Full Moon Desert Drumming in Dubai

African Drums
The Full Moon Desert Drumming season will begin its first session one week from now. We went in March last year and had an amazing and unique experience. I was organizing my photos and saw the album, remembered that I haven't shared it here yet. It was something different from all the other desert trips we've had and I wanted to share them with you. We played music using the djembe drums (a native African drum) under the bright moonlight. Felt like we were in Africa. With our own tribe. And, we sound good, really good.

We arrived at the desert edge at 6 pm and transferred to a Toyota Land Cruiser that took us to the camp deep inside the Al Aweer desert. The ride to the camp was a mini dune bashing for us especially our driver was extra enthusiastic to give my kids a fun ride.

Planet Torus 4x4 fleet 
Even with a bumpy ride, I couldn't help but notice the full moon and this amazing sunset

Dubai desert sunset

Upon arrival at the camp, we were immediately immersed in Emirati hospitality, welcomed with kahwa (Arabic coffee) and some dates while the kids get up close and personal with a local.


Prince with a falcon in his right arm
Sand Boarding

The kids saw people sand boarding and ask that we go. Without hesitating, we took our boards up the dune and played.

Ferald climbing the dune

If climbing was hard, sliding down was even harder for me. I don't know when I can overcome this fear to slide down. Is there even a term for this kind of fear? While asking myself that question, I found out that it is called climacophobia or fear of steep slopes mainly when descending in my case.

While contemplating on sliding down, I enjoyed the view from up there.

view of Planet Tours camp in Al Awir and the vast Dubai desert
 We were having so much fun (well I guess I am) we didn't notice that the sun's gone and the moon dominated the sky. The green light on stage signaled us that we should be off to our seats.

Desert Drumming

Some of the guests have taken their seats and chosen a drum. We get up and went to join the crowd. Just in time, our African drum-master begins the program and gave drumming instructions. His voice has a beautiful and enticing Swahili accent.

The beating patterns were easy to follow and we all slowly get into the rhythm. Boy, we sound good. Together we make beautiful music that echoed passed rolling hills of sand.

We were all enjoying ourselves drumming but minutes later, the palms of our hands started stinging. If it's your first time, be easy on the drums.

Camel Rides

When the first drumming session was over, we head out the camp to ride camels. It was Prince first.  Camels are gentle animals and my kids who grew up here in the desert are used to petting camels as if they are cats and dogs.

Stage Shows - Tanoura Dance and Belly Dancing

What's a desert experience without being able to watch Belly Dancing and Tanoura Dance, right? But here's a confession. After many years of living in UAE and countless desert trips, this is the first time I watched these two performances. I have no excuse except I am an adult with many responsibilities. Seems valid yeah? But it's true and it was an amazing show, both dancers were good at what they do.

Tanoura means skirt in English and Tanoura dance is a kind of folkloric dance which is very common in Islamic countries. A professional Tanoura dancer spins around for like 30 minutes without showing any signs of dizziness.

And he lights up.

In between dances, dinner is served. (fresh salads and Arabic mezze, lamb stew, butter chicken, fish nuggets, sausage, chicken shish tawouk and some rice)

Then the second part of the drumming begins with Julie-Ann Odell, founder of Dubai Drums as our facilitator. Julie-Ann specializes in Team Coaching and Leadership Development programs and is an expert at using rhythm as a tool for team-building and experiential learning.

With her on stage, we had a very unique experience. She encouraged us all to open up, be ourselves, feel the earth's energy, feel nature and be one with it. She made us do something like howling to the moon. I did it, we all did it. And it makes me/us feel good somehow.

We all felt great, some were even ready to stand on stage to dance with her.

After the drumming, some of the people have left while others were busy with other activities. Ferald and I remained in our seats and listen to some indigenous music. I can't remember where they were from but the song and the music they were playing was soothing and beautiful.

It was late, almost twelve, the bonfire burning brightly. It was still a cold night so we stand by the fire to warm ourselves up before deciding it was time to leave bringing with us a beautiful memory.

Full Moon Desert Drumming is once a month organized by Dubai Drums. You can book tickets online here, maps and directions provided.

Prices: Adults: 70 USD - AED 260
Kids & Children 6-14 years: 30 USD - AED 110
3-5 years: 5 USD - AED 20

Our Full Moon Desert Drumming experience was made possible by Art Kentro Special thanks to Jayson and Grayson.

My Yellow Bells

Carla is a lifestyle blogger based in Dubai who's thankful to call this ever-evolving city her second home. The pages of this blog are filled with stories about her expat life in the sandpit. It features dining and travel adventures in and around the city and beyond. It also features food recipes, parenting tips, and fashion style.

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