Where life finds a way to thrive – The desert erupts in a mishmash of beautiful greens, flanking a small glittering surface.
Oases are small pockets of fertile and green lands that can be found on deserts when there are freshwater sources lying underground. These underground rivers irrigate the ground’s surface, resulting in dense greenery where life usually has to fight to survive.
These Oases have long served an important purpose in the routes of travellers and traders who live in the desert. These were where they could stop to replenish their water/food supply and seek respite under shady trees.
However, in more recent times, Oases have become more than simply a location for necessities. With its ability to cultivate life comes its ability to entertain the masses. If you want to escape the city life for an adventure in a desert, head over to an Oasis where you might just find the right amount of adrenaline and fun.
Al Ain Oasis
Photo Credits: Sam Nabi
One Oasis that is worth the visit is the Al Ain Oasis, located in the U.A.E. It is their first UNESCO Heritage site and became open to the public in 2016 after major renovations to cater to the public and potential visitors. The improvements to the area included an Eco-Center and shaded pathways beneath the gorgeous spread of date palm trees.
Photo Credits: Sam Nabi
Far removed from the city-center the Al Ain Oasis whisks you away from the noise and fast-paced lifestyle that U.A.E is known for. The partially-functioning date farm is a maze to explore with 8 entrances leading into the 3,000-acre area. What’s more? The oasis is a gem for history fanatics as it gives insight as to how our predecessors used to live in the harsh environment 4,000 years ago. Tactfully irrigating the underground rivers, they created a civilisation where no one believed was possible. The ancient irrigation system still runs until this day, directing water from the Hajar Mountains to the flourishing farm.
Getting to the Oasis an be done with relative ease – Located just 90 miles away from the east of Abu Dhabi, the ride there will take you around 1.5h and the entrance into the oasis is free. Take note that the farm runs only between 8am and 5pm each day!
Israel’s Garden of Eden nestled itself in the west of Dead Sea where the desert landscape splits up into a mesmerising nature reserve. Grab a map at the entrance of either Wadi David or Wadi Arugot and embark on a trail. In between the parallel canyons, find yourself discovering hidden pockets of beauty – cool sweet springs, caves, pools and a waterfall where you can dip in after a long hike.
Photo Credits : Joshua Bloom
Perhaps one of the largest draws for visitors is the biblical reference and history of Ein Gedi. With a history dating back 5000 years and mentions of the Ein Gedi in the Bible, it captivates the visitors and the site demands to be seen. Walk through the same paths as our ancestors and envelop yourself in history permeating through the craggy rocks once thought only accessible to mountain goats.
Smaller than the oases above but it does not lack in beauty. The Grand Canyon’s not-so secret waterbody is located in the Havasupai Indian reservation. It is famous for burgeoning blue waters contrasting against the warm red canyons. Punctuated with greenery, the area is truly a sight to behold.
It is definitely worth the 10-mile hike to get there. The gargantuan falls are not lacking in photo opportunities. With genteel water streaming down giant steps and small pockets for you to swim in, be prepared to spend the night at the oasis as one day is never enough.
Take note that because of the popularity of the Falls, the hiking in the area is heavily regulated. Do secure your permits for the camping grounds and overnight stay and make sure to check into the village of Supai (2 miles away) before making your way to the oasis.
Of course there are so many other oases you can explore around the world. This list is limited to three of our favourites. However, with travelling, always be cautious and treat the area with respect so that future generations can enjoy them as well.
Furthermore, pay attention to visitor centres and/or guides about prohibited areas, where to go and what time to leave the place. Because you are in the same area as wild animals, there needs to be awareness about when they are most active. Knowing more information about the place and its biodiversity will ensure your safety.