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Fossil Rock Image Credit:

Al Qudra Lakes

Where: Dubai

Directions: 16km east of Al Maktoum airport at the end of D63, Al Qudra road

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NAT_160121_ALQUDRALAKE-ARAMZAN Al Qudra lake, a man-made lake near Bab Al Shams in Dubai, attracting the residents from all over to UAE to visit this beautiful location. The Al Qudra Lake spanning across 10 hectares in the middle of Seih Al Salam desert and close to Bab Al Shams is home to over 140 species of birds. Occasional sigtings of gazzelles and desert foxes. It has become a weekend spot for people to camp and enjoy the nature and millions of stars on the sky from naked eyes. Poto: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

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.

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NAT_160121_ALQUDRALAKE-ARAMZAN Al Qudra lake, a man-made lake near Bab Al Shams in Dubai, attracting the residents from all over to UAE to visit this beautiful location. The Al Qudra Lake spanning across 10 hectares in the middle of Seih Al Salam desert and close to Bab Al Shams is home to over 140 species of birds. Occasional sigtings of gazzelles and desert foxes. It has become a weekend spot for people to camp and enjoy the nature and millions of stars on the sky from naked eyes. Poto: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

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.

Fossil Rock

Where: Sharjah

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.

Snoopy Island

Where: Fujairah

Directions: Two hours from Dubai

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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.

Hatta

Where: Dubai

Direction: 125km away from Dubai; take exit E102 to reach there

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The Hatta Wadi Hub featuring a coaching centre and high-energy activities such as mountain biking and Hatta Drop-in, Asia’s first water jump park and an idyllic glamping experience at the Hatta Damani Lodges. Hatta Heritage Village is a reconstruction of a traditional mountain village located in Hatta, in the Al Hajar Mountains, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Photo: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

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.

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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.