A range of desert excursions and “safaris” is offered by the city’s various tour operators, although by and large the selection of activities is disappointingly stereotypical, and most trips involve sitting in the back of a vehicle while someone drives you across the desert or through the mountains. Slightly more active alternatives (offered by most local tour operators) include camel safaris, often featuring a bit of sand-boarding en route, while adrenaline junkies will enjoy the chance to try their hand at riding a dune-buggy or quad-bike across the dunes. A couple of places offer specialist off-road desert driving courses; experienced drivers with a 4WD should pick up a copy of the UAE Off-Road Explorer by Shelley Frost, available at bookshops around the city, which lists twenty off-road routes with maps and GPS coordinates. Trips featuring the traditional Arabian pursuit of falconry are also sometimes offered by tour operators. There are also myriad trekking possibilities in the craggy Hajar mountains in the east and north of the UAE, although at present their tourist potential remains largely unexploited.

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