Recently we celebrated my mother’s birthday and we decided to replace our usual tradition of eating out for a relaxed evening and a long drive.
Al Qudra Drive
While within the UAE, you might not get the chance to travel very far like in other countries, a few hours’ drive can lead you to discover interesting places. The Al Qudra reserve is one such inconspicuous place in the middle of the vast desert.
Due to its remote location, having access to a car is a must to reach this destination. Within an hour’s drive from Dubai city, you can reach this man-made lake, which is a treat to visit with family and friends. The drive through surrounded by the different shades of desert sand dunes is relaxing, to say the least. Driving through the long stretch on Al Qudra road, you can see groups of riders cycling parallel on the Al Qudra cycling track.
Arrive at the Reserve
Reaching the rustic line-up of food trucks known as the Last Exit marks your arrival at the Qudra lakes. Construction activity’s around the area leads to the added excitement of some off-road driving to reach your choice of the lakes, as there are a few different choices of lakes as seen on the map below.
A wide-open landscape of desert shrubs and trees greet you as you alight from your car.
As you make your way closer to the lake, the quacks and chirps of the ducks and birds start to increase in frequency and intensity.
This reserve environment has been beautifully designed and provides a calming place for a picnic. A spiral staircase leads you to a wooden watch tower with an aerial 360 degree view of the lake and the sun setting over the desert.
Certain drawbacks that exist in the location are the noticeable lack of visitor obedience to rules and lack of environmental awareness. This led to the tragic environmental incident last year which lethally affected numerous birds and fish. At the end of 2017, Dubai Municipality introduced a ban on barbecue, camping, and bonfire at Al Qudra due to the improper behavioral traits of campers. Several trash bins and signboards have since been implemented in an effort to curb the litter issue, as the area is home to over 175 species of birds.
Even during my visit, plastic bottles and cigarette butts were seen strewn across the desert sand like an eyesore. A gap in awareness and appreciation still remains amongst visitors and a collective community effort is required to ensure that the beautiful reserve is maintained for future visitors to enjoy and the place to remain sustainable. Would education or more media and community events be the answer to close this gap and in encouraging responsible behavior?
Overall, I would recommend a visit to Al Qudra for a calming experience and time away but make sure you take all your waste with you when you leave and maintain the cleanliness of the environment around you.
Enjoy your experience!