Over the past year we have plucked up the courage to take Daniel camping on numerous occasions and it is something that we have come to love doing it as a family over our short weekends. With my hubby working on Saturdays our Fridays are pretty precious at the moment. So heading out into the wilds of the UAE over the weekend has become something that we have bonded over.
I will be totally honest and say that our first trip was a complete disaster and there were a number of reasons for this which included us deciding to camp to early in to the season and it was still totally scorching! The min night time temp was nearly 40 degrees Celsius and we camped out on the beach which meant sand, a whole lot of sand! Our other mistake is that we chose a really popular camping spot which meant a lot of campers with huge 4X4s and motorbikes. It was only about 3 am before the other campers started settling down and stopped driving past our camp on their dirt bikes.
Daniel was around 19 months at the time and after the long day he was sticky and sandy and even though we tried to bath the kids. Needless to say that after three hours of sleep and an early sun rise, I had a serious sense of humour failure and by 8am the next morning we were packed up and heading home.
It took about 6 months before I braved another camping session and I had my terms and conditions for the camp which included no sand, which can be a bit tricky considering we live in a desert after all. Luckily we do have access to a number of the mountainous areas around us which have wadis or an oasis area. And so against my better judgment we went camping again but to appease me hubby said that I could buy new gear the make our lives a little easier. I did just that and turn our normal camp set up in to a bit of a glamping experience. Great new two bedroom tent that we could fit a camping cot in to. A new gazebo so no more sun burn and, of course, new mattresses which is a necessity. The weather was great because we went in the depth of winter and it was even a little bit chilly. We didn’t force the kids to have an afternoon nap so by the time bedtime rolled around, they didn’t even put up a fight. Which meant that mom and dad got to have some down time and a glass of wine or the bottle and still wake up feeling all refreshed for breakfast the next morning.
To be honest, after our successful camping trip it took another year before we did it again, mainly because we travelled a bit last year and camping in summer is suicide. But in the past three months we have gone twice and we now have a little boy who is asking to go camping every weekend.
Our latest camp was a more subdued affair with only a few families joining us but it has become our “get out of Dubai time” and we thoroughly enjoy it, even though this time our camp site was raided by a pair of hungry donkeys! I have even learnt a few tricks about making breakfast the next morning, even though hubby has needed to be at work early and I am normally let with dismantling of the camp site, which is no easy feat which a toddler. Luckily our camping spot is just an hour from home and normally by 10 am we are home showered and packed away.
Living in a country where most environments are completely artificial it was been a breath of fresh air to be able tot find somewhere were our little family can actually go our into the wilderness and be a part of nature. All three of us are farm kids and we often feel stifled by our inability to find a bit of greenery at times. But there is nothing like cracking open a cold one in the depth of the UAE mountains with the wind whistling through the ravines and your family around you!