader heads off

we are not alone


following the leader

throwing up some sand

going over the top

late afternoon in the desert

a brief stop for photos and to check the vehicles

keeping the sand out

I think the desert is beautiful

locally known as camel chocolate

I don’t know how much training the drivers have, but Abdul seemed very confident and skilled and at no time was I scared. It was great fun. You should try it.

At sunset we were taken to a compound in the desert for a barbeque and some entertainment. There was the obligatory camel riding for those interested. I love camels, but I have done this before, so I declined.

camel riding in the desert

the compound where we had dinner

set for dinner

keeping an eye on things

where the food was prepared

gorgeous pots

I was particularly interested in watching how the bread was cooked for us.

the bread makers

the bread oven

pulling out the bread

hot bread

ready to eat

the bread makers

I love the setting

A belly dancer performed for us. How can you be in this area and not see a belly dancer?

she was very good

There was also a handsome twirling man wo did some serious twirling. I don’t know if they are called whirling dervishes here, but he was most dervish like.

serious twirling

with the lights on - perhaps a little less traditional

It was a beautiful evening in the desert. Despite the fact that it is currently winter in Dubai, it is still very hot during the day, but the nights are quite lovely.

a desert sky

As I said before, this is very touristy, but it is excellent fun. If you go to Dubai try wadi bashing.


  1. We did this in India some years ago – almost identical!

  2. Fantastic! I wish I had been there, it looks like fun!

  3. Hi Deb, sounds amazing!!!!!
    Kellie accidentally deleted the email you had sent her re:Milan .. is it possible to resend it ? so sorry about all this …

  4. Hehe I did this in Dubai too! I quite enjoyed it although it was quite touristy 🙂

  5. I love this. Particularly the pictures of the desert itself. Incredibly beautiful.

  6. Never knew that camel chocolates would be so popular….

  7. That looks like fun! I think I’d like to hire the compound for dinner one night and everyone I know coming from near and far…good stuff.
    Did you see any falconing or was the bird just hanging out?

    • The bird was there with its owner posing for photos (for a fee) You can hold the bird and have your photo taken. I was more interested in a photo of the bird than me.

  8. I’ve not gone wadi bashing, but having country cousins sure have done my bit of fun riding 4 wheel motor bikes through red dust in central Australia…., think your experience sounds so much more exotic though 🙂

    • I was really interested in watching the bread makers at work. While the others were watching the belly dancer I was hovering around the bread tent.

  9. What a great outing! I love the desert too – especially at night or in the early morning/evening.

    Thanks for putting in all those nice photos! Must show Willie this post. That sequence of the vehicles crossing the dunes looks like an ad for 4X4s!

    • It was amazing to see so many cars thrashing across the desert.

  10. Sometimes it’s fun to just go and be a tourist – these things can be popular for a reason!

  11. Loved the photos Deb. Certainly something to get your mind off the natural disasters in Australia. I loved the photos of the breadmaking. Thanks again for a wonderful story.

  12. OH waw what an adventure!! I went once to DUbai years ago and I keep telling my husband that we should go there for a long week-end since we are so close here.
    Thanks for sharing Deb!

  13. Wow!! I’ve never been in desert before… and that was kind of complete packet for tourist to enjoy a dessert life… I wanna ride a camel! 😀

    • Even though it is a tourist thing, it is done very well and I had a lot of fun. I loved the compound in the desert.

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