Desert Conservation Reserve Overview

The first national park of UAE if Dubai Desert Conservation Centre and Dubai has dedicated a huge land in order to carve out the best habitat for the rare species of wildlife under a single project. The rehabilitation of endangered species was done very carefully and thus now the land is a highly protected environment that preserves the last of the desert wildernesses. 

Since the development of Dubai was in a blink of an eye, there was a huge threatening toward the flora and fauna of the desert and the Government thus brought forth the idea of protecting those species to balance the nature with the fast paced development the city will attain in the recent future.

To be measured, the land is about 225 square kilometers and recognized as a natural reserve which consists of about 5% of the total landmass of Dubai. Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa is a predominant attraction found here. Camel safari, dune bashing, dune dinner, archery, falconry, horse riding, wildlife safari, sand boarding etc are the majorly available activities at the centre.

Highlights: A day tour can show you the best of the reserve with the help of a trained guide. You will be able to know more in detail about the list of endangered species belonging to varying flora and fauna found only in deserts as the conditions here are conducive for their growth. Different types of antelopes, desert cats, rodents, hedgehogs and rabbits, desert dogs, snakes and many reptiles, small insects, spiders and unique desert plants and shrubs are together living in the reserve in harmony.

E-66, Dubai Al Ain Highway, Murqqab Exit 50, Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, Dubai, UAE. It is located around 64.3 kms away from Dubai city and one can reach the spot via Dubai- Al Ain Road.

Dubai has proven its abilities not only in buildings, art, and culture but also in preserving the precious environment. It has started a single project under the name of Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve on January 2002, comprising of nearly 5% of Dubai's total landmass. The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, DDCR, is nothing but a natural reserve in the emirate of Dubai.

Here, the desert is considered as one of the driest areas in the world, where it has its own set of flora and fauna, which faces catastrophes due to climate change and excessive human intervention. Hence, to prevent the depletion of resources, and maintain the very flora and fauna, the UAE has initiated this environment-related project.

Curiously, the DDCR is the UAE’s first national park that conducts a detailed study on conservation and sustainability of exotic plant and animal species. However, the organization offers various adventurous and insightful activities for the visitors, other than research. Tourists from regional and abroad countries can indulge in fascinating things like camel trekking, horse riding, archery, dune driving, sand boarding, camping, and so on.

At sunset, one can enjoy a traditional dune dinner, served with grilled meats, salads, and famous Arabic desserts. If time permits, they can also get their hands painted with intricate henna designs, along with the traditional entertainment shows.

This unique reserve was established to protect those endangered species and also its niche from external and internal danger. This eventually produces positive results by the rise in the number of plants and insects throughout the area and ensuring them a sustainable environment. Thus, one can explore the splendid nature of Dubai through participating in night safari, trekking, horse riding, or dune driving without causing any harm to the mere landscape. So, don’t afford to miss this amazing lifetime opportunity that can’t be easily replaced anywhere in the world.

How To Reach

The place is located approximately 60 km away from the Dubai International Airport and can be reached by road within an hour’s drive. Since Dubai is well connected with the best quality roads, there are buses, cabs, and mini-vans running at regular intervals. However, the easiest way is hiring a cab from the Dubai International Airport and reaching the spot on time. Apart from that, the tour operator also provides transfer facility upon request. Once you arrive at the location, you will be received by the staffs and ensure your stay is safe and comfortable.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve is between October and March. The climate is relatively cool and gives a soothing experience to all visitors. One can enjoy the night safari or camping activity or a dune dinner and get a wonderful respite out of it. But, don’t forget to carry a coat to keep yourself warm in the night.

Other Essential Information

Location: It’s an area of 225 square kilometres, located north-east of the emirate of Dubai, UAE

Timings: It generally operates every day between 7.00 am and 5.00 pm

Price: Based on the tour package and the number of activities, the price varies accordingly. However, the lowest price starts at 168.66 AED

Tips for visiting Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

- Firstly, tourists need to carry valid ID proof while coming to this exhilarating place. Due to security reasons, the management has made in compulsory.

- Secondly, they need to carry a sweatshirt, coat, or fur during the winter season. Similarly, they can carry sunglasses, a hat, a camera, and sunblock.

