Get to Know Desert Safari Guide Ajnaz Mailanchi

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Ajnaz Ameer Mailanchi’s fascinating career has taken him from the IT industry to the United Arab Emirates on the Persian Gulf where he now runs a guiding company that specializes in, among other things, the Abu Dhabi Desert Safari. He loves nothing more than exploring the Arabian desert with clients and teaching them about the flora and fauna (yes, plants do grow in the desert) as well as the culture of the Bedouin people. He also takes clients to explore the incredible sites in Dubai (where the world’s tallest building is located), Abu Dhabi (where you’ll find cheetahs, hyenas, Arabian oryx and thousands of other animals running wild on Sir Bani Yas Island) and the whole of the UAE. We tracked Ajnaz down to ask him more about what it’s like to guide in one of the world’s richest countries.
What ignited your fire for becoming a tour guide? 
From childhood I was always fond of taking tours and visiting places that had something special to offer. And luckily, I had friends who have the same taste as mine and wanted to share good moments travelling. During my career in IT,  my focus was about the online marketing sector. I worked closely with touring companies that needed online promotions. I was gathering tour-related information to help others, and during that time, my mind was full of exploring the uniqueness of various places around the globe.

How did you make the leap from a computer career to guiding?
When I started doing some Kerala related tours in India, I came to understand that the fastest growing tourism sector in world is the UAE. So I visited a few times for research. Once I learned about the UAE’s attractions and sights, I decided to register a company and work closely with tourists.

Tell us something about your area/activity that only a guide would know.
In the Abu Desert, the climate and wind direction form all the dunes. An experienced guide can explain and teach how they are formed while standing on them.

What is the best part of your job?
The best moments of my job are when I am opening up emails, reviewing websites, or reading how travellers really appreciate our work. These moments motivate us and we’re so happy to receive such great reviews.

What’s the most bizarre experience you’ve had on a guided tour?
The most bizarre experiences are when travellers book the Abu Dhabi Desert Safari tour and ask for a vehicle that they can drive. They don’t realize that desert driving requires a special license!

What is the best tour you can offer in the UAE and why?
Abu Dhabi Desert Safari. For many tourists a trip to the UAE is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and so I believe that if they don’t get high quality services from a knowledgeable person they will be disappointed. Therefore we are always gathering new information on the Emirates tourism sector so that we can provide excellent tours that maintain historical and traditional values.

Have you got a certain style of guiding, or do you just run with it on the day?
I enjoy every part of my job and I work hard for perfection. But no, I don’t have a particular style. I adjust the day depending on the personalities of the travellers and what their needs are.

In your view, what makes a good tour guide?
Someone who becomes happy when his guests enjoy the tour – this makes a good tour guide. Such a mind will work hard to achieve 100%.

Have you got any tips for people who are interested in booking a guide like yourself but aren’t too sure what to look for?
Reading reviews help. Then, by contacting many guides, you will get to know them personally.

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