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    How to Get the Most From Your First Desert Adventure

    The desert is one of the best places where you can find out more about nature and everything it has to offer. Although some may see it as bland and unexciting, the wilderness is home to a variety of fascinating wildlife that is worth discovering and learning about.

    Deserts also make for exceptional natural playgrounds, one that can be the perfect venue for different types of sports and activities that are not only fun but will enable you to get an excellent workout.

    How to Get the Most From Your First Desert Adventure

    Where to Go on a Desert Trip in the UAE:

    Since the UAE is surrounded by deserts, you will have your pick of unspoiled sandy wild-lands to explore. Some of the must-visit ones are:

    The Arabian Desert (Abu Dhabi)
    Al Khatim Desert (located between Abu Dhabi and Al Ain)
    Al Hafeya (Sharjah)
    Wadi Wurayah (Fujairah)

    If you live in Dubai, the Al Marmoom Reserve and the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve are perfect for your first expedition into the wilderness.

    What to Do on Your First Desert Trip:

    To get the most from your first trip to any of the above UAE deserts, you have to do three things:

    1. Get to know the desert wildlife:

    There is nothing wrong with broadening your horizon when you go on a trip to the desert. As such, getting to know the desert ecosystem should be on top of your mind during your visit to the wilderness.

    While you are in the desert, whether you are inside a vehicle, riding on top of a camel, or on foot, be on the lookout for the fascinating local flora and fauna.

    Some of the plants you will find in the desert are:

    Palm trees
    Arabian gum tree
    Athle tree
    Ghaf tree
    Samur tree
    Christ’s thorn

    The UAE wilderness is also home to exotic animal species, such as the:

    Arabian oryx
    Arabian red fox
    Arabian wildcat
    Sand cat
    Rupell's fox
    Sand gazelle
    Arabian sand gecko
    Desert monitor
    Yellow-spotted agama
    Desert hedgehog

    You can also spot several birds in the desert, such as the houbara, desert lark, Bonelli’s eagle, short-toed snake eagle, and Barbary falcon.

    2. Try all available activities:

    Aside from giving your brain some mental exercise, give your body some much-needed workout, too.

    Try all activities that come with your tour package. These usually include:

    Horse riding

    Other must-try activities include camel treks, falconry, dune bashing, and night safari.

    3. Have fun:

    Desert adventures are opportunities for you to learn, get close with nature, and have fun, all at the same time. As such, don’t forget to enjoy every minute you spend in the wilderness.

    Trying all the activities that come with your package will ensure you have a great time in the desert. Aside from socializing with your companions, interact with the other people or tourists on tour, too.

    Most tour packages end the visit to the desert with a picnic, dinner, or barbecue. It is the perfect ending to your trip that will definitely lighten your mood and make the experience more memorable.

    How to Prepare for Your Trip to the Desert:

    Here are a few tips that will help you prepare well for and enjoy your desert adventure:

    1. Choose the right outfit:

    To avoid sweating too much and feeling uncomfortable while you are in the desert, wear clothes made of airy and light fabric. For your footwear, wear hiking boots or trekking sandals.

    If the tour includes dinner, bring a shawl or light jacket since it can get chilly in the desert at night.

    2. Prepare your sun protection essentials:

    Avoid the harmful effects of staying too long under the sun by bringing and using the following items on your desert trip:

    Wide-brimmed hat
    Refillable water bottle

    3. Bring your camera and smartphone and their chargers:

    Take as many photos of you can of all the fascinating flora and fauna you will see in the desert. Document all the activities you tried as well through pictures and videos using your camera or smartphone.

    To avoid running out of battery, bring your device charger or power bank. You can use the outlets at the camp to keep your gadgets running.

    Be a Responsible Desert Trekker:

    Finally, even if you will only be spending a day in the desert, be mindful of everything you do.
    Bringing a reusable water bottle is a good start. Avoid littering as well, no matter how small the rubbish is.

    When buying souvenirs, ask sellers not to put the item in a plastic bag. Have him or her wrap these in a paper bag or simply put them inside your bag if they are not breakable.

    Additionally, keep your distance from wildlife. Take photos of the animals you see, but don’t get too close to them. Do not feed any creature unless the tourist guide asks you to.

    Do not pick flowers or leaves from trees and plants you see, as well. If you want to remember how they look or keep a memento that you visited the desert, be content with taking their pictures.

    A trip to the desert can be fun, educational, and allow you to connect with nature. It will give you some extra workout, too. Because of these reasons, explore as many deserts in the UAE as you can.  

    Author bio: Rasha El Saleh is the Conservation Education and Outreach Coordinator in the education team of Emirates Nature-WWF working on its programme, Connect with Nature. She leads the outreach and youth empowerment aspect in growing the Connect with Nature community within the UAE and providing opportunities for youth to lead in this community, in addition to supporting partnerships with vendors supporting and promoting active aspects of the programme.

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