A different side to my favourite city

Dubai Travel Blog

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6.30am sunshine

Finally, we were back in Dubai and heading out to the Al Maha Resort & Spa, about an hour drive from Dubai airport.

We had to be transferred in a 4x4, for reasons which quickly became apparent. The entrance to the wildlife reserve where Al Maha is located is massive...it's 20% of the land in Dubai, and all sand apart from a few track roads and the hotel.

In the villa
We thought the drive in through the sands was never going to end but were stunned when we arrived at the main building, which was styled like a Arabic game lodge.

We were met at reception by Jacques, our South African activities co-ordinator/ game driver and our resident host, although I've forgotten her name. We were checked in quickly and taken to our room by golf buggy. Each room is again a detached villa and was stunning. The pool looked out across the desert and we could see herds of Oryx and gazelle roaming around on the plains.

We arrived really early so unpacked and went for breakfast...I've never had such a good omelette (sorry Mum and Dad)...superb! We booked a game drive with Jacques in the early evening and to go on the camel sunset ride out into the desert.

We were both pretty tired after the night flight but headed down to the main pool, which we’d found on a guided tour of the resort with one of the managers.

Arabian Oryx
It was so hot on the poolside that I ended up spending more time in the pool than on the sunbed, and eventually went to lie on the wall mounted sofas on a covered-patio sort of thing and had a nap. We stayed at the pool for a couple of hours but I was so hot we went back to the room…on a previous trip to Dubai I’d got a bit too hot and passed out on my way back to the room, so I’m always a bit more careful about overheating and dehydrating now!

We tottered down to reception and headed out in the 4X4. Jacques was a superb guide, and pointed out the different breeds of gazelle that were springing about in the dunes, as well as the Arabian Oryx, which are white gazelle-type animals, but a bit chunkier, and also have HUGE black pointed horns...they can cause some real damage if they spike you. Jacques was also really good at telling us about the different plants and also about Arabian culture.

Our camel caravan
..I was asking what the difference between the different types of the veil/ hijab that Muslim women wear, why some wear just a headscarf and others cover every part of their bodies, wearing gloves and a veil over their eyes.

We were out in the dunes for around an hour, and wandered down to the spa where we were to meet the guides for the camel trek. I've been on a camel before, but I'm still not used to the horrible jerking way the stand up and sit down again...I don't think I ever will be, and I never feel safe when the stagger up! We trekked out for about 20 minutes and arrived at a dune formation where one of the hotel's barmen was waiting with Kir Royales and fresh fruit. We watched the sunset and took lots of photos...I also discovered that it you put sunglasses with a pink tint in the lens in front of your camera the sunset looks rather more vivid than it actually is! So naughty...

As darkness enveloped the desert very quickly, we headed back for the hotel for a shower before dinner.

Get us trying to look civilised while the wind is whipping sand into our eyes!
It had been pretty windy on the dunes and I had sand stuck in my ears, under my fingernails and in places I didn't think sand could reach! We dressed for dinner and called for a buggy because even though the sun had gone down, it was still around 35 degrees Celsius so we couldn't walk too far without wilting. We got our first glimpse of Oryx close up, as they come up into the hotel gardens during the night when it's cooler to eat the grass, and then go back to the savannah during the night to find shade for the coming day.

Dinner was fantastic! 5 courses, all superb, but I'll admit I was stuffed by the time we were through. The heat and a glass of wine always make me sleepy so it was a pretty early night, ready for sunning ourselves the next day.

At least we were safe in the knowledge it is almost 100% unlikely that it'll rain here! :D

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6.30am sunshine
6.30am sunshine
In the villa
In the villa
Arabian Oryx
Arabian Oryx
Our camel caravan
Our camel caravan
Get us trying to look civilised wh…
Get us trying to look civilised w…
Our villa from the deck
Our villa from the deck
Bliss
Bliss
I think hes impressed
I think he's impressed
The suite from the outside
The suite from the outside
A trio of Orxy trek across the des…
A trio of Orxy trek across the de…
The main pool and spa building
The main pool and spa building
The view from my sunbed at the mai…
The view from my sunbed at the ma…
This ones lost a horn!
This one's lost a horn!
This was the view from our front d…
This was the view from our front …
Self take on the camel!
Self take on the camel!
Mark of Arabia!
Mark of Arabia!
Sunset through my specs
Sunset through my specs
Sundown
Sundown
A (kind of) camels eye view
A (kind of) camel's eye view
Our pool and room
Our pool and room
Cant complain!
Can't complain!
Dusk by our pool
Dusk by our pool
Another dinner!
Another dinner!
Dubai
photo by: vances