How to Drive a Dune Buggy in the Dubai Desert

How to Drive a Dune Buggy

how to ride dune buggy

Driving a dune buggy is a thrilling adventure that mixes fun, excitement, and a touch of the wild, unpredictable desert. Imagine yourself behind the wheel, with the vast sands of the Dubai desert stretching out before you. It’s not just about the thrill—it’s about experiencing freedom in its purest form.

A dune buggy, essentially a small car with no sides or roof but equipped with oversized wheels, is perfectly adapted for the sandy terrain. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned driver, learning how to navigate a dune buggy is straightforward and rewarding. Let’s dive into how you can start this thrilling ride in the heart of Dubai’s dunes.

Understanding a Dune Buggy

First things first, let’s get familiar with what a dune buggy really is. Picture a vehicle that looks somewhat like a stripped-down Volkswagen, only with no doors, no roof, and wheels big enough to conquer any sand dune.

It’s built with simplicity in mind—an open chassis and an adapted car engine that thrives on sandy surfaces. Unlike regular vehicles, dune buggies are designed to handle the unique challenges of off-road terrain, particularly the soft, shifting sands you find in the desert.

Getting Started - Initiating Your Drive

Ready to begin? Here’s how you can kickstart your dune buggy adventure:

  • Turn the ignition key: Just like any vehicle, starting a dune buggy involves turning the ignition key. Once the engine hums to life, you’re ready to set off.
  • Get to know your controls: Your main tools are the accelerator and the brake. Begin with gentle presses on the accelerator; there’s no need to rush. Some buggies might have smaller engines, while others could pack the power of a small car. Take your time to feel how the buggy responds before you pick up the pace.
  • Start slow: As you familiarize yourself with the feel of the buggy, maintain a slow and steady pace. The desert isn’t going anywhere, and your confidence will build as you get more comfortable with the controls.
  • Booking a tour with us: If you decide to book a dune buggy tour with TDS, you’ll be in good hands right from the start. Our guide will assist you with starting the buggy and will provide detailed instructions on how to control it effectively. Knowing the specifics of the engine size and how it translates to power and performance can be crucial, especially for beginners.
  • Expert guidance is available: Our camp is staffed with dune buggy experts who are eager to share their knowledge. Whether you have questions about the vehicle, driving techniques, or just need some tips about navigating the desert terrain, our professionals are there to provide comprehensive answers. This support ensures a safe and enjoyable experience as you learn the ropes of dune buggy driving in the Dubai desert.

Mastering the Steering and Movement

Steering a dune buggy might feel a bit different at first, especially if you’re used to driving on paved roads. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Basic maneuvers: The steering wheel in a dune buggy allows you to turn left or right, but remember, the terrain is more challenging than asphalt. It might feel strange at first to navigate through the sand, which gives beneath you.
  • Avoiding obstacles: If you encounter stretches of vegetation or rough patches, slow down just as you would in a normal car. The key here is to adapt your driving to the surroundings and proceed with caution.
  • Take it easy: Initially, avoid making sharp turns. Sharp maneuvers can cause the buggy to tip over. Although it’s usually easy to right a dune buggy, it’s better to be safe and not risk an accident or injury.
  • Guided tour option with TDS: Booking your dune buggy tour through TDS comes with the added benefit of a guided experience. Our skilled guides not only lead the way but also provide valuable navigation tips as you follow them through the desert. This ensures you can focus on mastering the controls and enjoying the ride, while also learning the best paths and techniques for driving on sand.

Driving Techniques on Sand

Driving on sand presents unique challenges compared to other terrains. Sand is loose and shifts easily, which means it behaves differently under the wheels of a vehicle. Here are some key techniques to help you drive more effectively on sand:
  • Maintain momentum on uphill slopes: Sand requires a different approach, especially when you’re heading uphill. Unlike hard surfaces where you maintain steady speed, sand needs you to build momentum as you approach an incline. This prevents you from losing speed and getting stuck halfway.
  • Avoid hard braking: It’s natural to think that braking will help if you feel like you’re losing control, but on sand, this can actually make things worse. Hard braking can cause the wheels to dig into the sand, leading to the buggy becoming stuck. Instead, let up on the gas slowly and allow the buggy to slow down gradually using the natural resistance of the sand.
  • Handling wheel spins: If you find your wheels spinning, it’s important not to force it. Applying more power can dig you deeper into the sand. Instead, stop, take a moment to assess the situation, and then gently back up. If you’re trying to climb a dune and fail, consider descending and attempting again with more speed.
    Smooth driving: The key to successful sand driving is smoothness in acceleration, steering, and braking. Jerky movements can unsettle the vehicle and increase the risk of getting stuck or losing control.

By focusing on these techniques, you’ll be better equipped to handle the sandy dunes effectively and enjoy your dune buggy adventure without any hitches. Remember, the desert might test your skills, but with the right approach, you’ll find it an incredibly rewarding experience.

Safety Measures and Precautions

When going on a dune buggy adventure in the Dubai desert, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. Here are some important safety measures and precautions to keep in mind:

  • Avoid sharp turns: While it might be tempting to make quick, sharp turns, especially when you feel more confident, these can easily cause your dune buggy to tip over. Until you’re very familiar with how your vehicle handles on the sand, it’s safer to make wider, more gradual turns.
  • What to do if you get stuck: Getting stuck in the sand can happen, even to the best drivers. If you find yourself stuck, don’t panic. Instead, avoid gunning the engine, as this can dig you deeper into the sand. Carefully assess your situation, try to reverse out slowly, and adjust your path.
  • Wear a seatbelt at all times: Just like driving any other vehicle, wearing a seatbelt in a dune buggy is a must. It ensures your safety in case of sudden stops or in the unlikely event of a turnover.
  • Keep a safe distance: When driving in a convoy, keep a safe distance between your dune buggy and others. This not only gives you enough time to react to the terrain and any maneuvers the driver ahead might make, but it also helps prevent collisions.
  • Stay hydrated and protected: The desert can be extremely hot, especially during the day. Make sure to bring enough water to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun. 

