Rising from the dunes, Bab Al Shams sits in Endurance City, along a sandswept road, past thoroughbred stables and camel farms some 40 minutes’ drive from Dubai. Meaning ‘gateway to the sun’ in Arabic, Bab Al Shams offers guests an array of activities for exploring the surrounding desert, from falconry, to camel treks to dune drives.
Why visit … because there are few occasions in life where you can disappear off the grid and into the desert. An easy drive from Abu Dhabi or Dubai, city life soon slips away behind you and your gaze is filled with golden dunes stretching as far as the eye can see.
Just a couple of hours away from Abu Dhabi, but a million miles away in pace, Banyan Tree Al Wadi is a gorgeous sanctuary hidden away in the vast, dusty Al Wadi Nature Reserve – Ras Al Khaimah’s first managed protected area.
Spanning 100 desert hectares across a wooded valley within Wadi Khadeeja, the reserve is home to a herd of endangered Arabian Oryx often found wandering around the resort, or drinking at the Saffron Watering Hole.
After a magical few days of horse riding, stargazing and a camel caravan across the sandscape exploring the rust coloured sand dunes which seem to drift for miles, my sister and I retreated to the rainforest. A rainforest in the desert? I hear you ask….