Doi I have to do an offroading course before joining your trips?
No – our tag-a-long trips are suitable for rookies. Marina has almost 8 years’ experience of introducing new sand dune drivers to the desert and is considered to be a patient and expert coach. At the start of each trip she holds a safety briefing, and once on the sand she will teach you enough for you to pilot your car through the dunes in control and safety. If we come to a tricky obstacle she will take time to talk (everyone who needs it) through.
Will there be a big crowd of people on the trip?
Marina likes to take small groups, maximum 10 vehicles and 30 guests on each trip. Any more and the still silent ambiance of the desert is lost!
Are the trips suitable for children?
Yes they are! We ask that your children are seated/belted up whenever the car is moving, in age-appropriate car seats. As you will read above, we take a few stops on every trip to discover the desert so even on long trips they will get a chance to get out of the car now and then. Marina always carries sand sledges with her and you are welcome to bring other outdoor toys.
Cars and Equipment
Is my car suitable?
If you have a 4×4, in good mechanical order with adequate clearance then chances are it is. Marina has made a list of suitable vehicles which you can read here. It is also important that your car has recovery points front and rear, and these are talked about in the same blogpost.
Do I need to buy any recovery equipment before I join your trip?
No need at all – Marina prefers to recover using her winch, which is the smoothest and normally safest way of extracting a stuck car. If that doesn’t work then she also has an array of snatch straps, shackles and sand boards – in other words, we have you covered! If you have some recovery equipment already, please bring it, and if you don’t know how to use it then you just need to ask and Marina will show you how.
What if I get stuck?
No problem – it happens to everyone, even your leader sometimes! With almost 9 years offroad experience Marina will talk you through a self recovery or if that does not work, haul you out with her winch. She would rather you got stuck 10 times than go too fast, fly and damage your car! She is expert at teaching new drivers and you may be surprised just how few stucks we have on a drive!
Will I damage my car?
Our trips, even the ones through massive dunes, are gentle and smooth and vehicle damage is extremely rare, however very occasionally we have had cars sustain minor damage.
We teach you how to drive your car well in the sand, where to go slow, where to use a little power, with the aim of returning to the road with all vehicles intact.
Remember, your safety is our #1 priority!
Can I hire a car from you?
We are sorry but we do not rent cars out, however we have had guests before who have joined us with rental cars from some of the biggest hire companies. Please note that offroad damage will not be covered under their insurance.
Do I need a tent?
You are welcome to take your own camping gear and our trips are cheaper if you do this. However we have a limited number of quality Coleman instant tents and also mattress available for hire, please indicate you require this on the booking form.
What do I need to bring?
You will find a suggested packing list here.
What do you suggest we wear for the trip?
Marina gives a few thoughts on this blogpost.
Activities and Food
Are there any stops for photos?
Absolutely! There is no point in going out into the desert without snapping some great vistas to make your friends envious!
On the Desert Diva’s trips, there are always a few stops, for photos, to visit camel farms (or take photos of herds as they move through the desert), short breaks just to let everyone stretch their legs.
What is there to eat?
We cater for carnivores, vegetarians, vegans and also for those following a gluten free diet. We usually have a meat barbeque, cooked breakfast and often a snack lunch. There is always plenty of fruit to eat too!
Where do I find out about the trips?
You can find our trip listings on this website, in this location – http://thedesertdiva.com/category/our-trips/weekend-trip-listings/. We also post them as events on facebook and promote posts about them on instagram. You can sign up to our mailing list here.
How do I book?
Download the booking form, complete it, then email it to Marina. Upon receipt, if you have opted for payment by bank transfer she will send you the bank details, and if you prefer to pay by credit card she will raise an electronic invoice. Your place on the trip will be confirmed after receipt of your deposit.
Can I pay you cash on the day?
As mentioned above, there are a limited number of spaces on each trip, so we require a deposit on booking and the balance paid 14 days before trip commencement. We accept bank transfer, mastercard and visa.
Marina will leave the UAE in April and is hoping to return in October 2018, so if you have been considering joining one of her trips, there is never a better time than now (just in case things don’t work out and she does not come back to the UAE)!