Yes, you read that right, the great outdoors are just 45 minutes away from Dubai or even less, if you’re a very “enthusiastic” driver that is LOL! After being in Dubai for almost 7 years, I know that most of us always crave for that season when it’s time to stop hibernating inside our homes and go outdoors to enjoy the pleasant winter temperature of the Emirate! For me, it’s in the winter season when Dubai is in its liveliest, more tourists, festival, etc.! It definitely is an exciting time, but I’m pretty sure what most of us crave is a relaxing time out from everything urban, the hustle and bustle of the malls, the noise of the festivities and all! What we long for is that relaxing silence, stillness and closeness to nature that is pretty hard to find in the desert city – well not anymore, thanks to AL QUDRA LAKE!

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Our family around our bonfire at Al Qudra Lakes

GETTING to AL QUDRA LAKE

Camping has always been one of the top things to do during winter in the UAE and that has been our tradition for more than half a decade, camping out in different Emirates to enjoy the great outdoors the country has to offer. Out of all the places we’ve gone to, it’s quite a surprise that Dubai is the only remaining Emirate that we haven’t tried camping out yet. Basically, and most probably because it’s the emirate which is less likely to have an outdoor/camping culture due to its renowned ultra-modern city fame! Yet, camping in Dubai is possible and pretty convenient  for that matter! Enter AL QUDRA LAKE DUBAI , an amazing Dubai Campsite which is only less than an hour drive from anywhere in central Dubai (may it be Deira, Bur Dubai, Downtown Dubai, JLT, Marina Area, etc.). Just taking the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road and exiting southwards to Al Qudra Road which is between Motor City and Arabian Aranches lead you to a straight drive till you reach the last round about by which time you need to go off road toward the Al Qudra Lake (link for the exact location can be found at the end of this blog post).

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WHAT TO BRING and TIPS for an AL QUDRA LAKE CAMPING Trip

Well any camping trip is pretty much exciting but what would make it even better is when you come well-prepared, knowing what to expect and what to bring. So, since we’ve been camping around for some time now, and we’ve already tried camping in Al Qudra Lake, let me share to you a list of what to bring and tips that will make your Dubai camping more enjoyable and hassle-free!

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My wife Jill beside our campfire 🙂

WHAT TO BRING:

  1. Tents of course!
  2. Warm Clothing, Blankets, Mats – like what I always say when camping during winters in the UAE, Do Not Underestimate the Cold! Never! The Temperature drop can be very unpredictable so it’s always better to be ready!
  3. Firewood – what’s camping without a bonfire? Aside from keeping you warm while enjoying the outdoors, you can also roast some marshmallows and make smores! Yum! And it’s a good place to just enjoy the night with your friends and family!
  4. Foldable Chairs and Tables
  5. Griller and Charcoal – if you’d like to show off your barbecue skills!
  6. Portable Stove for cooking, heating soups and other dishes which a griller can’t handle
  7. Swiss Knife and other Kitchen Stuffs That You Might Need
  8. Disposable Plates, Bowls, Spoons and Forks
  9. FOOD, lots of it!!!! Don’t forget the marshmallows!
  10. Water and Drinks
  11. First Aid Kit
  12. Flashlight/Torches/Lamps – it’s pretty dark in Al Qudra Lakes and these would help you find a perfect campsite and would help a lot while you set it up!
  13. Music Devices – just make sure you don’t disturb other campers
  14. Guitar and Ukulele anyone? We brought ours!
  15. Garbage Bag – Be responsible camper and collect all your trash in a proper garbage bag! There are government employed cleaners that would take them in the morning!
  16. Camera to document your fun time! Bring a  Zoom Lens if possible (you would need it as you’ll see later in this post!)
  17. Binoculars – it will be handy in the morning like the zoom lens as you’ll soon find out in this blog!
  18. GPS – the Google Maps App in your phone will do and will help you find your way to Al Qudra Lake (link for the location at the end of my blog)
  19. Bucket/Extra Tent/or a shovel if you’re desperate – there are no washrooms nearby so you better bring this if you know what I mean ha-ha!

You don’t have to bring all of the above, it really depends on what would work for you!

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The AL QUDRA LAKES CAMP SITE is very DARK! The reason it seems brighter in the pictures is that I’ve put my camera settings to a very slow shutter speed, high aperture and ISO!