By following these safety tips, you’ll help ensure that your dune buggy adventure is not only exciting but also safe. Taking these precautions seriously will enhance your overall experience and let you focus on enjoying the thrilling ride across the desert sands.

The Role of a Guide

Having a guide during your dune buggy adventure can significantly enhance your experience, especially in the expansive and sometimes unpredictable Dubai desert. Here’s how a guide can make your trip safer and more enjoyable:

  • Expert navigation: A guide knows the desert terrain like the back of their hand. They can lead you through the safest and most enjoyable paths, helping you avoid areas that are too challenging or dangerous. This is especially useful for beginners or those unfamiliar with desert driving.
  • Safety first: Guides are trained to prioritize safety. They know what to do in case of emergencies and can provide immediate assistance if something goes wrong. This could be anything from a mechanical issue with the buggy to a medical need.
  • Learning as you go: A good guide doesn’t just lead the way; they also teach you about the desert environment and how to handle different driving conditions. This hands-on learning experience is invaluable and can improve your driving skills in unique terrains.
  • Customized experience: Guides can tailor the adventure to your skill level and preferences. Whether you want a thrilling, fast-paced ride or a more scenic, leisurely tour, a guide can adjust the route and pace accordingly.
  • Enhanced enjoyment: With a guide handling the route and technical details, you can relax and fully immerse yourself in the experience. You’ll be free to enjoy the stunning landscapes and the thrill of driving, without the stress of navigating or managing potential risks.
By opting for a guided tour with TDS, you ensure that your dune buggy adventure is not only thrilling but also safe and well-informed. Guides are there to enhance your enjoyment and provide support, making your desert excursion a memorable one.

Exploring TDS Dune Buggy Tours

TDS offers a variety of dune buggy tours tailored to different preferences and times of day, ensuring that everyone can find the perfect desert adventure. Whether you’re looking for a thrilling ride under the stars, an energetic morning outing, or a unique overnight experience, TDS has you covered. Here’s a look at the different tours available:

  • Evening Dune Buggy Tour with BBQ Dinner: This tour is perfect for those who want to experience the beauty of the desert at sunset. After an exhilarating ride through the dunes, you can relax and enjoy a delicious BBQ dinner under the stars. It’s a fantastic way to combine adventure with a taste of local culture and cuisine.
  • Morning Dune Buggy TourKick start your day with a morning dune buggy ride. This tour lets you explore the fresh, cool desert at dawn, providing a serene yet thrilling beginning to your day. It’s perfect for those who prefer to beat the heat and enjoy the desert’s quiet morning atmosphere.
  • Overnight Dune Buggy Tour: For the ultimate adventure, the overnight tour allows you to fully immerse yourself in the desert experience. After a sunset ride, spend the night in a camp under the vast desert sky. This tour is ideal for those looking to escape the city and enjoy a peaceful night surrounded by nature.
In addition to these tour options, TDS offers a range of dune buggies to suit different group sizes and preferences:


Going on a dune buggy adventure in the Dubai desert with TDS is more than just a thrilling ride; it’s an opportunity to create unforgettable memories in one of the world’s most spectacular landscapes. Whether you choose an evening tour with a BBQ dinner, a fresh morning drive, or an immersive overnight experience, you’re in for a treat. With options for single-seaters, 2-seaters, and 4-seaters, everyone can enjoy the adventure, regardless of age or skill level.

So, gear up for an adventure where you can steer across vast dunes, learn valuable driving skills, and enjoy the beauty of the desert with safety and excitement at the forefront. Don’t miss out on this unique experience that promises both adrenaline and relaxation in the heart of Dubai’s desert. Join us at TDS for a journey that ticks all the right boxes for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers alike!


A Dubai buggy excursion is an adventure activity where participants drive off-road vehicles known as dune buggies across the sandy terrain of the Dubai desert.
The seating capacity of a dune buggy can vary depending on the model. Typically, there are single-seater, 2-seater, and 4-seater options available. This makes it convenient for solo adventurers, couples, or small groups to enjoy the experience together.
Yes, Dubai dune buggies are generally safe. Operators prioritize safety with well-maintained vehicles, safety briefings before excursions, and often provide helmets and safety harnesses. However, like any adventure sport, there is a risk element, so it’s important to follow all safety instructions and guidelines provided by the tour operators.
The speed of a Dubai dune buggy can vary, but most are capable of speeds that are sufficient to navigate the dunes effectively. Speed limits are often imposed by tour operators to ensure safety based on the terrain and the experience level of the drivers. Typically, buggies might travel anywhere from 60 to 80 kilometers per hour in a controlled setting on the dunes.
The minimum age for driving a dune buggy in Dubai is usually around 16 to 18 years, depending on the tour operator’s policy and insurance requirements.
It is generally advised against going on a dune buggy ride if you are pregnant. The activity can be quite bumpy and potentially jarring, which could pose a risk to both mother and unborn child.
Elina Shaukat
Grumpy but gorgeous.