Campers in the UAE encounter many problems that disrupt their serene outdoor experiences, from noise pollution, and inappropriate behaviour of other campers, to environmental degradation and not using proper equipment.

Khaleej Times spoke to several residents who frequently indulge in camping, and it is evident that these issues are detracting from what should be peaceful retreats into nature.

One main issue is the disturbance caused by loud music, said Frai Camero, a multimedia specialist who regularly camps with his wife. Camero highlighted his frustration, saying: “Loud music can completely ruin the tranquility of camping experience in the desert or mountains. My wife and I look forward to escaping the city noise every weekend, but sometimes we find ourselves surrounded by even louder disturbances,” said Camero.

Recently, an incident in Ras Al Khaimah underscored this problem. Filipino expat Patrick Fronda recounted a camping trip where non-stop karaoke and raucous laughter persisted into the early hours of the morning. They couldn't sleep at all as the excessive noise continued to disrupt their peaceful retreat in the UAE’s rugged landscapes.

Why do residents camp in deserts and hills?

For many, camping offers an opportunity to seek adventure or simply find peace away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. “My wife and I have stressful jobs, and spending time in a serene environment is what our minds crave every week,” said Camero.

Irresponsible drinking individuals

Campers' experiences are also disrupted by drinking individuals who engage in arguments, said John Varghese, an Indian expat who frequents camping sites with friends and family. “It's disheartening to witness such behaviour in what should be a peaceful environment, said Varghese.


Another significant issue in the camping sites in the UAE is littering. Camero highlighted the gravity of this problem, saying: “Litter not only ruins the aesthetic beauty of these landscapes but also poses a threat to wildlife. It's disheartening to see trash scattered around, carried away by the wind."

“People who camp must practice CLAYGO (clean as you go),” added Camero.

Harm to wildlife

Dr Abdul Rahman, a British expat, and an adventurist, highlighted the detrimental impact of litter on local fauna. “Animals often mistake litter for food, leading to ingestion of harmful materials like plastics, ultimately resulting in their demise,” said Dr Rahman.

New campers

The presence of inexperienced and new campers is also a problem for seasoned ones. “They take unnecessary risks, posing a challenge to seasoned campers. It's frustrating when we have to interrupt our peaceful time to rescue newcomers who underestimate the dangers of the wilderness,” said Varghese.

Using Sedans

The improper use of vehicles in desert and mountainous terrain, coupled with a lack of awareness regarding camping rules, further increases the issues faced by campers. Camero said that knowing and adhering to camping regulations is necessary to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. “People arrive at camping sites in sedans, which is not recommended at all. One should drive an SUV or a 4x4 if they want to camp in the desert or hills. I have had to rescue people a couple of times driving sedans on off-road tracks,” said Camero.

Similarly, Dr Abdul Rahman also mentioned the necessity of following camping rules to preserve the natural beauty of these landscapes. “Responsible camping practices are essential to protect the environment and ensure the safety of both campers and wildlife,” said Dr Rahman.

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