Al Qudra Lakes
Directions: 16km east of Al Maktoum airport at the end of D63, Al Qudra road
What to expect: A beautiful lake where you can spend time with loved ones. Get there before sunset and spend some time bird watching. Black swans, ducks, flamingos and sometimes the endangered Steppe Eagle or Asian Houbara can be spotted in the area. As the sun descends in the horizon, you can also see animals such as gazelles, foxes and rabbits who come out at night.
If you have time to explore, do check out the Love Lakes, a man made set of twin lakes in the shape of two intertwined hearts. If hunger strikes, the Last Exit pit stop is quite close.
Directions: An hour’s drive from Sharjah city
What to expect: The red sands of the Lahbab desert is also home to a cultural landmark, the Fossil Rock, which is a popular camping site for those who don’t like to wade deep into the desert. You can spot some familiar animals like the oryx, the gazelle and the mountain deer when the noise quiets down. A museum and a cafe are also located near the rock if you want to learn more about the surrounding areas.
Jebel Jais camping
Where: Ras Al Khaimah
Directions: 176.4km from Dubai via Emirates Road/E611
What to expect: Jebel Jais is home to the world’s longest zip line. It is perfect when you want to take a break from the city offers a view of the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises. You do not require your car to go up and there are several stops to pitch your tents depending on which height is comfortable. There are activities on the way up such as ice skating, viewing decks and many more. But do keep in mind that with the fluctuating weather, it is best to check the Met office for rain.
Directions: Two hours from Dubai
What to expect: The island is named Snoopy Island because it resembles the popular character when he sleeps on top of his dog house. Diving, snorkelling and water sports are very popular here. You can see beautiful coral reefs and shipwrecks when you are diving. You can also see turtles and a wide range of fishes.
Direction: 125km away from Dubai; take exit E102 to reach there
What to expect: This is the definition of a traditional yet modern camping area. There is a barbecue area for each campsite, food trucks are available, Wi-Fi is provided, washrooms and showers facilities are present, free parking is available and kayaking is a hop and a skip away. Another option would be to rent the Hatta Sedr Trailers for a night for those who prefer a glamping option. Think a television, a minibar, a modern bathroom, sofas and more on your camping expedition.
Camping dos and don’ts
Don’t litter as it will be harmful for the wildlife
Do dress appropriately if you are planning on staying overnight preferably warm as it can get very cold
Do use a four-wheel drive if you plan on going deeper into the desert
Do bring enough drinking water to keep you hydrated through the trip
Do carry electronic chargers, extra batteries and power banks.
Do carry a GPS tracker
Do carry a first aid kit
Don’t venture into the desert alone if you have never been before.
— Marika Sequeira is an intern with Gulf News.