For the nature-loving girls

From sea to sand, Dubai offers some exhilarating animal experiences. Here are five of our favourites.


Watch a falconry display

Relied upon by the nomadic Bedouin for their hunting prowess, falcons are revered in Arab culture. Today, falconry is a local sport that shows off the skill of both bird and handler. To learn more about the history of falconry and watch these magnificent birds of prey in full flight, head to the desert resorts of Bab al Shams or Al Maha or join a desert safari where a falconry display is usually part of the programme.


Swim with dolphins and sea lions

If you’ve always dreamed of splashing about with Flipper, you can do just that at the legendary Atlantis, The Palm resort. Dolphin encounters range from standing in shallow water to swimming, or even scuba diving, alongside these charismatic creatures. You can also wade into waist-high water for an up-close encounter with the resort’s super-cute fur seals. You don’t need to be a hotel guest, but you will need to book in advance.


Make like Carrie on a camel 

Gather the girls and have your own Sex and the City moment during a camel ride through the rolling desert dunes. Once the region’s ‘ships of the desert’ transporting Bedouin from oasis to oasis, camels have been superseded by 4WDs, but are nevertheless still much admired in the local culture. For an unforgettable experience, combine a sunset camel ride with dinner under the stars in traditional Bedouin-style camp.


Spot gazelles on safari

If you’re keen on spotting some indigenous animals, a desert wildlife drive in a luxury 4WD is just the ticket. Spot free-roaming herds of Arabian oryx and gazelles, as well as lizards, birds and sand cats among the flora and fauna of the reddish-gold desert sands of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, the UAE’s first national park. Book a day-trip with one of the many Dubai-based tour companies.


Go horse riding in the desert

Horses are a big part of Emirati culture, from the prized Arabian horses of desert tribes to the million-dollar thoroughbreds that race in the ‘Sport of Kings’, one of Dubai’s most popular pastimes. One of the best places to ride an Arabian horse is in the desert. Experienced horsewomen can head out with a guide to watch the sun rise over the dunes and put the horse, renowned for its speed, endurance, and intelligence, through its paces.


Where to find...


…sea creatures and crocs

Marvel at 85 species of sea life, including over 400 sharks and rays, at this 10-million-litre aquarium at Dubai Mall. You can even cage-snorkel or scuba dive with them, or just say hello to the newest residents: King Croc, a five-metre-long saltwater crocodile, and a Giant Pacific octopus.


…penguins and snow

Only in Dubai could you personally meet penguins at an indoor ski slope in a shopping mall! Haven't you always wanted to give a cute penguin a cuddle? You also get to play games and get your snap with them. Head to Ski Dubai at the Mall of the Emirates, then don a snowsuit and watch King and Gentoo penguins as they waddle across the ice and play in the underwater viewing area.


...endangered sea turtles

Before being released into the wild, sick and injured Hawksbill sea turtles spend the final stage of their recuperation at two outdoor enclosures at Mina A’Salam hotel at Madinat Jumeirah. It’s free to visit anytime and there are scheduled feedings at 11am on Wednesdays and 1pm on Fridays.



At the mouth of the Dubai creek, hundreds of pretty pink flamingos can be seen nibbling on the salt flats. This beautiful site can be seen in the cooler winter months.



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Weather to go

The emirate has a sub-tropical desert climate, which means blue skies and beach weather in winter (Dec-Jan) and hot and humid summers (Jun-Aug). The best time to visit is from October to April when temperatures are in the mid-20°Cs to low-30°Cs. July and August are the hottest months as the mercury rarely dips below 40°C, still the city accommodates this with indoor attractions and air-conditioned facilities everywhere.


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