A wide range of companies based in the UAE offer tours of the emirates and for many people this can be the best way to see and experience the country. As well as the more conventional trips, a few operators cater for the adventurous and/or energetic visitor who might like to indulge in more unusual activities. Some of the tour companies can also take care of all your incoming needs.
You can do a half-day city tour that will take you around the tourist highlights of each city, including museums, shopping areas and traditional souqs. Alternatively, see Abu Dhabi or Dubai by night, ending with belly dancing in an Arabic nightclub. Take a full day to travel into the desert, culminating in dinner at a bedouin campsite where you can ride a camel and enjoy a desert barbecue under the starry skies. Better still, stay overnight at the campsite and watch the sunrise. Try your hand at sand-skiing, dune driving, or wadi bashing. Sail on a dhow, or watch a traditional falconry demonstration. Visit the high sand dunes at Liwa and the palm plantations at Al Ain. Explore Sharjahs heritage centres and Ajmans boatbuilding yard. Discover the old town of Ras al-Khaimah. Drive through the dramatic Hajar Mountains to the magnificent East Coast. The choice is endless!
Most of the tour companies have multilingual tour guides and packages can be tailor-made for customers. You will be picked up from your hotel and transport is usually either by well-equipped four-wheel drive vehicles or small minibus.
We have listed some of the more popular operators and scheduled trips below. However, you will need to contact the individual operators to obtain information on all they have to offer. It is a good idea to book a few days in advance.
Log on HERE for a more extensive list of tour operators in Abu Dhabi.
Adventure Unlimited of Al Ain (03 7687458) runs trips into the wadis of the Hajar Mountains, climbing, camel safaris, potholing in Jebel Hafit and four-wheel-drive desert excursions.
Al Ain Camel Safaris (03 7688066), Hilton Hotel, Al Ain organizes excursions into the desert, including overnight trips, wadi bashing etc. Camel rides are a speciality.
Alpha Tours (04 2949888)
Hotel reservations, visa arrangements, incentive and special interest groups, city tours, desert and mountain safaris. Tours of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, creek cruises, desert safaris etc.
Arab Link (04 2689555)
Hotel reservations, safari and sightseeing trips, complete holiday packages, conference and business travel arrangements, including car rental.
Arabian Adventures (04 3439966)
Operated by Emirates Airlines, Arabian Adventures have offices in Dubai (04 343 9966/3034888 and Abu Dhabi (02 6338111). They provide a total travel service planning, hotel bookings, scheduled excursions and safaris. incentive packages etc. sporting, entertainment and outdoor activities. They can tailor a package to suit the requirements of an individual or a group, big or small, no matter what your interest. Seven-day operation with 24-hour help-line and 365-day reservation system.
Arabian Dream Tours (04 2274255)
Blue Dolphin Company LLC, Intercontinental Hotel (02 6666888) runs hour-long trips on a traditional Arab dhow from the Breakwater in Abu Dhabi. You can also hire a traditional dhow to take you further afield during the day.
Coastline Leisure (04 3984867) runs one-hour guided tours of Dubai Creek on a traditional dhow.
Danat Dubai (04 3511117) have a number of cruises on offer on their 34m catamaran.
Desert Adventures Tourism (04 2242800)
Visa handling, hotel reservation, sightseeing tours, adventure safaris, car rental, incentive and group travel, Oman trips.
Desert Rangers (04 3453091) caters for the less conventional tourist. Visit the archaeological sites in Ras al-Khaimah, explore Hatta rock pools or take a canoe trip around the mangrove stands at Khor Kalba.
East Coast Outdoor Activities in conjunction with North Star (050 6499858)
Based in Fujairah and offers guided outdoor activities, including mountain biking.
Net Tours (Abu Dhabi 02 6794656; Dubai 04 2668661)
Net Tours has an office on Khalifa St opposite the Sheraton in Abu Dhabi. One of the largest and oldest ground operators in the UAE, it has a large fleet of 4WDs and operates its own dhows. Net provides visas, transfers, hotels, daily tours, desert safaris, incentive packages, and conferences ad exhibitions. Can provide groups with complete itineraries for trips to the UAE.
North Tours (04 2737474) organizes tours for visitors with special needs. Customized vehicles and specially trained staff are used. Itineraries are drawn up to ensure access.
Offroad Emirates (02 6333232)
Offroad Emirates specializes in cultural adventure tours throughout the UAE, either day outings or much longer trips. Self-drive is an option or you can opt for an experienced driver.
Orient Tours (Dubai 04 828238 and Sharjah 06 5682323) runs an evening cruise on the Dubai creek, desert trips, including camel riding and sandboarding, barbecue and belly dancing, trips to Hatta, souqs and heritage centres in Sharjah, highlights of Abu Dhabi and Liwa Oasis. You can also experience a 40-minute air tour of Dubai.
Ras al-Khaimah National Travel Agency (RANTA 07 2287536)
RMMI Travel Centre, (07 2284312)
Located on Oman St., Al Nakheel, Ras al-Khaimah.
Seascope semi-submersible at diving village in Shindagha offers 45-minute cruises of the coast.
Seven Seas Tours, Sheikh Zayed Road, Sharjah (06 5670760)
Sharjah Airport Travel Agency (SATA 06 5684411)
SATA organizes Sharjah classical city tours, tours of the East Coast including Dibba, Khor Fakkan, Fujairah and Kalba, the market at Masafi and Al Dhaid; desert and mountain safaris, and dinner cruises.
Sharjah National Tourist and Transport Authority (SNTTA, 5684411). SNNTTA has an office on Al-Arouba Rd. and runs tours of Dubai, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoon. Illuminated dhow dinner cruise in Dubai Creek and dinners are arranged in the dunes. Cultural tours of Sharjah and Ajman, camel races and tours of ancient sea ports are also available. See www.sharjah-welcome.com for more details.
Sunshine Tours (02 4449914)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Operated by Abu Dhabi National, Hotels Corporation, Sunshine Tours can handle all of your incoming needs in the UAE. Meet and assist, visa arrangements, city tours, shopping trips, museum excursions, desert safaris, cruises in modern yachts or traditional dhows, diving and golf or any specialist activity from art or archaeology to ornithology or yoga.
Voyagers Xtreme, Dune Centre, Satwa (04 3455770; www.privatravel.com) organizes adventurous activities throughout the Emirates.