TIPS:

  1. You can access Al Qudra Lake using a normal car, no need for a 4-Wheel Drive even though you’ll go off road.
  2. There are TWO SETS of Al Qudra Lakes (West and East). It depends on your preference but there are more and larger set of lakes in Al Qudra Lakes East than in the west. The areas of the peninsulas are also larger so it’s easier to find a spot to camp where the lakes surround you in 3 sides which is more picturesque than just camping along the shore.
  3. It’s better to set camp BEFORE SUNDOWN! With the sun still up, Al Qudra Lake will be easier to navigate and it’s gonna help you find a campsite of your liking.
  4. IT IS VERY DARK IN AL QUDRA LAKE DURING NIGHT TIME! As I’ve mentioned in the caption of the picture above, the only reason why it appears brighter is because of the settings of my camera. So better brings some lighting equipments such as flashlights etc.
  5. If you’re traveling as a convoy or in different cars, better stick together! When we went to Al Qudra Lakes, the plan was that we will be camping with fellow bloggers. However, due to delays, I’ve asked our fellow bloggers to go ahead and find a campsite. We didn’t see each other till the next day as it was very difficult to navigate at night!
  6. Getting FIREWOOD is easy and inexpensive. Don’t give in to buying those expensive firewoods in the petrol stations along the way that sell for 50 AED per box! It’s actually a rip-off considering the price. You’ll find lots of trucks parked along Al Qudra Road especially the roundabout selling firewood for a mere 5 AED per bundle! Get lots! It’s better to have an an oversupply than run out of it in the middle of the night!
  7. IT GETS CONGESTED DURING HOLIDAYS! We went on the 2nd of December (UAE National Day) and there were lots of campers around. If possible, camp on normal weekends but if you must go on holidays, be patient and you’ll find yourself a perfect campsite like ours!
  8. Be considerate to other campers if they happen to be camped nearby (everyone wants to relax and have fun at this place!)
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My Wife Jill and her sister Jen!

 

REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD GO – WHAT TO SEE AND EXPERIENCE AT AL QUDRA LAKE DUBAI

The joy of camping is all about the experience and things you’ll see and the Al Qudra Lake Campsite has all of this to offer. It actually gave us an experience more than what we expected. So aside from it being so accessible in terms of distance and travel time, here are the reasons why you should go and camp at this Dubai destination:

The Stars and the Night Sky at Al Qudra Lake is Simply Phenomenal!

It makes Astrophotography so easy!

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Everyone who lives in Dubai or in the cities of the UAE know that seeing the stars at night is quite a rare thing considering all the urban lights that abound in the streets and buildings!

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But at Al Qudra Lakes, appreciating the cosmos only takes a blanket and a simple effort of lying down with your eyes towards the sky!

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We were even able to observe familiar constellations such as Orion travel the celestial sphere over the night!

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And that feeling of isolation and just being close to nature is a much-welcomed change of environment.

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I literally took numerous photos of our campsite because we don’t get a back drop as majestic as this on a normal night!

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For those who would like to capture these images, make sure you bring with you a sturdy tripod and then just shoot away!

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You won’t be disappointed with the results!

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Just let the night pass with good stories, guitar playing, singing songs, and the golden campfire!

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You’ll smell like smoke in the morning, but who cares??? It is all worth it!

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And when all is said and done, go inside the comfort of your tent, cover yourself with your blankets and have a goodnight sleep under the glittering stars of the Middle East!

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The Sunrise is Surreal!

Waking up early in Al Qudra Lake is a must!

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You’ll appreciate more of the landscape as the sun slowly says good morning to the world!

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And completely reveal itself to you!

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From this point on you’ll see the magic of life that surrounds you!

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I told you you needed a zoom lens and a pair of binoculars!

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Cause mornings in Al Qudra Lakes, to put it in a word, is REGAL!

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And finally, the mornings let you find your friends after waiting the whole night to see each other ha-ha! They were simply in the shore across our campsite!

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The soft lights as a bonus are ideal for some good portraits shots as well! So since we were together at last and obviously we always have photo sessions for breakfast, we took snaps of each other here and there!

Here’s a photo of me in my out of bed look LOL

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And my sister Aneihra

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And with fellow bloggers Kenneth of kennethsurat.com and Sheila of abandme.com

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And of Ed, husband of Lady of ladyandhersweetescapes.com

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The Clear Waters of the Surrounding Lakes are Serene and Relaxing!

