Dubai

 Birj Al Arab in Dubai  4x4 desert safari

Why Dubai?                                                                     Click here to view video

There is something epic about Dubai: it's not just the world's tallest tower or the first seven-star hotel, the reclaimed islands or the indoor ski slope, it's the sheer vision of those Emiratis who had the courage and ambition a decade ago to build something extraordinary out of the desert.

Dubai may have taken a knock in the current global recession but nothing will hold this city of the future back for long. Already visitors are streaming through Dubai's new airport terminal, which houses the world's largest single floor space, and flocking to Dubai Mall, the world's largest shopping centre. Dubai has a mission to be the biggest and the best and the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower opened in January 2010, is symbolic of Dubai's 'the-sky-is-the-limit' attitude.
 
Expatriate workers may pine for home or for the 'good old days' before the notorious city traffic, but most visitors find Dubai with its sandy beaches and all-night entertainment an exhilarating experience. Cross the creek on an abra (water taxi), dine underwater at the Atlantis Hotel, or play golf on a desert turned green, and this safe and friendly city of year-round sunny skies will be sure to lure you back.

  • When should I travel?
Year-round sunny skies and warm waters make Dubai especially inviting during the long cold winters of Northern Europe and America. City planners have come up with novel ways of beating the heat and humidity of summer (between late April and early September) with giant air-conditioned malls and enclosed public spaces. Indeed Dubai must be the only city in the world where you can ski a black run in the snow when the outside temperature in 50°C (122°F). For those planning a suntan or a visit to the surrounding desert, however, it’s better to avoid the dangers of midsummer heat and plump for the balmy winter season. Shoppers will be particularly keen to time their visit for the Dubai Shopping Festival (January/February) when the city is abuzz with bargain hunters and party goers.

  • Is it safe to travel and are there places to avoid?
The UAE is one of the safest places in the world to visit. In fact, it has been designated the world's safest holiday destination by the international travel industry on two occasions. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to take out travel insurance and to take the normal precaution to safeguard yourself and your valuables.

  • What money should I take?
The currency is the UAE Dirham (AED) In central Deira, especially along Baniyas Rd and on Baniyas Sq, every other building seems to contain a bank or a moneychanger. In Bur Dubai there are moneychangers around the abra docks. There are ATMs throughout the city, in all shopping malls and in most five-star hotel lobbies.

  • What language will they understand?
The official language of Dubai is Arabic. It is an ancient language. Among Muslims, Arabic is considered sacred or revered as the Koran is written in Arabic. It is the official language for both written and verbal communication, especially in government offices and affairs. Moreover, the rules and laws are also communicated in Arabic.  Most people involved in the tourist trade speak good English.

  • How about my health?
Public hospitals, where the medical facilities are very good, will deal with emergencies free of charge, however it would be wise to take out medical insurance to cover all eventualities, especially if you need to attend a private hospital or clinic where treatment can be quite expensive. In all instances, medical procedures, including the use of sterilized needles and the provision of blood transfusions are very reliable.

  • Public Holidays

2012
1 Jan International New Year 
4 Feb Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday* 
17 Jun Israa & Miaraj Night* 
19 Aug Eid Al Fitr * 
25 Oct Arafat (Haj) Day* 
26 Oct Eid Al Adha* 
2 Dec UAE National Day 
15 Nov Hijri New Year's Day* 

2013
01 Jan New Year's Day
24 Jan Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday
6 June Leilat al-Meiraj (Ascension of the Prophet)
9 Jul Start of Ramadan
8 Aug Eid Al Fitr
15 Oct Eid Al Adha
4 Nov Al-Hijira
2 Dec UAE National Day
 
  • Do I need a visa?
South African passport holders require visas for entry into Dubai which must be obtained prior to arrival.

  • Will I need any innoculations before I depart?
No innoculations are required for Dubai.