The desert is the heart and soul of Arabian life in Ras Al Khaimah and the UAE. It’s the birthplace…
The desert is the heart and soul of Arabian life in Ras Al Khaimah and the UAE. It’s the birthplace of Bedouin life, which dates back thousands of years, yet still exists today, with many traditions beautifully preserved.
Also home to unique flora and fauna, as well as indigenous wildlife that dance secretly among the terracotta dunes, the desert is a place of wonder and discovery, and at night, when the sun sets, it takes on new life as campfires flicker and the stars twinkle brightly in the night sky.
Fun and adventure also await, with the UAE’s famous four-wheel-drive desert safari alive and kicking in Ras Al Khaimah, not to mention sandboarding, camel treks, and much more.
When the sun sets the emirate’s desert camps provide a welcoming place to retreat, whether you are dining in a traditional majlis-style setting, enjoying some traditional entertainment or even staying the night in luxury tents.
Here are three distinct Ras Al Khaimah camp experiences, each with their own personality and unique offering.
Sonara Camp Al Wadi
There’s no better place to appreciate a desert sunset, accompanied by high-end dining, than at Sonara Camp Al Wadi, which is set in the grounds of the protected nature reserve at The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert.
This hideaway, surrounded by the beauty of the Arabian wilderness where Oryx, Gazelles and the elusive Arabian Red Fox roam, is where an epicurean adventure unfolds – Arabic-Mediterranean fusion dishes made from seasonal ingredients by award-winning resident Chef Franck Sanna.
Enjoy exquisite canapés, a three-course dining menu, or à la carte dining at the Sunset Lounge or Lower Camp restaurant, with packages available including activities and entertainment such as sandboarding, camel rides, a hawk show, soft archery, music and more.
There’s also an open-air bar perched on the top of the due, serving cocktails, wines and appetisers in a casual-chic desert setting – the stuff perfect sunsets are made of. A family friendly camp, there’s a kids’ menu too, so the little ones can enjoy tasty treats as they watch a movie under the stars.
Bassata Bedouin Camp and Desert Village
Deep in the Ras Al Khaimah desert, where wild camels, rare Oryx and the occasional lone donkey reside, there’s a place where you can experience a day in the life of the Bedouin and learn more about their traditions.
At Bassata Bedouin Camp and Desert Village you can immerse yourself in the dunes as you ride in a caravan of camels, navigating the acacia trees that dot the landscape, just as Bedouins have done for centuries as part of their nomadic lifestyle.
Back at the camp village, ask one of the Bedu women to pen an intricate henna tattoo as talented chefs prepare you an Arabian feast on an open grill – succulent meat and fresh vegetables with traditional breads and side dishes that give you a real flavour of Arabia.
While you dine you’ll be mesmerised by the rhythmic movements of the belly and tanoura dancers entertaining you, as well as the flickering campfire and dreamy starlit sky.
Bedouin Oasis Camp
At Bedouin Oasis Camp you can take your desert adventure to new heights with an overnight glamping-style stay. Enjoy the serenity and peace of a tent or chalet to get a feel of the Bedouin way of life, but with luxury extras for comfort, including eco-friendly bathrooms and other modern amenities.
For something a little more rugged there are igloo camping options too, but whatever dwelling you choose, rise early to watch the desert wake up at sunrise, looking out for desert foxes and if you are lucky, a desert gerbil.
By day, the camp is a hub of activity, with quad biking and dune buggy rides popular with adventure lovers. There’s dune bashing, dune surfing, or for something more sedate, a camelback trek when you can take more time to admire the scenery.
For corporate retreats or stunning wedding parties, the camp can be rented exclusively and for special occasions, romantic desert safaris and bespoke dining experiences can be arranged.