It’s amazing to know that all of this are man-made, another wonder of Dubai!

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Great thing about being in this Emirate is that each corner offers a surprise. Dubai travel never gets boring for residents and tourists alike!

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And every moment is offers is priceless, man-made or not!

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Beautiful Animals Abound!

Al Qudra Lake is definitely one of the best places in Dubai to see animals in their seemingly natural habitats!

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Wildlife in their natural habitats! LOL!

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Just kidding! Here’s my wife Jill, my Mom and Dad, just waking up!

But seriously, when I said Al Qudra Lake is the closest to nature you can get to nature in Dubai, I really mean..the closest you can get to nature…or rather THE CLOSEST NATURE CAN GET TO YOU!

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Not close enough? Let’s get closer!

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To our surprise, we were not the only early “birds” around! When we got to our friend’s camp, these ducks were swimming leisurely close by, confident that the HOOMANS won’t hurt them!

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And in the contrary, feed them with all their camping food!

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Cause they’re sooo cute!!!

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With their bird eyes!

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Looking straight at your soul!

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Gimme that bread!!!!

Al Qudra Lake is Perfect for Unwinding and Spending Quality Time with the Family and People You Love

Here’s our family photo at the lakeshore beside our campsite 🙂

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My Mom, Phines, and Dad, Joseph

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My Sister, Aneihra, and Her Husband, Randle

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My Wife, Jill, and her sister, Jen

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Ate Jing

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And of course, Me and Jill, having our goofy moments as always!

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Al Qudra Lake is Also a Perfect Place to Catch Up and Spend Time with Friends

Our other fellow bloggers friends, Abigail of cuddlesandcrumbs.com and Carla of myyellowbells.com having breakfast at the lakeshore

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Jill with Abigail’s kids, Vierte and Chloe at enjoying roasted mallows in their tent

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Beside the Al Qudra Lake’s waters

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Sheila’s daughter Blake, having fun seeing the ducks seen swimming in the background

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Kenneth with his Ibarra Manila watch! I want one! LOL!

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My beautiful wife Jill

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Chloe with her favorite doll

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Sheila of abandme.com

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Jill and Blake

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Ed looking good!

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Lady and Blake

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Carla with her hubby, Ferald

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Jill with Carla’s daughter, Mika (did I spell that correctly?)

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The Powerhouse: Ken, Lady and Shiela!

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Husband and Wife: Ed and Lady of ladyandhersweetescapes.com

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Jill with the two cuties!

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There are More Wildlife in Al Qudra Lake Than You Think There Are!

Can’t see them?

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Look closely!

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Yes, those are flamingos!

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lamingos are Dubai’s annual winter tourist who migrate here when it gets to cold in the northern countries.

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I know that they migrate to Dubai, but I didn’t know that they also stay here in Al Qudra Lakes. They are usually known to stay at the wildlife sanctuary at Ras Al Khor!

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Nevertheless, I am more than happy to see them here, enjoying the cool morning with us at Al Qudra Lake, together with swans and ducks who are permanent residents of the place!

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And there are even black swans!!!!

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And the tatlong bibe (Three Swans), a famous Pinoy Nursery Rhyme!

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Here’s a group photo with them!

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May I swim with you???

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OVERALL EXPERIENCE of CAMPING AT AL QUDRA LAKE

Do I really need to say what I feel about camping in Al Qudra Lake? They say that a picture paints a thousand words and I’ve taken 300 plus of them! Al Qudra Lakes is a beautiful place, an extraordinary place, a must visit place in Dubai! So if ever you’re longing for a place to enjoy winter, by yourself, your family or your friends, I highly advise you to put Al Qudra Lake Camping on top of your list! I can assure you you’ll come back for more! We will, together with our other set of friends – that’s how good Al Qudra Lake is!

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Before I forget to say, camping at Al Qudra Lake is free of charge!

But please be responsible campers: collect trash in garbage bags, don’t bother the animals, and take care of the place as if it’s your own!

As promised, click here for the LOCATION of AL QUDRA LAKE and DIRECTIONS TO AL QUDRA LAKE

We’re looking forward to camp at the top of the UAE’s highest mountain. If we do, I’ll definitely share it in this blog! Fingers crossed!

See You Again Next Time!!!

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