From diving skill fully up and down the sand divers in a Land Cruiser to experiencing the different colours of sands yellow, white, red, orange and even black- here’s Ed’s crazy family adventures with a different twist. Enjoy!
Ed Mcintosh is ATKINS Regional Design Director in charge of the Middle East and Africa. He was Design Director for Grimshaw Architects in South East Asia based out of Kuala Lumpur for four years where he worked on the Tun Razak Exchange projects and a number of other private and public commissions.
Dubai is known as a global hub for business, nightlife, fine dining and culture. Nevertheless, more and more visitors and residents are joining the local tradition of having fun in the deserts surrounding the Emirati city.
During the New Year Holiday, while our son was visiting form London, we joined the Al Marmoon Bedoiun experience out of Dubai to get a taste of what Bedouin life past in the present has to offer.
Our day trip started at our villa where Ahmed, our guide and off-road driver with 25 years’ experience “surfing desert dunes” in his Toyota Land Cruiser, picked us up. After a short 45-minute drive, we arrived into Al Awir desert where we were given an explanation of the site, the ground rules and most importantly, health and safety indications to keep us secure during our stay in the desert.
Our first adventure was camel riding. Our camel trainer Muhammad was very experienced and reassuring, making sure that we were at ease with the safety and well-being of the camels and ourselves. We rode through the dunes for 30 minutes and in the direction of the main oasis camp. I have to say that the ride on camels was much smoother than any horse ride I’ve ever experienced!
The feeling of being on camel back going through the dunes was definitely a highlight for our family. We felt safe and comfortable enough to take videos of ourselves against the beautiful backdrop of the desert dunes and the ever-changing shadows cast by the camels and the landscape.
We were educated by Muhammad on the local vegetation growing among the protected pockets of space created on the inside of the sand dunes comprising shrubs, aromatic bushes and desert cantaloupes which were in abundant supply due to the time of year and favourable weather of the past months. [rml_read_more]
Once we arrived at the desert oasis camp, we had at our disposal – a myriad of fun activities we had never tried before: Desert ATV’s, Sand Boarding, Bedouin cooking local handcraft creations. We decided to try the quad bikes and sandboarding. It was a thrilling experience but we felt safe and well taken care of- backed by proper equipment and induction training.
After these activities came the highlight of our tour: Ahmed took us deeper into the desert to show us the different colours of sand: yellow, white, red, orange and even black. But most incredibly, Ahmed started driving (or as I describe it: surfing) skilfully up and down the sand dunes with absolute control of his (roll bar equipped) Land Cruiser. Words or even videos can’t describe the amazingly thrilling experience of going on a ride like this! After 20 minutes of land-surfing we arrived at a beautiful vantage point where we could see the desert all the way into the horizon being crowded by a dramatic orange sunset.
By this time our appetite where ranging on and so we were driven back to the Bedouin camp where the day was finished in glorious fashion with an exuberant feast of local dishes served on tables on rich tapestries where we sat down with the family- eating and enjoying a beautiful show of cultural local dances and traditional performing arts.
All in all, it was a great way to experience Emirati culture, enjoy time out with the family and filling our bellies with an amazing array of middle eastern delicacies simply intoxicating!