Romantic Camping – A tryst with Nature
A beachside barbecue under the sun, trekking along the peaks of the highest mountains to sleep overnight, roughing it in the middle of the desert – whatever way you think of camping, the UAE offers it unmistakably.
Forget about ‘escaping the city’, it’s time to experience the stunning wilderness of the endless desert, like you have never done before. Here is a look at the most inviting and most exquisite of spots in UAE that prompts you to fetch your gear and head out for camping – adventure guaranteed.
Al Qudra Lakes, Dubai
It is the location for those who want to always have Dubai’s skyline in the backdrop, so as not to feel homesick. The handiest piece of equipment to bring on this camping trail is probably a pair of binoculars, as there are 100 different species of birds present around the lakes, with an equal number of exotic desert vegetation to look out for. You’ll find the camping area to the east of Al Qudra Lakes, where you can pitch up your tent and officially become a camper in Dubai.
Hajar Mountains (foothills)
You’ll need a four-wheel-drive to tackle the route, though you can easily take your two-wheeler into Wadi Koo and come upon an abundance of secret places to camp or hike. For mountain bikers, the region offers ideal tracks with 50km-plus trails. While there, be sure to visit the small local museum in the village of Tayba.
It is called the “Empty Quarter” of the UAE because it’s basically void of anything except sand and wildlife. A map, GPS and compass will be your saving grace as this barren plains of the land tends to make people lose their sense of direction. Liwa is one of the most beautiful deserts to camp in, with lush sand dunes, picturesque landscapes, and a wide variety of wildlife. It’s for those who want complete seclusion from the outside world. You’ll also have plenty of opportunities for escalating your experience with some extreme sand boarding and dune bashing.
Ras Al Khaimah Desert
For a proper desert camping experience, Ras Al Khaimah Desert is a popular option. Not only are there local farms and camel pens spaced out all over the place but there are proper tracks in the desert. The reason why tourists and explorers set-off on four-wheel-drive safaris or camel treks across the plain. This part of the UAE is rich in Bedouin history and showcases glimpses of what it was like living in the desert back in the day. That’s all the more reason to pitch up a tent and immerse yourself in what surprises the landscape has to offer. You’ll be treated to a wide diversity of plants and animals such as desert ephemerals, hyacinths, and thumbs flourish, along with banyan trees, palms, wild birds, and Arabian oryx, which will appear on your early morning walk.
It’s the highest mountain in Oman, standing at about 3,028m. You can drive to 2,000m, where there is an excellent base camp known as Jebel Shams Heights. From base camp, the hike to Jebel Shams summit is long and strenuous. It takes at least 12 hours. However, there are well-marked trails that offer spectacular scenery. A short drive from base camp will take you to Al Khataym, the starting point for a hike along an ancient donkey trail leading to the abandoned village of As Sab. This hike is relatively flat on good paths and takes about four hours there and back. On the way you can also visit the historic towns of Ibri and Nizwa or the caves at Al Hoota.
Umm Al Quwain Coast
Being able to wake up to the sound of the ocean is always a treat! Also, it’s the perfect spot to swim, kayak, fish, barbecue, chill – you name it. Visit the old fishing villages along the peninsula at Al Raas and take your fishing gear for some angling time and binoculars to spot many wild birds, including the pink flamingos. If on a kayak, you will be treated to an adventure through the mangroves along the coast.
Filled with glistening waterways, low-lying cliffs, and caves covered with the colors of beautiful sand rock, coming here is like camping on your own private island. It takes just over three hours to reach the island from Dubai, so make this camping expedition a long weekend affair rather than a one night stay. Also, because of its shoreline proximity, it would be a good idea to come equipped with few layers of clothing, as temperatures can sharply drop at night.
Just outside of Fujairah you’ll find Sheesa Beach. Here you have the option to combine your camping with a dhow cruise or speedboat trip around the coast.
The Big Red
The Big Red is an immense and vast sand dune topping at 100 meters at its highest point. It’s a perfect location for some thrilling sandboarding, quad biking, dune bashing and any other sandy adventure activity you can think of. The Big Red is about 50 km from Dubai, and there are organized adventure tours, where travelers can try out all the activities in a single day.
Apart from all the places mentioned here, just venture out to the great unknown and see what surprises the UAE has in store for you. You definitely cherish the challenging moments forever.