Nature United Arab Emirates


. This page gives general information about the landscape, flora, and fauna of the United Arab Emirates. More information can be found via the menu under See and do!>Nature en Pearls of the desert.

Time to go off the beaten track

hidden gems desert

Hidden gems in the desert (by Me over ME)

You have done some really great shopping in the most expensive malls in the country. Your bags are filled with luxurious items from high-end fashion brands. You even made a quick walk along the creek and bargained the price in the souq. The bouncer at the door of the dancing knows you by name and you have taken each and every ride in the amusement park. And now you are overlooking the beautiful skyline with the biggest, highest and most impressive architecture. While the sea gently rolls over the beautiful white beach you think: ‘Been there, seen that, done that!’

But did you really? Have you seen the hidden gems of the United Arab Emirates, the natural reserves that are often overlooked by tourists? Have you been to natural grounds that are a miracle of itself?  It is time to go off the beaten track and explore the real gems of the desert.

A paradise to plants and wildlife

Many people think of the United Arab Emirates as a relatively small country with a barren landscape, dominated by a sandy desert bordered by shallow seas. To many people, the land seems void of life, but appearance can be deceptive. The United Arab Emirates is paradise to plants, wildlife, and nature lovers.

Landscape and habitats

desert plant

After periods of humidity and rain the desert blossoms.

The United Arab Emirates is located between two separate coastlines. One is facing the Arabian Gulf and the other is facing the Gulf of Oman. Both differ in geological characteristics (sand versus rock), climate and (marine) life. Along the shoreline, beautiful mangroves function as ecologically important filters and breeding systems. Wetlands with fresh and saline lakes are a safe haven to various rare (migratory) birds and wildlife.

In the East of the country, the Hajar mountains sharply rise above the landscape hiding canyons and wadis. These riverbeds are just breathtaking paradises of ponds and small lakes surrounded by lush vegetation. Alluvial plains are a common feature in the United Arab Emirates. Extensive sabkha (salt flats) occurs along the coastline and around the lower dunes.


Due to its harsh climate, the United Arab Emirates lacks the abundance of species that can be found in moderate areas. Nevertheless, its biodiversity is diverse. The country hosts a great variety of land animals, marine life, endemic and migratory birds. The animals have adapted to the hot and dry climate. They often lead a nocturnal life or hide under rocks and in the sand.

Despite the grim and desolated land the United Arab Emirates hosts an amazing number of trees and shrubs. Many of these species have acclimatized in the salty and arid grounds. They survive droughts and extreme heat by having unique and fascinating adaptations. They withstand floods and sandstorms.
During the hot summer months, some plants withdraw underground or reduce their leaves. They seem dead. But suddenly after rains in March and April, they rise and shine again. They flower abundantly and spread an aromatic smell over the desert.

wadi hidden gem

Wadi or riverbed in the mountains

For each and everyone

With its varied landscapes and its diversity of habitats, the United Arab Emirates offers the perfect location for exploring the mountains, wadis, and deserts. Nature enthusiasts will be surprised by the beauty of the land and the species that live in it. Geologists will be thrilled by the fossils in the desert, and the geological information that is concealed in the mountains. And even the ones that prefer architecture over nature will find some beautiful places to escape to after a hectic day in the city.

For more detailed information please refer to the menu under See and do!>Nature en Pearls of the desert..