Dune buggy in Dubai – A legacy transported from the Californian beaches

Exploring the big red dunes of Dubai in a dune buggy is a must-have experience for any tourist

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Published: Wed 4 Oct 2023, 12:57 PM

Last updated: Wed 4 Oct 2023, 4:15 PM


Once upon a time, the very first dune buggies were Volkswagen Beetle taken out of their bodies. The Beetle was generally used for dune buggies because of its unique rear-mounted engine. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, these funky rides could often be seen cruising down the sandy beaches of California.

Back in 1958, Daniel Rettig, hailing from Oceana, CA, had a bright idea. He took a Volkswagen Bug, and crafted a snazzy short pan buggy. Daniel was just one of the many visionaries working on these off-road wonders that were getting popular in that era. Meanwhile, a VW dealership in Los Angeles, named EMPI joined the club and began offering dune buggy kits which were called – 'Sportsters'.

That’s when the dune buggy craze really caught on. A much lighter, aluminium-based buggy called the Burro was designed by Hilder 'Tiny' Thompson. Rumor has it that Tiny’s creation was the spark of inspiration behind the iconic 'Manx' buggy

After that, the dune buggy craze really caught on. A lighter, aluminum-based buggy called the Burro was designed by Hilder 'Tiny' Thompson. Some say that his design was inspired by the famous 'Manx' buggy designed by Bruce Meyers in the 1960s.

Dubai Deserts and Dune Buggies in Dubai

The buggies can cost as much as Dh2 million each. Antonie Robertson / The National
The buggies can cost as much as Dh2 million each. Antonie Robertson / The National

For decades, the deserts of Dubai have served as a playground for adrenaline junkies and adventure seekers. From heart-pounding 4X4 dune bashing and off-roading races, quad biking to serene hot-air ballooning and traditional camel racing, the Dubai deserts offer it all. Among these adventures, dune buggies have surprisingly found a special place in the hearts of Dubai residents and tourists alike.

Here are some common uses of dune buggies in Dubai:

Racing and Motorsports: The UAE hosts various motorsports events and races in the desert, including dune buggy racing. These events attract both professional and amateur racers who compete in off-road races and rallies using some of the super-costly dune buggies which produce massive horsepower.

Recreational Use: Locals in Dubai who enjoy outdoor recreational activities often use dune buggies for weekend adventures in the desert. It's a way to escape the city and explore the natural beauty of the surrounding desert landscapes.

Film and Entertainment Industry: Dubai's unique desert landscapes have also made it a popular location for film and television productions. Dune buggies are sometimes used in these productions to capture dynamic desert scenes and action sequences.

Customised Dune Buggies: Some individuals and enthusiasts in Dubai have customised dune buggies for their specific needs and preferences. These custom vehicles may be used for dune bashing, desert exploration, or even as a unique mode of transportation in remote desert areas.

Dune Bashing for General Public and Tourist Attraction: Dune buggies in Dubai are perfect for dune bashing, an activity that involves navigating the sand dunes at high speeds, and providing an adrenaline rush for thrill-seekers.

Dune buggy rides are a popular attraction for tourists visiting Dubai and the surrounding desert areas. Tour operators offer dune buggy rentals that allow visitors to explore the stunning sand dunes and experience the thrill of off-road driving. Buggy rides in the Dubai desert can cost as less as Dh600 per hour and can go up-to Dh2,000 per hour.

A company like Monster Experience, which specialises in desert adventure tourism carefully crafts desert adventure packages. Monster Experience offers dune buggy packages for tourists and residents of the UAE with some of the most recognised, and popular dune buggy brands: Can-Am and Polaris. Being a private partner of Can-Am, Monster Experience not only gets the hands-on brand-new, top-of-the-line buggies, but also takes its equipment through regular servicing and maintenance in the official repair centre of Can-Am. The company’s buggies get unique look and feel by modification. Their widen their buggies’ frames and bumper to give smoother and stable ride. The buggies in Monster Experience are installed with music system as well; hence creating an extraordinary experience for the adventurers.

Why choose Dune Buggy in Dubai?

Exploring the big red dunes of Dubai in a dune buggy is a must-have experience for any tourist in Dubai. When you're new to the sand, reputable Dune Buggy operating companies offer seasoned professionals providing comprehensive briefings before you hit the dunes. They ensure you have all the safety gear.

Whether you're a solo adventurer or want to share the excitement with friends, the companies normally have their fleet with something for everyone, whether gliding across the dunes in a 1-seater Polaris RZR for a solo ride or the 4-seater Can-Am Maverick X3 Turbo 1000CC to enjoy the adventure with your best buddies!

Once you’re behind the wheels, the powerful engine springs to life, enabling you to navigate the Dubai desert with unwavering confidence and massive speed. The engines roar, propelling you forward with unyielding force, all while the rugged design of big brand buggies guarantee maximum durability and safety. As you effortlessly glide over the dunes, the sun descends on the horizon, offering you the chance to witness a breathtaking masterpiece of nature – a golden sunset in the red dunes. Each moment transforms into a fresh adventure, brimming with excitement and boundless possibilities.

After an exhilarating 30-minute, hour-long, or even two-hour buggy ride through Dubai's red sand dunes, you can savour a taste of Arabia, with the most authentic Bedouin-style coffee while witnessing the mesmerising golden sunset. Alternatively, you can unwind with friends, enjoying a game of volleyball or basketball in the desert oasis ending the day with delicious BBQ.

In summary, a dune buggy ride in Dubai is a highly sought-after outdoor tourism activity that provides a remarkable range of unforgettable experiences. After all, Dubai is known for crafting indelible memories amidst the desert's heart.

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