Unfortunately, much of the desert around Dubai is a total mess, disfigured by endless building works, pylons, petrol stations and other unforgivable clutter. For a taste of real, unadulterated desert, the best place to head is the superb Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. Interestingly, this is not an untouched piece of original desert, but one which has been systematically rehabilitated over the past decade and restored to something approaching its original condition – perhaps offering a model of what could be done elsewhere to rejuvenate Dubai’s beautiful but severely damaged natural environment.

The reserve encloses 250 square kilometres of shifting dunes, dotted with stunted acacia, firebush and indigenous ghaf trees, and serves as a refuge for 33 local mammal and reptile species, including rare and endangered creatures such as the oryx, Arabian mountain gazelle, sand gazelle, Arabian red fox and sand fox.

 

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