Camping in the United Arab Emirates is a glamorous affair, so even if it’s your first time under canvas, you won’t have to compromise on comfort. You’ll also find that there’s much more to choose where you pitch: go camping in the UAE and you can tighten your guy-ropes on a beach, in the desert, or even up a mountain!
The best months are between December and March, when the mercury settles at a warm and comfortable level and lingers into the evening, to offer a good night’s sleep. There’s plenty of opportunity for an evening barbeque and, if you choose the right spot, you can make your camping trip one to remember. So, which ones are the best?
Those who really want to get to grips with the Great Outdoors and all it has to offer will appreciate camping in Hatta. Set in the Hajar Mountains, Hatta has become very popular with mountain-bikers who want to pit themselves against the inclines and terrain of the biking trails that twist and curve up the slopes.
Should you fancy something a bit lower-key, camp close to the Hatta Dam, where you can hire kayaks and enjoy the backdrop from the clear, warm water. There’s also the restored village of Hatta to explore. Hundreds of years old, it gives a fascinating insight into the region’s past.
If camping in the UAE is new to you, Lahbab is the place to start. It’s not far from the Ras Al Khor Road, although you’ll still need a car to get there. The drive is well worth it as you’ll be rewarded with one of the best sites on the planet. If you like the idea of seeing the spectacular night-time starscape, pitch close to Fossil Rock, which is popular with amateur and seasoned stargazers. Lahbab is also close to ‘Big Red’: a towering, 91-metre-high sand dune that feels like it was almost custom made for dune-bashing.
3) Al Qudra Lakes
This is an ideal camping spot for anyone travelling with children. A stunning nature reserve, it’s peppered with trees and pocked with large, jade-green lakes. Pitch your tent close to one of these and you’ll wake to the sound of birdsong from the dozens of species that come to feed, drink and bathe. Al Qudra also happens to be close to the city, so it’s easy enough to drive to the shops if you’ve forgotten any of those last-minute essentials!
4) Ras Al Khaimah
If you’d like a little more greenery than the desert tends to offer, Ras Al Khaimah offers spectacular scenery and superb camping conditions. Visit during the cooler months and the dunes are swathed in an emerald blanket of grass, attracting wandering wildlife such as oryx, the occasional camel, and spectacular migratory birds. Wreathed by palm trees, ghaf and banyan trees, this is a real slice of paradise. It’s worth hiring a 4x4, as Ras Al Khaimah is deep in the middle of nowhere, and be sure to pack enough food and water for your trip.
And when you’re tired of ‘roughing it’…
One of the main joys of camping is coming back to a good meal and a comfortable bed, once the tent is packed. Premier Inn has four hotels in Dubai, each boasting ultra-comfortable Hypnos beds in spacious rooms, with all the amenities you’d expect from 21st Century accommodation; the perfect way to end your camping trip in the UAE.