Me and my travelmate have a 8 hour layover in Dubai and we have heard leaving the airport is a bit depressing if you are used to natural African culture. We like exploring but we will be looking to be there during the peak heat of the day.
Definitely leave the airport!! There are some great things to do. Go 4wd driving through the sand dunes... it's loads of fun!! They normally do a package tour which includes the dunes, camel riding etc. Most hotels should be able to give you information about tour groups that offer these types of programs. Alternatively, do a google search for tour groups!! Have fun!!! about 10 years ago
Just to advise that Dubai is in the Middle East and not Africa.
Dubai is a great city and I would definitely leave the airport, even if its only for a stroll round the town. You dont say when you are arriving, but the weather now is starting to cool down - its around 32 today and its getting better each day, especially at night time when you can finally sit outside and have a beer.
Tours are easy to arrange and as Jessiec says, the 4x4 thing is very popular. This company http://www.arabian-adventures.com/ are a good firm to use if you want to do something or you could just wander round Dubai at your own leisure.
I would suggest that you take an abra (boat) down the creek and go to the Boardwalk or the Museum and wander round. Some of the hotels are fab - Madinat Jumeriah has three wonderful hotels plus a souk and restaurants if you fancied that.
Alternatively, why not look on http://www.couchsurfing.org/ and see if there is someone in Dubai who could show you the local sights.
Finally, if you dont fancy going too far from the airport, you could walk over to the Irish Village and have a few pints of something cold, before heading back to the airport and checking into the hotel for a couple of hours to snooze or get a spa treatment. about 10 years ago