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Get a taste of desert life within striking distance of Dubai’s skyscrapers

Bed down in a Bedouin desert camp

Dubai’s Blade Runner-esque skyline may look straight out of the future, but the UAE metropolis also offers a glimpse of Arabia as it used to be: the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, 90 square miles of pristine desert that’s roamed by wildlife like sand cats, geckos and Arabian oryx. Luxury operator Platinum Heritage runs an overnight safari that explores the area and its traditional Bedouin culture, voyaging over its rolling dunes in a vintage ’50s Land Rover. After spotting animals and watching a falconry display against the rays of the setting sun, guests retire to a lamp-lit Bedouin camp, to enjoy cultural activities such as local dance and henna painting. A fve-course dinner follows under the stars, with Emirati dishes such as slow-cooked lamb and camel on the menu, before guests turn in to their fabric-draped tents. Over fresh coffee and a local breakfast of pancakes, bread and noodles, visitors can chat with a Bedouin before returning once more to the thick of modern Dubai.

The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve is the UAE’s frst national park, established in 2002
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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - January 2016
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