Bedouins have a nomadic lifestyle that dates back to around 3000BC. The Bedouins created some age-old rituals that are still practised in the Emirates today. For centuries, Bedouin families moved around the region in search of cooler climes, water and fertile land for their camels and goats. Even though they were constantly in a state of flux, they made sure that they had comfortable accommodation.
The Bedouins would erect tents in the desert, similar to those seen in the camp. Bedouin women would traditionally make the tents from goat or camel hair or sheep wool. They would weave the fibres into shiqaq, tight strips of fabric that would cover the walls and the roof to protect their families and animals from extreme weather conditions.
Eating and drinking
The Bedouins customarily had a staple diet of goat meat, rice, flour, nuts and dried fruit. They would traditionally cook their food on campfires or deep in the sand. Goat and camel milk, sweetened tea and coffee are all popular drinks. This delicious food is replicated at Bedouin Oasis and cooked on giant charcoal grills and in old-fashioned underground ovens covered with sand. The age-old ‘secret’ recipe is cooked for at least 24-hours; it’s mouthwateringly tender, and the meat falls off the bone. Other traditional dishes include hoummus, fattoush, shish tawook and Arabic breads.
The Bedouin Oasis Programme
You can experience a day in the life of a Bedouin and learn more about their traditions. If you love the desert, you will enjoy being in the vast open landscapes of rolling dunes as you ride in a caravan of camels. Take time to admire the breathtaking scenery and wander in line through the acacia trees that dot the landscapes. Quad bikes and dune buggies are also a popular choice; the adrenaline adventures will take you at speed through the moon-like Saharan lands. If you like your creature comforts, then a driver will skillfully manoeuvre a luxury four-wheel-drive car through the dunes. You can even have your own gravity-defying dune driving lesson with walkie-talkie instructions. Sandboarding, although not a typical Bedouin sport, is lots of fun.
Back at the oasis, you can have an exquisitely drawn henna tattoo penned by a local Bedu woman The men proudly show off their falcons, the fastest bird in the world. Falconry is understood to be one of the longest-standing relationships between man and bird conceived over two centuries ago. It is an integral part of Bedouin and desert life. You can find the peregrine and saqr falcons in Ras Al Khaimah. UNESCO inscribed falconry in 2016 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It offers valuable contributions to nature, cultural heritage and social engagement across the community.
Bedouins would make their own entertainment, and after dark, the central village ‘square’ becomes alive with music as you watch in awe the willowy movements of the belly and tanoura dancers. The team ensure that you have a memorable experience akin to 1001 Arabian Nights. As night falls, the oasis lights up with shimmering candles, antique lanterns and paraffin lamps as the resident DJ plays soothing tunes. Private areas can be reserved for those that enjoy the complete silence of the desert, the pretty gazebo is perfect for small and intimate parties.
Fireside hospitality and history
Bedouins are known for their keen sense of friendliness and loyalty, and they treat their guests with respect and share their stories, food and coffee. This tradition is strongly revered and upheld in Emirati life today.
Belly dancing and folkloric tanoura became popular and influenced as the Bedouins moved across the Middle East. The traditional tanoura dance originates from Syria, and the whirling, skirt and dancer are all known by the same name. The endless circular swirling motion of the tanoura dance depicts the movement of the universe and the philosophy of life. Tanoura dancers represent the planets, and the various stories connect the men to the divine, which nod to the relationship of the land and the sky, man and Allah. The oasis fireshow is a showstopper. Whorls of flames dance as they are juggled, twirled and spun by talented performers.
Historically, the Bedouins would chant Taghrouda, a hypnotic style of poetry composed and narrated by the Bedouin men as they travelled through endless deserts on camels. They believed that the rhythmic sounds would encourage the camels to walk in step with the beat. The poems are linguistically creative, with witty retorts, improvised praise and parody sung around campfires and at important celebrations.
Enjoy the serenity and utter peace of the desert and stay overnight in one of the oasis tents or chalets. Each of the Chalets gives you a feeling of the traditional Bedouin way of life but are elevated with the extravagances synonymous with luxury glamping. En-suite environmentally friendly bathrooms and other amenities assure you of a comfortable stay. Enjoy telling stories around the crackling campfire under millions of twinkling stars in the night sky before heading to bed. Rise early in the morning to watch the sun wake up the desert and its scarce residents. Keep a watchful eye out for the elusive desert fox and the desert gerbil if you are lucky. Bedouin Oasis can also be exclusively rented for beautiful wedding parties, team building or corporate events.