Soft sand dunes glistening in the sunlight bespeckled with oryx and gazelles beckon you into an uncharted world immortalized by Scheherazade’s One Thousand and One Nights.
Located 40 minutes away from Downtown Dubai in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, the stunning yet sustainable Sonara Camp is a sanctuary of flora and fauna. Within minutes of arriving at the nondescript arrival area, a liveried host will whisks you away on a 10-minute joyride through the dunes to a Bedouin Oasis, where you will be led into contemporary Berber-style tents for refreshments.
Immediately striking is how effortlessly the impeccable decor of the camp treads the line between beauty and nature. In perfect harmony with the desert’s native surroundings (while respecting Sonara’s strong zero-waste policy) the use of ethical products and materials as well as solar energy brings this camp to life.
Aim to arrive before sunset to avail of one of the coveted spots facing the bespoke firepit at the open-air bar. Watching the celestial sunset, accompanied by the soothing sounds of the live oud player, adults can enjoy the panoramic views and sundowners while children ride camels, surf the dunes, or attempt archery.
Experiential yet chic dining is what sets Sonara apart from other desert adventures. As day turns into night, the fairy-light lit open-air restaurant beckons the camp's guests. A culinary sharing experience showcases French Chef Franck Sanna’s magnificent east meets west fusion menu, catering to vegans and meat lovers alike.
The crunchy and deliciously fresh fattoush-niçoise salad is an explosion of French Levantine culture on a plate; the succulent lambchops marinated in kaffir and sweet spices will leave you wanting more. A dazzling fire show is the perfect accompaniment to the signature creations of the chef.
Falconry, an open-air cinema, and roasting marshmallows around the fire keeps the children entertained as adults feast on the one-of-a-kind desserts - a particular favorite is the cumin chocolate tuile. After dinner, head back to the lounge area to be enveloped under a canopy of stars whilst sipping a digestif. At Sonara you will finally understand why, for centuries, the Bedouins have inner peace and solace in the desert.
For those who are keen to continue the Bedouin magic, Sonara offers a small number of Berber inspired-luxury private tents for overnight stays.
The price for this experience is Dhs550 for Adults and Dhs350 for children which includes food, non-alcoholic beverages, and entertainment. Other refreshments can be purchased separately.
*Due to the COVID regulations, currently you can only dine at Nara – Sonara’s sister camp which offers the same experience. Overnight stays are currently suspended.
Lead images courtesy of Instagram/sonara_camp