The most beautiful yet underrated landscape has to be its vast expanses of desert – nothing compares to the solitude and serenity you get there. I visit different deserts in the UAE quite often with my friends: if you want to stay in an hour’s radius of Dubai, I suggest heading to Lahbab and Fossil Rock (just off the Mleiha Road and pictured above). The most adventurous of desert junkies usually head to Liwa (around 2-and-a-half hours) for it’s steep dunes.
Out of all, I love Fossil Rock the most though – thanks to the beautiful backdrop of the rocky mountains, it’s mix of smooth and steep dunes and the main power lines that make it easy to navigate back to the road at night.
Here are a few handy tips that you can keep in mind when heading to the desert:
1. Wear a pair of slippers and keep an extra pair of sneakers handy in your car: Wearing a pair of slippers ensures you never have to end up cleaning your sandy shoes at the end of the trip – also you know, you’re going to end up walking barefoot anyway so might as well make it convenient (walking barefoot in the cold desert is one of the greatest joys of life – trust me!)
2. Try wearing clothes made out of synthetic material: it ensures that the sand never sticks to your clothes and can be easily wiped off. With the winter upon us it does get quite chilly at night, so make sure to bring along your jackets.
3. Set camp at a flat surface – if there are other desert goers around, make sure that you are visible (that’s another place your LED torch-light can come in handy) – absolutely avoid setting tent on a desert path or just behind a dune!3. Carry an LED torch-light that can help you get through in the night: you might just want to stay there till late in the night and enjoy views of the starlit desert night
4. Lighting a bonfire isn’t as hard as it seems – all you need is chopped wood (you can buy it from convenience stores or small stores on the Dubai-Hatta road at an even cheaper price, lighter gel and lighter fluid. Make you sure you bury the remaining ash after you put out your bonfire.
5. Be wary of camels – particularly if you’re driving/ camping close to a camel farm
6. You can never be too over prepared for the desert – prepare a comprehensive list of what you need and stick to it, there’s no harm in getting extra food or camping equipment.
There’s another post coming up for amateur dune-bashers so stay tuned! Hope you’re enjoying the good weather as much as I am 🙂
^ Special thanks to my friend and desert-dweller Muhammad Inaam for his contribution to this post