Visiting the Middle East is never complete without visiting the jewel that is the Arabian desert, miles of soft golden sand terrain with untouched dunes stretching the horizon covered in thin ripples created by mother nature. The desert is home to numerous Dromedary camels, but if you’re lucky, you may come across the rare black Hizami camel, which are often seen to be prized possessions for their rarity.
As a part of my stay in Abu Dhabi, I was fortunate to experience a half-day experience in the blank canvas of the Emirate, which promises a sense of exhilaration and adventure. Hold onto your seats, we’re in for a bumpy ride…
A direct pick-up the hotel in Abu Dhabi, we were on the road for around 45 minutes to an hour before I began to see a transition between stretches of motorway to off the beaten track sand paths, which starts to give a flavour of the experience to come. But, before I knew it, I found myself in the middle of the desert, far away from civilisation. No sight of tall buildings, shops, or people – just gleaming flaxen sand. The blank canvas doubles up as the perfect medium for creativity, especially for a content creator like myself, I set off to snap some content… after all, it’s not every day you have access to backdrops that resemble computer screensavers.
Once the photoshoots concluded, I hopped back into the car that picked me up from the hotel, the tires were then deflated and the transfer doubled up as a dune buggy for dune bashing!
Strapped in for dear life, we set off on a chaotic escapade across the desert. We prepared for 90 minutes of laughter, screams, and being thrown around (in the most thrill-seeking way) with adrenaline pumping throughout my body at speed.
Even though I have been dune bashing in Dubai a number of years ago, it felt like a whole new experience. If you’ve never been before, it’s a must-do when visiting the Middle East. You simply won’t get the opportunity to do it anywhere else!
To counteract the most exhilarating experience, we were given another one in a lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with camels at a farm within the desert. Camels are a big part of the Emirati culture and understandably, as they are the most beautiful creatures.
These camels aren’t tied down or within specific enclosers, they are free to roam as they please, which makes for a positive experience. They are often known elevate people’s spirits and bring about a sense of happiness, especially with their inquisitive personalities and very huggable nature. The farm also offers ‘hugging therapy’ as a service – that tells you everything you need to know about these camels. My favourite part about the experience was watching the calves frolic.
After a number of camel cuddles, we made our way down to the Bedouin camp for a true example of ‘Arabian nights’ in the desert with dinner and entertainment. In the camp vicinity, there is another opportunity to encounter unique creatures and try new activities, such as sandboarding down humongous dunes, getting up close and personal with falcons, the opportunity to wear traditional dress for pictures or even get your hands dressed in henna.
The barbecue buffet is quite extensive, filled with local cuisine and more westernised offerings to cater for everyone. I indulged in a series of marinated meats that were slowed cooked over coal, a range of salads and a traditional dessert too, while being entertained by the cultural show on stage. Here you’ll find Arabian culture as it was hundreds of years ago – theatrical, colourful, and mesmerising. Belly dancers take to the stage with their snake-like hips and talented young gentlemen spinning around in skirts to perform a folkloric dance called the Tanoura.
By night fall, the stars were out in all their glory in the clear night sky. All the lights and music was turned off and we were asked to lay back and stargaze as a way to finish. What a mesmerising moment – it’s so rare to see so many glowing stars in the night sky, especially when you live in London. It truly topped off what was a surreal and thrilling day in Abu Dhabi.
Have you ever been on a desert experience?
Until next time…