Visiting the UAE has been on many people’s bucket list for a long time.
You can certainly write a long list of why you would like to visit the country: tall buildings, amazing infrastructure, tourism sights and cultural diversity.
Now you can add one more factor to the list: beautiful nature.
Ecotourism at its best
Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched on January 16 Al Marmoom Reserve, which is a natural desert reserve covering ten per cent of Dubai’s total area.
Media reports revealed that the first open desert reserve for public would house 20 vital projects, one million saplings and 40 lakes, contributing greatly to environment, tourism and sports, as well as the quality of life in the UAE.
Al Maktoum said: “Preserving and investing in the environment means preserving and investing in one of our most important assets. The Marmoom Reserve is an environmental, tourist and sporting addition to life in the UAE.”
He continued, “The desert is beautiful and inspirational; it provides a peaceful shelter to plants, birds and people. Our goal is to provide a fertile and robust environment for plants, a natural reserve for animals, and an important destination for tourists and families.
“When nine government agencies work as a team, the result will be exceptional, as reflected in the Marmoom Reserve.”
Media reports said that the reserve, the largest of its kind in the Arab world, would be home to thousands of birds and animals and would open by 2030.
Covering more than 40 hectares of shrubland and fertile area, the reserve will be home to more than 204 species of native birds, 158 species of migratory birds and more than 10km of lakes, encompassing Al Qudra Lakes.
This is not the first time that the UAE invests in such a project.
Sharjah Investment and Development Authority announced in March 2017 the launch of a new luxury eco-tourism project in the heart of Kalba’s natural beauty.
Media reports said that the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) would implement the project in collaboration with the Sharjah Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA).
The Kingfisher Lodge will house 20 luxury tents with a private swimming pool for each one.
According to Shurooq, the planned turtle rehabilitation centre will house a facility for Kalba’s green, loggerhead and hawksbill sea turtles and will support state-of-the-art emergency care, research, monitoring and long-term treatment.
Visitors will have the chance to witness turtles laying eggs at Kalba, which is a major nesting site for the hawksbill sea turtles, it said.
A visitor centre will showcase some of the area’s mountain wildlife such as foxes and reptiles, while the Birds of Prey Centre will let visitors get close to falcons, eagles and owls, it added.
Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq, said: “There are so many parts of Sharjah which qualify as outstanding areas of natural beauty and we have identified that there are numerous hospitality opportunities which could cater to that market.
“We understand that there are a growing number of eco-tourists, and a shift in trends towards visitors who want to enjoy incredible natural surroundings in a luxury environment. The Kalba Kingfisher Lodge is an ideal fit for that market.”
Oasis Eco Resort
The Oasis Eco Resort is another project aimed at protecting many species and various types of wildlife in Liwa, Abu Dhabi.
The project, which will feature more than 14,500m2 of solar panels, onsite wastewater treatment, recycling facilities and a zero-emission zone, will be opened by 2020.
A study by Baharash Bagherian, Owner of Baharash Architecture Studio, reveals that the wildlife biologists and conservation staff will monitor and preserve the species of this location as well as educating guests about various types of plants and animals that thrive in this area.
Bagherian says that guests are also able to benefit from organic products from these farms, and with the help of a chef, incorporate the ingredients into a delicious meal.
“We have also taken strides to ensure the precious water source in this area will be used sensibly with an onsite wastewater treatment system and water recycling for irrigation. We are also incorporating 157,000 square feet of solar panels to provide the resorts energy needs,” he said.