Agness and Cez, travellers and bloggers of etramping.com, have visited countries all over the world, gaining new experiences in many of them. This time, they decided to show us a totally different side of a place, that is usually associated with luxury and abundance. It is obviously Dubai, with its luxurious hotels, highest buildings and biggest malls in the world, and extravagant spots. Not many people know, that besides all of that, there are also places in Dubai, where you can still learn about its tradition and heritage and experience the amazing desert nature. One of them is Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.
Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve may seem to be a fairly new establishment (its beginnings go back to 1999). It is not much younger than the short history of the ‘modern’ Dubai – as we know it today. Considering the age of basically everything else in the city (or even in the whole emirate), its tradition is pretty long when it comes to the ‘Dubai-reality’.
It all began with re-introducing of 70 Arabian oryxes to the area and planting of thousands of indigenous plants. Now, this amazing natural reserve is a home to sand and red foxes, caracals, gazelles, Arabian hares, sand cats, Brandt’s and Ethiopian hedgehogs, several different kinds of bats, and many, many more. It is also a place offering numerous activities, enabling its guests to experience a piece of the real desert life and be a part of a real adventure.
Camel Treks and Horseback Riding
Traversing through the golden sands and dunes of the desert on foot – in drastically high temperature – may not be what you consider the best way to spend your free time. That is why in Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve it is possible to choose a camel or a horse as means of transportation. You can also try both!
Before you decide whether you want to enjoy camel trekking or to have a shot at horseback riding, you should know that each of those animals provides a very different experience – mostly because camels are much taller, but it is not the only reason. While on their back, it is also clearly noticeable, that their gaits are definitely not like those of horses. Horse’s usual gait is trot, when two legs that are diagonally opposite from each other step forward at the same time. However, what you may not know, is that camel’s natural gait is pace, which means that they move two left or two right legs simultaneously together. It may seem not as important, but it is a fact that is definitely hard to miss during the ride. Camel treks are full of swaying and swinging, which for some people may even be an additional attraction!
4×4 Desert Adventure
A ride in a 4×4 vehicle is a blast in basically any conditions. But when there are dunes and tons of sand involved – then it is a real adventure. In Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve you can be a part of this amazing experience, while enjoying the views of the seemingly undiscovered desert lands. You don’t have to be worried about the animals living in the reserve – all the routes have been carefully designated, so that the animals would never be bothered.
Dune rides usually have their end point at the Bedouin camp, which is a whole other attraction – amazing for those who are willing to learn something about the authentic culture of the emirate of Dubai.
Masters of Falconry
Falconry is a traditional Arabian art of handling the fascinating creatures that falcons definitely are. In the reserve’s falcon campsite, professional falconers insightfully present the birds and their abilities. You will also learn more about the history of the ancient falconry itself and enjoy the demonstration of the newest training techniques.
After all of that, there is usually organized a traditional Arabian breakfast, set right in the middle of the desert and next to the falcons. A nice meal enjoyed in the company of birds of prey? It would definitely be justified to brag about it for years!
Trying New Sports among the Sand
You probably don’t really associate a natural reserve in the desert with archery, do you? Well, now you will! In fact, archery is a traditional Middle Eastern activity, practiced there ever since the ancient times. And if you want to try something a bit more extreme, then maybe you should consider sandboarding? It is basically what snowboarding is, but, well… in the sand. Sounds quite exciting, doesn’t it?
Wildlife adventure and desert camping
While all the crazy ways of spending time in the only natural reserve of Dubai are more than tempting and worth trying, they are not everyone’s cup of tea. Fortunately, it is possible to enjoy this place in a more traditional way – slowly driving through the desert and its dunes (with a guide, of course) and admiring the herds of wild animals in their natural environment. However, if you have some thirst for adventure, you can also end this beautiful Arabian safari a little bit more unconventionally – with a camping in the desert. In the reserve, there is a specially prepared encampment, where you can sleep in provided tents and enjoy some local cuisine during the dinner.
Night in the desert is surely not something that you hear in everyone’s travel advice and stories!
See Dubai from a Different Perspective
During your stay in Dubai, you should definitely remember that there are always two sides to every coin. While the city is a major tourist destination thanks to its futuristic buildings, fancy restaurants, and luxurious stores, it is also incredibly important to remember, that somewhere in there, you can also find its authentic roots and centuries-long traditions. A visit to Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve is an excellent opportunity to not only experience adventures that you thought you could only dream of, but also to learn more about Dubai’s heritage, traditional food, indigenous flora and fauna… All the things, that are gradually becoming less important for tourists visiting the city.
Which attraction would you choose?