You can experience the natural wonders of Arabia only because wildlife conservation efforts at Al Maha are extensive, scientific and on-going.
Located in the first National Park of United Arab Emirates, the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR) monitors and controls human impact to minimise its effect on the fragile flora and fauna, and to protect the delicate desert ecosystem.
Our on-site Field Guides at Al Maha are trained to uphold best conservation practice whilst immersing you in the colours, scents, sounds and wildlife experiences of the desert.
A full-time team of researchers (assisted by universities) constantly monitor the Dubai Desert Reserve around Al Maha Desert Spa & Resort, establishing conservation and scientific projects that ensure the future of many of the indigenous species of Arabia.
During the 1940’s – 1960’s the Arabian Oryx was hunted to the brink of extinction and was declared endangered by the 1970’s. Dubai's then Ruler, the late Sheikh Rashid, trans-located the last remaining oryx to the USA, where they were bred under secure conditions.
In 1997, the then Crown Prince, now Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, funded the first reintroduction of this symbolic animal to the desert at Al Maha (Al Maha is the Arabic for “oryx”). Today, approximately 300 oryx, the largest free-roaming herd in Arabia, are a testament to the knowledge and care shown by the team of conservation specialists.
Al Maha is home to numerous species in additional to oryx, such as Arabian and sand gazelles, Rueppell's fox, Arabian red fox, hares, and the Ethiopian hedgehog.
As you explore the dune landscape it’s quite possible that you will spot the delicate footprints in the sand of nocturnal gerbils and jirds, an amazing array of lizards, 'sand-fish' and geckos, side-winding vipers and the tiny Arabian toad-headed agama.
Overhead, stately birds of prey such as ospreys, falcons, owls and eagles are seen daily, in addition to doves, warblers, colourful parakeets and the crested hoopoe, amongst others, which fill the wide skies with their flight and song.
Al Maha’s Field Guides will advise you on the best times of day and locations to view particular species and will be happy to accompany you to spot them. You can enrich your sensory experience of this diverse and intriguing landscape by travelling with your Field Guide on foot, by 4 x4 vehicle, on camel or horseback.