Residents in the UAE are well aware that summers here can be extremely hot and humid. Thus, it is advised to refrain from outdoor activities during these times. With the weather starting to warm up after summer, outdoor activities like picnics, long drives and camping become even more appealing. Dubai truly is an amazing place to live! Additions to our “to visit” list can never get old; IMG World recently opened and added another place to explore. With IMG World opening soon, we now have another destination on our list that needs visiting! One year ago, when I first learned of Al Qudra lake, radio stations and local newspapers were touting its great camping or picnic spots.
With my daughter having already visited and me having seen some pictures taken there by her camera, this place had been on my bucket list ever since. But until that day came, nothing quite fit the bill for what I wanted to experience – until now.
Al Qudra Lake on a personalized tour tailored to your preferences.
On Friday evening we enjoyed a picnic in Zabeel Park with friends, and on Saturday my hubby and I made an impromptu plan to take lunch to Al Qudra lakes (man-made lakes located in the Saih Al Salam desert). My home is quite far away, but living in the UAE, no distance is too far. On cooler days, we enjoy taking long drives to take in all that the desert has to offer – its lush greens, parks and beaches as well as various places across other Emirates. Google maps proved invaluable in our journey, guiding us along Al Qudra road until the tar road ends at this roundabout (pictured below) – signifying that we had arrived in Al Qudra. I snapped the picture below while sitting in the car on our way back from the lakes; Al Qudra boasts a designated cycling track and we passed many bikers along the way.
Al Qudra Bike shop and a coffee shop
At this roundabout, if we are coming straight ahead we pass Al Qudra Bike shop and a coffee shop. After this point the tar road ends and the desert comes into view around us with sparse plantations of dusty palm trees. To reach the lakes we must take an unmarked mud road on our left; turn left from the bike shop and drive ahead into what appeared to be nowhere; there were no sign boards indicating where or when the lakes could be found; our guide from the coffee shop told us ‘just follow cars driving into the desert’.
We followed a few cars ahead of us down a muddy desert road that had seen many cars driven over and became clearly defined. After passing through bushes and making several U-turns, one eventually reached the expansive water’s edge with few cars parked near lone trees providing shade for families to picnic. Here we had arrived! I could see lots of new plantation taking shape around us; in years this quiet place would look completely transformed due to government initiatives to make the place greener. Trees had already been planted which will soon sprout and create more greenery around us!
Species of Birds
From the start of the lake, we followed it until its end. As seen above in the picture, all the trees lined far away provided a stunning necklace-shaped view.
We were fortunate enough to spot several species of birds, some endangered and threatened, according to an article in Gulf News.
This spot is ideal if one seeks solitude away from city life and traffic issues. Eating lunch by the lake side was truly peaceful; only birds chirping could be heard singing away. Yes, one is sure disturbed by dust when a car passes by from near, as people drive around looking for an ideal picnic spot. This was truly an idyllic moment.
Growing up, I always enjoyed being outdoors and going on nature walks. One picture that stands out to me from these couple is the one below – bird footprints on the sand. While one sees human footprints everywhere, this lakeside sand was filled with bird tracks – a rare occurrence for this city dweller from the city.
We were fortunate enough to capture some beautiful photographs of some migratory birds in the lake waters. Most were busy catching fish, as the lake seemed abundant with aquatic life.
Birding at Al Qudra Lake
After our lunch and leisurely walk around to spot as many types of birds as we could spot and take pictures, it was about 5 pm before we finally left the place. It was still light outside with the sun yet to set when we said our farewells. Due to the absence of street light or electricity nearby, it’s wise to leave before it gets dark as there are high chances of getting lost. We were uncertain how to reach the tar road, so after some zigzag driving we spotted another lake full of swans and ducks – including black swans! It had an oasis vibe but was packed with visitors. Was this our intended picnic spot or one we had already explored? The lake seemed too crowded with birds; in fact it appeared overrun! I snapped some pictures on my iPhone and shared them below.
The setting sun rays cast a golden hue over Al Qudra Lake.
As seen in the above picture, it was almost dusk and soon enough the sun would set behind us. We left this peaceful lake and used Google maps to navigate towards our destination – the roundabout picture seen at the start of this post! After driving for just a couple minutes, we arrived at this roundabout and continued on our way home through busy weekend traffic!
Point to Consider: This is an ideal spot if you’re seeking some peace and serenity in the desert outdoors with lake water nearby and birds chirping nearby. It would make a great camping spot or barbecue spot; we even saw one family doing just that while driving around searching for shade to park and have lunch. Unfortunately, trees provide only partial coverage here in the afternoon – not enough for many visitors who come by. Similarly, if you’re hoping for a fun picnic spot with electricity and concrete structures nearby to provide shelter, then this may not be your ideal spot.
I hope to make another trip soon to see if we are lucky and can spot some more birds at the lake site. If you are planning a visit, hopefully this post has been helpful in planning your journey!