Did you know about desert tourism?

Tourism has always been associated with fauna and flora. In Rwanda, it is captured by the mountain gorillas in the Virunga Mountains, the very scenic Lake Kivu, and the spectacular views from the ‘land of a thousand hills’, to mention a few. However, there is more to tourism than what meets the eye, so to speak.

What about countries that are located in the desert? The United Arab Emirates is one such prime location, in the desert through and through, it has managed to attract more tourists than the whole of East Africa combined. In 2017, according to statistics, 15.8 million people visited Dubai. Without the majestic forests, serene lakes and teeming wildlife, what can a tourist possibly experience in a desert?

Apparently there is plenty to experience. Cities like Dubai have invested heavily in constructing mega infrastructures, the very first of their kind in the world.  An example is the Dubai Metro. Until 2016, the Dubai Metro was the world’s longest driverless metro network with a route length of 75 kilometres (47 mi), as recognised by Guinness World Records in 2012.

It gives one an interesting ride, is cheap and smooth and goes to very many destinations. Sites like the Burj Khalifa are a definite visit alongside the ‘dancing water’ in front of the Dubai Mall.

Almost every place has been covered. For children and young adults, the amusement parks are quite an experience. Camel rides are also a much enjoyed pass time for tourists. And yes, the wonder of wonders, are animals such as the Desert Oryx. In other deserts like the Kalahari, black-maned lions can be spotted. 

Further out in the desert, there are very many tourist activities like the Desert Safaris that take place on the endless sandy dunes. For the more adventurous, a quad bike adventure or sliding down the sand on boards might be the thrill that will inspire you. For the more reflective person, or for one that wants to take it slow, a camp out in the silent desert under a crystal clear night sky is definitely an experience you will appreciate. In our daily lives, with the never ending rush, crowded spaces, constant noise and overwhelming activities, a holiday in the desert seems very calm and inviting.