- Thirdly, tourists are advised to carry a water bottle with them, filled with water.

- Fourthly, they can wear loose and comfortable clothes rather than a casual dress.

- Fifthly and finally, tourists are advised to follow the instructions carefully while indulging in trekking or horse riding activity.
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Desert Conservation Reserve FAQs

What is unique about the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve?

The most unique feature of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve is that the organization does research and conservation activities and at the same time allow tourists to enjoy the charming beauty of desert sand dunes and its rich culture. During the visit, one can spot the famous Arabian Oryx, wild cats, foxes, wandering camels, and other animals here and there. In this distinguished landscape, one may wonder with the variety of activities that make one be engaged throughout the journey.

The best part of the place is watching the sunset over the dunes. Whether you want to see it from the top of a dune or amidst the glaring Bedouin village, don’t leave this exquisite national park at its most stunning.

What is the vision and values of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve?

There are four important points come under the vision and values of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. They’re as follows:

1. The first statement reveals that the management wants to create a permanent natural habitat that is based on ecological principles. Moreover, it aims to preserve natural resources as it is and try to maintain the original desert landscape.

2. The second statement states that the local community and tourists can gain access to the Reserve and indulge in tourist activities, however, they have to make sure it would not affect the primary role of habitat conservation.

3. The third statement is to protect the heritage and traditional practices that have been integrated as a part of the region’s history and culture. Thus, it helps in maintaining the identity of Dubai’s tribal history.

4. The fourth and final statement is predominantly about gaining recognition from the international community under the United Nations’ Protected Areas Management principles, amongst others and make sure that the Reserve is preserved under the prescribed law.

What is the history of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve?

When you look into the history, it contains many untold success stories. For instance, in 1999, there were 70 Arabian oryx re-introduced, 6000 trees and shrubs were planted. In 2005, seven camera traps were deployed to gain baseline data on nocturnal and cryptic species within the DDCR. In 2009, comprehensive vegetation was carried out as part of the DDCR Biodiversity monitoring program. In 2014, a young Sand Fox was caught during a Biosphere expedition, proving that this elusive species is breeding in the area.

Thus, with many more events, the DDCR has given anticipated results and continues its good work to give a better living environment for all species.

Which are the current Research of Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve?

The current research programs undertaken by DDCR are:

- A quantitative study of the hyper-arid vegetation that is altering gradually due to grazing in DDCR.

- A study on changes in functional diversity that falls under the pressure of grazing in hyper-arid shrubland ecosystem.

- An extensive study on Camera Trap and its Survey of the DDCR.

- An assessment of Forage Productivity and Carrying Capacity, and many more.

Each research is conducted full-time with the qualified research personnel, followed by the findings and reports are submitted to the management consistently. After a thorough study, the mentors will guide the researchers as and when required.

How many types of mammals & reptiles are there in the Reserve?

In the mammals’ category, there are totally seven species available, including dogs, cats, antelopes, rabbits and hares, hedgehogs and shrews, rodents, and bats. Similarly, in the reptiles’ category, they have found five different species so far. They are snakes, lizards, geckos, skinks, and worm lizards. Each species is unique and has special characteristics when compared to its family.

What are the different types of Insects and Spiders in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve?

When it comes to Insects and Spiders in DDCR, they are divided into four sub-categories, namely, Spiders & Scorpions, Woodlice, Centipedes, and Insects. Among these amazing creatures, there are nearly 13 variety of insects found, in which the Beatles, Silverfish and Firebrats seem to be rarest ones. You must consider yourself lucky if you spot any one of them while travelling.

Are there any hotels nearby?

Yes, of course. There are plenty of hotels and desert resorts available near the DDCR. With chic interior and world-class amenities, one can experience the best hotels at ease. Each hotel’s price is unique, and you can go with the most suitable one. Some of the notable hotels are Arabian Ranches Golf Club Hotel, Al Habtoor Polo Resort, Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, Radisson Blu Hotel Apartment Dubai Silicon Oasis, and so on.

Each hotel has a good reputation for their incredible activities and hospitality. Thus, tourists can delve into any one of them according to their budget.

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