AL QUDRA LAKES
Al Qudra Lakes are home to hundreds of different animals. Birds are the most numerous group, numbering 170 species. Although these are artificial lakes, that were created by man, it was done with such care that being there feels like an oasis in the middle of the desert. The site is less than an hour’s drive from Dubai. Those who are willing, around the lakes can camp, watch wonderful sunsets and listen to the sounds of nocturnal wildlife.
The man-made Al Qudra Lakes are part of the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve and are located among the dunes of the Saih Al Salam desert. The lakes cover an area of about 10 hectares. The place was designed to encourage people to tourism being in Dubai and other UAE cities. This complex consists of artificial lakes. Thanks to their authentic desert environment, the lakes have become an increasingly famous area among tourists since 2012 when they were created. The numerous islets provide excellent habitat for the many species of birds that nest here. To stay in this place, it is worth taking binoculars with you so that you can admire the life of the local not only birds, but also mammals. There are several observation towers in the park, which will certainly broaden our observation horizons of the local flora and fauna. The most popular of the local birds are swans, lapwings and ducks, as well as a large flock of flamingos (imported from Africa). With a little luck, it is possible to spot a cormorant, a heron, and even a Common Kestrel. The place is known for its spectacular red-orange sunsets. Because the Al Qudra lakes are located in the desert, far from the cities, the sky here is not “littered” with artificial light. When night falls, it’s a good idea to lie down on a sleeping pad or sleeping bag and observe the star constellations. The park is a popular spot among campers and camping travelers and is one of the best barbecue places in around the Dubai.
For those who like active recreation, there is a bicycle route of almost 90 kilometers. There are bicycle rentals and a camping equipment store in the lakes area. You can also go to a place called Love Lake. This artificial landscape is shaped like two intertwined hearts, and on its terrain is a many places to make pictures. Regarding food, there are no restaurants or cafés. This is an excellent move from a direction of people responsible for the design of this area, as this has preserved the natural landscape of the place. Burning bonfires where are people talking and laughing under the starry sky create a unique atmosphere, and restaurants or bars would certainly disturb this vibration.
Al Qudra Lake is located about 16 kilometers (as the crow flies) east of Al Maktoum Airport, along Al Qudra Road (D63), which can be reached via Dubai Ail Ain Road or Emirates Road. It is worth remembering that there are no traffic lights installed along Al Qudra Road, also advised against driving this road at night. Due to the gravel surface near the lakes and the presence of sand on the asphalt road, it is recommended to rent a 4×4 off-road vehicle. Before hit the road, to check worth the condition of the tires and that all the lights work. Driving by car from Dubai takes less than 1 hour.
Al Qudra can also be reached by bus line 67, which departs from Hamda Ladies Saloon and drives towards Endurance City. With a bus terminal, do lake complex is about a 15-minute walk. The schedule can be found here.
The Al Qudra Lakes are home to some 170 species of birds and other wildlife. Though that it is a man-made “environment”, animals find shelter here, and birds establish their lairs. Such animals as black swans, geese, grebes, ducks, flamingos, MacQueen’s bustard, steppe eagles, cormorants, herons, Common Kestrel, desert foxes, oryxes and gazelles can be found here. Remember that feeding the animals is strictly forbidden.
HOW TO DRESS AND WHAT TO TAKE ON A CAMPING TRIP
When visiting the land of lakes, we should wear airy clothes, those in which we feel comfortable and do not restrict our movements. Footwear should be full and on a flat sole. It is also a good idea to take sunglasses and a hat or cap with you. Sunscreen will also be useful, especially in summer.
The temperature in the lake’s area is very similar to that in Dubai. However, the evenings are cooler. Therefore, it is advisable to take warm clothes like pants, thick socks, a sweatshirt, or fleece for the night, and do no harm to take a hat and gloves just in case.
Camping gear should consist of a flashlight, a lighter, and matches, your grill, a small first aid kit, a blanket, or mattress, garbage bags, wood, and kindling for the grill, and a pocket knife. Moreover, you take plenty of water and a pot to make coffee or tea because then we can drink a hot beverage in the morning after a chilly night. If we want to avoid spending the night outdoors, it’s also a good idea to take a tent with us.
THE LAST EXIT, AL QUDRA
The Last Exit is the place where you can find all your camping essentials if you have forgotten something. There are a few stores where you can buy firewood, grill grates, fuel, burners, light bulbs, batteries, or mattresses. Over there are several restaurants, cafés, and grocery stores at the entrance to Al Qudra. There is also a gas station near The Last Exit.
CAMPING IN AL QUDRA
Overnight camping at Al Qudra is an experience which is worth it. While observing the local starry skies in the Saih Al Salam desert, we will also listen to the calls of wild birds such as owls. There are few places in the UAE where you can camp overnight.
