I ended up doing several tours through Gulf Adventures, as I came on holiday and with a conference.
Professional booking experience, although be aware staff's english may not be perfect. be patient, they work well.
The afternoon desert safari was a pretty incredible experience (with just one other passenger, and with dinner at the desert camp). Yes, the camp is staffed by very friendly Nepalis, but that doesn't really detract from the experience. I loved the tea, and the opportunity to go wading in the sea. They honestly couldn't pay their Nepali staff enough - they helped make the trip a most memorable experience.
The driver was very professional driver in the dunes, although driving on the freeways was an eye-opening experience - no seatbelt, speeding, etc. He was happy to stop for photos, and gave us some heart-stopping moments in the dunes. We did leave early (before sunset), but I didn't particularly mind - I'd had a wonderful time. the opportunity to go wading / swimming in the gulf, on the edge of the desert was just amazing.
The trip with the conference was a morning safari, followed by a city tour. We took a different route in the desert, which took us close to the border of Saudi Arabia. It was a very different, more organised affair with some 15 4WDs. Again, great professionalism in the dunes, particularly in driving slightly less extravagantly on request of the ladies we had on board, although we again had an "interesting" trip back to Doha!
The city tour was ok, we were all packed on a big tour bus. The guide was fantastic, and very professional, but I was glad I'd seen the city beforehand. It is not possible to tour and explore Doha in 3-4 hours.
All in all, I will probably return to the desert with Gulf Adventures. Yes, you do take a bit of a risk, but the rewards were well n truly worth it. I had some unforgettable experiences in the desert, and will definitely return.
TIPS - Summer is hot, but the desert is quiet. Late June was pretty good - the vehicles are air conditioned, and you can survive in 49C heat for the short periods outside.
WEAR YOUR SEATBELT - even if your driver / passenger don't. Take a mobile phone (strong signal in desert), and an extra water bottle. Enjoy it.
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