We hear from camping fans in the UAE as they relive their best experiences...
Karl Marshall, director of marketing, Hyatt Regency.
‘Unlike my wife, I have always loved camping. A friend and I decided that if we went as a group, our wives would be more receptive to the idea of a trip – and we were right.
‘We decided against sand, instead opting for a wadi location. Wadi Wurrayah apparently had one of the most visited waterfalls in the UAE, wouldn’t involve too much driving and looked good in the photos we’d seen, so our minds were made up. Cars loaded with enough supplies for a three-week extravaganza, we set off for our overnight adventure, following the Al Ain Road across the Peninsula to Fujairah. At around 180km, it was a comfortable two-hour drive along major roads.
‘Although I had read that Wadi Wurrayah was a short, easy drive, and certainly not one that would push my hardy Land Cruiser to the limit, it was a pretty bouncy ride once we’d left the road – which the kids loved. I always want to have that “final frontier” feeling when I go on trips and, although it was the weekend, the gaps between us and fellow explorers was enough to satisfy that need for isolation – until, that is, we reached the waterfall. Smack bang in front of us was an 80-seater bus and its 150 occupants, who had claimed the area as their own. We headed further up the wadi in search of a more remote location to pitch our tents.
‘From here, the drive was even more enjoyable and, for me, a novice wadi basher, it was as rough as I needed. The wadi got progressively narrower, and the driving tighter. Eventually we had gone up as high as our cars could go and, to our (and our wives’) horror, there was no lush green grass on which to pitch our tents, only boulders! Thanking our lucky stars we’d brought air beds, we cleared away as many rocks as we could while the kids splashed around, damming the stream, playing with the frogs and collecting twigs for the fire. With the sun setting behind the steep cliffs surrounding us, city life could have been a million miles away. Barbecue dinner, toasting marshmallows on an open fire, the sound of laughter and the excitement of kids on an adventure in the wild – it was just fantastic.
‘In the morning I saw that we’d pitched right next to a wall that had two precarious-looking boulders perching on its edge – and I realised that I had left us open to two potential disasters: being flattened by the dastardly rocks or, worse, provoking the wrath of my wife. Speaking of the other half, her conviction that camping isn’t for her was reconfirmed on the drive home, when both cars experienced flat tyres.’
Time Out Dubai,