Barbecuing on the open sand in Al Qudra is not allowed, you need to take a portable grill with you. The same goes for campfires (you can’t light a fire directly on the ground, and it must not be too big so as not to frighten the local animals). Bringing your pets to the lakes is strictly forbidden. For throwing garbage in places not intended, we will be fined. The ecosystem is delicate and can easily be “damaged”, that’s why so much importance is attached to the cleanliness of the area here. A quieter place to pitch a tent can always be found near Al Qudra Lakes East or Love Lake.
BIKE TRAIL IN AL QUDRA
Cycling is one of the most popular activities in Al Qudra due to its 86-kilometer route. The bike path is considered one of the best in the UAE. It is fully concreted. However, you have to be vigilant at all times and remember that the local animals have “priority”. The best time to bike in Al Qudra is early morning or sunset. In the morning there are the fewest cyclists, and in the evening we can witness a beautiful sunset. There is constant monitoring along the entire route.
This trail has two starting points: the first main one is located at Al Qudra Cycling Parking, and the second is near the Trek Bicycle Store Al-Qudra. There are designated parking spaces at these two locations. The bike path is open 24 hours a day. If you’re looking for a bike rental shop or bike repair store, you can go right to Trek Bicycle Store Al-Qudra, which is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. There are also cafés, toilets, and showers nearby. The cost of renting a bike depends on the duration of the rental and the type of model. All you need is an Emirate ID card or passport and, of course, money 😊
Love Lake opened in and consists of two lakes adjacent to each other in the shape of two intertwined hearts. It’s not just a place for barbecues or evening strolls. It’s also an ideal place to watch sunsets. The best time to visit this place is an hour before sunset. However, it is better to arrive earlier, as there are usually many people at this time. While watching the phenomenon of the sun hiding behind the dunes, you will also experience the singing of birds laying down to sleep among the local vegetation.
The lakes are just a 15-minute walk from Al Qudra Lake Oasis. There are 4 parking lots near the lake. There are toilets at the entrance to Love Lake. Over there are many places where you can take a “selfie” on the grounds of the complex. One of the attractions is an artificial island in the middle of the lake, on which there is a small hill that allows tourists to see the local panorama of Al Qudra. The vegetation near the lake is arranged in the word “Love” but is only visible from a certain height. That’s why it’s a good idea to take a drone with you to take a souvenir photo (NOTE you need to carry with you licenses. Otherwise, you’ll pay a fine!). The park has three paths for running and walking, a total length of about 7 km.
OPENING HOURS AND TICKET PRICES
The place is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There is also no charge to enter Al Qudra Lakes.
BEST TIME TO VISIT AL QUDRA LAKE
The best time to visit Al Qudra Lake is in winter, specifically between October and March. During the winter months, the sun is the least “scorching” temperatures are the lowest, and the vegetation is lush and undrained. Whereas in the summer months, is a lot of maintenance work at the lakes.
WHAT WORTH TO KNOW
Al Qudra is a wild place; if you plan to explore the nearby area and drive a piece of the desert (in designated areas), you should choose a 4×4 off-road vehicle.
It is strictly forbidden to leave garbage behind in Al Qudra, so you need to bring a garbage bag with you.
The fines for offenses start at 50 Dirhams. The more serious the offense, the higher the fine.
If you are going to fly a drone in the park, make sure you have the license with you.
You can only light a campfire on the grill (no campfires on the sand!).
There are few restrooms on the lakes. Remember about this when walking among the local lakes.
Be sure to take provisions and plenty of water for the road, as there are no restaurants or cafés in the Al Qudra area (beyond the main entrance, “The Last Exit”).
It is advisable to take full footwear with you on a flat sole (in the case of women, it is unwise to wear shoes with heels or high heels) to avoid possible mutilation or other injuries.
PLACES NEARBY WORTH SEEING
- Al Marmoom Conservation Reserve – this is a nature reserve that includes, among other things, Al Qudra Lakes. Its area is 40 hectares. This terrain is home to one of the largest populations of oryx in the UAE.
- Al Jiyad Stables – is located in the desert region of Saih Al Salam. It is home to more than 120 Arabian horses. Here, among other things, training is held for riders and their horses. You can also go horseback riding in the local desert and buy various kinds of gadgets and souvenirs.
- Kamenashi/Camel Uschi – is less than 25 minutes away by car north of Al Qudra. Here you can take a camel ride through the local dunes and enjoy the unique desert climate. It is possible to stay overnight in the desert, and you can also try traditional Arabic cuisine.
- Adventure Hungry – the company is engaged in organizing buggy tours of the Saih Al Salam desert. The company is located less than an hour away from Al Qudra Lakes.
The stones marking the distance in the Love Lake area are heart-shaped.
The park around Love Lake are more than 16,000 trees and shrubs.
Although the land here was created by man, the area is proof that humans can create a place where animals can feel safe and treat it as their home. Al Qudra’s artificial lakes are the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and a worth visiting place for those who love the active outdoors. Besides, you can admire the stars in peace and quiet, walk around the lakes, enjoy sunrises and sunsets, and watch the local wildlife. Being in the United Arab Emirates, it is worth remembering about this place, visiting it and spending at least one night among the lakes and dunes.
Author JSPhotography2016, source commons.wikimedia.org.